Introduction to Community Marketing – Tribe Lab

Category: Tribe Lab

Communities are all around us. They have been the cornerstone of what makes our society grow, however, insights into their inner workings have been thoughtlessly ignored. Community building is the key to building long term brand loyalty and the ever-elusive, authentic word-of-mouth.  What more could you want?

What Is ”Community Marketing”

Building Brand Communities

Community marketing is building a brand community based on your organization’s timeless passions and actively leading this tribe.  By bringing this to light and encouraging our society to foster community again, we allow ourselves to effectively build stronger, authentic and trustworthy bonds with our members and consequently, our greater communities.

It provides brands with the opportunity to understand their community as it grows because they are constantly engaged with them. This access gives brands the opportunity to innovative, clearly, concisely and on beat, with their community which otherwise would be elusive since communities are organic and ever-evolving.  

According to Nielsen, Adults (+18 ) spends 25 hours online and 5.5 hours on social media every week. Surprisingly, the heavy social media users isn’t Millennials. In fact, Generation X (ages 35-49) spends the most time on social media: almost 7 hours per week versus Millennials, who come in second, spending just over 6 hours per week.

Online interaction accounts for a good chunk of our time and has become an important part of our life.  Communities have followed suit and have begun utilizing online forums to continue the conversation and reinforce their relationship.  This adaptation has changed the dynamics of more traditional communities.  It allows communities to be formed outside of a geographic location at a more efficient rate.

How does this relate to other marketing strategies?

It’s what other marketing initiatives have been trying to do – build effective, lasting engagement that converts. Community marketing takes portions of inbound marketing, content marketing, social media marketing, search engine optimization and even traditional offline marketing to create community with your target audience.

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There is an issue with each of these marketing strategy trends. Even though these methods can attract people to their brand, the majority of them will bounce and are unlikely to stick with your brand.

Community marketing allows you to create genuine, meaningful relationships with your audience by bringing people together who share a common passion with your brand.  Ultimately, creating a sense of belonging. This builds long-term loyalty and genuine word of mouth if you actively, genuinely communicate and give back to your community.

To sum this up, here is how past marketing strategies and community marketing can work together:

1) Past Marketing: To attract people who are looking for useful information, fulfillment.

2) Community Marketing: To build lifelong loyalty and genuine word of mouth

The beauty of community marketing is it supports and fosters passionate tribes by cultivating authentic relationships between members, as well as the relationship between brand and member.

Why Is Community Marketing Effective?

Breaks through Traditional demographic approach

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The traditional way of defining demographics is outdated.  Now there are lots of organizations targeting young generations but are struggling to understand Millennials. Unfortunately, there are many sub groups and cohorts with distinct personalities. As they grow up, you’ll have to relearn the next generation, Gen Z — it’s like the never ending chase and you’d rather not do it.

The second generation of that approach is overly defining people by their value archetypes.  This, again, is limited.  For example, if a Striving 30’s individual has 100 definitive values, how many of those values change when they reach 40? Or when they have their first child? Or when they get a divorce?  Would your targeting change then?  Unfortunately (or fortunately), humans are organic and cannot be placed in a box.  Nor do we want to be.

On top of that, thanks to the Internet and social media, we are able to reach out information that feeds our wants and needs. When you want to learn something new, you can go online and easily obtain the ‘How-To’. This climate allows us to become more diversified based on our interests and passions regardless of demographics.  Perhaps, that’s why we’re always drawn to ads that break perceptions and challenge the status quo.  

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Therefore, what matters more than demographics is passion. What bonds us together is our shared passions, not demographical factors. And they need community to foster that passion. So, that’s where brands can contribute to their audience.

Expert community is the first place to go and it results in authentic word of mouth

Think about the last time you were about to buy a new product, who did you ask?  Probably someone who was in the inner center of a community who were experts on that product or service.  

Take for example, skiing.  If you were interested in buying a pair of skis, you’d probably ask your closest friend or family what they would recommend and why.  After that, you’d look to online forums.  Both of those come from the inner circle of a community that loves skiing.  

There’s an opportunity for brands to contribute to these communities. For example, if Salomon, a ski brand, helped foster a community of ski-lovers, they would be the first to know what the community needs and wants. They would also be able to create products for their community that no other brand is doing either.  Most importantly, they would humanize their brand and stay top of mind for that community.  

Sense of community belonging bonds your audience with your brand

Arguably, Bill Gates infamous: “Content is king”, is no longer the case with excessive amount of content available online. Users upload more than 400 hours of video to YouTube every minute. Instagrammers post more than 95 million photos and videos daily. Every second, on average, around 6,000 tweets are tweeted on Twitter, which corresponds to over 350,000 tweets sent per minute, 500 million tweets per day.

With the climate, it’s easy for audiences to pass you by if you just keep providing useful information to them like other brands do. They’re no longer looking for useful information, they’re seeking a feeling of belonging and an authentic relationship with their peers and brands.

Community provides purpose – provides meaning. These are all fundamental needs, just refer to Maslow hierarchy.

Grow your community with their help

The significant shift of community marketing from past marketing is the transition from 2 ways conversation to 3 ways conversation, meaning it allows your audience to be able to interact each other and have conversation around your product without your brands asking.

In community, they nurture their passion, engagement, and feeling of belonging by themselves and it grows over time.

Communities can grow beyond geographic limitations

Online and Social Media platforms have provided new ways to generate communities in a way traditional communities never could, despite the misconception social media disconnects us.

Online communities can eliminate geographic limitations, and further barriers that constrained people worldwide from relating to one another on their shared passions. Whether it’s Beyonce’s community, the Bee Hive, or Apple’s community, strong brands build communities that create a sense of belonging and inspiration.

What Are Benefits of Brand Community?

Through community marketing, you will gain the following benefits as a brand:

Positioned as Industry Leaders to the people

Community marketing is a formula of marketing strategies worldwide corporate giants – Nike, Lego, Apple – have inadvertently implemented but have not made the most of yet. It positions you as thought leaders in the industry whether your industry is niche or not.

Long-Term Sustainability

Community marketing is not a short-term solution, and can grow across generations as it’s built on a foundation of timeless passions. Strong community generates consistent word of mouth, as well as leads through the community activities.  You’ll have members being born into your community, rather than chasing them after they’ve developed.

Moreover, the community is not limited to demographic, rather passions. Your brand is able to build community across the globe and across generations.

Ongoing Market Research Source

It puts you in tune with the evolving nature of the community. Before you notice sales drop, you are able to detect the change through conversation. Eventually you may be able to lead it with enough trust and listening.

Diversified Customer Base

Unlike traditional segments, our goal is to draw people with their passions.  This allows an opportunity to attract a very diverse customer base regardless of age, sex, ethnicity or traditional values.  While these factors can inform, they do not define your customer base.

Word of Mouth

If you’re familiar with market research, you’ll find that the majority of the results will tell you that the number one way people hear about a new product is through word of mouth from friends or family.  Often, marketers push through staying top of mind to enter the pool of options. Community building enables your biggest fans’s influence to reverberate throughout the greater community.

Building Brand Clout and Consistency

When a company has many products and targets, the approach is to have multiple messages for multiple targets.  Unfortunately, this can result in fragmented marketing and continual adjustments of marketing strategies.  This makes building clout very challenging with changing messages and targets.  Not to mention, the ability to build consistency.

Effective Worldwide

Community building isn’t limited to a location or a size.  In fact, the studies around communities around the world confirm the similarities.  One study goes so far as to confirm that languages are not a barrier, rather the disagreement on the vision.

Content Sharing

One of the most time consuming aspects of marketing in the digital era is content creation.  It requires a lot of strategic thought, the development of ideas and concepts, plus the sharing and collaboration.  Fortunately, as you build a community, the ownership of the content being shared changes from the brand to the community itself.  

Top of Mind

Community marketing basically gives you advertising 24/7, unlike paid advertising where you pay for each individual exposure.  A healthy brand community will be chattering throughout all hours of the day, keeping your brand top of mind.

What We Do

By providing our clients with expertise in building communities, we are able to help them build their brand with a marketing approach that has lasted for centuries — word-of-mouth.  

Our approach is designed based on decades of social psychology studies on online and offline communities.  We looked into what creates them, what fosters them and what keeps them going generation after generation.  

What’s Next?

We are holding a webinar: How to Build Passionate Communities For Your Organization to share our knowledge around the community marketing including the following items:

  • How are communities formed?

  • What makes people engaged in a community?

  • How do you foster engagement?

  • How do you generate authentic word-of-mouth from this community?

  • Examples of successful communities.

And more…

Join this webinar to find it out more. We hope to see you then!

→ Go To The Webinar Page

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Want to learn more?

With My Loud Speaker’s Tribe Lab, we study the social psychology of communities and share our research in hopes of replacing noisy, interruptive advertising with passionate brand communities around the world. Shoot us a message if you have any further questions.

Tammy Tsang

Tammy Tsang is the Founder of My Loud Speaker Marketing, which has been providing successful campaigns to major clients for over six years. Her company has attained glowing recommendations from prestigious organizations such as the Canadian Broadcast Corporation, University of British Columbia, BC Cancer Agency, and more. She is also the founder of XYBOOM Intergenerational Organization, which runs an annual conference on topics surrounding intergenerational relationships in the workplace.

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