Online community

How big brands build online communities for success: case studies + examples

Need community-building inspiration? Let's take a look at some of the biggest and most successful brands in the world to learn from their community strategies!

Establishing a thriving online community is not just a marketing strategy anymore, but a necessity for businesses aiming to forge meaningful connections with their audience. Brands and companies that master the art of building engaged online communities unlock a myriad of benefits, from increased brand loyalty to enhanced customer satisfaction.

In this blog, we'll delve into real-world examples and case studies to unveil top-notch strategies that have propelled brands and companies to build engaged online communities successfully.

Case studies of top brands with inspiring community strategies

Authenticity in action: honest storytelling by Airbnb

One of the cornerstones of building a strong online community is the power of authentic storytelling. Consumers are drawn to genuine narratives that resonate with their experiences and values. A prime example of this strategy in action is Airbnb's "Belong Anywhere" campaign. By showcasing real stories of hosts and guests, Airbnb humanized its brand and created a sense of belonging, fostering a community around shared experiences.

Cultivate user-generated content: the Starbucks way

Starbucks, a pioneer in leveraging user-generated content, has successfully built a vast online community. Through initiatives like the #StarbucksCupContest, the brand encouraged customers to share their creative interpretations of the iconic Starbucks cup. This not only generated buzz but also turned customers into brand ambassadors, fostering a sense of community among coffee enthusiasts.

Interactive engagement: Nike’s gamification techniques

Gamification is a powerful tool to enhance user engagement, and Nike has aced this game with its Nike Training Club app. By incorporating gamified elements like achievements, challenges, and rewards, Nike transformed the fitness journey into an interactive and communal experience. Users not only improved their fitness but also became part of a global community striving for wellness.

Empowering community content: Red Bull's dynamic approach

Red Bull, known for its high-energy brand, has successfully created a vibrant community by focusing on empowering content. Instead of just promoting its products, Red Bull invests in content that aligns with its audience's interests. The Red Bull Stratos project, where Felix Baumgartner made a record-breaking skydive from the stratosphere, exemplifies this strategy. By sponsoring and broadcasting extreme events, Red Bull not only captivates its audience but also positions itself as a lifestyle brand. This approach shows that community building goes beyond traditional marketing, emphasizing shared passions and experiences.

Education builds community: HubSpot Academy's triumph

HubSpot, a leader in inbound marketing, took a unique approach by investing in education. Through HubSpot Academy, the company provides free online courses, certifications, and resources. This not only positions HubSpot as an authority but also fosters a community of marketers who share knowledge and experiences. The strategy showcases that building a community is not solely about promoting products but also about contributing to the growth of the audience.

Niche communities: the power of focus seen in Peloton

Rather than aiming for a broad audience, some brands find success in catering to niche communities. Peloton, a fitness technology company, thrives on this principle. By offering live and on-demand fitness classes with a connected community, Peloton transformed working out at home into a social experience. Users share achievements, compete in challenges, and build connections centered around a shared interest in fitness.

Influencer collaboration: how Morphe cultivated community through partnerships

Morphe, a cosmetics brand, has skillfully utilized influencer collaborations as a catalyst for community building. By partnering with beauty influencers and makeup artists, Morphe not only expands its reach but also taps into existing communities. The #MorpheX hashtag, often associated with these collaborations, creates a shared space where beauty enthusiasts can discuss, share tips, and celebrate their favorite products. Morphe's strategic use of influencer partnerships demonstrates how aligning with influential figures can foster a sense of community and trust among consumers.

Consistent engagement: Discord's unique model

Discord, originally designed for gamers, has evolved into a versatile platform for community building. What sets Discord apart is its commitment to providing a space for continuous, real-time engagement. Brands like Adobe use Discord to facilitate discussions, share resources, and provide direct support. This approach showcases the importance of creating a space where community members can engage consistently. The good news is, you can do this for your app by cleverly integrating social features.

Content creation as community glue: the success of Tasty by BuzzFeed

BuzzFeed's Tasty is a prime illustration of how content creation (and curation) can serve as the adhesive for a thriving online community. Tasty, known for its visually enticing recipe videos, has turned cooking into a shared experience. By encouraging users to recreate and share their versions of Tasty recipes, the brand has cultivated a community of food enthusiasts. This approach demonstrates that fostering a sense of community goes beyond direct interactions, extending into the realm of shared interests and creative expression.


Building an engaged online community is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. Successful strategies are diverse, incorporating authenticity, user-generated content, gamification, social media engagement, education, niche focus, and consistent interaction. By learning from real-world examples like Airbnb, Starbucks, Nike, Glossier, HubSpot, Peloton, and Discord, businesses can tailor their approach to forge lasting connections in the digital landscape. As you embark on your community-building journey, remember that the key lies in understanding your audience, valuing their contributions, and creating a space where they feel heard, appreciated, and connected.


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