As brands become more and more entwined in the lives of their consumers, building communities, establishing networks, and providing much more value than their product, we are seeing a shift in the overall business to consumer interactions. Are these interactions being translated into digital environments? And if so, are there particular industries leading or lagging in this innovation?
Importance of building branded community
Many brands today are well known for their ‘cult following.’ Whether it’s an airline, beverage company, restaurant, or furniture store consumers buy-in to the brand’s products, the customer experience, and often become unofficial brand ambassadors through sharing their passion for these brands. Some brands like Peloton, and Glossier have recognized this movement and made it part of the mission to foster this community across their consumer touchpoints.
Translating community into digital space
Glossier is a keynote example of success in this area, as the brand was built with an understanding of the importance and impact of the consumer community. Every branding decision was made on the question of, how will our consumers see, interact and share this piece of the brand. Although Glossier is a beauty company, this has been done in other industries such as Peloton (as mentioned) in the fitness space. Additionally, there are some brands that by definition are a digital community, unlike those mentioned above which use digital to foster their community, brands like Pinterest, Yelp, and social platforms have a primary focus of being a community space online.
As described there are branded digital communities across industries today, but widespread this is an underutilized tool and I would be interested in applying concepts of digital campfires, mobile application, and social media techniques to help more brands establish a community of passionate consumers.
As Gen Z gains more and more buying power in the market, it’s becoming more needed than ever that brands take stances on social issues and promote corporate values and practices. Predictions say Gen Z’s disposable income will increase to $3.2 trillion in 2030 (source). Gen Z and millennials place a high value on brand purpose, and this has been proven to affect their purchase decisions. Data shows that 62% of Gen Z prefer to buy from sustainable brands and 72% are more likely to buy from a company that contributes to social causes. As you can see the upcoming majority of buying power is values-driven and passionate.
The perfect combination to thrive, participate, and share in a branded community. As a corporation, it is key that you give your consumers the right tools to come together and share these values. Mobile and social marketing are the tools to do just that.
Importance of Mobile-First Strategy
Mobile apps have a higher engagement rate compared to mobile-optimized websites or desktop web viewing. Additionally, the value of mobile marketing has been made evident through usage trends over the past decade, not to mention the extensive value it holder globally.
Brands across a variety of industries need to implement a focus on company values and community engagement, create digital campfires, initiate customer engagement, and bring the excitement of in-person experiences to the digital space.
- Through the utilization of social media communities such as Facebook groups, Twitter chains, and Instagram Lives.
- Branded mobile application with features of gamification, and unique eye-catching engagements.
- Social Listening needs to be conducted constantly to understand customer sentiment and be on the same page as the community.
- Influencer marketing is key, as Gen Z values the opinions of friends, peers, and celebrities more than what comes directly from the brand.
- Creating a brand look, tone, and feel that users not only want to share, but they are excited about to the degree that they will wear your branded merch, tell their friends and family about products, and repost on their personal social media profiles.