Why are we so focused on Community? By we I mean all of us. Community might be the most used word in business today.
“Community Commerce” is a big buzzword right now. It generally refers to driving product purchases through social media content, but that’s a more tactical definition. A more strategic way to look at “Community Commerce” is to say any commercial activity driven through or by members of a brand community.
That’s certainly the way we see the definitions at CIPIO.ai. We are a Community Commerce Marketing platform. Our applications help brands market to their own community to drive commerce. It might be conversions on social media content. But it might also be cost savings for creative because you source more authentic content from your community.
Social networks are focused on building community. Heck, the call-to-arms for brands to get with it in the mid-2000s was “join the community!”
Let me tell you a little story about where I’m from that might help you understand.
I was raised in a small town of about 8,000 people in rural Eastern Kentucky called Pikeville. It often seemed as insulated from the rest of the world as your stereotypes of Appalachia, both physically and figuratively. When you’re standing on Main Street in downtown Pikeville, the mountains feel like four walls sealing you in.
Now, that’s not a bad thing. Sure, there’s a big world to experience out there, but in my little home town, you always feel safe. Secure. Protected. It’s not because of the mountains, though. It’s because of the people.
When you live in a small, rural community, you come to know most everyone around you. Anyone can walk right into the mayor’s office and ask to see him or her. And within a few minutes, they’ll probably get to talk to them, face to face.
You know everyone because you grew up with them. Went to school with them. You probably go to church with them. You know their parents … who know your parents … so you’d better behave.
A town like Pikeville is a community. It’s a group of people that have a shared experience. A shared background. More than one thing in common.
In a community, you don’t buy a car from Ford or Toyota. You buy it from Bruce, who sits in the pew behind you at church. You don’t bank with Chase or Bank of America. You bank with David, who coached you in Little League baseball. You don’t order your best holiday gifts from Amazon. You buy them from Mickey, whose novelty shop is next door to the barber shop where Neil cuts your hair.
We buy from people, businesses and brands we like, we know and we trust. And those are best accomplished when we, as consumers, can sense this brand or business, and the community of people around it, are more like us than not.
An engaged customer community begets more customers for the community because outsiders see it and want to be in it. Or at least when they’re considering a purchase, they search and discover that this brand’s customers are pretty happy and enthusiastic about it.
Why Brands Care About Community
Creating an environment that people gravitate to should be the philosophical goal of any business. You want sales, but won’t get any without customers. You don’t have customers without people. Community is about creating something, or participating in something, that brings people together.
When you do this you become a brand or business they know. When you participate and add value to the community, you also become a brand or business they like and trust.
And when that happens, you’re no longer an outsider paying top-dollar to interrupt their attention with an ad.
Over the last 25 years, consumers have repeatedly told us through their behaviors they do not want to be advertised to. Brands have navigated the rapids through pop-up blockers, do-not-call lists, the CAN-SPAM Act, commercial free subscription radio, television and movies. You’d think we would have learned by now.
And so, we hear the word Community quite often these days.
What is your brand doing to build community? What are you giving to your customers or prospects that brings them in and makes them trust you? Or what other communities are you participating in with the hopes of becoming not Brand or Company, but Bruce or Mickey or David?
I’d love to hear more of your perspective in the comments.
CIPIO.ai is the market leader in Community Commerce Marketing, an exciting new category of marketing strategy and automation. We identify and activate your brand advocates to ignite growth in sales, revenue, affinity, awareness, retention and beyond.
If you would like to see how we do that, click on the link in the description, the comments or below this video and I’ll show you personally.