Community Marketing = Marketing WITH consumers, not AT them

Community Marketing
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Rashi Mittal Nair, Co-founder, and CEO, WOOP (Women of Opinion) shares something new about Community Marketing for 2019.

While it may be a new buzz word, ‘community marketing’ is not a new concept. Brands have been naturally built by communities for centuries now.

A community is essentially a group of people that connect over a common passion or a shared sense of purpose. Successful brands, tap into this passion and nurture their community.

If you’re a seasoned brand manager, you’re probably thinking “Sure. Tell me something new.”

What’s NEW, is the recent mind-shift within leading brands from nurturing a community of consumers…. to nurturing a community of brand advocates.

Creating a special close-knit group of brand advocates is a whole new level of ‘Community marketing’ in the digital age, and requires a different skill-set.

How is an Advocate community different from a Consumer-Community? Here are some of the key things that differentiate the two:

1. Different Community Objectives

The objective of the consumer community is usually ‘Deeper Engagement’. The objective of the advocate community is, however ‘Creating a Sense of ownership’. It’s about selecting your top advocates, and going out of your way to make them feel special and valued. It’s about making them join your company’s vision in wanting to help the brand prosper.

2. Different Community Sizes

Social Media Content Calendar 2019
The consumer community wishes to grow as many people looking to join it. The advocate community is locked to the top 5-10% of consumers who are genuine advocates. While the numbers might grow in absolutes, as a percentage of consumers it’s likely to stay the same.

Also Read: Case Study: How Community Marketing helped pave the way for Epigamia’s lactose-free artisanal curd

3. Different Relationship Dynamics

The engagement in a consumer community is usually between the Brand and the Consumer. There are many different ways for consumers to learn more about the brand and interact with it more frequently. In an Advocate group, the key is to create a Sense of Family. And that means, the advocates getting to bond with EACH OTHER and not just the brand.

4. Different Content Creation Rules

In a traditional consumer community, brands usually have someone handling the group and coming up with content that will be shared to keep the group engaged. In an advocate group, the advocates are the ones creating content for the brands to share outside of the group. It’s a great place to garner authentic user-generated content for the brand to leverage.

5. Different Levels of Authenticity

If you ask a crowd for feedback, you’ll get responses in extremes – either that you’re awesome with no room for improvement, or that you are doing everything wrong and should shut shop. It’s very difficult to take either of the two sets of responses seriously. In a community of advocates, you can TRUST that these advocates care enough about you to give you constructive feedback. They are the best people to genuinely CO-create your brand with.

6. Different Return on Investment

When the brand has news to share around a new launch or a new initiative, they use their current consumer community as a place where they can share this news to get an additional reach amongst the consumers that read it. In an advocate community… the news gets shared by advocates to their friends and families and their personal networks. An advocate community in the long-run has the potential to become a media-channel in itself. The day isn’t too far when brand budgets allocate money for TV, digital, print and their own advocate community…

Technology has helped us structure, amplify and measure various forms of traditional marketing. As trust in brands and advertising continues to decline, peer to peer conversations and people-powered marketing gains even more importance. Growing Advocate-led Communities is frankly the future of Community Marketing in the digital age.

The article is authored by Rashi Mittal Nair, a word-of-mouth marketing addict, that has spent the last 15 years obsessing over what really gets people talking and how brands can best leverage those insights. 


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