Community" is currently one of the biggest marketing buzzwords out there – and with good reason. Digital media use is becoming less and less purpose-driven and is shifting towards personal themes. Self-expression, idea exchange, connection and entertainment are much more important than in previous generations. And as we know, the touchpoints and interests of younger generations are setting the digital trends of today. The main goal of marketing in the coming years will therefore be to foster a successful community strategy.
Communities are social networks – tribes in which people come together in the constant search for like-minded individuals with whom to share interests, passions and challenges. Online communities are numerous and diverse, and so are the ways in which companies can use them for brand communication. But how?
Start by identifying tribes that are a good fit for the brand and for which the brand is also a good fit. Marketers need to be as immersed as possible in this community's culture, codes and language. Only very few communities can be identified through demographic characteristics or the use of individual channels. It's all about interests! Media planning and targeting must be adapted accordingly.
Brand communication becomes value-added communication. It is important to combine community-tailored entertainment with relevant benefits such as samples, competitions, access to behind-the-scenes content, community discounts, co-creation of communication measures, events or exclusive special editions. Communities thrive on participation and involvement. Consequently, brands must break new ground in the conception and implementation of their advertising measures.
Communities always use multiple overlapping channels. Therefore, brands need an overarching advertising strategy across multiple platforms or channels.
We can't please everyone. Brands need to be aware of those communities they do not wish to enter or reach.
An important task for brands lies in that they must become part of the community through suitable representatives and show their own presence - in the form of content, participation and collaborations.
Communities are made up of real people, which is why brands should get right in the action with content creators. From gaming to pop culture and social issues, many communities include wide-reaching, creative and well-connected creators in their ranks. These creators themselves often also represent the unifying interest of the community. Collaborations are key here, because creators know their tribes. In the medium to long term, they allow brands to become part of the community and establish new connections while receiving valuable, unique feedback and inspiration. Sure, it requires relinquishing a little bit of control – but it is usually worth it.
Author: Alex Turtschan, Director Innovation, Mediaplus International