The Importance of Creating a Brand Community
The Importance of Creating a Brand Community
Exploring the difference between what your client thinks they want their customer to know and what the customer actually needs to understand, in order to engage with the product and feel a part of something bigger than themselves.
Let’s talk about the client…
The author cannot see the errors in his newly finished manuscript. The fashion designer cannot see that her freshly completed dress is overworked. The film director cannot see that the final cut is 45 minutes too long. When the creator is too close to the project, they are unable to see its faults.
The owner of a business is no different. For years, they have been moulding a vision of their business in their mind. They have spent hours lying in bed at night, imagining one-thousand-and-one different scenarios of how their business could be launched to the next level. They have so much passion for their product, that they assume that anyone who comes across their brand will immediately see what they see. They know all the minutiae, every cog that individually moves to power the machine. This attention to detail can render them unable to recognise that people coming to the product for the first time, as an unengaged, nonchalant consumer, will not see all that they do.
Ultimately, we are only limited to our own experiences, our own perspective. This is why is it is so important to bring people on to our teams that can have a fresh take on a project. That can look at it with fresh eyes. This is the role of the marketer.
Being so absorbed in the singularities of their business, clients can often find it hard to see how their company actually fits within the industry at large, and also, within the social workings of our society.
The client is not paying attention to what the consumer may want, but rather only paying attention to what the business has the ability to give them.
This can often happen in companies whereupon the leadership is, perhaps overly, omniscient. The leader has a hand in every single aspect of the business, and often may find themselves doing menial tasks, simply because they haven’t gotten anyone in place to delegate them to. They find it hard to trust anyone with simple, yet very integral tasks. Therefore, they are often run off their feet, just trying to make things work day-to-day. As a result, they perhaps don’t have the time or energy to see how their company may be viewed by the market and the actual customer. They are too distracted by quality control. They cannot see their own product from the perspective of the public.
Your role as the marketer…
It is important to consider what the contemporary consumer is really looking for. There is endless data surrounding this exact notion, released afresh every year. However, for the purpose of this article, I would boil it down to just three things:
- Consumers are looking for community
- Consumers are looking for products that allow them to express their values
- Consumer are looking for products that teach them how to live in a socially conscious and environmentally friendly way
The story of the brand, needs to exude these concepts. Brands who exemplify these traits, win. The key is to help the client see the truth of these concepts, in a way that motivated them to trust you.
The notion of community can work on a higher level, above the idea that all those that engage with the product are intangibly linked simply through their interest. The consumer wants to know that the brand is working to contribute to the greater good of society, as a whole. In the past it was enough for the consumer to know that the brand is working for the convenience of the individual customer. This isn’t the case anymore. Community is created through the idea that all members of society want to look after each other, operate with equality and fairness, and look after the future of our planet. If the brand itself is able to be an essential member of this community, almost as though they are another player in the team, then the sense of affiliation with the brand that the consumer has, will only grow stronger.
A brand often has great potential for community engagement, and the client is simply blindfolded to it. To be able to turn their heads away from the everyday grind, and the ‘pulled myself up by my bootstraps’, often defensive, attitude, you as a marketer need to introduce them to their conceivable brand community.
An inevitable facet with the process of creating a brand community is often the removal of the client (business owner) as the protagonist in the brand story. The community should be able to live and breathe on its own. The business and the community should be able to reach a balanced symbiosis. The business provides the community with messaging and products that identify with their value systems and stimulates engagement, and the community supports the business through simply engaging with the product, discussing it in within their own webs and hubs, and integrating the product into their everyday lives.
However, the client may find it hard to set their brand free. The key to unleashing the brands potentially may lie not in what the product actually is, and how it is perfunctorily different to other products on the market, but rather what it does, and what it represents. Therefore, the focus and method behind the marketing campaign will be extremely different to what the client may have originally imagined.
It is important to make the client aware that the customers won’t engage with mechanical details. They just want to be team players, too. They want to be on the right side of history. They want to lay claim to the fact that they utilise the products at their disposal to help create positive change. They want to have the benefit of quality, but also send a message with the choices that they make in their consumption.
This can be a precarious journey, to be sure. However, I strongly believe that it is imperative that your client gains a grasp of these ideas. It may be hard for them to relinquish control, to let go of the image, that they have been so carefully cultivating in their mind, of people sharing the intrinsic belief in the quality of their product.
You must work with their perspective, and understand their mindset. What will they respond to? Will it help provide examples of this community-driven strategy working in the past? If they are an analytical person, will it help to show them data analytics of consumer trends? Will providing examples of individual possible customers, and how they will interact with the brand aid this process? The bottom line is; the approach must be personalised.
Before the client knows it, with a carefully implemented strategy, a community can be engineered that soon takes their business to new heights. Their product will have an affirmed place in the minds of the public, emanating a certain sexiness with a sense of cool contemporaneity, where previously they were operating invisibly. To be engaged with your client’s brand is to be forward-facing individual, to be future-orientated, to have taken the blinkers off and decided you want to stand up for what you believe in. The community will feel a connection to the brand, as a fellow combatant, choosing in small ways every day, to follow a system of values that prioritises socially conscious and environmentally friendly practice. It is your role as the marketer to present this strategy as undeniable, and inevitable if your client wants to compete in the contemporary market. Only then, will they see the true power of creating a brand community?
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Concept Marketing is a full service digital and traditional agency with offices in Perth and Melbourne. Delivering websites, SEO, and adword campaigns that drive results for clients. They are known as the Results Agency.