There are a lot of benefits to building a community around your brand, and perhaps the greatest benefit is the fact that it creates brand awareness and loyalty. Today, people are looking for a deeper connection with the brand they support, and advertisements don’t really give this.
While there are many ways you can build a successful community around your brand, it is important that you understand the driving factors that motivate consumers to become part of your community. Once you understand these factors, you can effectively find the audience you seek and form the community you want.
1. Shared beliefs and rituals
One of the main things that drive a community is the existence of shared beliefs and rituals among its members. These people have a unique experience of your brand that they share with other consumers, which basically defines the culture within the community. The members enjoy the feeling of connection they have with each other as well as with the brand.
One of the ways you can help create these shared rituals and traditions is by creating a story around your brand, something that will help the consumers engage and relate with it. When you build a strong culture around your brand, you can effectively raise the involvement and participation of your consumers, which makes for a successful brand community.
2. Opportunity for expression
Another factor that defines a successful brand community is one that gives its members the opportunity to express themselves, their personalities and their opinion of the brand. Think of it this way – the more involved they are with your brand, the more opinionated they become about it, and this is why they need an outlet for expressing their ideas and thoughts.
This is the reason why it’s better not to censor your members too much in your brand community. Because if they find that they cannot express their opinion and criticisms in the community, then they will either lose interest in your brand or they will vent out in other ways, which could pose a bigger problem for you.
And you could look at it this way – letting your consumers vent out will let you know what you can do to improve your product or service, which can result in a better brand. People who are really involved with your brand usually have a lot of suggestions for its improvement.
3. Chance for recognition and reward
Another reason why consumers enjoy participating in a community is because of that chance of recognition and reward. Your members want to feel special – they feel different and exclusive in their connection with your brand, and because they advocate and support it, they want to be recognized and rewarded. The days of hiding behind an anonymous persona are gone. Nowadays, people want to be recognized for their passion and expertise. They want to stand out from among the pack and be noticed for their contribution.
So when someone contributes a good idea or suggestion, make sure to acknowledge it. Encourage participation by putting up games and contests that reward the best users. The more you recognize your members’ efforts at brand advocacy, the more they will spread the word about your brand.
Once you understand the driving factors behind a brand community, you can effectively create a successful one that will really engage and involve your consumers. You may even be surprised when you don’t even have to create it yourself – as long as there are people who share a commonality with your brand that enjoy interacting with each other and expressing themselves, they will end up forming a community together. Just make sure that you don’t take the backseat and take steps to participate in this community building.