Why your brand needs an Online Brand Community

Things are changing.  In the world of commerce, it's getting harder for businesses to cut through the competition and differentiate themselves. Acquisition marketing costs are ballooning, and in the world of commerce it’s more expensive than ever to purchase ad space. Over two-thirds of digital ad spend goes to Facebook & Google, illustrating the skyrocketing demand for this marketing real estate. As a result, some companies are innovating by turning to community marketing as an antidote to the digital duopoly of Facebook & Google.

There’s few brands who have won the hearts of shoppers like no one else. Enter stage right: Glossier. This digital native brand put community building and customer co-creation at the centre of everything they do. And this has paid dividends, resulting in a beauty unicorn brand with a $1.2 billion market valuation. In the Founder’s own words, Emily Weiss says Glossier sees their community as “co-conspirators, co-builders and co-storytellers,” which had led to enormous growth, 80% of which is from peer-to-peer recommendations.

If Glossier’s success story hasn’t convinced you yet, here are some more benefits to consider making community marketing a key part of your business strategy.

Online brand communities foster emotional connections

Having an emotional connection with a certain brand or product is invaluable. As we saw in the customer decision making process, having a strong bond with a brand can drive purchase. In the case of Glossier, their advocates not only have a strong connection to the beauty products which empower them to embrace their natural beauty, but also to other Glossier fanatics who love the brand aesthetic. When an emotional connection is there, inspiring women to love their makeup morning routine, Glossier became the preferred beauty brand every time.

Engaged communities create switching barriers

When your brand has a strong, engaged community behind it, this is something that is totally unique to your brand experience and cannot be replicated. These community experiences create switching barriers in the customer’s mind, leading to higher customer retention and brand loyalty. As a result, engaged community members are less price sensitive and less likely to shop around.

Communities create invaluable brand advocates

Online brand communities encourage customers to interact and share with your brand on an emotional level. By having an inspiring brand community, these happy customers become brand advocates -- the most valuable marketing channel there is. Brand advocates or evangelists are effectively “community megaphones,” amplifying word-of-mouth and even spending twice as much as an average shopper. Brand advocates magnify the value of your brand to other advocates and non-shoppers, thereby bringing in more community members and collectively creating an unforgettable community experience.

Online brand communities create a dialogue you can learn from

Instead of paying for market research with outdated focus group interviews, online brand communities are a goldmine for monitoring customer sentiment. Advocates aren’t afraid to give constructive feedback, and your community can become a two-way conversation where both parties benefit. For one of Glossier’s product releases, they literally asked the community “Help us create the Glossier Heavy?” which became the foundation for guiding product development. Glossier let the community dictate the development, resulting in a product that quickly became a cult-favourite.

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As you can see, there are other marketing avenues to explore for customer acquisition that aren’t rooted in the digital duopoly. Prioritising community marketing is a strategy that is proven to drive mutual value.

Just imagine this: your brand community could live on your website. With Groupify’s social commerce capabilities, building online brand communities is easier than ever. Your customers can interact, socialise and discover together, giving a stage for your evangelists to shine. Follow this link for a demo and one of our social commerce experts will be in touch.