I think community building is going to be the next “thing” in marketing.
Regardless of your industry, having a “safe space” for your fans, prospective customers, existing customers, and employees to congregate is going to be a unique differentiator. Think of it as a moat around your brand.
Brand communities are the next logical evolution in online marketing:
- Early websites were just electronic business cards
- Social media profiles are touch points in someone else’s neighborhood (the platforms themselves)
- Email is a 1-to-many communication tool
- SMS/texting is personal, but not scalable
A community combines the best of each of these to become a self-populating, social network.
Having a brand community not only insulates you from competition, but offers a unique way to connect with new customers and strengthen the bond of existing ones.-Shaun Nestor
A brand’s own little internet, if you will.
It is the perfect time for the “Davids” to start building their communities to fortify their moats. The Goliaths will follow (just like they did with websites, social media, and the like).
This time, the strength of your tribe (the community network) can easily defeat big brands. They will be late to the game, lack personality, and “speak corporate” while you are speaking human.
Do you have a brand community?