How Experiential Marketing Can Help Foster Brand Community
By Bobby Johnson
October 27, 2021
By Bobby Johnson
October 27, 2021
Community-driven marketing is increasingly valuable, and brands have the opportunity to utilize the power of brand communities to impact customer retention, improve engagement, create new leads, and even enhance credibility.
While there are clear benefits for brands, consumers also benefit. According to a recent Spotify Global Trends Report, psychologists believe that participating in a fan community is good for emotional and mental health—especially for teenagers. Moreover, researchers found that engaging in a community enhances feelings of belonging and identity—even better if those feelings of belonging and identity are tied to your brand.
A Vox Media report published in May 2020 indicated that the pandemic had led 55% of consumers to feel more united with their community. Creating events that foster community is buzzy and effective—and brands can harness the power of this opportunity to craft unforgettable brand experiences. Here’s what companies need to know about brand community and how activations can help foster it.
What Is A Brand Community?
Think of brand community as brand loyalty in action. A brand community refers to a group of consumers who interact on subjects relevant to the brand. In addition, they can help the brand attract the attention of potential new customers.
A hallmark of a brand community is that members have an emotional investment in the brand. Similar to being a musical artist or television show fan, brand community members will purchase from the brand, interact with content, and even mention the brand to people in their lives, such as family and friends.
However, crafting a brand community is not only a job for loyal followers of the company. Though marketers often aspire for customer-driven community engagement, the brand itself must be actively involved in crafting the brand community. That’s where experiential marketing can step in.
Why Is Brand Community Valuable?
Think about it this way: your brand community already exists. Now, all you have to do is tap into it. As a marketer, you must find this community and create ways to connect with the members. In addition, strategizing ways for individuals to engage with the brand and other community members will make the most significant impact.
Brand communities can be tapped in many ways. For example, brands can reach out to these individuals for feedback, share content, and test new products. In addition, the group can help your brand garner new leads and make decisions driven by consumer insight.
A brand community should be mutually beneficial for loyal consumers and the brand itself. Making consumers feel heard, valued, and appreciated is central to the brand community. Brands should be prepared to offer members of a brand community certain perks (such as a loyalty program) and engage regularly. Interact with consumers on multiple marketing channels to engage the brand community in its entirety.
According to a Vanilla Forums report, 66% of brand communities state that the community has impacted customer retention. After a year of shifting brand loyalty (9 out of 10 consumers tried new brands during the pandemic), a brand community offers a way for companies to create an emotional connection with consumers.
This bond can also prove profitable:
Here’s How Experiential Marketing Can Help Create A Brand Community
To cultivate a brand community, like-minded individuals that follow the brand need a place to connect. While this can (and should) occur virtually, don’t neglect the power of in-person brand experiences to foster brand community. Providing consumers with a platform to engage with each other will help build a robust, meaningful brand community. In addition, according to Harvard Business Review, a face-to-face request is a massive 34 times more successful than sending an email.
Events also offer the opportunity for brand community members to create user-generated content (which consumers perceive as 2.4 more authentic than branded content). It also provides members the opportunity to develop genuine connections and which incentivizes members to stay connected. The result can have a positive impact on community members’ wellbeing. Studies reveal that a sense of community belonging is beneficial for health. In addition, there is an association between community and self-rated health for people of all ages.
Brands should offer an opportunity for people to connect, incentivize participation, create Instagrammable photo opportunities for the brand community to create user-generated content, and strategize ways for attendees to stay in touch post-event.
Contact Our Brand Experience Agency Today To Learn More About Brand Activations That Will Help Cultivate Community
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