Brand and Community: The Intersection of Business and Engagement

Before social media content began to consume our daily lives, before reading the paper and traditional advertisements were replaced with thumb scrolls and clickable ads, there was a distinct delineation between brands and their followers.

Enter the digital age, where brands can create relationships that speak to, engage with, and inspire their core audience — their community. You might roughly define “community” as a group of people. They can live together, work together, or simply be interested in the same things. Have you ever held a conversation with a group of people passionate about one topic? They don’t have to know one another, but their devotion or disdain for something will surely make you think their ties are deep.

These communities, when they come together because of a shared dedication to a brand, product, service, or entertainment offering, can have an notable amount of power. Not that a community can make or break a brand based on the tone of its conversation, but smart companies will want to take the time to build and nurture their brand community. Here are some ways to make that happen.

Pay attention to authentic feedback. A group of unpaid people chatting about something on the internet is the textbook definition of an authentic conversation. The support of these impassioned communities can create real-world repercussions with their favorite brands. This happened recently with the die-hard fans of Marvel Studios, when the poster for Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame was adjusted just hours after intense fan backlash over a presumed slight of one of the film’s performers. It’s a perfect example of community interacting with — and affecting the decisions of — a major brand.

Build a team of brand ambassadors. If people will talk about your brand for free, a little recognition or a retweet here and there doubles as an unsolicited endorsement and shows that you are engaged with your audience. Build credibility and trust by carefully bringing your favorite customers into the fold of your social content and communities.

Get help getting noticed. It can be hard to get a leg up on the competition. One way to stand out is through the proper building and moderation of a thriving online community. Getting a large base of enthusiasts up and running will help your product or service break through the chatter. This dedicated, focused group of organic fans will make you a front-runner in your industry with each and every conversation and positive mention.

It’s safe to say, if your brand has an online presence you need to be strategic about building a vibrant and engaged online community. Be aware that building and maintaining communities takes smart, practiced work; if you build it, they may not necessarily come. We pride ourselves on assembling, growing, and supporting communities that become ideal brand extensions. In the best instances, these communities reflect the values and interests of the brands they represent.

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