Customer Connection – Attention has become one of the world’s top business resources. First and foremost, you want consumers to recognize you. Then, hopefully, you can retain their attention and keep them coming back for more. That has always been the marketing model, but with more competition and an increasing pace of life in general, it’s become a more challenging ideal to attain.
It is no longer enough for companies to have expert testimonies or research that backs up their claims in a fancy infomercial. Instead, as businesses become more and more viral, social networking and connection have become the new necessity for a successful business plan. Today, you have to engage with consumers on a more fundamental level to effectively get their attention, providing buyers with a sense of real personal connection.
As everyone’s lives get filled with more and more stuff – multiple jobs, personal projects, family, friends, networking etc. – we’ve been forced to cut out the non-essential parts of life. Advertisements use to make us wonder if we might actually find a use for an interesting new product, but today we ignore the vast majority of them. We were once looking to add to our lives. Now we feel the need to shed a few layers.
Brand communities are one of the most effective tools we can use in this climate to capture and retain consumers’ attention. Why? Because brand communities bring extra value beyond a potentially interesting product. They effectively build a connection between community members and the brand, making it feel more like an important relationship than a sales pitch. In a brand community, consumers can feel that the company cares for them. They build trust – that thing that every important relationship is built on.
Even for consumers who aren’t ready to be best friends with a company or others they meet online, brand communities provide useful information and opportunities, while businesses get a simple way to answer their client’s questions, provide instant customer service and interact daily with their customers in a friendly, public manner.
Community management is an evolving field. Luckily, there are lots of communities around the web you can learn from and get help—whether you prefer Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.
Vans– originally a maker of cheap deck shoes, followed the interests of its dedicated customers to expand into custom surf shoes, surf competitions, skateboarding shoes and gear, skateboard parks, touring music festivals and even a feature film. And within each of those businesses, new products, features, and ways of marketing were generated through a continuous flow of ideas from the grassroots.