Community Building: The Key to Brand Success Post Covid-19
Surely, this year many people have stopped to recall how their life has changed since the pandemic. “How many friends have I made? Which friends haven’t made the cut? Have I lost touch with people in my life? Has it been me who has detached from my friends?” Well, that reminiscing goes beyond personal situations; we might be living in “The Lonely Century”, according to Noreena Hertz. She is an economist from the UK and wrote a book about the loneliness epidemic worldwide and its’ effect on the world’s economy and overall health. Hertz outlines and greatly emphasizes the fragmentation in communities across the globe being significantly affected in present times due to Covid-19. Hertz’s book and numerous other studies outline the lack of face-to-face interactions and a work-life balance as a catalyst for the rising loneliness.
What does this mean for businesses? It implies that fostering a community is not only what the customers are asking for; it has become essential to the success of any company. People are longing for belonging, and while rhyming is easy, building a community is not. Most companies use their marketing and social media to create a voice, but communities can go beyond that, giving powerful insight into a company’s customers and building loyalty. According to Karpis’ article on Forbes, there are four ways this can be done:
1. Brand awareness
Be everywhere to make people aware. The good old word-of-mouth is a powerful way to do this. That being said, the concept has changed due to the social media phenomenon of influencers. Creating ambassador programs for people with an audience that can be considered your target market is one way to develop modern word-of-mouth. As previously explained, people are craving connection which usually means receiving recommendations from someone that they follow, and trust may create more and more committed customers coming in.
2. Foster discussion
People rely on people. Giving your customers the space to leave reviews and creating a safe space for feedback gives the appearance of transparency to outside customers. Concluding, customer service is essential for follow-up situations.
Having a platform where community members can interact creates a two-way street of communication between the organization and the customers and amongst the customers themselves. Having an open line to allow interaction is a fast lane towards creating loyalty and spiking the desire to stay a part of that community.
4. Create loyalty
An inflow of new customers is a great sign but having a high index of returning customers is what every business aspires to. By incorporating user-forward approach to customer service, the users will create a connection with the business and the people that work for it.
The way we interact in the world is changing, which in turn has changed the desires of customers. Creating a community from your business is proving to be the primary way of acquiring loyal customers.