Community is so important in all aspects of our lives, yet it is something we don't always...
In recent blogs, we've talked about how the 5 pillars of community form the core of a company's values. In this article, let's see how those concepts of community can be applied to enhancing your brand. We came up with four questions to ask yourself regarding how to encourage your online community members to engage with each other.
From our perspective, sharing is caring. We want our customers in our brand community to share, engage, and create relationships that will in turn build our brand. This can be accomplished by providing forums that will allow them to discuss the direction they want the brand to go.
This article in the Harvard Business Review found that there are "18 social and cultural roles [that are] critical to community function, evolution, and preservation." The article lists supporters, learners, and mentors, for example. In other words, some of your online members take the role of learners and ask questions about the best ways to use your product or service. Others, like supporters and mentors, provide answers -- these are the members that share recipes or offer solutions that involve your brand when someone makes an inquiry. Taking on these roles, your online community members build lasting relationships based upon the value they find in your brand.
An online forum is not only important so that your members talk about your product or service in general. It allows them to examine how your product has evolved for them over time, and what their expectations are for the future. For example, online community members may share a childhood memory that involves a food item, which happens to be your brand. This process of reminiscing may evolve into a discussion about plans to include the item in a particular recipe, which those members will in turn share with their kids.
Observe whether your brand community builds an organizational structure. For example, leaders may emerge who plan a real-life fundraising event that includes your brand. This event gives local members who are supporters and learners the opportunity to attend and make a contribution as well. As a result, an organizational structure that began online spills out into real life, and revolves around your brand.
We are a community technology company that shows other brands how to build their communities. If you have ideas about brand community and would like to share them with us, please contact us.
Build your community, nobody should experience your brand alone!