Create community: Advice on branding from YLAI Fellow Luisfer Pelayo

By Luisfer Pelayo, founder of ATÁLIA

When we start a brand, we rarely begin with thinking about the community around it. While it’s true that some businesses are situated in markets where creating a community around their brand is easier for them than others, all businesses or organizations have an audience with which they can create a community.

The question for many might be: Why create a community?

When we create a community around our brand, more so than just recognizing a broad audience, we begin to see people beyond “follower” or “customer” and see them as allies. These are people who will give us genuine feedback that will help us improve our product or content, participate in our activities, and even recommend the brand without asking for it.

Provide a unique experience

Brand communities represent platforms that allow dialogue between company and consumer, developing a relationship where there is a topic of common interest.

In my experience, generating a community implies giving something extra. What do I offer in addition to what I sell? How do I complement what I sell? Is it generating a 360-degree experience for my client? Does it require investment? These considerations go beyond money.

Creating a brand community is about providing information and valuable content, and this can mean having your community involved in some processes of your brand. This can include having them be involved in decision-making, working with real people, and, if your brand allows it, featuring community members in your social networks as inspirational success stories.

Identify and strengthen your community

Having said the above, the question may arise: How do I identify my community? Some advice to start with would include:

  1. Answer these questions: What is your mission? What is your vision? What are your brand objectives?
  2. Find those “wow” attributes of your brand and promote them.
  3. Contact the people who have been with you since the beginning as customers or followers or those you identify as “fans” of your brand and invite them to be part of it.
  4. Start planning how you will involve people in your community.
  5. Create close communication channels: a Facebook group, a WhatsApp group, membership, etc.
  6. Frequently feed not only your communication channels but your community as well — and keep it active!

Once I have identified my community, what can I do to strengthen it? I recommend deferring to the needs of your market:

  • Create emotional content with which they identify.
  • Do you need models for your products? Invite them to be part of your campaigns.
  • Create a focus group where, in exchange for their opinions on product advances or services, they receive gifts or extra benefits.
  • Create a membership where they are the first to know about promotions, news, or even have special promotions.
  • Get to know them. Organize events online or in person. Events can include sports activities, a breakfast or a conference.
  • Make alliances with other brands that can also add value.

Creating community in practice

At ATÁLIA, in addition to selling clothes, here are some examples of ways we create community:

  • Utilize catwalks to give visibility to plus-size women.
  • Invite clients and followers to make up the image of the brand.
  • Develop content about body positivity, promoting self-love, self-esteem, and female empowerment. Not everything is about the sale.
  • Produce a digital reality show where we do a national casting; 20 women from all over Mexico perform fashion, health, and beauty challenges, and we look for the plus-size woman who best represents our brand.
  • Hold “La Ruta de las Curvas,” an event where we visit cities in Mexico. This includes a full day of activities such as dancing, food, photoshoots, and talks with experts on topics related to women and personal development.

Just as each brand is particular, so is your community. The important thing here is that you take your first step. Even if you start with a group of five, you will soon realize that you have hundreds of people not only interested in your product or service, but also in everything you have to say or contribute to others.

ABOUT THE GUEST AUTHOR

Luisfer Pelayo, the founder of ATÁLIA, has a master’s degree in digital marketing and e-commerce. From Mexico, he is passionate about his business and helping others to grow.

 

The views and opinions expressed here belong to the author or interviewees and do not necessarily reflect those of the YLAI Network or the U.S. government.