Building a brand community helps to develop a deeper connection. Marketing research proves that consumers are opting to engage with brands that offer a more human experience. Specifically, one that creates a deep human connection. Human connection is established through culture and opportunities that invite engagement. For example, social media platforms, online communities, and positive interactions.
Purpose and engagement are integral steps in building a strong brand community. Let’s highlight the elements of building a brand community and discuss some successful brands with strong brand communities.
Foundation of Building a Brand Community
The Harvard Business Review defines a brand community as, “a group of ardent consumers organized around the lifestyle, activities, and ethos of a brand.”
Interactions between businesses and their customers are no longer just transactional. More people are buying with their values, aesthetics, and aspirations.
Define Your Brand’s Purpose
In building a brand community, you must make your brand’s purpose clear.
To determine your purpose, here are a few questions to ask:
- Why does your brand exist?
- What’s your brand’s purpose? What need does it meet?
- What are your “big picture” goals for your brand?
This purpose will serve as common ground for your community to rally around. The more centered your purpose is around human life, the more relevant your business becomes. In turn, this leads to your community feeling rewarded when engaging with your brand.
A perfect example of a brand community with a strong purpose is the popular clothing company Girlfriend Collective. This brand exists as an environmentally and body conscious activewear wear company. Think millennial-pink leggings made from water bottles and fishing nets!
Girlfriend Collective defines themselves as, “a sustainable activewear brand for people who care—care about other people, care about how their clothes are made, and care about making an impact through their purchasing power. Through ethically created activewear, recycled materials, and our ever-growing community, we hope to help people lead more sustainable lives and rethink the activewear industry’s role in saving the earth.”
This purpose dedicated to the environment can be seen in their transparency about the materials. Their clothing has the SA8000 social accountability standard and certificate that demonstrates their good factory conditions. Additionally, their marketing campaigns incorporate diverse women with different bodies and lifestyles. They invite conversations centered around social, political, and environmental consciousness. The proceeds from their Everyday GF collection will be donated to various organizations supporting BIPOC’s communities.
They sell leggings, socks, bras, and workout clothes. With every purchase you get an ethical exchange with the fashion industry. For $68 you can purchase kelp green leggings that are great for yoga and for taking action.
Market research proves that consumers do not make choices only about the quality or the price of the product. Rather, how the product and company engages with class, gender, environmental, and social issues. People want to support a company that fights for a cause.
Grow Your Brand Through Belonging
Following a solid brand purpose creates a community space that encourages engagement. Moreover, measurable growth comes from the ease of sharing and participating in a brand’s message and goals. A successful brand will articulate their impact through their product or service. In other words, a brand that has a message that is easily understood by their consumer will influence community engagement.
A company that proves the success of brand loyalty is Warby Parker. They invite consumers to test out different frames from the comfort of consumers’ homes. Additionally, they provide glasses for those in need through their Buy-a-Pair, Give-a-Pair program.
By purchasing a pair of glasses, consumers help Warby Parker donate prescription eyewear to people in developing countries.
Not only that, but Warby Parker aims to build a strong sense of brand community through their content as well. The brand is dedicated to creating a presence that aligns with their mission. From recommending books to restaurants, Warby Parker helps their community understand how to apply their values to real life. They do more than just help people see, they help them make and do.
Through these social media pages, users are able to engage with one another and experience the feeling of community. Additionally, public business pages can share content from members of their online community. This allows businesses to celebrate their customers and build deeper relationships. Digital participation in your brand’s community allows your customers to be involved in your media and marketing. Essentially, this works as the voice and face of your brand.
Key Takeaways for Building A Successful Brand Community
A successful business strategy is propelled by having a human-centered, community-based brand. To build a successful brand community, a company needs a couple things.
- A clearly communicated purpose that ties itself to human connection.
- Opportunities for consumers to feel like they belong, both in real life and via social media.
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