A successful brand is trusted and respected by customers – Build a strong community on and offline and you will achieve success.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to build a solid brand. In fact, many successful companies concentrate almost exclusively through online and offline community building instead of traditional advertising. Through Facebook, Twitter and additional social networks you can grow your online community; while local community activities, events and fundraisers build your offline community.
Ryan Holmes – Founder & CEO of HootSuite states – “In our first three years of business we grew from zero to 3 million users … an impressive feat for any company, but what’s even more notable is that we did it with virtually no advertising, marketing, or PR budget …Instead we grew through community building”.
Can community building help your business?
Think Local – Grow Local
One of the biggest mistakes I made launching BST was developing a marketing plan that geographically reached further than I was able to control. Being an online marketing agency, I believed the world was open for business. However, economically it made more sense to build my business through a more local approach.
You can start with building your brand directly from your front door. Local business communities offer incredible networking opportunities. Search for these organizations through online meetups or local business directories. Joining the Westmoreland County Chamber of Commerce offered an immediate value to my business. Not only did it introduce me to businesses in the county, but the networking events helped forge relationships. First build your foundation locally, then move on to a larger geographic area.
Kalin Kassabov, Founder and CEO of ProTexting.com, and Inc Magazine contributor states – “One of the best ways to grow your small business is to join or create a larger business community … Partner with other businesses … Raise money for charity … Do speaking or teaching within the community … Create your own online community”
Let them know what your brand stands for
A clear and concise Mission Statement will define your brand. At BST, our Mission Statement is “To provide support, direction and execution of modern marketing strategies to businesses in an affordable and effective way. Through ethical business
Building a brand isn’t just about ROI
Building a brand through community means building sincere, authentic relationships. I remember talking with two gentlemen in the banking industry at a chamber event when a guy interrupted our conversation to introduce himself – but only to the two men from the banking industry. In his line of work he only deals with that industry. As the two stood there awkwardly, the other gentleman kept engaging them until they conceded a good time to call them at their office. After getting what he was after, he then quickly ran off. This is not the way to get involved in your business community. Building a community is about building relationships.
While I understand a business owner may be working 10-12 hours a day, finding time to build an offline community through networking may be challenging. Initially, it may challenge your schedule, but as you get involved and build relationships, you will be amazed at what it brings to your business.
Many people have told me that getting involved in their business community saved their business. Will you use it to help grow yours?
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”
– Steve Jobs, Co-founder, CEO, Chairman Apple Inc.