What do Sephora, GoPro, and Lego have in common? A highly-engaged brand community. Let's learn from these brands and see what strategies they adopted to benefit their business successfully.
Branded communities, when built right, are powerful elements for any organization. With user engagement, organizations can sharpen their understanding of their customers, gain visibility, strengthen their reputation from peers review, and so much more.
Brand community building strategy depends on many nuances, but the most significant determinants are the product itself and the goals of the community. Here are three examples of inspiring brands that nailed community building, using different strategies.
It all started back in 2010 with the launch of Beauty Talk. Sephora created a well-organized forum for users to ask questions, share feedback, and get best practices from other cosmetics enthusiasts. With millions of users' posts and replies, threaded stories about confidence, self-image, and personal experiences, Sephora created a highly-effective way to engage with the products and the community.
From this successful idea, Sephora decided to move further into community building and launch an app entirely dedicated to it. The app, Beauty Insider, proposes five features for an open line of communication with experts and other beauty fans.
What we love 💜
- The user-centric approach: This app is the ultimate space for beauty enthusiasts who want to get the most of their shopping experience by exchanging with others on a very intuitive, powerful app — or, should we say, "safe space.”
- The Beauty Match feature: This feature enables users to sort reviews by people sharing the same traits as them. Reviews just leveled up and got more relevant than ever.
The Insider community app delivers a more holistic and dynamic approach to beauty. It is thoughtful and intuitive to address the user's questions no matter where they are on their journey comfortably.
Multiple channels such as Groups, Conversations, and other features boost and enforce the community spirit and contributing to creating a safe space, where people support and lift each other with personal stories, advice, and tips. Finally, it is curated for each user, making the experience even more authentic and increasing monetization chances.
"GoPro enables a global movement of self-expression that's resulting in some of the most compelling user-generated content ever created. The positive impact on our brand and business has been immeasurable. Now we're excited to start rewarding our customers for their content contributions with GoPro Awards." - Nicholas Woodman, GoPro's founder, and CEO
GoPro joined the camera industry in 2002. Eighteen years later, they are the number one action camera in the market with almost no competitors and a massive community of users. From the very beginning, the company saw an opportunity in the market and oriented its marketing strategy to enable users to be the brand's very own advocates. Through multiple channels like their app, social media, or website, they encourage creativity, storytelling, and content sharing.
What we love 💜
- GoPro incentive Programs: GoPro's unique way to approach User-generated content (UGC) makes it special. By incentivizing the users to participate in challenges like the "GoPro Award" in exchange for prizes, they receive killer content that highlights the GoPro camera's endless possibilities.
- Social DNA: While GoPro understood its community's power for the brand, they integrated social elements right into their product. As part of their app, they enable video and picture editing with the option to share on social channels, making it an essential tool for users to share part of their lives.
Who could be the best product promoters if not the happy users themselves? A picture is worth a thousand words, meaning that the positive feedback and product demos open the door to new customers. They are now more than 6,000 GoPro-tagged youtube videos, and the number is growing. GoPro has fundamentally mastered UGC’s strategy by encouraging and incentivizing people to explore their creativity and turning them into brand advocates. GoPro encourages two-way interaction and makes the consumers feel proud of the way they use GoPro products.
Since 1958, Lego has perpetuated its history and brand with a consistent promise: constantly innovate, build, have fun. Early on, the brand knew how important Lego's consumers were for the brand and product, referring to them as the "other half of the toy."
With that in mind, Lego launched its Lego Ideas initiative to leverage its massive fan base and develop it into an online community. This platform is the perfect example for co-creation and innovation: it enables fans to express their ideas (by designing and building) for new LEGO products, enter exciting contests, and vote for their favorite ideas. Since its creation in 2008, the community counts over a million users, more than 26,000 product ideas submitted, and twenty-eight sets produced.
What we love 💜
- Customer-Brand connection: Before launching any new product design, Lego created a board called Lego Reviews. Their teams evaluate and review which projects can reach fruition and become a LEGO product. They inform their fans about the importance of ideas to win both from a design and business perspective. Transparency is its fundamental rule.
- Fans involvement in product development: Lego realized how powerful their fan base is and how infinite is their imagination, especially when it comes to providing new ideas and designs. Involving users in the process and giving them a chance to design the next lego set is an excellent idea to engage users and connect with them.
Lego built its strategy around one of its most powerful assets: the endless imagination of its users. By involving customers in the product development process, Lego gets to know its customers' expectations, encourages them to connect with like-minded peers, and create a meaningful engagement with the brand.
All these companies share something in common — an active, passionate user base as a community that they benefit from in many ways. From Sephora's knowledge of their consumers to GoPro's authentic promotions and Lego's co-creation process, community building proves to be a crucial success factor for these flourishing brands.