A growing trend in digital communication has been to organize around community.
A larger share of organizations are shifting their focus from conventional marketing to engagement.
What does that mean?
As the market becomes over-saturated and demographics continue to shift, consumers have driven a new principle: meaning over money.
Communications is finally becoming purpose driven. The meaning of your story should be your foundation — from here you can derive our goals and tactics.
Let's Reassess Where Organizations Derive Value
It’s all about being authentic.
Every organization should have a clearly defined mission statement with an accompanying set of values. These should outline who and what your organization is. In practice, they will represent what your company sees.
Staying true to a higher value serves to guide your business in the marketplace, allowing you to claim an ethical and moral position. It also humanizes your organization. It provides the consumer something to connect too.
It creates authenticity.
These are the building blocks to creating community. Once they are in place, you're more easily able to build relationships with your consumer. Ultimately, these relationships will build loyalty between your brand and the consumer.
In making the shift from marketing to community-building, that's an important concept to understand. Organizations, still today, are guided by the idea of winning business.
That's an outdated idea. You can't win business. If that is your driving goal, you will only lose. The goal should always be to win a consumer.
Remember, consumers are people. Not money.
The modern consumer is not looking to purchase a product. They're looking to buy into a brand. They're looking for authentic interaction. If your communications strategy prioritizes anything other than that, you're already behind.
How Can A Brand Build Community?
Brands can't build communities. Only people can do that. Remember this is a 'people first' concept.
Communities often form around a shared value, around meaning. Building your community around those values allows a community to grow organically.
Communities are effective when the group is continuously able to learn and grow, engage and be engaged. This happens when the brand is willing to listen, learn, and meet the expectations of the group.
Let’s hash that out a little deeper.
If you fail to properly cultivate and maintain the community, it will disappear far more easily than it was built.
Remember that the community did not form around your company, it formed around a shared value system.
Remember your community as your base. They should drive your decision-making. Develop your strategy for them and around them. Ensure that your efforts are in their best interest.
Your community can provide value to you. They will help your business grow, provide you insight to improve, and, ultimately, purchase your product. In turn, you can continue to provide your community this benefit. In short, the end result will be a loyal consumer base.
How do we use this to invest in our community?
Organizations are often afraid to invest in building a community — the return may not be immediate. When you finally see one, it may be intangible.
So it can be hard to gauge success. Especially if you’re looking in the wrong place.
Investing in community is about investing in the people around you, those who share your values, your neighbors, and your city.
At MDW, we live and breathe community engagement. In fact, our agency rests on the foundation of community.
Recognizing the importance of a shift to public engagement is exactly why we launched our Marketing For Good initiative. The very core of this platform is to build up people, causes, and organizations around us and to invest in our neighbors.
We do this because we understand that our community is thriving, so is our business.