A brand community is brand loyalty at its best. People in your community are emotionally invested; they buy from your company, digest your content, tell their friends and family about you, and much more. You can depend on them to grow your brand and boost your revenue.
Building a successful brand community is a process that takes time and careful planning. They can appear in many different forms, and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. But across the board, the best brand communities are able to convey personality and authenticity.
For 54% of customers, feeling part of a community of like-minded customers is important in securing their loyalty. Additionally, 55% of customers say they’ll be loyal to a brand if they have an emotional connection to it (and this is up 7% from when we asked the same question last year).
There’s a major incentive for companies to get it right when it comes to building a community that’s true to their brand. We’re going to take a look at a variety of brands from various industries that all have strong brand communities that contribute to their success.
The GoPro community is hugely popular. They have a recognizable name and a great product that truly stands out from its competitors. The popularity has led to extensive community engagement. So much so, that the camera brand’s marketing strategy is driven by content created by its community.
The community offers a platform for members to share their videos of their adventures. Around 6,000 GoPro tagged videos are uploaded to YouTube every day.
This user-generated content is authentic, engaging, and (handily) demonstrates the brand’s product so GoPro doesn’t have to.
“90% of consumers find user-generated content useful and believe what existing customers say about the brands rather than flashing ads and promotional emails.”
💡 In the case of GoPro, UGC is what builds their community. It makes it easy for the customer to relate to the brand and trust that they’ll get a valuable experience.
Red Bull is a name most people immediately associate with sports, endurance, and wings. The brand dominates a huge number of high-octane events from parkour to eSports. It has become a multimedia mogul in its own right thanks to sponsorship, word of mouth, social media, and merchandise.
The Red Bull community combines the power of social networking, sponsorship, and word-of-mouth advertising to keep fans informed about events (including music festivals to eSports championships). The brand regularly adjusts its marketing strategy to build closer relationships with customers and advance its dynamic and high-energy image.
💡 Red Bull is a great example of the value of WOM advertising and shows how quality products and experiences can organically drive your marketing. A community will form because people want to latch on to hype and stay in touch with current trends.
Never Fully Dressed
Never Fully Dressed (NFD) is a premium-quality fashion brand that positions itself as “the sophisticated sass”. To celebrate their brand community and their 10th birthday, Never Fully Dressed created an on-brand loyalty program.
The program includes three loyalty tiers: “Something Sassy”, “Strikingly Sassy” and “Supremely Sassy”. This tiered system encourages customers to invest in the brand and the community. Why? Because they get more exclusive perks the more they engage with the brand.
NFD also enhances its brand community via its Instagram page. Here, the brand publishes UGC created by its customers and puts out IGTV tutorials showing how to style their products.
💡 The profile gives prospective customers an idea of the kind of community that NFD has developed. On the page, NFD’s customers connect and chat with one another. These organic, customer-to-customer conversations are a vital step towards creating a thriving customer community. See how Never Fully Dressed increased its repeat purchase rate by 64%.
Harley Davidson has been one of the world’s best-loved motorcycle brands for over a century. As a lifestyle icon in its own right, the brand launched the Harley Owners Club to bring fans together and organize events and meetups all over the globe.
It’s since grown to become one of the most popular motoring communities on the web. The Harley Owners Club works by developing and reinforcing the identity of its fans and gives them access to exclusive benefits, such as invitations to official events, membership of local chapters, and additional services (like insurance and roadside assistance).
Harley Davidson says “Local chapters allow people who share a passion for Harley-Davidson motorcycles to come together. When joining a local chapter, you’ll always have plenty of opportunities to meet with friends, have fun, support worthy causes, and ride.”
These efforts build brand loyalty and help Harley owners get more out of their motorcycles.
💡 While the history of the brand is something you will find difficult to replicate overnight, the way they have developed their community through local chapters and exclusive perks is definitely worth paying attention to.
Offering a contemporary statement with their designs, Missoma is a personalized, demi-fine jewelry brand for the everyday woman.
This year, they created an on-brand loyalty program called “the Stack”. Why? Because they wanted a new way to reward their customers and increase their lifetime value. By rewarding members, Missoma establishes more long-term emotional connections with shoppers who will therefore engage with the brand and recommend others. This helps grow their community.
To enhance this community feeling further, Missoma is also active on social platforms. When you land on their Instagram page you directly see their motto: “Here to inspire confidence, spark creativity, and fuel collaboration.”
💡 You can learn from the way Missoma communicates with their customers and makes them feel welcomed into the brand’s world. They have a clear message that is built on collaboration and inspiration which helps to cultivate a brand community.
Nike is a brand that’s world-famous for inspiring customers to feel like they belong when they exercise. Its long-running “Just do it” slogan is synonymous with self-belief.
Nike’s Run Club takes this philosophy one step further. It allows people to connect with fellow runners in their city. This opens a number of commercial opportunities too. Nike uses the club to also share advice about kits to equip runners and optimize their performance.
Building a community around helping other people and also fulfilling your own potential is powerful. Nike has distinct groups within the overall community too. For example, as well as having a Run Club, Nike has customers around the world dedicated to collecting sneakers and this fandom has become a cultural movement in and of itself.
These Nike communities mean customers can connect with each other based on shared interests and can access the content they really want. This builds up a community of like-minded people that are invested in the brand.
Annmarie Skin Care
47% of customers are motivated to be loyal to a store by becoming part of a brand community. Sharing the same ethical values as your customers creates common ground and is shared between all of your customers.
Organic and cruelty-free skincare brand, Annmarie Skin Care, uses its loyalty program to build a united community. They welcome members into an exclusive Facebook group where kindred spirits can share ideas and anecdotes to work towards a less damaging beauty regime.
Uniting their community in one space means that Annmarie Skin Care’s customers keep returning to converse with the brand (and other customers).
💡 By giving an open forum for shoppers to chat with one another, your customers will form emotional connections with one another and return to your site to be included in the conversations.
Even though the third wave coffee movement is increasing, Starbucks still commands a loyal customer base. Generating 40% of its revenue, Starbucks’ rewards program led to a 7% increase in sales in 2019. For many years it has effectively hooked in customers and kept them coming back for more.
Starbucks’ loyalty app is legendary. It enables coffee lovers to order ahead and pay via mobile, receive free drinks, enjoy a birthday treat (unicorn frappuccino, anyone?), and more. This kind of exclusivity and quality customer experience leads to brand advocacy and ultimately a more thriving customer community
We’ve discussed the scale success story of the Starbucks loyalty program before because it is a fantastic model to follow. The loyalty app is particularly effective because customers feel valued and receive material rewards for their loyalty. Hopefully, this should give you some inspiration when building your own brand community.
Ready to take these lessons and build your own ecommerce community?
Building a brand community is all about connecting with your loyal customers and encouraging them to engage more with your brand.
Whether that’s through loyalty programs or UGC you have to make sure that you are putting forward an authentic message. There is plenty to learn from the industry leaders about turning an unengaged customer base into a thriving community that drives revenue growth.
Hopefully, by looking at some of these strong brand communities you’ll feel inspired to start building a community around your own brand too.
Want to get started building your own customer community? Book a time to speak with one of our Loyalty Analysts and we’ll show you how.