Most brands fail to build a self-sustaining customer community because they only reach out to their customers when they want something. Too many brands only connect when they need to push a specific product or offer- and then they stop talking to their customers. Not surprisingly, their community fades away and they find themselves in a constant state of rebuilding their audience every time there’s a new campaign.
Marketing is no longer a one way street. Inspiring customers to co-create and share your brand takes consistent and engaging outreach guided by you and your customer’s shared purpose and mission. The most successful brands build large and loyal communities in three steps:
1. Engage the customer
2. Reward the customer for that engagement
3. Upgrade that engagement to always maintain contact with the customer
Disjointed messages can confuse or even alienate your audience and there’s nothing worse than watching your community slowly wither after the end of one successful campaign. Instead, plan each tactic as a chapter in a longer brand story, and as soon as you have an engaged audience you must reward and engage them in a new initiative. By consistently using different mediums and channels in creative ways, and working with your brand ambassadors to help share your story, you can create self-sustaining customer communities that want to build your brand with you.
For in-depth training on how the most iconic brands build large loyal customer communities, join the best marketers and community architects from Starbucks, Coke, the UN Foundation and charity: water at the 2013 We First Social Branding Seminar, Sept 24-25 in Los Angeles.