For brands, cultivating and nurturing a strong community has never been more critical than it is today. With the proliferation of products, services, and brands, it’s not news that consumers increasingly want to support brands that identify with their lifestyles and values. What is new is that brands need to tap into audiences that are passionate about the same shared values and beliefs with the brand in order to earn long-term loyalty.
Communities like Lululemon and Starbucks transcend a singular product; it becomes about the brand experience as a whole. Yet many brands continue to treat community building as a piece of their marketing strategy vs. a high-level, integral part of their overarching strategy. Starbucks community building efforts empowered its members to be advocates for the brand but also idea-generators. For example, the My Starbucks Idea online community encourages members to post new ideas and suggestions to better enhance the overall experience, making members a pertinent piece of Starbucks’ innovation strategy.
Those brands that persistently, yet not invasively, feed an ongoing conversation with their consumers are the ones that will make a lasting impression. How can we encourage our brands and retailers to see community building as more than just a box that needs to be checked and to instead seamlessly integrate it into every cell of their business strategy?
Image Source: Starbucks