Branded communities are a great way to create a shared experience for customers. Instead of projecting customer need and value-driven content onto them and maintaining the ‘us/them' relationship, instead you are creating a ‘we” experience and dissolving all boundaries. You are opening up the door to customers, welcoming feedback, and creating a space for interaction with like-minded people.
Online branded communities offer a wealth of benefits, including unfiltered customer insights for market research and customer loyalty.
- Online communities can reduce customer support costs by 49%. These businesses report savings of between 10% and 25% each year.
- Increased brand visibility and credibility makes it easier to sell without actually selling.
- 67% of businesses turn to their local communities for information on new products, services, and features.
- Increased engagement and customer retention
- This channel is used to promote products and services prior to the official launch.
Brands have the chance to listen to customers through interactive communities. They can then use the information to develop the next marketing strategy or the next product. Online communities are an evolution of the traditional online business website with blog content, landing pages and ecommerce.
These are some inspiring examples of brand communities online that have grown to be vibrant, interactive spaces in the digital age.
Sephora Beauty Talk and Beauty Board
Sephora does an incredible job helping customers feel connected to their online community, Beauty Talk. This is a large, well-organized forum that allows users to ask questions, share their ideas and get their beauty problems solved by fellow enthusiasts. The Beauty Board is another way to interact with the products as well as the community. Sephora customers can upload photos of themselves using Sephora products. These photos link to all products used.
Talk about selling without selling! Customers become brand ambassadors and inspire others to use the products. Sephora didn't have to do anything, they just created the platform that allows customers to share their experiences. The forum allows the brand's marketing team to discover which products customers are most interested in and their pain points. You can also get customer service help, which allows you to consolidate a lot of your customer relations work.
There is nothing more exciting for a Lego fan than seeing their design on shelves and receiving a share of sales. Lego Ideas allows anyone with a love for Lego to view and vote on the proposals, give feedback, and even submit their own ideas. The most loved ones go on to market.
This community not only provides valuable market data, but it also keeps people engaged with ongoing contests.
Traditional medicinal herbs
With their Plant Power Journal, this herbal tea brand provides wellness enthusiasts with an online platform for all things tea. You can find DIY ideas, recipes and herbal lore as well as learn about the communities that grow the teas. Although there is no forum online, it features tea reviews and encourages feedback from users. Customers can see the opinions of others about their products and get social proof.
My Starbucks Idea
Starbucks offers a place for coffee lovers to discuss and share their ideas via My Starbucks Idea. The appeal of My Starbucks Idea is similar to Lego Ideas. You can view other people's ideas and vote for your favorites. This environment makes customers feel valued, which is what they deserve. This feeling is maintained by the brand by highlighting customer ideas that are being implemented.
Starbucks can use this forum online to find out what customers want and how they change. It also helps them understand what motivates them. This has allowed the hot beverage company to remain relevant for so many years.
This is an example a advanced brand community. This works well for Xbox, as this brand (and the industry) tends to have customers who are more knowledgeable than the average enthusiast. The brand has a forum for that.
These people are devotees. An Xbox Ambassador is not for everyone. They must have at least a Gamescore of 3.5 and an active Xbox Live Gold membership. Ambassadors are a great support network for gamers and brands. They can offer support on the Official Xbox Forums and host Twitch shows. Ambassadors receive branded merchandise and games in return.
Community Building Online
Online communities are a great way to increase sales and engage with your customers. According to Potion, a healthy majority (80%) of consumers believe authenticity is what motivates them to follow brands. Although it takes time to build an interactive community, there are many opportunities once it is established, as these examples show.
As with all online marketing strategies there is no single solution. For some industries, forums are a great way to get people involved. But for others, companies have to think of creative ways to encourage participation.
Online communities will continue to grow as more brands learn how to build online communities that are able to provide customer insight and loyalty. Your website might be your brand's online storefront, but it could also serve as a hub of ideas, support, and advice. It's a place where potential customers can be approached and guided down the sales funnel by experts. Customer representatives also interact with buyers through this channel. Perhaps it is time to think bigger.
Do you want to build your own community and activate thought leaders within your business?
My personal branding, constant social audience building, content marketing and authentic, ongoing thought leadership content are all part of my strategy. It's something I have done for myself. I have done it for companies that I have worked for. I have helped to activate hundreds or even thousands of thought leaders. It's something I have done for many clients. It's possible for me to do it for yours.
Marketing Insider Group published the post 5 Examples of Brilliant Online Brand Communities.
By: Michael Brenner
Title: 5 Examples of Brilliant Online Brand Communities
Sourced From: marketinginsidergroup.com/content-marketing/5-examples-brilliant-brand-communities-shaping-online-world/
Published Date: Tue, 22 Mar 2022 14:00:00 +0000