Why community is the bedrock of brand advocacy

In order to create brand advocates, you first need a community for them to engage in. In this blog, we examine why communities are so important and what you can do to build one for your brand.

The importance of brand communities

Community is much more than belonging to something; it’s about doing something together that makes belonging matter.

Brian Solis

According to a recent article in Forbes, customers, especially the younger generation, have lost trust in influencers and are instead turning to brand communities where they can engage with consumers who have had ‘real-world experiences’.

In fact, we covered this very subject at our recent conference, AdvoFest, where we looked at the declining trust between consumers and brands and how influencer marketing has played a big role in this.

Brand communities are a great way to build trust as they are where consumers can find ‘real customers, telling real stories’.

What exactly is a brand community?

Brands must become architects of the community

Simon Mainwaring

Unlike online forums, brand communities are facilitated by the organisation and include a lot more than just conversations. They are a place where like-minded consumers can share content, help come up with new ideas and get exclusive updates from the brand.

The term ‘brand community’ was first established in 2001 when Thomas O’Guinn and Albert Muniz Jr. wrote an article on ‘Brand Community’, which was published in the Journal of Consumer Research, they established the idea as “a specialised, non-geographically bound community, based on a structured set of social relations among admirers of a brand.”

How to establish a brand community

The hardest thing for marketers to do is to turn over the brand experience to the community and let them define it.

Eric Erwin

If you build it, they will come… a great sound bite from the 90’s classic film, Field of Dreams, but a terrible strategy for building a brand community.

Here are our top tips for building a brand community:

  1. Decide on the purpose of the community. What do you want customers to do, what’s the output and what are your goals?
  2. Find people who share your passion – these ‘early adopters’ will inevitably become your community leaders
  3. Empower your community leaders to help spread the word and bring new people into the community
  4. Create activities for the community to engage with, here are a few examples:
    1. A competition that gets customers to create user generated content
    2. Get ideas for your next marketing campaign
    3. Conduct research using polls & surveys
  5. Say thank you and reward people that engage with the community, especially those brand advocates who go above and beyond

Our challenge to you: start building your community

As a brand, our community is our lifeblood.

Lo Bosworth

Hopefully, this blog has inspired you to build a brand community and given you some useful advice that will help you on your journey.

Our final piece of advice is to start small, engage a few advocates to take part in a MVP community that you can carefully control and manage. Once you’ve established the essence of your brand community and are ready to grow it you can then consider a brand community platform and when you do we’d hope you’d consider Hyve 🙂

How We Can Help

Our solutions are designed to help you work with your customers when creating new and innovative products and services. We help you crowdsource ideas, capture opinions, test assumptions and understand what customers value most. Our team of experts will also be at hand to offer their knowledge, ensuring you engage with your customers in the most effective way.

Yiannis Maos

Author Yiannis Maos

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