Brands are urged to build ‘communities’ to foster loyalty

community-groupMore than half (58%) of consumers aged 25 to 34 say they would be likely to spend more money on a brand’s products and services if they were part of its “community”, where they can access exclusive content and interact with other people who buy the brand.
That is according to research from content agency Dialogue, which points to a tangible return on investment through fostering brand communities across the board.
While so-called “millennials” are far more receptive to the idea, the average across all age groups was still a creditable 40%,  However, 50% of millennials also agree that they are more likely to stick with a brand than switch to competitors if they are part of a brand’s community.
In total, 1,200 UK consumers were surveyed by Censuswide on Dialogue’s behalf, exploring attitudes towards brand community, loyalty and communications, with a focus on the luxury, automotive and travel sectors. The research was commissioned to help brands understand why building effective communities is a valuable tactic in an era when marketers’ efforts are polarised between hyper-personalisation and mass media broadcast.
When it comes to specifying how important brand communities are in specific industries, 25- to 34-year-olds also lead the way: 57% of millennials think that brand communities are important in luxury; 56% in the travel sector agree and 55% in the automotive sector. The average across all respondents is 41% for travel, 36% in luxury and 34% in automotive.
Commenting on the report, Dr Charles Seger, School of Psychology, University of East Anglia, said: “Belongingness is one of our basic human needs. We are motivated to both assert our group identification and our individuality. Brand communities can allow us to fulfil these motives. People will stay loyal to brand communities that provide a unique experience, allow us to express our self-concept, and engage us with a meaningful community.”
Dialogue agency director Zoe Francis-Cox added: “Big data has transformed the marketing landscape. However, as the opportunities for starting a dialogue continue to multiply thanks to an increasing variety of platforms, the quality of conversations is suffering. This is most noticeable when trying to engage millennials.
“Consumers are constantly seeking inspiration and information but over-reliance on tech-focused tools can mean that brands are communicating in a way that is intrusive, blunt and ultimately ineffective. Our research shifts the emphasis from a data-or-nothing approach. Respondents believe, as we do, that the buzz of brand communities cultivates long-term relationships, brand advocacy and boosts sales.”

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