ComBlu The State of Online Branded Communities3
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Online branded communities have three primary purposes:Feedback, Advocacy and Support.Each of these community pillars requires different ways of engaging and activating stakeholders. Engagement tactics,rewards and recognition approaches, community design andvoice and member experience will vary from pillar to pillar.ComBlu’s second annual “Stateof Online Branded Communi-ties” study closely examinesthe community and social mar-keting programs of 78 compa-nies—all of which are majorbrands—across 12 industries.We joined and evaluated 241communities, comprising a mixof feedback, advocacy andsupport communities. One of our major goals was to gainfirsthand experience with howthese communities engage andinteract with their members.Specifically, our research assesses the brands’ effective-ness in:
Providing a meaningful experience for members.
Integrating their brand strategies across multiple com-munities and social media.
Applying best practices to strengthen customer en-gagement.As companies move from an experimentation phase to amore cohesive, disciplined approach to social marketing,their performance in these three areas becomes evenmore critical to their success. The “new normal” for mar-keters is to prove the business value of every program andmaximize the return of every dollar spent. The design of community marketing programs must deliberately follow abest practices road map and generate business intelli-gence that provides a diagnostic for maximizing impactand return on investment (ROI).According to Francois Gossieaux, partner of Human 1.0and author of
The Hyper-Social Organization
,“Companies realize that to successfully engage with em-ployees, customers, prospects and detractors, you needto go where they congregate and embrace a federatedapproach to community.” Yet many companies are stillbarely out of the pilot stage when it comes to overallsocial engagement programs. According to the 2010“Tribalization of Business Study,” which surveyed 300companies, 54% of their online communities were lessthan a year old, and only 13% were older than threeyears. A whopping 96% planned to equal or increase2010 budget levels for social marketing initiatives.Matching social engagement strategy to business objec-tives and optimizing return on social marketing invest-ments is more crucial than ever.
To succeed, brands must understand how to apply bestpractices appropriate to each pillar. This will generatedeeper, more sustained member engagement and enablebrands to accomplish their specific community goals.
s companies become more experienced with social engagement, their approachesand processes evolve beyond the confines of a single online-sponsored community andextend broadly across the cloud.
Community With Purpose