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Why are D2C brands in love with online creator communities?

Industry observers say the pandemic and ‘influencer fatigue’ brought the community-led model into focus, prompting brands to allocate budgets for consumer-cum-creator led marketing

e4m by Kanchan Srivastava
Published: May 4, 2022 8:34 AM  | 3 min read
Community marketing

Direct to Consumer (D2C) brands so far had largely been focussing on performance marketing and Above The Line (ATL) campaigns. Not anymore.

Most D2C brands have now shifted to building online communities of consumers now.

Canon, for instance, has created a space for photography lovers with #CanonEdge, where community members share photographs. Samsung mobile phone too has launched #WithGalaxy, where content creators actively share their shots.

The trend has found takers in cryptocurrency too. Crypto exchange WazirX, for instance, has created “WazirX Warriors” who educate people in tier 2 and 3 cities about the idea behind cryptocurrency. WazirX Warriors are connected through a private Telegram group. Interestingly, this “super-community” gets crypto rewards for the content the members post, provided it is “purely educational”.

Why community marketing?

This branch of marketing is different from social media marketing and is based on the fact that consumers are more likely to react to informal social interactions than paid ads. It also encourages prospective buyers to spread the message via direct word-of-mouth advertising in a non-intrusive way.

According to industry experts, the pandemic and ‘influencer-fatigue’ have accelerated the community-led model, prompting many brands to allocate a budget for the unique consumer-cum-creator led marketing.

‘User-Generated Content More Effective’

Communities generate more authentic interactions, and User-Generated Content (UGC) is more influential in the purchase decisions than influencer or branded content, show researches. As per a Nielsen report, 92% of customers trust and turn to people they know for reviews and recommendations above any other source.

It has also been found that 79% of people consider UGC has had a direct impact on their purchasing decisions since it comes from ‘real’ people and is 10-times more relatable.

Ambika Sharma, Founder & MD, Pulp Strategy, says, “Unlike traditional advertising that is solely focused on getting new customers, a community marketing strategy is more about connecting and engaging with people to build long-term relationships. It’s about conversations and the power of making your customers or potential customers feel recognized, heard, and important.”

LEGO Ideas is an ultimate example of a successful brand community. The community has over 1.8 million members connecting over their love of creating and building with LEGO products, industry leaders point out.

Catching up & how

Community building has turned into a thriving trend, and almost every other marketer is looking to tap its potential, says Sahil Chopra, Founder & CEO- iCubesWire.

“According to a report, 6 in 10 marketers allocate their marketing budget towards community building. Reason: The social media dynamics have seen significant change over time, and content creators now spearhead the digital sphere. With content creators leading the show, it is even easier for brands to make potential buyers feel welcomed in the community, given their vast followership.”

Fashion and cosmetics brands have created several communities of micro-influencers. They focus on building communities on Instagram and YouTube and work with lot of consumers who double up as micro-influencers. Their content is displayed on a brand’s website, they co-create products, post content on social media to drive acquisition and more.

Pink Lemonade Communications, an integrated marketing and communications agency, recently announced the launch of a UGC platform. “We have seen that more and more brands today are looking at newer methods of marketing to gain more customers,  build trust among their audience, and influence purchasing decisions.  Pink Lemonade UGC Studios is a step towards providing new-age marketing tools for the brands that we work with,” says Tina Garg, CEO and Chief Creative Storyteller.

Through its subscription-based service, the firm aims to help brands in putting out great, relatable content made by a multitude of talented creators.

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