Why Is It Important To Listen To Branded Communities In The Age Of COVID?

Communities are places that showcase what people have on their minds, versus what they have in their shopping carts.

Allow me to illustrate with an example of Korean Skincare: A 2019 Flipkart (India) study stated that the most popular K-beauty brands amongst Indian women were Innisfree and The Face Shop. Well, that is true. What is also true, however, is that India’s biggest beauty blogging community, IMBB (Indian Makeup and Beauty Blog) has a large number of UGC bloggers vouching for other little-known brands like CosRX (and many others), as one of the highest recommended K-skin brands in India. The supply chain of this segment reveals a total number of 1 Lakh vendors in the country, especially and surprisingly, in non-metro cities like Sikkim and Nagaland, where dealership is highest. This goes to show, that there have been experts, enthusiasts, vendors, customers (and thereby – communities) who have been talking about K-beauty brands in India for long enough to be a part of their daily lives.

Hence, why do branded communities matter? Because they are places where people come together and unfold and exchange of culture, through various propagators like branded products or content. Branded communities are the hotbed of customers who voice their mind and construct decisive choices based on shared input, opinions and knowledge sharing.

Many brands are investing in UGC and community building spaces to connect with their customers on a deeply personal level. Here are some of the reasons why communities are essentially military-grade intelligence to any brand who wants to listen:

  • Word-of-mouth is still the most preferred way of brand building as 92% global customers are most likely to make a purchase because it was referred to them by a friend or someone trustworthy,

  • The internet is still the place where people feel “anonymous” enough to be honest and honesty about their experience with a product really counts, which is why 93% of the global audience make purchase decisions after deeply scouting online reviews.

  • Lastly, communities build brand loyalty, by simply helping them get closer to the things they need. According to the Harvard Business Review, ‘People are more interested in the social links that come from brand affiliations than in the brands themselves’. And that friends are how influencers are born. 

Speaking of influencers, Miss Malini, the Indian TV Host, digital influencer and lifestyle blogger is another fantastic example of a community builder through personal branding. Owner and leader of The Girl Tribe, Miss Malini created the forum for women’s empowerment, where she encourages women to share inspirational stories, ask questions, and discuss every women’s related topic in the world. 

It’s creating a trusted atmosphere for your customers to associate everything they love, with the brand itself. For instance, I attended The Mahindra Blues Festival, in February 2020 Asia’s largest Blues Fest - and watched Buddy Guy perform live at the 10th anniversary of the fest – a memory, I’d say, is to live by! To the days leading up to the event, nearly 4 Lakh social media engagements had taken place making the Mahindra Group’s Blues Festival a much-talked-about the event. According to numbers presented at the festival by event hosts, Oranjuice Entertainment roughly 4000 patrons attended the fest over a single weekend!

Now that we have slipped into the Age of COVID and the whole world, including events, has moved online, it becomes essential to listen to what’s buzzing in communities. WFH has changed the way people consume and present content, mentalities have changed, conversations have changed, needs and choices have changed. This is where AI Tech and social listening comes into play. If you are equipped with a tool such as Locobuzz who monitor and analyse chatter gathered from the proverbial horses’ mouths form forums they feel completely at ease in discussing, that’s a gold mine of data right there!

Community building has become the need of the hour in our unprecedented times, and empathy is essential for precisely understanding your customers. No longer do we live in an era where communities entertain brands for their validation. Now, brands are expected to serve without personal gain. Branding is about listening; branding is about compassion and a brand’s success truly lies in the hands of a customer that trusts it.

Nishevita Aiyer
Client Relationship Manager
Locobuzz Solutions Pvt Ltd

Locobuzz is a SaaS platform that converges with technologies such as ai, ml, big data and analytics to provide brands with a 360-degree customer experience management suite. Locobuzz’s powerful analytics algorithms have helped seasoned brands establish a strong foothold in the digital hemisphere and transformed their customer experience journeys. Visit our website www.locobuzz.com for more information on our cx management services that are catered toward businesses like yours!

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