Why communities are a necessity for a brand?
“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men.” — Herman Melville (“The Power of Community Quotes | Ellevate”, n.d.)
Indeed, we can’t be all on our own and fend for ourselves always. We need support and help from others to live and survive.
Can you imagine living in a world without your family, friends, or your closely-knit groups of people?
People are very crucial to your very existence on this planet.
You rely on someone taking care of you when you are sick, you seek someone’s shoulder when you are off, when you are happy, you still seek someone’s company to share your joy with.
Company and community are the basic needs for any being to survive in this world.
A community can be defined as “a social, religious, occupational, or other group sharing common characteristics or interests and perceived or perceiving itself as distinct in some respect from the larger society within which it exists.” (“Community Definition & Meaning”, n.d.)
And a brand community can be defined as a circle of people emotionally invested in a brand. They follow the brand closely, suggest it to other people, are loyal customers, and also the brand’s social media followers and engagement. Chole west (sprout social 2020) explains brand community as something that showcases brand loyalty at its best.
Now, a question arises, why do you need a community for your brand?
Why do you need to invest your time, money, and efforts in building a brand community?
The answer is quite simple; to survive.
A community is very much a survival mechanism and just like we need it for any other walk of life, it is important for the viability of any business too.
Businesses, as you all comprehend, are shifting. Much digitalization has taken place over the past two-three years. Every sector along with business and marketing has become online. Previously, when customers preferred traditional offline shopping, people now prefer to shop online. Especially after the covid outbreak and lockdown, the digital took over the world with cyclonic speeds. According to BusinessToday.in, Online shopping in India gets a pandemic boost, the e-retail market grows 25% in FY21. (2)
Another big factor leading to the changes in the market is the persona of the Gen Z consumer group.
Gen Z or Generation Z is a group of people born between the mid-1990s and 2010. They exhibit different shopping patterns than the millennials and people born before them.
Gen Z has a different approach to life than others and advocates different causes. Their biggest weapon is social media, and they express themselves through it. Thus, making them one of the biggest targeted audiences for e-retail and brand community building.
It is proved through research, analysis, and stats that Gen Z’s way of shopping is very much based on their core beliefs and values. According to some stats, their shopping habits can be summed up as:
● 78% of Gen Z choose to spend money on experiences
● 77% of Gen Z take action for a cause they believe in
● 23% have boycotted brands because they didn’t comply with their values
● 65% buy according to influencer’s recommendations.
Therefore, Gen Z’s value-based shopping has a major reason for building a brand community and maintaining a loyal consumer base.
The elemental reasons for building a brand community are;
● Garnering a loyal customer base
“If People Believe They Share Values With A Company, They Will Stay Loyal To The Brand.” Howard Shultz, Founder of Starbucks
It’s not difficult to guess if I like a brand, I will most likely go buy its products. Consumers tend to return to buy products and services of a brand if they are a part of its brand community. The more a company invests in building and strengthening a brand through customer service and interaction, the more its loyal community of consumers increases and thus its sales.
● Clientele Association
For any business to grow these days, it is a must to have a social media influence, reputation, and reach. No longer are those brand campaigns enough where only the quality of the product mattered. People, especially Gen Z want to feel a strong personal connection with the brand. The more a company succeeds in building a personal relationship with its customers, the more its social media and clientele will grow. The biggest achiever of clientele association is Starbucks, when you enter a Starbucks café you aren’t greeted by mere employees — you’re greeted by Starbucks partners. Partners is the term used for their employees by Starbucks. This gives a sense of acknowledgment and connection and is, therefore, the perfect example of clientele association.
● References and Recommendations
When a customer is fond of a brand or product, they are definitely going to recommend and refer it to other people. This is undoubtedly a sales booster. For example, a dentist belongs to a brand community of a certain toothpaste, how many of his patients he’s going to prescribe and recommend it to? How much can the customer ensemble increase? A lot.
● Promotional and marketing ideas
When there’s a community, there’s an exchange of thoughts, ideas, beliefs, stories, and much more. There’ll be discussions, debates, and arguments within the community itself or with another one. This proves to be a storehouse of new, real and authentic product campaigning ideas. An example is Johnson baby or dettol’s ads, where they showcase the general population’s experiences with their products.
● Curtailment of customer support tariff
It’s no secret that companies have to spend millions and millions on marketing and customer support. With a brand community built over various social media platforms, the customer care charges are quite reduced.
● Notifications and announcement channel
A brand community can efficiently serve as an announcement channel. You can inform about and promote your new product and services and also generate excitement among the audience before their releases. This makes room for feedback and reviews from our customer base and allows you to overcome your shortcomings.
A few examples of brands with a strong brand community are; Starbucks, Apple, Sephora, Red Bull, Nike, Etsy, etc.
If such successful brands are putting so much effort into building a community for themselves and yielding good results, why shouldn’t you?
“Community Definition & Meaning.” n.d. Dictionary.com. Accessed April 14, 2022. https://www.dictionary.com/browse/community.
Cox, Oliver. 2017. “SquadGoals: 21 Outstanding Brand Communities to Emulate.” Thunderfoot. https://teamthunderfoot.com/ideas/brand-community-examples/.
Estay, Beatriz. n.d. “Gen Z Marketing + Selling Strategies (2019).” BigCommerce. Accessed April 14, 2022. https://www.bigcommerce.com/blog/gen-z-marketing/#who-is-generation-z.
“Online shopping in India gets a pandemic boost, the e-retail market grows 25% in FY21.” 2021. Business Today. https://www.businesstoday.in/latest/economy/story/online-shopping-in-india-gets-pandemic-boost-e-retail-market-grows-25-in-fy21-304340-2021-08-17.
Peckover, Tim. 2020. “The 8 Best Brand Communities and Why They’re Successful.” Smile.io Blog. https://blog.smile.io/8-best-brand-communities/.
“The Power of Community Quotes | Ellevate.” n.d. Ellevate Network. Accessed April 14, 2022. https://www.ellevatenetwork.com/articles/8538-quotes-about-the-power-of-community.
sprout social. 2020. “What is a brand community and how to build a successful one.” sprout social. https://sproutsocial.com/insights/brand-community/.