Creating a community with your brand


 

people

 

likeminded

 

And so it only makes sense that they would enjoy spending time together, collaborating and networking.

A notable example would be Lululemon. Their brand has created a community based on a target group that places high value on an active, healthy lifestyle. Their brand represents more than the yoga pants that hang on their fixtures. They place a high priority on making the communities where their stores exist have access to fitness-based activities.

 

Connect

Pop-Up concepts help to build a community

The success of the Pop-Up Shop concept speaks directly to this aspect as well. Brands have moved towards participating in collective markets, shows, and pop-ups which have numerous benefits. They do not invest solely in one location but rather create a “buzz” surrounding the brand and leave customers thinking, “where will they be next?”, which also drives traffic and creates a loyal following. A "makers' market" concept provides artisans and DIY-ers with the chance to showcase their wares. This generally speaks to the community of fellow makers who are able to share stories surrounding their products, techniques and materials.

 

Why creating a community also makes sense

Brands that establish communities create "fans". These fans in turn become loyal followers, and they are more inclined to recommend products to others and they are perfect candidates for testimonials. Think of a store that specializes in gear for the avid runner. The products featured enhance the performance of the runner, and while scheduling running groups seems like a simple task, this creates that community. Like-minded, valuing-sharing customers start to build relationships and they motivate and empower each other.

 

Workshops are valuable methods of connecting people

The recent surge in workshops and classes has been a successful strategy for many reasons. In a busy world having an afternoon or a night out to focus on a creative outlet offers benefits for one’s mind and body. From a business point of view a workshop can be a smart way to expose potential customers to your brand. And, of course while the workshop is taking place the participants are connecting. Decorative paint entrepreneurs have been practicing this method and basking in the glow of the successful communities they have created.

 

Tapping into feelings creates a strong community

Above all else creating a community with your brand evokes feelings. It cultivates that feeling of belonging and connecting. In a world where screens are bright and people are "always plugged in", having a community where they can go to share stories and have face-to-face conversations is appealing. The new Hershey store in New York City’s Times Square (designed by FRCH) is a prime example where customers can shop and experience various elements that are interactive and fun, but there are also memory-making components that almost pull at the heartstrings. The designers and Hershey executives have been known to refer to the s’more building immersive area as the "community campfire." What a perfect way to encompass the idea of brand loyalty and a sense of community connectedness! One can almost feel the warm glow of the campfire, sitting around it sharing stories on a hot summer night.

 

Karen Kritzer

Read about our contributor Karen Kritzer

Plus see Karen live at the Toronto Gift Fair, Sunday, January 27 — 30!