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How to Build a Successful Brand Community

Learn what a brand community is, what the benefits are for your business, and how to build your own brand community.

In a crowded marketplace, attracting new customers and keeping existing ones coming back can be a challenge. You have a high-quality product, of course, and you’ve crafted a solid marketing strategy. Now it’s time to leverage the power of loyal customers to build a strong brand community.

More than just a solid customer base, a brand community uses the power of an engaged and enthusiastic fan base to help spread the word about your product and build excitement organically. And because it’s so easy to connect with others online, your customers will be your most valuable asset.

In this article, we’ll explore how to understand, build, and grow a thriving brand community. Also included are a few examples of digital communities that have given their brands a boost.

What is a brand community?

Every business knows that their loyal customers are the key to building their brand and keeping the company successful. A brand community is made up of those customers: the ones who either feel an emotional connection to a brand or share an interest in that brand’s products, ethos, and success.

These communities form when community members share mutual experiences and interests that align with a brand. This can be done online or in person. Online brand communities exist solely in digital spaces, such as social media, online forums, and other platforms. Offline brand communities thrive at in-person events where loyal customers and enthusiasts can gather face-to-face.

In order to thrive as a business, companies should try to appeal to both brand communities. However, this article will focus primarily on building an online community for your brand.

The benefits of building a brand community

While they may not be part of your direct marketing or strategy efforts, brand communities can have a serious impact on your company’s success. Remember, your customers already like your company. So, by leveraging this group of fans, you can experience a wide range of benefits like increased brand awareness and improved customer communications.

Promotes brand loyalty

Of all the benefits associated with building a brand community, brand loyalty is one of the most significant ones. Loyalty is driven by an emotional connection, and customers only choose to stay loyal to a company if they feel drawn to it.

If you’re able to make your customers feel welcomed and included in your company and your community, they’re more likely to return as paying customers. In fact, 66% of brand community members say they are loyal to their respective brands.

Builds brand awareness and authority

Brand communities can act like your own personal public relations team. Of course, most of your loyal customers are unlikely to boldly promote or endorse your company online. However, they are likely to recommend your company’s products or services to friends, mention them in online forums, or showcase them on social media.

All those conversations and mentions online are how your company can build its brand awareness and eventually expand its customer reach. Soon enough, you can start to establish your industry authority and eventually become a leading player in your space. 

Promotes community building with current and new customers

Brand communities can provide a direct line of communication with your customers. This is key for creating an engaged community of current customers as well as understanding your target audience.

Boosting customer engagement requires more than just having a great product or an inspiring mission statement. It also means being open to customer feedback and making relevant changes based on their insights. By making customer-driven decisions, your community will feel like they have a voice and that you care about their opinions.  

Open communication with your customers also means you can develop a better understanding of your target audience. Your current customer base is only a small fraction of your target audience, and if you’re able to understand their needs and pain points, you can use those insights to draw in more customers and grow the community.

Six steps for developing a successful brand community

Building a brand community doesn’t need to be complicated. It can be as simple as establishing a Facebook group or encouraging the use of a hashtag. But if you want to build a strong brand community with a large loyal customer base, here are some steps you can take to get it off to the best start.

Step #1: Define your brand and community goals

Before you start building your brand community, you need to define your brand. Your company’s brand is all about how your business is perceived. In order to create a compelling brand, you need to shape your company in such a way that influences how people think about you.

This involves thinking about the following:

  1. Purpose: Why does your brand exist?
  2. Vision: What would the world look like if you succeeded in your purpose?
  3. Mission: How are you going to achieve your vision?
  4. Values: What do you stand for?
  5. Positioning: How are you different from the competition?

The answers to each of these should be short and simple, and they’ll serve as the foundation for your brand. Once you have these defined, it’s time to think about how your customer base fits in. The following questions should help you identify this.

  1. What’s your goal of having a brand community?
  2. What does your community value? What do you want them to value?
  3. How would your community enable your mission and values?
  4. How might your vision affect customer loyalty?

Step #2: Identify your target audience

Now that you have a solid understanding of your brand’s identity, it’s time to target your audience. To do this, you need to segment your audience by identifying their characteristics, such as age, location, or purchase behavior. Typically, marketers divide their audience into these 4 categories:

  • Demographic: Who your audience is, such as their gender, ethnicity, and occupation.
  • Geographic: Where your audience is located, which includes time zone, language, and culture.
  • Psychographic: What your audience thinks and values, which comes from their lifestyle, personality, and opinions.
  • Behavioral: How your audience behaves as consumers, through their purchasing behavior, engagement actions, and customer loyalty potential.

These customer segments will help you understand not only who your target audience is but also how they act, what their pain points are, and what they’re interested in. These insights will help you develop content that resonates with them, thus encouraging them to join your brand community.

Step #3: Choose your brand community platforms

There are a variety of platforms to choose from when it comes to engaging with your brand community. Let’s go over a few popular options.


For larger brand communities, forums are ideal for customers who like to discuss their shared interests with other members. More importantly, forums provide a space for customers who have questions or need technical support. This will allow you to use customer feedback to improve your business, such as for better product or service development.

Social media accounts

Communicating with customers on social media is one of the most common ways for customers to learn about your brand and spread awareness. From your company’s social media account, you can engage with other online users or create captivating posts with relevant hashtags to draw people in.

Your own website

Did you know that your own website can host and serve your brand community? With your website, you can post videos, schedule events, or publish blogs that will encourage discourse in the comments section. All this buzz will help you foster a successful online community full of fans of your brand.

Step #4: Create engaging content

At this point, you’ll have set up all the pieces for your brand community to take off—now is the time to start building the community by creating engaging content.

Whether you’re publishing blogs and articles, making videos for social media, or setting up forums, you have to make sure your content will align with your target audience. If you’ve done your marketing research correctly, you should know exactly how to appeal to them and what type of content they’ll gravitate toward.

Just remember, your audience is smart. If they sense that you’re only pandering to them to boost your brand’s awareness and increase sales, they’ll drop you for another brand. Even your most loyal customers are capable of leaving if they don’t feel appreciated. Building a brand community is about making your customers feel valued and focusing on the needs of your community members. That’s why it’s essential to create content that aligns with your audience’s interests.

Step #5: Foster interaction among community members

Not only do you need to make captivating content, but your community members have to engage with each other as well. That’s where user-generated content comes in. By providing spaces for your community to discuss, support, post, and interact with each other, you’re giving your brand a better chance of thriving in the long term.

Step #6: Listen to community members

Listening to your audience is critical for a successful brand community. You can do this directly by ingesting customer feedback and using it to make changes or pivot your business. Or you can do this indirectly by monitoring the comments sections in online forums and social media accounts.

Listening to your community can also help you develop campaigns and marketing strategies. By engaging with and listening to your customers, you may notice specific trends, interests, and ideas arising within your community platforms. You can then take those insights and use them for a new campaign, which will make your customer base feel appreciated knowing your company welcomes their ideas.

Brand community tools

Building and growing an active and successful brand community takes work. Luckily, we have some ideas to help you establish and grow your brand community.

Loyalty programs

Getting customers involved in the success of your business and rewarding them for their brand loyalty is a great way to build customer retention and get people invested in your brand.

In rewards programs, customers earn points or other benefits for activities like making purchases, sharing content on social media, or checking in to retail store locations. Affiliate programs reward shoppers for helping to promote your brand in exchange for commissions on sales that come through their referrals.

Both rewards and affiliate programs can encourage brand loyalty, repeat business, a sense of exclusivity, and word-of-mouth referrals. In addition to their impact on sales, they can help build brand community engagement.

Brand ambassadors

A brand ambassador is someone who helps promote brand communities and their projects. They act as a type of social proof by using their already-established follower community or fan base to expand the reach of your marketing efforts. They could be celebrities, experts in a certain field, or even passionate customers who are social media savvy and know how to reach and engage a larger audience.

Brand ambassadors may be paid, receive free products and invitations to events, or get early access to new items. In exchange, they post on social media or brand community forums to help promote your business.

You may focus on one high-profile brand ambassador or use a network of brand advocates. Either way, they can be an important part of your brand community, helping deliver your company’s message and creating a more personal feel for your marketing strategy.

User-generated content

Your customers can be a great resource for building your brand community. Leverage the power of user-generated content (UGC), such as product reviews and social media posts, to showcase enthusiasm for your company.

Some of this content may be created organically, but you can also encourage users to tag your company or share their reviews on your website, social media account, or third-party community platforms.

Examples of successful brand communities

All brand communities are unique. Take a look at a few companies that have built an active, passionate community of committed customers to get some inspiration for building your own!

Peloton: Competitive and supportive

Peloton, the fitness equipment and streaming service, has an active brand community right on their own website. Members can compete to see their name atop the Leaderboard or offer encouragement to others. Tagged posts allow members to connect with others who share their interests. In addition, members can connect online as friends or followers to help strengthen the brand community.

The Root Collective: Small but passionate

The Root Collective is an e-commerce business that sells handmade, sustainable shoes and accessories. Members of the company’s brand community, The Root Collective Insiders, can earn points toward future purchases, discuss upcoming product releases, and interact directly with company founder, Bethany Tran. The company occasionally offers the chance for buyers to customize their shoe styles, which brand community members then show off in a Facebook group.

Bath and Body Works: Candles, creams, and collections

Does it surprise you that shoppers can get emotional over candles? It might not if you’re a fan of Bath and Body Works, the retail chain that sells scented body care and home fragrance products. Some are so passionate about the brand that they have entire rooms stocked with their favorite products, which they proudly show off on social media and in a dedicated Reddit group.

Fans of the company follow announcements about limited-time product releases, share tips about which retail locations have the best stock, and eagerly anticipate packaging redesigns. Bath and Body Works has encouraged this enthusiasm by selling certain scents or products only at certain times and in certain stores, gamifying the shopping experience.

As herd animals, having social connections naturally makes us feel good. While these connections were historically only in the physical world, they are now increasingly available online. This is what makes an online brand community so powerful, and why businesses need to make it part of their overall marketing strategy.

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