We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again — a strong community will transform your business.
If you’ve been following our blog for the past few months, you know how important it is for brands to foster a true sense of community. Through activations like customer referral programs, product co-creation, private groups, and intimate chats, you can build strong emotional ties with your community members and turn them into loyal brand advocates.
And while a strong community deepens your relationship with your customers, it also has a powerful impact on your business. Here are 4 ways that a strong community can benefit your business objectives, such as spreading awareness, increasing sales, and even boosting productivity in your workplace.
1. Skyrocketing brand awareness
For generations, brands have treated their relationships with consumers as transactions. However, when you sell great products and you engage your community in more thoughtful and personalized ways, you can take brand awareness to the next level. When you put more care into how you treat consumers, people will inevitably talk about your brand.
They’ll spread the word by writing reliable customer reviews, recommending your products to their friends and family, and sharing their love for your brand on social media. Some passionate enthusiasts may even gift their favorite items to their own circle to have them try out your products.
Spotify is great at encouraging this behavior. The music streaming company leverages personalized data to engage its listeners and foster a sense of community, especially among its Premium subscribers. Last year, Spotify went even bigger with its annual #SpotifyWrapped campaign to include a summary of the past decade to show each Premium user how their listening habits and preferences have changed. These summaries were provided in shareable image formats, perfect for posting across social media platforms. Users were so excited about their #SpotifyWrapped summaries that they posted across many different social channels, which is why most of our feeds were dominated by them throughout December.
2. Driving long-term, sustainable growth
At the end of the day, every brand needs to pay attention to its sales numbers and see positive return. But as COVID-19 and the economic downturn following has shown us, companies of all sizes can be heavily hit by shifting consumer choices and (lack of) customer loyalty at any time. One thing brand marketers can do, however, is to build a strong community to future-proof their brands.
One of the best ways to connect with consumers beyond purchases is to co-create products with them. This means involving them in every step of the process — from research and development to promotion — to form a true partnership. This will not only allow brands to create products that suit their customers’ wants and needs, but also compel the community to create buzz about those new product launches and share their experiences working with the brand.
Take Native, for instance. The DTC personal care brand recently committed to offering sustainable packaging for all of its products by 2023, following feedback from its customers. According to the brand, customers started voicing concerns about plastic-free packaging in 2018. As the company tracked those requests on its social channels, customer service calls, and surveys, it found that requests for sustainable packaging increased by more than 900% in the last year. So, after an initial roll out last October, the brand listened closely to customer feedback and debuted its better-than-ever paper-based deodorant applicator in July. The brand also worked with popular sustainability YouTubers to spread the word.
The launch was met by love and excitement from its community, shown by the comments left on its posts announcing the plastic-free packaging.
A spokesperson stated, “They have over 15,000 five-star reviews from consumers and are able to leverage that and let their consumers tell the story.” And because 92% of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family over any type of advertising, these tried-and-true endorsements from real customers help to increase sales!
3. Giving brands a competitive edge
While working closely with influencers and customers is important, make sure you’re not neglecting other community members like your employees or industry experts. These knowledgeable community members can put your brand ahead of your competitors through their credential-backed endorsements. They have background knowledge, licenses, and a myriad of experiences to talk about your products in a way that instills trust in consumers. That’s why the smartest brands are already working with experts in their industry to educate consumers, establish credibility, and of course, increase sales.
For example, Peace Out Skincare has become a Gen Z favorite on TikTok with the help of skincare specialists like Hyram Yarbro. The brand’s pore strip sales saw a fourfold increase in 24 hours and sold 15,000 units in one day after Yarbro did one of his famous duets with influencer Kaelyn White while using the product.
In addition, CeraVe, one of Yarbro’s favorite brands, started working with him after he frequently praised the brand. Derrick Booker, VP of marketing at CeraVe, commented, “He built a really strong following for his authenticity. He’s really a skin-care expert and takes the time to share his skin-care knowledge with his followers and with his fans.”
4. Increasing productivity in the workplace
Employees are some of the most important people in your community, as they are the ones working in your corporate offices and retail stores to help drive growth and profit for the business everyday. Take an employee-centric approach to your community building to build a healthy culture, where people feel valued and encouraged to make suggestions. Since employees know the ins-and-outs of your business, this will help improve your products and your company, as well as boost morale and productivity in the workplace.
Not to mention, employees who take pride in the business are some of the best advocates for your brand because their daily routine revolves around improving the brand and its products. In fact, a study showed that audiences increase 561% when employees share a brand message, rather than a corporate channel sharing that message alone.
Employee engagement platform Culture Amp fittingly fosters a healthy workplace culture, even as its full workforce of over 400 employees have started working from home since the start of the pandemic. The company keeps its staff engaged and motivated with 10-minute drink sessions with colleagues at the end of the day, as well as “hours of power” where everyone joins a call just to keep each other accountable while working heads down. Culture Amp CEO Didier Elzinga said, “Our first priority was (and still is) employee health and productivity, and then also how we can help all our people support the communities they live within as well.”
Build a well-rounded brand community
From increasing awareness and improving sales, to getting ahead of your competitors and boosting employee morale, a community-first mindset will enable you to reach your business objectives in no time.