Why Brand Success Means Cultivating Your Community


At its inception, a company pitches its core product ad nauseam, believing fervently in its potential to boost revenue and change buyer’s lives. It’s in that honeymoon period of development that a brand wants the general public to find them attractive, fun and dare we say, sexy.

Straying from the core product

What often happens, as with human relationships, is the first blush eventually fades and once said bees are in the honeypot, there is no need to continue to cultivate that interest. A common example of this is Facebook, whose core product is the “social network.”

Initially, It was sold as a place where people could come together as a digital community, but still create a snapshot of intimacy.

It started that way but as it morphed into the social behemoth it has become, turning that massive collection of personal data into revenue is Facebook’s new flavour of the month — leading to a loss in engagement from its once sole interest, real people.

“The fundamental confusion with Facebook is that it increasingly talks about itself as a community platform, but that is not the reality,” Benji Vaughan, chief executive at Disciple Media told The Guardian. “Do users feel part of a community when they are there? I have reservations about whether they do. Facebook’s core purpose is to sell targeted content to individuals. All its issues begin there.”

Maintaining the community 

As we move into the age of chatbots and neural networks, it seems robotically imitating humans or viewing them as merely data sources are becoming more important than actually helping their flesh and blood counterparts. “Sometimes the limitation of AI just reflects the lack of knowledge of the people who implement these solutions: they might not know much about the business operations and products and are sometimes glorified coders,” writes Data Science Central. A clear indication that technology always begins and ends with human beings.

When it comes to how digital enterprises interact with their human base, a growing trend to fix the overemphasis on data acquisition is personalisation. Putting the value of customer data back into improving the customer experience has proved to be fruitful. “The Harvard Business Review states that personalisation can reduce extra costs by 50%, lift revenues by 5-15%, and increase the efficiency of marketing spend by up to 10-30%,” says Digital Marketing Magazine.

Also, the value of community is inarguable. A southern African humanist philosophy called “Ubuntu” is centered on this concept. “It is a demand for a creative intersubjective formation in which the ‘other’ becomes a mirror (but only a mirror) for my subjectivity,” describes Michael Onyebuchi Eze in his book, Intellectual History in Contemporary South Africa.

Staying true to this sense of community, seeing a buyer base as a reflection of a core product is a proven key to both increased retention and conversion. A great example of this, when Coca-Cola decided to put people’s names on bottles as a part of their “Share a Coke” campaign, they saw an increase in US sales for the first time in ten years.

Cultivating the consumer interest that grew a product in the first place could be the secret to success and finding technology that can help with that is ready to be utilised.

Via: The Guardian, Digital Marketing Magazine, Data Science Central, Marketing Tech News.