Creating Community Outside of Social Media For Brands
If the past few years have taught us anything, it’s the importance of feeling connected. Our idea of community has shifted from only encompassing our neighbors down the street to a global scale. While social distancing may have kept us apart physically, virtual communities kept us together. Many brands stepped up and built their own platform for community, creating a sense of fellowship for their customers through shared interests, goals, or experiences revolving around their company’s mission.
By creating a community around their purpose, they provided their loyal customers with the opportunity to both engage with their brand and advocate for it to others. When done correctly, it helps increase brand awareness and loyalty, build data on target demographics, and introduce their brand to new customers. By building it on their own platform rather than through social media, they were able to tailor their community to their customers needs rather than constrained to the capabilities of current social media sites. It also allowed their users to have a place designated for connecting with others with similar interests rather than needing to comb through other distracting content.
Since your community caters to your loyal consumers who want to engage in conversations that relate to your product or services, it sets your brand up to be a trusted source for information and support in your industry. In order to be successful, it needs to be authentic to your mission and values and add value to your customers’ lives. If it fails to do so, no matter how much your customers love your product or service, they will not interact with a community that they don’t find to be useful. So before creating your platform, be sure to understand what your target audience is looking for.
Peloton and Hare Athletic Club are great examples of brands who’ve build community and fans through their own proprietary platform.
Peloton is a great example of a strong community. They currently boast over 5.9 million members. Their company mission is to use technology and design to connect the world through fitness, empowering people to be the best version of themselves anywhere, anytime. Peloton allows members to keep track of their workouts and see when they hit important milestones, which also gives their brand access to a treasure trove of user data – something they wouldn’t be able to obtain on social media sites alone. Their app makes working out a team sport with an interactive leaderboard and curated classes that you can take together with family and friends. While individual users don’t interact as much with each other, the app provides all the benefits of a community, through instructor personalities who interact with users in live classes, live high fives, gamification of workout goals, and creation of daily group rituals.
Hare Athletic Club by Tracksmith is another workout platform. As a community for runners, they support their members through monthly zoom calls, Slack channels, and on-site activations to help with training, as well as insider access to sales and member pricing. By creating content that provides value for their members during their training, both brands have created global communities of like-minded individuals who can train together and hold each other accountable no matter where they are in the world.
Building a community is a great way to grow awareness and gain accountability with your customers.
For brands aligned with a charitable cause, building a community around it is a great way to grow awareness and gain accountability with your customers. Sustainably-minded brand TenTree uses their platform to do just that. They’re on a mission to plant 1 billion trees by 2030 and work with their community to help further their movement. In order to offer consumers visibility into their initiatives, they developed a platform called Veri-tree that uses blockchain technology that can map and verify tree planting on a global scale. Here, their community can interact with their sustainability efforts by virtually viewing the trees they helped to plant. Similarly to Peloton, Verti-Tree’s users don’t interact as much with each other, but they give all the benefits of a community with gamification of goals and a meaningful shared experience. This interactive approach has been so successful that Veri-tree has opened up to other brands as well.
Designing a platform built around your purpose is a great way to build loyalty in an authentic way by giving consumers multiple touchpoints back to your brand outside of the purchasing lifecycle. This creates a symbiotic relationship that gives both brand and consumer value and keeps your products or services top of mind.
If you’re interested in creating a platform for your brand that stays true to your mission and values, contact Unconquered for a consultation.
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