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The Buzz About Community
By: Janet Kalandranis
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Every brand is hearing it and every brand is talking about it: community, or idea that there are subsets of customers with shared interests that can prove to be beneficial to a brand. It gives the brand new light and allows customers to “use” the brand past its products and services. But as always, communities must be built correctly in order to be positive for both the customer and the brand.

Go Organic. Instead of creating new communities or brainstorming what might get a lot of press, brands need to look inside. The ability for a brand to understand what groups already exist around the brand can be more powerful than trying to force a new idea on customers. If customers have already made the connection between the brand and a type of community, there is more chance for success with the program. For instance, Barnes & Noble probably has a subset of parents within its brand that come to the store and shop for books with or for their children. Instant community.

Don’t Overstay. As the brand it’s important to understand roles and responsibilities. Most customers are looking for the brand to be the facilitator, but not to overstay its welcome. Brands shouldn’t pretend to be experts in all areas to service various communities, but instead, brands need to provide resources, events, and get-togethers for these communities to interact. Best Buy can put together a chat on what’s needed for the first year of college; however, if the brand decided to have its associates discuss the latest healthy recipes, there would be a disconnect.

Construction. Make it easy for customers to understand and be part of a community that interests them. In order for a community to be successful customers need to be informed. It’s the brand’s responsibility to seek out customers, provide the tools, and let them run with them. A brand that only mentions a community once or has few resources behind it can’t really be successful. So before brands venture into this world, there’s a strategy that needs to be the foundation of the building.


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About the Author
Janet Kalandranis is here to give you all the little brand thoughts that run through her head with a little dash of spice. Find her online here.
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