With the amount of competition present in today’s business landscape, it’s important for a brand to set itself apart. The best way to identify how your brand is different is to ask the question, “What is our purpose?”.
What does your brand hope to achieve, aside from making a profit? Your purpose should explain why you do what you do. What is your brand passionate about? This is not to be confused with your brand’s mission. Your purpose should be at the core of all your operations, while your mission is comprised of the actions you take to achieve your purpose.
For example, here at Chaordix, our purpose is to inspire innovation. We achieve this through our mission of providing an online co-creation and participation platform for companies to connect and collaborate with their customers, providing insights and informing new ideas for brands.
Keep in mind that your brand purpose can be more aspirational than your mission. Once you establish brand purpose, you can start to search out consumers who identify with it and gain valuable insights into what mission and goals you should be setting. Everything your company does should feed into or relate back to its purpose.
Brand Advocates versus Brand Influencers
Not all consumers are the same in terms of their relationships with the products they buy and brands they associate with. Average consumers may have specific brands and products that they trust but do not necessarily promote to other consumers unless prompted.
Brand influencers are individuals who use social media to promote brands and sway consumer choices. These types of individuals may not necessarily like the brand they are promoting and may require incentive to be a promoter. These are essentially paid advertisers.
Then there are brand advocates: these are the individuals who are passionate about a brand and its products or services and routinely advocate for and recommend this brand to other consumers. These individuals do not usually require incentive to advocate for a brand; they take it upon themselves to advocate for your brand.
One space where brand advocates are increasingly present is online. They may be defending your company in forums or writing detailed reviews about your company’s products or services. If your company hosts or participates in events or has a physical retail location, try and see who the regular customers are - this can be a good indication if they are possible brand advocates or not.
It is important to identify who your brand advocates are as they can provide valuable insights about how your brand is perceived, and help your company to innovate and build upon your current mission and overarching purpose.
Forming a Brand Community
Whether you want to connect with your brand advocates to thank them for being fans, ask them to participate in your research process, or simply nurture the relationship in order to turn more customers into brand advocates, your company needs to establish a place for this communication to transpire.
In order to best engage with your brand advocates, you need to create an interactive space conducive to two-way communication with users and active participation between consumers and your company. This will help create a sense of community and pave the way for honest and constructive feedback.
Related Read: Why the customer experience journey needs community
Chaordix helps companies maintain these relationships by creating a true community via our co-creation platform, allowing full participation from all members. Customers can take part in active and ongoing discussions about the brand and its products or services, participate in innovation challenges, complete surveys, and provide feedback for the company to then interpret into actionable insights.
Creating the Right Kind of Engagement through Goal Setting
What sets our co-creation and participation platform apart from regular social media is the fact that brands have the power of community management. Companies can choose how they engage with their brand advocates based on the goals they want to achieve. The platform is targeted, directed, and managed by your brand.
Your company’s goals should always be informed by its mission and overarching purpose - the goals are simply actionable steps your company can take. For example, are you looking to test out a new product? Or, do you want direct assistance on a marketing campaign your company launched? Maybe you just want to get to know your customer base better. Once you set your company goals, you can then use our participation platform to accomplish them.
A great example of community management and engagement through the power of participation and co-creation is our partnership with Rust-Oleum, a worldwide leader in protective paints and coatings. Rust-Oleum identified its purpose in its passion to find creative solutions for customer problems. They made it their mission to connect with their growing customer base in the DIY community and through our participation platform they were able to do just that.
Together, we built the Creator’s Studio, a brand engagement and innovation platform that engages with Rust-Oleum’s brand advocates in the DIY community. Through this platform, Rust-Oleum is able to answer product-related questions, learn alternative ways customers are using its products, and use the community as a test audience in terms of messaging, packaging, and product rollouts.
For brands just entering the co-creation space, our community management team is here to ensure you get the most value out of our platform. We can oversee programming for your platform and assist with reporting such as gathering data for analysis and interpretation. We can also step in as moderators to ensure members are following the community guidelines or to encourage conversation through targeted questions.
It’s Not About the “Perfect Fit”
Keep in mind that the point of connecting with your brand advocates is to inform your company’s mission and overarching purpose. You may not necessarily find brand advocates that are the perfect fit. They may not completely align with your brand goals and values - and that’s okay. Learning why they associate with your brand and what they like about your brand is a step toward creating further relationships with your customers and finding certain niches within your customer base. The act of nurturing your brand advocates simply helps you refine your mission and purpose to better align with your goals and customers.
In the end, this should all relate back to why your company does what it does and why it’s different from the many others like it.
Your purpose can evolve as your company grows and your mission may adapt to new climates and economies, but your company’s reason for existing will remain a constant reminder to your employees, customers, and the market in general.