The concept of brand or business communities is nothing new, although some entrepreneurs may have only recently appreciated just how rewarding this can be.
According to the statistics, for example, branded communities are 21% more likely to see an increase in brand SEO than social media alternatives, while also being 16% more likely to successfully foster loyalty among their consumer base.
This highlights the importance of building a community around your venture, especially when operating in an undeniably competitive marketplace.
But what are the precise benefits of this, and what lessons can be learned from the prominent example of Astrid & Miyu?
The Benefits of Building a Business Community
Ultimately, there are numerous ways through building a community around your brand and business, from creating a loyalty program for your on and offline users (we’ll have more on this later) to leveraging virtual forums and social media channels.
Regardless, the benefits of this are myriad, particularly in terms of driving company growth and increased brand awareness among new and existing customers.
In addition to driving improved awareness and brand recognition, a strong and engaged community will lead to the development of improved products, improved learning and innovation. Such factors can also improve the venture over time, especially as you grow to learn more about your core customer base and respond to their unique wants and needs.
Of course, you’ll have to go beyond merely selling a product or service and provide additional value if you’re to successfully build a community, but these benefits are there to leverage for proactive firms.
The Case Study of Astrid and Miyu – What You Need to Know
As if to reaffirm this, we’ve seen entities like Astrid and Miyu thrive on the back of cultivating a brand community, with this translating into significant commercial success.
Founded in 2012, Astrid & Miyu has generated a turnover of £10 million and experienced 1000% growth during the last three years alone. Last year also saw them open their seventh corporeal store, as the brand also sought to help its community members through the challenges posed by Covid-19 and its associated anxiety.
Of course, the brand has its roots in online communities, blowing up in the wake of its launch as founder Connie Nam began to cultivate close and personal relationships with both influences and customers.
This has translated into an incredible consumer bond and the wider community, which regularly sees interaction through focus groups and presents a brand that’s genuinely caring and authentic.
Following the outbreak and initial impact of coronavirus through 2020, the brand began to focus on anxiety and tailored its community content accordingly.
This not only encouraged working from home, but also sought insight from members and created detailed self-care guides that reflected the core brand values (which also underpinned various donations to associated mental health charities).
At this time, the community content hub really took centre stage, producing genuine and valuable insight for both female-founded and supported brands that experienced various fortunes during the pandemic and its associated lockdowns.
These user-generated blogs continue to drive revenue alongside the deployment of SEO techniques, while further engaging community members and continuing conversation across a wide range of topics.
What’s more, the use of online focus groups (scheduled at least twice a year) provided targeted feedback on how the brand and community could improve, offering further chances to grow in the process.
The Last Word
From a practical perspective, Astrid and Miyu also leveraged loyalty programs to help incentivise community members and further reflect an inclusive and welcoming brand.
Last year, this loyalty program earned the brand £86k in revenue, with 175 referred customers acquired and an increased repeat purchase rate of 10%.
This program also helped to increase the lifetime value of customers, reaffirming the importance of community in the process.
What’s clear is that all of these factors combine to create an effective online community and one that both reflects your brand’s value and meets the needs of customers.