Brand communities, such as blackBIKE’s community, can provide substantial value to a brand and its customers. Forming, growing, and maintaining such communities can be expensive, but they often prove worth the investment. For example, it was found that it was 72% cheaper for a company to answer a question via the community than through traditional support. When customers were directed towards customer service instead of the community, their satisfaction scores plummeted to one of the lowest levels on record1.
The benefits of a brand community can sometimes seem so obvious that it’s not even considered worth measuring. However, it’s important to remember that a brand community has the exact opportunity cost as any other investment. A successful brand community doesn’t come cheap, with typical community budgets for major brands ranging anywhere from $500,000 to $10 million+ annually1.
People are craving community now more than ever, making community critical to the success of businesses. However, forming a community requires more than simply gathering people together or accumulating a certain number of users on a platform. If a brand wants to be successful, it needs to build a strong community2.
Successful companies harness the power of community to increase brand awareness, understand customers, improve outcomes, and build brand loyalty. Communities can facilitate growth and provide valuable, honest feedback for businesses. They also help brands gain a deeper understanding of customer needs and desires. User-generated content, such as reviews and comments, are viewed as more authentic, and considering that 97% of online buyers read reviews before they make a purchase, it is critical that communities are actively engaging and creating content around a company’s product2.
Communities add value when they support members, provide a sense of camaraderie, make strategic connections, and act as a source of advice that members can apply to their own lives. Community members often share a passion for personal improvement and continued learning. Effective learning strategies engage communities and foster discussion2. Companies like WeWork have used community to help members grow their businesses, with an estimated 45% of WeWork member companies claiming the coworking giant has helped accelerate company growth2.
Keeping current customers engaged is just as important, if not more, than gaining new first-time users. Two-thirds of customers will spend more on brands to which they are loyal2. A strong and engaged community can lead to improved products, learning, innovation, and company growth. However, to be impactful, brands must build communities beyond selling a product and provide value and support for members2.