CUSTOMER COMMUNITY: THE NEW MARKETING TOOL FOR BRANDS
The annals of marketing have always celebrated the brand as the hero. Building aspirational levels and making the audience follow a brand. In this ‘smart era’ more and more products and services are focusing on the user and thereby building their credibility and value. The once popular saying in consumerism ‘Customer is King’ is proving to be one of the most effective tools for brands to shed their larger than life appearances and connect with people on multiple-levels.
Capturing every person’s attention and converting it to solid brand connect is always a tough act for businesses, especially in a culture-diverse environment.
With advertising leaning more towards digital marketing, more doors are opened for better engagement with audiences the world over. Yet, the number of businesses fully utilizing the potential of online media is way less. And sometimes, using the right technology may not be the answer, but using the right tool to complement the technology used.
Audience engagement doesn’t stop at repetitive interaction between the brand and the viewer. Marketing strategies these days look at making the brand incredibly likeable and thus making it shareable. But the point most brands tend to miss is enhancing the likeability factor by emotionally connecting with the audience.
The current scheme of things tries to portray the brand as the hero. But, that need not be a thumb rule, especially when it can limit the brand’s interaction with the audience. Now, making the audience the hero, that opens a lot of possibilities. The booming concept of crowd sourced ads is a good example of how a business can connects with consumers and thereby let them engage with the brand in the most effective manner.
A great example on building customer/audience community is the recent Madden 15 – Giferator microsite, allowing the user to create his/her own gifs and share it with others. EA Sports in a bid to promote its flagship football game is putting to the test a new Google advertising program that allows the game maker to create gif ads instantly, and customize the message based on the what’s happening on the field. EA hopes the ads spark sharing, and it created a website where people can customize their own gifs, called the Giferator.
Such impacts don’t stop with the communiqué, but extend to the involved audience ardently evangelizing, as if the brand is their own. They are not just customers anymore, they are brand ambassadors. It’s not the brand story anymore; it’s their stories. And, when a large group of people come together and share a line of thought and share a common ownership, it becomes a community. When a community starts talking, people listen more.
When brands start celebrating their customers, stories become more believable, likeable, and sharable. This gives businesses a great opportunity to tap into the true power of online media, which is to inspire customers/communities to shape your business and brands with you.