Brand: build a small, super-engaged community around your brand.
The most effective brands today and in the future will focus on building community, not content. While customers still want information, they really want connection and they’re looking for identity. Dig a little deeper and brand is really about giving customers something to believe in, be it purpose or fulfilment, all wrapped up around a community of similar thinking people – hence your tribe. All the more reason to get laser-focused on… your ideal customer – because not everyone shares the same outlook, interests or values do they? Consumers increasingly look to business to provide them with an identity and a community to belong to. So why not listen and give them what they want? What better way to build your business and livelihood around a true brand that provides the identity, connection and purpose that a receptive community desire?
One of the ways your brand can achieve alignment and resonance with a super-engaged community is for small, niche businesses to focus on creating deep personal connections with smaller audiences. Your brand values, identity, personality and voice all play their part in building this highly-engaged community that has strong elements of both online and in-person interaction.
Rather than focus on the strategy of casting your net wide, building huge followers online (with social media content that all needs to be relevant, useful and engaging with the time commitment and price tag attached), and then offering low-cost products for these high volume clients, you could instead focus on the strategy of digging deep – specifically an inch wide and a mile deep. From a brand perspective this involves identifying a highly select group of similar customers, getting into their heads (understanding their world, their problems and how you are uniquely placed to solve them) and upholding clearly defined values that appeal to them. Not only is there sharp focus on delivering ‘quality’ personal products but also an intimate, highly personalised service which, given time, are the ingredients needed to develop a tight-knit community – the ‘glue’ that binds your brand community together.
The idea is simple but effective: by offering maximum value to a small, yet highly-engaged community of people with similar interests and outlooks, you can charge higher rates because you’re focused on solving specialised, specific problems.
Time, investment and energy spent on building your community more than pays off when the marketing outlay is minimal compared to the more expansive, expensive and aggressive digital marketing strategies out there. Its horses for courses (of course) when it comes to businesses with different goals, budgets and resources, however for the cost-conscious entrepreneur and budget business owners out there looking to make a focused, deep, enduring impact this strategy can be particularly effective. Results often delivered are strong word of mouth referrals, a positive and professional reputation as well as the massive trust and rapport that you’ll build in the community that will endure for years. The only personal challenge then is one of consistency of delivery. And when you’re doing something you love – serving a community of like-minded people in a field you’re passionate about and it pays your way – who needs more motivation?
Be the brand your customer wants you to be.
I hope you learned something new, insightful or useful from this blog.
As The Brand Entrepreneur, I believe in helping businesses build a ‘brand blueprint’ for business growth. I do this through a series of brand workshops designed to educate businesses to identify their identity, visualise their vision and manifest their brand mission. ’Successful brands in the future care about customers, not branding. I believe that future is now’. I’m passionate about helping businesses create unique brand stories & design assets that help brands get ‘in sync’ and connected to customers for business growth.
Jamie Thomas – The Brand Entrepreneur