Creating a Community of Brand evangelists.

[Intro: This is the keynote i gave during Kongossa Web Series 2013 (#KWS2013) last january. For those who couldn’t make it, here’s the full content of my speech(with some edits) Enjoy]

Ntabo0_#KWS2013

It is difficult today to assume that one can succeed without the support of a team, constantly cheering or just constantly reminding you of your goals. Rubbing elbows with your peers, those who share the same dream of success is all you need to stay motivated and move forward. How do you convert customers into community members? In other words, how to do you transform your brand from a mere product into a lifestyle? I have compiled 3 easy steps to help you move your product from just another shelf/web face to a lifestyle guru. Following this simple schematic:

Need (buy)Trust Appreciation (From something you want-to what you prefer)Dream  Love Contribution=Community.

First let’s talk about all the elements in this workflow:

Need: This is the basic creed behind putting a product on the market. The idea is that your product has a niche of buyers who will get your product from the get go. The question comes from how do you make them buy your product while they can have something similar cheaper? You establish trust.

Trust: the fundamental element to your success. If you can guarantee the same taste, quality, or durability every time people use your product, you gain their trust. Trust is the most difficult thing to earn from your consumers. But once you’ve earned it _ emphasis on earning it, there’s no easy way around, have to earn it to build a long lasting relationship __ people will start liking your product(s).

Appreciation: Once trust has been earned and established. Your fellow users will shift from occasional users to returning customers. Once they move from a simple want, to using your product because it’s what they prefer, you will be one step closer to brand loyalty. Now that they identify with your brand, sharing values and culture comes next.

Dream:  Values and culture could be shared through a common goal, or a dream. If you succeed in selling a dream, they will believe, and in return, they will execute.

Love: After trust has been established, dreams shared and executed, the next logical step in this journey is love. Creating love brings in a new and necessary milestone in our quest for community building. Picture this as the love story between your brand and your audience/consumers.

Contribution: When people genuinely care and love something, they get involved. They start looking for the best interest and contribute to the general advancement of what they believe is good.

Now that we understand all the elements of the workflow, Let’s take a look at our 3-step-framework.

1-Crowd Sourcing/Observe you consumers.

I believe that the first step in community building is to observe your customers. You need to understand how they’re using your product. This phase might take forever, but it is necessary. You need to comprehend what it is that they have an interest in. Looking back from the moment the product was introduced to your most recent campaign. Listen to what they are saying. Consumers have a lot to say. Some of it might be good, some of it might be bad. Either way, you have to listen to what they’re saying. Only then can you truly understand what matters for them.

2-Practice what you preach.

After observing/listening to what they had to say it’s time for you to look at how you’re going to implement what you learned. Modify the areas of complaints, and lead by example. You core staff, needs to understand that they’re part of the human network and therefore can make and tremendous impact within their network. Only by becoming customers ourselves can we recruit our target audience to market our products. In a way it’s a trust and balance relationship.

3-Engagment

Focus on engagement rather than selling. The objective here is to create genuine relationships. Remember that we want our brand to become part of our audience’s family. Think of the first time your father/mother showed you how to tie your laces. Better, think of “the family” ‘s favorite bakery shop, the one shop where the owner and staff knows everyone in your family. Or the complicity you share with the waiter/bartender at your favorite pub – “The usual?” they asked. They know you and your consumer habit, but more importantly they know how to do it right and that’s why you keep coming back. That right there is more important than any other number, or insight that a focus group can provide. That’s the genuine relationship that you want with your community.

Once you’ve carefully applied this framework, take a moment to sit back and watch the members of your community talk, promote and even fight for you and brand. That’s right, brand evangelists are in your command and ready for action.

Comments?Concerns? don’t hesitate to post them in the comments below. Or on our facebook page twitter to continue the conversation

Peace.

PS: Thanks to the team behind Kongossa Live for the opportunity to participate in the #KWS2013

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