Building a Strong Brand Community

There’s a lot of talk these days about the value of branding. Of course, having prospective customers come to your business already familiar with what youBuilding Brand Communities offer is a great thing. Even better, from a long-term perspective, is the ability to gather together a community of customers committed to your brand community. Today, we find this most commonly in the forms of digital communities, but it does not necessarily have to be just that.

What exactly is a brand community? According to Oktopos, this “is a place where all of your customers come together to learn, share, and interact with your brand.” It often serves as the first step in having clients “move up the ladder in the customer journey from passive prospects to active brand loyalists”—a goal every business can get behind.

For those of us connected with The Baillie Group, we are constantly striving to increase our brand awareness and develop our brand communities. We do this in many ways. One way is by consistently delivering high-quality hardwood lumber products with first-rate customer service. Others include being accessible to our customers, suppliers and vendors, being responsive and focusing on developing strong lasting relationships.  

Over time, we have found a few key points to be most helpful when developing our brand community that could be useful if you are looking to do the same.

Know your customers, inside and out. All of us in the hardwood lumber industry know there’s really no such thing as making a one-time sale and then moving on to the next. We regularly do business with each other and therefore need to keep abreast with our customer’s needs, business objectives and pain points. In today’s world, it’s vital to leverage the wide array of digital resources to continue learning “all you can about your client’s current situation and their strategies for future growth.” So sign up for their email newsletters, follow their social media pages and study other aspects of their digital footprint. Then leverage your knowledge to service them better and help increase your brand image with them.

Extend an invitation to loyal customers. Conversely, when a prospect expresses interest in your company’s offerings, extend an invitation to join your growing brand community. Send a personalized email, a brief video about your business, or ask them to become a follower on your social media platforms. “A clear and personalized call to action can go a long way towards getting new customers to join your community,” notes CMSWire.

Increase your own social media activity. Facebook Groups and LinkedIn Groups are just a couple of examples of where your business can cultivate a brand community. Often, there are more specific platforms for different industries. In any event, take time to assess each platform prior to making one of them a building block for your brand community. Also, consider encouraging your employees to do the same and positively represent your company in these circles. We have had success additional success building brand loyalty when some of or our foresters, sawmill managers, and even hardwood lumber traders actively participate in the right online communities. Maybe something like this will work for your team!

Ask your customers for feedback. How enthusiastic are members of your brand community? At every opportunity, whether through surveys or interactions with key customers, make sure your brand promise reflects what they want and need. Stay in touch with members of your brand community to ensure their buying experience is in sync with their expectations. This kind of in-depth communications can help deepen your understanding of customers’ priorities, and to possibly anticipate what their needs will be like in the future.

The benefits of a strong, loyal brand community are endless. Loyal customers come back again and again. They also spread the word about your company, thus generating the most effective marketing strategy there is—word-of-mouth recommendations.

Are you focused on building a brand community? What has worked for you? Let us know. We would love to hear from you. And by the way, follow us on LinkedIn!

Tony Cimorelli
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.