Wouldn’t you agree that being a part of a community is a wonderful thing? You’re a part of a group of like-minded people you can always rely on for advice and support. If you ask us, it can’t get better than that.
When a group of people like that puts their heads together, they can achieve just about anything. And we’re not just talking about coming up with ideas but executing them as well. With that in mind, communities that organize fundraisers, clean up their neighborhoods, and do much more.
But these friendly neighborhood communities aren’t what we’re talking about today. We’re talking about brand communities. What’s the difference? That’s what we’re here to find out. Once we help you learn what the definition of a brand community is, we want to talk about why they’re necessary for any business. Here’s a hint: they’re any business’ driving force.
Finally, we’ll focus on giving examples of some exceptional communities. Curious to know which brands we’re talking about? Stick with us till the end of this blog. Now, let’s jump into the very definition of the brand community.
What Is a Brand Community?
Alright, so what is a brand community, really? If your first thought is the customers - you wouldn’t be too wrong, but that’s not the entire truth. Simply put, the brand community consists of customers that care about more than just the product. Let us explain.
Have you ever felt passionate about a brand, its message, or its products? So passionate that, in fact, you want to support them by doing more than just shopping for their products. This kind of passion comes from an emotional connection or the willingness to be more connected to the brand itself.
But why would people want to become so invested in any brand? They just sell items, right? Well, let’s try seeing it from a different perspective. Imagine having a problem or need, and nothing seems to be solving it or indulging you. Then, you discover this brand that carries exactly what you need. Moreover, the same brand has values that align with yours, and their customer service experience is so good that you were blown away. Wouldn’t you want to do more for a brand like that? We know we would.
Aside from that, people are passionate about supporting local businesses, for example. They know how great they are for their community, environment, and even the whole country.
To conclude, a brand community is a group of people who want to become more involved and connected to a brand. You could even say that they’d want to become a part of the brand itself, and these people are what can propel any business into stardom.
Why Does Brand Community Matter?
What makes you trust a brand? Is it what they’re saying on social media? Or maybe good online reviews? How do you know that those reviews aren’t paid for, or that a brand isn’t saying things on social media just to be relatable? So many questions pop up, especially when we’re discovering and researching a new brand.
Now, imagine this - one of your loved ones already knows about a brand and has had experience shopping with it. And apparently, this brand is so good that they have to tell you all about it. Wouldn’t you be more inclined to trust them without giving what they said a second thought? Of course you would because this person is someone you already know and trust.
So, why are we telling you all this? Because one of the best ways to advertise your brand is by word of mouth. Yes, even with all the social media. And brand community matters because when a customer is connected to a brand on another level - they can’t help but spread the word. That’s why having a brand community is essential.
To be clear, brand community members aren’t paid or incentivized to spread the word about any product or service a business they support offers. But this kind of advertisement not only helps the brand’s popularity rise, but it also shows other potential customers the benefits of becoming a brand community member, too. And there definitely are some benefits.
Examples of Exceptional Brand Communities
What drives these communities to spread the word? Well, brands do their best to incentivize people to join first. After that, the membership programs are usually very interactive, allowing community members to engage each other, others, or the brand itself. Lastly, as we know by now, their good experience encourages them to share.
So, let’s look at some examples of exceptional brand communities and how they help the businesses they’re a part of.
When you think about it, Starbucks has been a real leader when it comes to brands with exceptional communities. Not only are they leaning into the free user-generated content (just look at all the pictures under #psl and the annual #redcupcontest), but their Starbucks Rewards program is enough to bring any coffee-lover in.
To summarize, Starbucks is encouraging people to collect various rewards by becoming community members and is working hard on strengthening the community bond in any way possible.
Something similar is going on over at the Glow Recipe. Their Glow Miles program is great at encouraging people to join, but that’s not all the community gets. Since the beauty industry is growing every day, Glow Recipe has decided to give their customers and members specially curated content to draw people in and keep them engaged. This content really emphasizes the brand values including motivation and empowerment.
Finally, Apple has built a community of users who feel like owning an Apple product is a part of their identity. Aside from that, they have the Apple Support Community forum where people can share their comments and questions or connect with other Apple users.
This is a prime example that if customers and brands have aligning values, people won’t need any kind of incentivization to become community members.