Community-led growth is taking the center stage of many companies from various industries. But the concept of community-led growth came to prominence recently that all companies are fighting for the race to future-proof their brand via community-led growth. So what is the buzz all about? How does a community play such an important role and is the beating heart of a business? Let's see prehistoric (where a community was undervalued) and right now(where CLG is the company's future).

Then

The preconceived notions people had towards a brand community are as follows:

  • The community was undervalued and was an afterthought. Customers didn't give much attention to a community of the lack of staff and members.
  • The community didn't have the weightage and the ability to have a great impact on the businesses.
  • The community was considered transactional for customers since companies solely drive leads and other aspects via their community.

Now

When the great push towards brand community was reborn; Ah! A major shift happened and the perspective of people towards being a part of a community changed ever since the need of feeling for connection aggrandized -- it gave a whole new definition to producing outsized returns via community-led growth of a company. Why are companies focusing on a community-led future more than ever before?

  • Customers/members are looking for a sense of connection now more than ever, which paves the way for a symbiotic relationship between the customer and the company.
  • Companies are focused on building a customer-centric business to empower their customers through customer community.
  • Companies who are building the community around their brand/product, are encouraging connections between customers, enabling them to hop in for the long haul as an authentic community-driven company.

Benefits of community-led growth

As a company that carries out community-led growth as its agenda, the following are the benefits.

Bolstering retention

Tapping into the power of community, a company is shifting its focus on creating an inclusive community for its customers, by doing so they are bolstering customer retention. How? By creating connections with the members of the community, make them feel belonging which makes them come back. A customer comes for your brand and stays for your authentic community. This also reduces the customer churn rate in your business. Looking for ways to improve churn rate in your company?

Improves Customer acquisition costs(CAC)

Did you know over 1 million members submit their ideas in the Lego Ideas community for new Lego sets? On top of which they also actively participate in the events and contents of the Lego group!

Minecraft has over 92 million active users out of which millions of expert players produce content on how to become a pro at the game in the Minecraft forum, which was solemnly created by the community members.

When your customers like your product/brand, they can become community experts, champions, and help their peers out in your community or even a member of your community who's looking how to use new features of your product, when they learn new cool ways, they recommend it to their friends and people they know might get benefited out of it. CAC is happening like a a slow-mo domino-effect here.

Brand discovery and on-tap help

Product discovery plays a crucial role alongside support and helping your customers get the full potential of your product. Even if you have the most pragmatic product and do extravagant marketing, it would be of zero help if your customers/users can't figure out how to use your product no matter how simple they are.

This is where a community comes as the little survival kit to educate your users with the help of your community experts and enthusiasts, who create how-to videos on new product features and gladly help the community members when they need support or have any questions related to the product so that they get a huge chunk of value out of your community and great results using your product.

Not only do they bridge the education gap, but they also motivate already existing customers to try out new challenges, to master the art of using your product if your customers absolutely love your product, the community will greatly impact already existing customers and prospective customers in creating brand awareness and to present your users with a powerful resource -- your community to help and guide your customers.

Brand loyalty and customer delight

This is like hitting two birds with one stone. When you have community champions, experts, and peers in your community who not only help and support your community members but also promote your brand, they open up opportunities for brand loyalty and customer delight amongst your customers.

Product development

Have you ever wondered why the Ubuntu community is an open-source community where members across the world can contribute to fixing bugs, product features, and the overall functionality of the product? Okay, so why do companies create something and share it freely? Not just Ubuntu but a whole different set of open-sources like Debian, Jenkins, Apache, Kubernetes and much more are empowering contributors to actively alter and fix bugs in the product which enables companies to adapt and redefine their product through the new technological shifts.

Instantaneous feedback

Now, this is very important when a company wants to stay relevant to customers' needs, and hence gathering frequent feedback would give them ideas on how to improve their product and also gain valuable insights from customers on usability, UI/UX, and much more.

Companies can do beta testing with their entrusted community members to get their genuine feedback about new product updates and this will, in turn, help Product management teams to fine-tune the product if it needs any and finally launch it. You will be fascinated to know in how many ways can a community benefit the product management teams.

Gamification increases community engagement

We could write a whole new article just on Gamification in the community. Gamification could attract more users and also encourage them to work towards reaching a specific goal, when they achieve it, instant gratification is priceless for many. Gamification not only kindles community engagement but also helps a company focus on strategizing tactics that will organically manifest themselves in your community in the long run.

Gamification is the new black that is wielded by many brand communities focusing on member retention and sustainable engagement. The reason why Peloton is turning its workout routine into a Video game experience for its users has many advantages. Peloton is looking to gamify exercise with a new in-app experience geared toward its stationary bikes tentatively called Lanebreak. This will catapult users to workout together or even just do solo workouts but they'll be reeled into working out with the gamify exercise that they lose track of time. Working out with fellow members or not, it's a win-win for Peloton.

Is gamification the only way to a sustainable engagement in a community? Of course, not, there are effective ways to achieve sustainable engagement in a community, it's all simple and pragmatic.

Positive word-of-mouth

When does positive WOM happen in a community? When community engagement, members helping one another in a community, community members working together to reach a specific goal, or collaborating with a group of members to create and contribute something great, participate in challenges and contests, and much more. When all the mentioned above happens, then it encourages community members to spread the word about your community to their friends and people they know who can benefit from your product. Hence organic word-of-mouth is achieved through community members, this will attract new customers and increase brand awareness to many non-members.

Benefits of community to customers/users

Community members are like, we are being a part of the community and companies reap all the benefits, but nothing for us? Haha! Take a closer look, a community is not a fancy place to do sales marketing and advertising, a community is a community for people, by the people who benefit from it.

The list of benefits is endless, and ultimately it's the customer who gets benefited out of it plentiful alongside the company. A community is symbiotic to both customers and companies.

  • Like we saw in the aforementioned example cases, a member who contributes to the community will add value to the product and also help other members of the community adding value to both members and product.
  • The sense of belonging a community provides by being authentic, real, and is created with the sole purpose of helping its customers is applauded by users and customers.
  • The community experts creating how-to videos on new amazing features hinders other users to try out the same to gain great results. They're excited to be a part of creating something innovative and impressive.
  • The community members interacting with each other will make them find their own set of people who share similar interests, which paves the way for community managers to form cohorts in a community.
  • Ultimately, gamification in a community is being loved by members all over and it will also encourage them to recommend it to others creating a flywheel effect solely driven by customers.
  • Your customers would add abundant value to your business in product development, feedback, contributions to open-source, and provide great insights. When they're being rewarded, it makes them feel special and also encourages them to contribute more and come on a long journey with you making your brand growth future-proof.

Beginning of a new journey

How long will it take before community-led growth becomes the new black and leads the brand growth? Community-led growth is working as a frontier to conventional product-led growth and in no time it will entirely shift the focus towards a community-led future for brands across the globe.

I think the shift is already happening especially with the way things are going, give it 3 years (give or take one year) at best.

So, what are you waiting for? Hop on board of the community-led bandwagon but before that, it's high time you start building your community now! Come on! It's almost 2022, if you are befuddled to choose the right community-building platform to start your journey to experience the new heights of customer involvement, interaction, and insights exactly how you want them, then we are here to help you build your community -- we offer a free 30-day trial to amaze and impress you.

Spoiler alert: Don’t say we didn’t warn you of our cuteness overloaded fruity depictions!
By the way, if you are looking to have some fun and candid conversations, do check out our Community & cold coffee conversations and book your slot soon, since we are always completely booked, so book your slot in advance here. We will catch up with you on Saturday( with cold coffee).

Last but not least, we would love to have you as a part of our Community & cold coffee – we are a bunch of zealots who love to have some fun and tectonic conversations.