How to Build a Strong Brand Community for Your Business

by Gerald Fisher 1 September 2022

One thing we all realised last year was our need to feel connected. During the time of lockdowns, isolations, travel restrictions and broader uncertainty, we found ourselves looking to the broader online community for support and a sense of connection, especially from our favourite online brand community.

The rise in digital communities and our increased engagement with them did not go unnoticed by brands who quickly learnt that consumers were needing more than just a product – they needed to feel part of a community. We subsequently saw companies invest more of their marketing and business efforts into building their own online community where their followers, customers and audience could come together and have a sense of belonging.

But what business benefits does building a brand community offer your brand? And how can you create a community that is mutually beneficial for you and your audience?

Well, we’ve got you covered!

What is a brand community?

A brand community is a group of consumers organised around the lifestyle, activities, and ethos of the brand. From Facebook groups to subreddits, LinkedIn groups to offline meetups, a brand community can transcend platforms and serve various purposes for brands and their members.

The one common element is that they allow for followers, customers and the curiously-minded to come together over a common interest, product or brand and most importantly, connect.

From the Harley Davidson “brotherhood of riders” to Adore Beauty’s loyal “Beauty IQ” followers, no matter their size or make, a brand community has the potential to underpin the long-term success of your brand.

Taking a closer look at Harley Davidson for example, in 1983 the company was facing its demise, but twenty-five years later, the business was amongst the world’s top-50 global brands with a $7.8 billion evaluation. This pathway to success has been largely attributed to the brand’s continued commitment to building their passionate brand community, and showcases the integral role a single brand community plays in the long-term success of your business.

What benefits does building a brand community bring to overall business operations?

It’s a common misconception that brand community efforts exclusively benefit your marketing team. Although marketing has a major role to play in building and maintaining brand communities (and tends to reap the rewards), it should not be forgotten that a brand community offers broader business benefits, such as:


Brand communities offer brands the opportunity to interact with their customers and audience beyond the traditional buyer-seller relationship and act as a form of two-way communication.

Engaging with your audience beyond the purchasing process, provides brands the opportunity to keep connected with their audience, remain front-of-mind, and showcase an authentic side of your brand. Also, with a more engaged community comes more vocal supporters and the rise of unofficial brand ambassadors who will openly communicate their love for your brand across their own networks.

Activewear brand Lululemon is a great example of an organisation that’s been able to continually create authentic and engaging content outside of the purchasing cycle – fostering loyalty and unofficial brand ambassadors in the process.

Beyond their e-commerce site and brick-and-mortar stores, they have invested in creating content for their broader community both offline and online. From workouts and events, to recipes and wellness tips, Lululemon has continued to provide value to their customers outside of their product offering, and encouraged their community to invite their own networks to share in the benefits.

By providing continual value to your community by humanising your brand, in return you benefit from a more engaged following who are more likely to repurchase and share their positive experience with potential customers, and subsequently increasing your brand awareness.

Research and insights

By having a platform that allows for open dialogue between your brand and audience, you have the opportunity to gather valuable insights regarding your product/service and gain a better understanding of your customers’ needs and wants via your brand community.

A simple way to do this is to incorporate mini polls or surveys into your content strategy, asking for advice or direct feedback on an idea or concept. You’d be surprised how willing people are to provide constructive feedback through the community, especially if you provide a small incentive (who doesn’t like free things?).

Crisis management and transparency

Let’s be honest, things can and do go wrong when running a business. Whether it’s delivery delays, lost packages, or a poor customer experience, by establishing a strong brand community, not only are you able to address these issues openly, you can also be transparent about what you’re doing about it.

Emerging Australian skincare brand, Go-To-Skincare, recently discontinued two popular products following community backlash. One of these products was the tinted version of the brand’s popular ‘Zincredible SPF 15 moisturiser.’ Upon its anticipated release, fans were quick to note that the product only came in one shade. In a time where there’s greater demand for diversity and inclusivity within the beauty industry, this issue had the potential to tarnish the Go-To brand, which had been built upon the use of relatable and inclusive messaging and products.

However, it was how the brand responded to the issue, which truly highlighted the importance of the brand community they had worked hard to build. The community offered a direct communication channel where the company could almost immediately respond to audience concerns. They were able to provide more clarity on the product, but also address how they were going to solve the issue. They subsequently announced they would be changing the product’s name, and in the long-term, and more recently, discontinued the product, which was also announced directly to their community.

The opportunity to offer a high-level of transparency during a time of crisis or criticism provides a greater sense of understanding from the community as you work to remedy the issue without impacting your brand image and overall customer experience.

Brand Loyalty

The combination of high engagement and transparency more often than not creates a more loyal and vocal following. By asking for feedback and insights, which you then implement as part of your messaging or product/service development, your brand community can visibly see that their contributions are being heard, generating a sense of co-creation.

Anyone who has a perceived ownership over a product is going to have a vested interest in its continued success and more likely to re-purchase. This will subsequently increase your customer lifetime value (CLV).

Rewarding your brand community through discounts and perks is also a great way to encourage long-term loyalty. Starbucks is an organisation that takes loyalty programs to the next level. Using the Starbucks mobile app, customers can access personalised rewards for not only making purchases, but also attending bonus point events and playing games. By encouraging and rewarding loyalty, Starbucks has set up an infrastructure for continual re-purchase and increasing the long-term value of their brand community.

However, remember that a brand community should be a way for your customer to authentically engage with your brand. Be sure that if you do launch any loyalty programs to keep your customers engaged, it is mutually beneficial and you’re still showcasing an authentic side to your brand.

How to build a successful brand community in 4 easy steps

1. Choose your community platform – meet your audience halfway

It’s important you have effective channels for your brand community to not only connect with your brand, but also with each other. With the rise of social media channels, Facebook, Reddit and Instagram are platforms that not only already have high engagement rates, but also transcend state and international borders to increase your brand reach.

In addition to having your own Facebook or Instagram page, explore starting your own Facebook group where you can have a more open dialogue.

2. Decide what kind of space you would like to create

When building your brand community, it is important to decide what you and your community want to get out of the space. Is the community going to be an outlet where current and potential customers can seek advice? Is it going to be a space where they share reviews? Is it going to be simply an extension of your other brand channels?

It is important to answer these questions to help you formulate your content pillars and map out the content you would like to share. Generally, a brand community evolves organically, so it is expected that your initial intentions may pivot in response as your community grows, but it’s positive to know where to start.

3. Invite your audience

Now you know what platform you’re going to use and what space you’d like to create for your community, it’s time to invite your audience to join. Some tactics include:

Reach out to those that are already in your network

  • Other social channels
    • Email database
  • Daily engagement
    • Like, comment, follow other like minded people and accounts to attract new community members
  • Incentivise joining
    • For example, if you have set-up an exclusive Facebook group for your brand community, perhaps share exclusive discounts or offers to those that join. You’ll be surprised how quickly word gets out that there are offers up for grabs. Regularly sharing discounts, giveaways or offers is also a great strategy for rewarding your community and encourages long-term loyalty.

4. Keep your brand community engaged

Once you’ve acquired community members, it’s imperative to keep them engaged. Remember to be authentic with the content you do share, and don’t be afraid to show BTS activity or put a face to your brand name.

One great angle is to let your community have their say. Feel free to pose polls or surveys if you have a new product or service line you’re thinking about, and ask for their feedback. This will then transcend to a feeling of co-creation if you act on the feedback and insights you gather. You can also reward participation by hosting giveaways or competitions.

It is important however, to not micromanage your brand community. Remember, the community is first and foremost a place for your audience and customers to have an authentic experience and to feel connected, not spammed. Facilitate engagement, don’t force it.

How to manage a brand community

Now that you’ve built your brand community, it’s important you invest in maintaining and continuing its growth. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you manage your brand community:

  1. Daily engagement (ideally multiple times a day)
  2. Hire a community manager
  3. Invite guest contributors
  4. Go LIVE – utilise Facebook and Instagram Live features
  5. Listen – make sure to action on key customer feedback, concerns or insights
  6. Activate brand ambassadors and encourage your customers to share their own content

Need more branding advice?

We can help. We’re specialists at building, engaging and managing brands. Visit our website at, or drop us a line:

by Gerald Fisher