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What is a brand community and how to build a successful one

Long read

Creating a strong brand community is more than just a trend — it’s a necessity for any business looking to deepen customer connections and amplify brand loyalty.

 

 

There are many articles with actions on buildinga community around your brand. But what role does brand identity play in this?

 

 

What is a Brand Community?

 

A brand community is a dedicated space where emotionally connected consumers engage with both the brand and each other. Unlike brand awareness, which is all about recognition, a brand community revolves around engagement and emotional investment. Members actively promote and share brand content, showcasing a deeper level of loyalty.

 

Consider a brand like Lululemon, who have invested in community building over advertising; they have a whole section of their site dedicated to the community; they have used highly visible community-angled PR events – such as the swap your fake (often called dupes) Lululemon’s for a real pair. This approach has driven an army of brand fans to build a brand community. In the case of the dupe swap, millions took to social media to share their story of how great Lululemon is for giving them free products.

 

 

Why Build a Brand Community?

 

Brand awareness
Your audience will become community members, who later become brand ambassadors that share your content organically.

Brand loyalty
Loyalty fosters a sense of belonging, making customers feel valued and included.

Improved communication
Direct interactions help refine your messaging and better meet audience needs.

Enhanced brand experience
Offers a platform for positive interactions, customer support and valuable feedback.

 

 

The key ingredients to setting up the right brand

 

Behind every great brand community is a clear understanding of what your brand stands for, moreso than what your product or service is.

 

Why?

 

Because ultimately it’s the brand that’s behind the community. The brand is the one thing that connects its community members, so the brand needs to have a point of view. It’s the brand that should drive the purpose behind the community.

 

The core components of success are:

  • Understand the audience
  • Clarify to them what you stand for
  • Translate what you stand for into a visual and verbal narrative
  • Activate that brand into an experience

 

You might have cutting-edge products or services, or even a one-of-a-kind business model. But without a clear brand positioning strategy, attracting your target audience becomes an uphill battle.

 

Let’s quickly dive into what brand strategy is and why it’s essential (if you want a deeper read on what brand strategy is, check this article out).

 

Positioning statement vs. mission statement

While both are pillars of your brand strategy, they serve different yet complementary roles:

A positioning statement focuses on how your brand is perceived compared to competitors and outlines your unique value and target audience. A mission statement captures the deeper impact and societal contributions your organisation aims to make — essentially your ‘reason to be’ that helps guide major internal decisions.

 

Together, they harmonise to guide your brand’s visual identity.

 

Tips for writing a compelling brand positioning statement

It’s key to pinpoint your differentiators. Analyse your competitors, identify market gaps and emphasise your brand’s unique benefits.

Keep it clear and concise. Aim for clarity, drop the jargon, and use everyday language. It makes you more authentic.

 

Translate your strategy into a visual and verbal brand

Once your brand proposition is written, it should naturally inform your visual identity and the content you produce, the channels you use and the tone of your marketing campaigns. This approach will help build brand awareness and foster brand loyalty.

 

 

An example of a business that has successfully built a brand first to then build a community

 

The example here is Subdial: a business that fosters an enthusiastic community within the luxury watch reseller space.

The founders wanted to position the business out of a copycat sector, clarify their USP and shift the emphasis from being seen as simply a resale platform to becoming an online community –  a club for watch lovers to share knowledge and build their collections. They had the vision that watch collecting shouldn’t be elitist.

 

Here is their positioning statement:

Reimagining the world of watches

 

Here is their brand story to bring that to life:

Why do it the old way?

We can do it differently. Better. Smoother. More open. More enjoyable.

Can’t we?

We don’t need the old apparatus. The barrier-building exclusivity.  The irrelevant elitism. So exclusive. So excluding.

Immersing yourself in watches and watch culture should be an absolute pleasure. An experience to cherish. A rich passionate world to indulge in.

Subdial doesn’t bog you down with the old way of buying and selling watches.

Subdial engages you in a simple process, full of key information and honest pricing.

So whether you are a collector or a casual visitor, Subdial taps you into the world of watches and empowers you with the best decision-making tools. We can subvert the status quo to serve our customers a better experience.

 

Translating strategy into the visual identity:

The visual identity echos the positioning statement and brings the story to life visually – an engaging, disruptive brand that is right for the target market.

 

How Subdial activates their brand into a community:

  • They ‘drop’ latest timepieces every Thursday, just like demand-driven high-end streetwear brands such as Supreme. Those who are part of the community get to know first.
  • Subdial has moved away from simply being a reseller by creating a clubhouse where it’s members can transparently trade watches with each other. Subdial help facilitate the sale simply for security, and do not take large commissions on the sale.
  • They use data to make sure their community are buying and trading watches are a fair price that is aligned to the true market value – they’re looking out for their fans.
  • They regularly hold special events for its clubhouse members with other complimentary brands, such as Globe Trotter.

 

 

 

At Nalla, we have deep experience in crafting brands for businesses that want to build communities. If you need support in making sure you are positioned correctly ahead of any community building activities, just drop us an email and have a chat.