Emily Collins, Principal Analyst

Show Notes:

Brands are exploring communities as a way to build stronger, more authentic connections with customers. Today, one can find vibrant, highly engaged groups devoted to indoor cycling (Peloton), beauty (Sephora), and pumpkin spice lattes (Starbucks). Simple though it may seem, building successful communities is hard work — and it isn’t necessarily the best strategy for every brand.

On this episode of What It Means, Principal Analyst Emily Collins explains how community-based marketing has evolved and what brands should consider before diving in. While communities in the past were confined mainly to brand-managed platforms, today’s may reside on social networks, online forums, and even ratings and reviews sites. Capitalizing on spaces where customers are already discussing your brand — such as Peloton did with its popular closed Facebook group — can be a recipe for success for some brands.

Companies that succeed with community-based marketing set clear objectives for their efforts, such as improving customer service or building customer advocacy. They also commit long-term by investing time and resources and creating guidelines. The return on investment can be hard to measure, Collins notes — so it’s important that brands know what they want to achieve. Incorporating longer-term metrics, such as customer satisfaction or brand perception, can be helpful for measuring a community’s success.

Listen to the full episode to learn more about succeeding with customer communities.