When consumers equate a transactional experience with the feeling of joining a community, you win. A great example of a flourishing online community that feeds brand equity is the Nike Fuel Band. Nike is all about creating a product people want to be connected with.
“Before the product was the end point of the consumer experience… now it is the starting point,” said Stefan Olander, VP of Digital Sport for Nike.
"When I buy this product and take it home and sign up [for the services], I've created a link so much stronger than anything you could ever say in a communication. It's an emotional connection to myself, and my achievement, and my friends.”
Emotionally Connect With Your Audience
This is a not a blog about how great Nike’s marketing is though. If you want, look at the tons of case studies already published on the success of the Fuel Band. This is a blog about developing a platform that can sustain and create an emotional connection to your brand, service and product – a website with a funnel that turns visitors into customers and customers into community members.
A few of our clients are at the point where social media and their current websites cannot support the community they’ve built. Users want more interaction. More engagement. More connection. It’s a good problem to have, and it’s up to us to solve it.
So we are in the strategy phase of developing a platform which fosters community growth. It’s a lot of whiteboard sessions with “wouldn’t it be cool if…” ideas. It’s fun stuff, and we look forward to sharing the community features once they are implemented for our clients.
Don't Let Your Platform Stop Your Growth
Brands know how important it is to build a community, but often, their platforms block growth. Do you have tools that allow interaction on your website? Pages where customers can submit photos and stories? Blog features that allow the community to comment on and share the post? An interface that is easy to use and understand? Is it giving you and the customer value?
We will soon dive into the process we use to understand exactly how a client’s community interacts online and how to build a platform that is attractive for them to use. Until then, take a look at your website. Is it optimized to nurture interaction? If not, you may want to think about where you can improve. After all, your ability to connect with consumers – consumers that are becoming more powerful in the buying process – is probably the most important competitive advantage a brand can have today. Make sure you are doing it better than anyone else.