What is a community?
For years we have been talking about community base marketing, i.e. the companies’ propensity to get closer to potential customers, becoming part of the group and approaching them as if they were real people.
This need comes from the end user’s tendency to drift away from the traditional marketing strategies and levers, such as “classical” advertising or influencer marketing, which are considered to be partially inflated.
As a consequence, the brand and, of course, the company behind it must “humanise”, get closer and actively participate as members of a community.
Before dealing with the specific way of approaching marketing more in detail, we need to clarify the concept of community, how it is born, and what its potentialities are.
A community is defined as a space, virtual or real, in which people share similar values and interests, and feel a connection or a belonging to something.
There are 3 essential values that reveal the belonging to a bran community:
– awareness (acknowledgement of connections between people and distinctions from other groups)
– rituals and traditions
– sense of active commitment towards the community
Although such indicators apply to communities in general, in the case of a brand community they adjust to what a brand wants to communicate in its own identity.
Why do community marketing and what changes compared to the past?
Simply, community marketing leverages the human being’s natural propensity to aggregate, to feel part of something, providing values, messages, and meanings to share with the members of a group, online and offline.
Creating a community from scratches is a complex activity, therefore big brands often decide to directly enter a community which is already consolidated, choosing it precisely according to the values shared by the brand.
Pros and cons of community marketing
– better customer experience
– high fidelity rate
– word-of-mouth growth (the good old buzz marketing)
– humanisation of the brand towards the customer
– high competence specialisation
– medium/long-term strategy
– high effort
Community marketing: example of case study
Certainly, one of the most beautiful and interesting examples to follow and to talk about is the community marketing chosen and applied by Lego. A few years ago, the Danish company created a new category of brick products, called Lego Ideas.
The strategy is entirely directed to regular Lego users, and to creative people in general. Substantially, all that Lego does is challenging its customers to invent a new product from scratches by using their own pieces.
The strategy is structured so as to pass from offline (model building) to online; on the Lego website, anyone can vote for the best idea.
Guess what happens next? Yes, exactly: the idea that gets the most votes is SENT TO PRODUCTION, thus allowing everyone to buy it.
Examples of necessary tools
To implement a correct community marketing strategy, you need to use basic tools, without which it may become impossible to “engage” a community.
Of course, we are talking about the classical social media showcases like Facebook and Instagram, passing through messaging tools like Discord and Telegram, which allow to get in close contact with possible target customers and to interact like a real person.
Among the other methods, in connection with offline marketing, we would like to mention espousing a social cause, made of values shared with all the people belonging to the “pack”; organising live events (which are back at last), where it is possible to humanise the brand even more, to meet customers in person and to make them feel part of a big family.
Last but not least, let’s introduce the concept of GAMIFICATION
By now, gamification has been a must of marketing for years, taking advantage of some psychological levers to make people act in a certain way, promising gratification.
Moreover, implementing a gamification strategy contributes, in the world of social gaming, to create and consolidate the community. We will deepen this topic in the next content dedicated to the explosion of advergaming in the world.
For sure, community marketing will continue to be used over the years to come to transmit empathy towards the customers, constantly creating connections which go beyond the purchase, building customer loyalty and consolidating relationships between people.