“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together,” African Proverb.
Building a brand community may take slow, consistent effort, but, it creates long term wealth. Just ask Apple or Harley or Starbucks. Each has actively built a community that goes far beyond their product.
The most successful people and companies understand the importance of a vast and deep network of relationships that transcend the product, or sale. They know that mistakes will be made, competition will get fiercer, customers are fickle, communications channels and techniques will change. Yet, they know that loyalty is a human characteristic and that a sense of community is essential for all of us – even businesses.
And that, is the core for any brand community.
What is Brand Community?
A brand community is a community formed on the basis of attachment to a product or marque. Recent developments in marketing and in research in consumer behavior result in stressing the connection between brand, individual identity and culture. Among the concepts developed to explain the behavior of consumers, the concept of a brand community focuses on the connections between consumers. A brand community can be defined as an enduring self-selected group of actors sharing a system of values, standards and representations (a culture) and recognizing bonds of membership with each other and with the whole.
Brand Community & Wealth Creation
When you are alone, your ideas, products and services leave with you. When you’ve created a community around your brand, wealth has been created. It continues to benefit everyone in the community, long after you are gone.
Whether a sale, transfer or retirement is in plans, wealth is created by having many understand what you stand for and to be willing to stand with you. Referrals, endorsements, investments, partnerships all are created because others have bought into your community.
Creating that loyalty to build a brand community generally entails three things. Authenticity, Passion, & Consistency
Creating a community around your brand is not something that you can simply hire out, or delegate. People know when something is authentic – and whether the company really cares. When creating a community do it authentically or don’t do it at all.
An engaged community will only be sustainable if the key leaders, support staff, and team consultants care about what they are creating. Trying to create a sense of community around a brand that folks aren’t passionate about makes no sense. Find your passion and share it!
When trouble surrounds you, it is not the time to find out if you have support. Building a community is intentional and relationships form over years. Consistent outreach and engagement builds the strongest bonds that will create real wealth and brand community in the future.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The world makes way for the man who knows where he is going.” Same applies for you and your company. Tell the world that you want to have a community around your brand and the world will respond in kind.
Important note: Wealth comes in more shapes than financial. One of the very best things about creating a community around your brand is the friendships, camaraderie, story-telling, fun and love that comes with people that care about you and what you do in the world. Things you cannot buy, you must nurture. When a community supports you, every other form of wealth and success comes naturally.
Need assistance creating a brand community? Contact Director of Community Engagement, John Brackney at firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-300-2640.