THE POWER OF COMMUNITY-BASED MARKETING

community based marketing

THE POWER OF COMMUNITY-BASED MARKETING

GETTING STARTED: INTRO

Communities are, after the individual spectrum, a basic unit to create a society. From a particular standpoint, we could even state that a Society is the sum of many sub-communities, each with different interests, behaviors, and cultural patterns. Something as innate to human beings as our own DNA, yet it wasn’t seen as a tool by businesses until recently.

Communities provide basic elements that most humans crave: the sense of belonging, the sense of not being alone (regarding interests), and the ability to share and exchange with others alike. It enriches the experience of life as we know it. 


THE OLD CORPORATE BARRIER

In the old eras, we had corporations and their marketing actions as faceless entities. Non-existent and non-reachable. Companies just threw their products or services “out there” and people, based on features or powerful compelling marketing campaigns chose to relate or identify themselves with such products or services, and ultimately become customers of that particular brand/company.

There was a very solid barrier between those two worlds, yet they needed each other to co-exist. Usually, in those times, consumers gathered up to take action against companies’ wrongdoings. And the voice of many (a community) had the power to be heard and turn tides. These mechanics hinted at the potential power of “consumer” communities and raised the question “What if they could be exploited for more positive outcomes?”


THE INTERNET EXPLOSION

When the internet became mainstream and then received the social media explosion as an anabolic, communities started to grow all over the planet. From Vanilla Coke Lovers groups up to Railfanners (people who love to watch trains for pleasure). Connecting was easier, it became barrier-less. But not only between people, but it also became extremely easy between people and companies. The combination of these factors opened the doors to the next era in marketing: Community Based Marketing.


WHAT EXACTLY DOES COMMUNITY-BASED MARKETING MEAN?

In our own terms, CM-based marketing is taking advantage of existing communities (or creating them from scratch) around a particular brand, product, or niche that has not yet been identified with a product or service, to boost a company’s brand value, engagement, value perception and ultimately obtain a bottom-line impact. This can mean higher revenue, more recurring customers, making customers stay longer, spending more, and -here’s the magic- turning them into cost-free brand ambassadors and spokespeople for the brand.

This new methodology of corporations recognizing and leveraging the power of a community as a revenue tool was highly accelerated by the pandemic, which created the need amongst people to interact during the lockdown.


HOW ARE SUPER BRANDS USING COMMUNITY MARKETING AND TO WHAT ENDS?

Major brands such as Nike, have identified within their already existing customer base different niches that later turned into communities. Two clear examples are The Runners and The Sneakerheads.

To foster these communities and keep them close (whether they end up spending money on their products or not) a great action Nike did: creating an app for each of them.

Runners have Nike Run Club, where you can even rank yourself among other runners. And Sneakerheads have the SNKRS app, where they can cop the hottest and most exclusive sneaker releases before anyone else.

When Nike is onto something, they are usually right. The Nike Run Club app Facebook group has more than 16 million followers worldwide!:

But the sneaker giant clearly did his homework, this was not a casual finding. Since running as a community is an activity that brings multiple benefits for any human, Nike properly researched and outlined a great strategy. You can learn more about these benefits here:

The same approach was taken with the Sneakerheads community, where Nike had the lead thanks to being the creator of iconic models like the Jordan 1, AirMax 90 and other staples. By understanding the underlying community and catering to them with products and dedicated apps, they were so successful that the SNKRS App experience is being used as a blueprint to foster other community-based strategies at Nike. This following article sheds more light into the matter:

Another meaningful case was McDonald’s Thailand. A new trend appeared on Tik Tok. It was a very odd and particular way of consuming soft serve ice cream, mashing up several portions in one weird container and engulfing the entire thing. As soon as the golden arches learned about this, they made it into a community eating challenge, and they even recreated the dessert on their official menu. Their soft serve sales went through the roof. All they had to do was read their community, and feed them what they wanted. (which was feeling heard, not ice cream!)

Even though they may not be communities on their own, at least within the app, they certainly feel recognized and respected by Nike as a cultural and community element. It is not mandatory to have people interact with each other to do a good community marketing action. Although many do. 


WHERE DO COMMUNITIES GATHER AND GROW?

For those communities that want to keep communication between the brand and the people, and the people between themselves there is no need to create custom platforms. 

Existing solutions such as Facebook Groups, Discord Servers, and Telegram Groups are extremely handy. Although new solutions are constantly being developed to give Community Leaders (brands) more analytics, insights, and control tools to keep their communities in check with their brand’s values.

No matter what format or platform a brand chooses to activate its Community-Based Marketing strategy, the most important thing is getting started. In the same way, storytelling was seen as the big new revelation on how to do meaningful marketing years ago, Communities are the new standard. A must for relating with younger generations.


HOW POLAR LONDON BRINGS VALUE TO YOUR COMMUNITY-BASED MARKETING?

Even though it’s clear any brand, company, product, or service that truly wants to thrive must delve into CM-based marketing, one must know strategically what the plan will be as well as rostering the right team. The community era has created new relevant roles in the marketing industry that are becoming a must-have for most businesses. And the most critical one is the community manager. A role that was born just to reply to Facebook messages a decade ago has taken a much more strategic function, becoming the brains of the community-related operations, yet many companies neglect this.

At Polar London, we offer brands and companies from all over the world our vast expertise to carefully build your Community Strategy and Team. From choosing the right technology, approach, and ways of interacting with your community. And more importantly, help you detect WHO your community is, so your brand can grow global audiences and reach new realms while increasing your brand’s value. Much like we have done for the likes of Nash Squared.

By having a global mindset (see our article on a global culture at your fingertips) in our agency’s DNA and the capability to exploit local cultural nuances to your brand’s benefit and help it resonate with more, and more customers, working with Polar London is a sure path to a spot-on and professional CM-based Marketing strategy. 

One of our many passions is observing how creative storytelling symbiotically potentiates newer technologies and ways to communicate. By relying on our industry experience we are more than capable of leveraging these amazing dynamics to create deeper and more meaningful ways of engaging communities. Which ultimately will have a stronger and even more positive impact on your brand and business.

Interested in how Polar can help you kickstart a community based marketing strategy, get in touch.