Investing in and building a community around your brand can literally save your company. Just take Harley-Davidson, for example, which was facing financial ruin back in 1983. Fast forward to today and they’re one of the top 50 global brands, currently valued at nearly $8 billion — and they achieved those numbers by investing in their customer community at the most critical point.
Of course, creating a thriving customer community isn’t easy and it will take a lot of time, money, and effort, but it will pay off if you do it correctly. Here’s what you should be thinking about.
First off, building a strong brand community for your company can bring a great deal of insight into what your customers really care about. When you share things with your audience and you actually listen to their feedback, then incorporate that feedback into your products and services, you’ll end up with innovative, passion-driven ideals your customers can get behind.?
A strong brand community also equates to trust in your business as it requires a great deal of transparency with your audience. The community also helps create a strong customer relationship, encouraging not only loyalty, but patience in resolving any issues that do come up. These customers will also act as advocates for your brand, helping you sell more through word-of-mouth marketing. Ultimately, the support that your community of customers can provide is second-to-none.
Wondering where you even begin? Here are some key things you need to plan on in order to build a strong brand community.
If your product doesn’t ignite inspiration or passion within your audience, you’re never going to have a successful brand community. So, begin by listening to and incorporating feedback to make sure that your core offering is something people really want. Only then should you invest in building a community around it.
When you allow users to create and share their own templates within a software, or create extensions for their favorite platform, these are features that help them engage with each other automatically and that forms the foundation of most strong brand communities. Whether you sell a product or service, think up creative ways where your customers can contribute and interact with one another.
Whatever space you create to encourage community interactions, be it on social media or in your own dedicated forum, be sure that your team members get in on the discussion, too. A strong brand community is best built when the brand itself is part of that community and not just “running it” behind-the-scenes. Engage with your audience, answer their questions, and let them know you’re listening and excited that they’re there.
Branded events that help bring your community together, whether in-person or online, has long been a proven tactic for strengthening a brand community. Whether you’re a major brand like Coca-Cola running a concert series or just a small local business leading a community event day at a park, there are endless opportunities for getting your brand community highly engaged.
As a brand, you have to be very approachable, very personable, and very human, and part of that means growing and evolving as a brand just as your customers will through time. This agility means you may change platforms overtime, change how you interact with customers, and even focus on new problems as they come along. The key is to keep your brand light on its feet, while always remaining consistent with the values and passions your customers express. That’s how you can carry your brand from one generation to the next.