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How brand communities push change
November 19, 2020
Challenger brands speak with their consumer rather than at them. They build their brands with their customers, and as a result, they are able to be extremely relevant, differentiate themselves from their competitors, and boost customer loyalty. ‘Direct To Consumer’ is becoming ‘Direct With Consumer’ and we’re seeing a strategic shift towards utilizing the power of brand communities to their fullest.
Traditional advertising is based on the belief that if you push something enough, you’ll be able to sell enough. Push a product a thousand times and you’ll make a few sales. Advertising has been around for thousands of years, but tribes have been around longer.
Tribes are about connecting people and ideas and this is something people have been wanting forever. They are now everywhere thanks to social media and the internet. It is these communities that can make change. Not because they are forcing people to do something, but because they want to connect people with one another.
At its core, marketing is really all about making change. We use marketing to change behaviour. The process of leading this change goes like this:
Tell a story -- Connect a tribe -- Lead a movement -- Create change
Rebel Book Club, Glossier, and Gymshark are all powerful examples of successful brand communities that drive brand growth. Gymshark specifically has been valued at over 1bn pounds only eight years after being founded by a 19-year-old fitness fanatic in the British Midlands. To build the Gymshark brand, Ben Francis sent his clothing to people in the lifting community on YouTube and asked them to give feedback and if they liked the product, promote it. “They liked it and wanted to be part of Gymshark. We created this cool, quirky brand that was speaking to the community when no one else was.”
“You just need 1000 true fans, people that get you. The product you create isn’t for everyone. Its about finding the true believers. The Beatles did not invent teenagers, they merely decided to lead them.” Seth Godin
White Bear saw the power of brand communities first hand through our clients. At the start of lockdown, we decided it was our turn. Over seven months on, we continue to build our Future Unicorns community day by day. With over 200 brands now taking part, we thought it was time to share what we’re doing and why we’re doing it.
Who are you upsetting? If you’re not upsetting anyone you’re not changing the status quo.
The Future Unicorns community began because we believe strongly in connecting brands with one another to share ideas. Some competition is always healthy, but we’ve found brands grow much faster when they work together. As an agency, offering free advice and an open line from brand leader to agency creative can be criticized, but it’s something we believe in.
Who are you connecting? Because that’s what people are in it for
Future Unicorns is connecting brand and marketing leaders who value challenger thinking. We bridge the communication gap between startups, challenger brands, and established brands.
What is the ritual that makes your community unique?
One of our most popular threads on our Slack community is #audit-my-brand where people can share what they’ve been working on, whether it be a brand identity, packaging, or a campaign in order to get real-time feedback.
What rhythms are going to give your community momentum?
We congregate each week around a Future Unicorns Session hosted by an industry expert. This weekly webinar gives us a consistent drumbeat and encourages people to stay involved.
Great ideas take a tribe. Our Future Unicorns community is for brands who are brave, creative, and disruptive with purpose. Apply to join here.