- Connecting The Dots
- Community VS Category
Community VS Category
Today we're diving into a topic that's a bit of a game-changer:
Why building a community might be more beneficial than trying to create a new category.
Check out the full episode with Jonathan for a lot of great points and unmatched energy.
Let's start today again with a random fun fact.
Did you know that people in Sweden would call off work, saying they were 'too gay' to work? 🇸🇪 🧐
I'll let you know why at the end of today's course why that is.
However, if you find these insights valuable, the best way to support our work is by inviting your friends to become Dot Connecters and learn more about Connecting The Dots between marketing activities and financial goals.
Topic Of Today
🎙 Episode Highlight: Community Building For the Win
📚 Deep Dive: Community vs Category
📌 Actionable Advice
💡 Pro Tip
📽️Connecting The Dots: Building Community Over Category📽️
In an episode of Connecting The Dots, Jonathan Wuurman argues that building a community around your brand might be more beneficial than trying to create a new category.
1. 🎙 An Episode Highlight: Community Building For the Win
Jonathan argues that while creating a new category can offer first-mover advantages and rapid growth, it often comes with significant risks and challenges.
Let's run through some key takeaways from his reasoning.
Movements are Stronger than Categories: Jonathan believes that building a movement around a product or service is more potent than merely creating a category. He sees categories as a form of "mind trick" that companies use in order to build on the 'smoke & mirrors' effect.
Community is Based on Trust: According to Jonathan, a community is built on the trust of the people who believe in what you're trying to build. He mentions that he has 6,000 engaged users in Actito, which he can lean onto as a community.
Community-Led Growth: Jonathan emphasises the concept of community-led growth, which he finds to be more insightful and impactful compared to striving to build a category.
2. 📚 Deep Dive: Community vs Category
Authentic Relationships (BombBomb): Building a community allows for more authentic relationships with your customers, leading to higher retention rates. This aligns with Jonathan's emphasis on authentic engagement.
Risk Mitigation (HBR): Category creation often involves significant financial and operational risks. Community building can often be done at a lower cost and with higher chances of success.
Consumer Loyalty (Everyone Hates Marketers): Communities often foster a sense of loyalty among members, making them more likely to stick with your brand even when competitors arrive. This echoes Jonathan's point about the long-term benefits of community building.
Sustainable Growth (HBR): Succesful category creators do experience rapid growth, but this can sometimes be unsustainable. Communities offer a more sustainable growth path, with slower but more retainable base building.
Innovation Block (HBR): Large companies often struggle with category creation due to organisational issues and a lack of imagination. Community building doesn't have this limitation, making it a more accessible strategy for companies of all sizes.
Market Research (HBR): Category creation often requires a shift in market research focus, which can be costly. Community building allows for more organic customer insights, reducing the need for expensive market research.
Customer-Centric (BombBomb): Community building is inherently customer-centric, allowing you to meet your customers where they are and solve their unique problems. This supports Jonathan's point about authentic engagement.
Flexibility (Everyone Hates Marketers): Category creation often locks you into a specific market, whereas community building allows for more flexibility and adaptability.
Barrier to Entry (HBR): Creating a new category often involves a high barrier to entry, including the risk of first-mover disadvantages. Community building has a lower barrier to entry, making it a more accessible strategy.
Long-Term Customer Value (BombBomb): Communities can lead to higher customer lifetime values, as engaged community members are more likely to become repeat customers. This supports Jonathan's point about focusing on long-term benefits over short-term gains.
Resource Intensive (Everyone Hates Marketers): Category creation requires more resources than you probably imagine. It takes money, time, and effort, which aligns with Jonathan's point about the lower risks involved in community building.
3. 📌 Actionable Advice
Identify Your Audience: Know who you're building the community for. Are they existing customers, industry professionals, or enthusiasts?
Set Clear Objectives: Know what you want to achieve with your community. Is it customer retention, product development insights, or something else?
Engage Authentically: Authenticity is key. Use the relevant platform your audience hangs out on and the relevant tone of the platform, may that be social media, forums, or other platforms to engage with your audience genuinely. Don't treat your community as just another marketing channel.
Provide Value: Share valuable content that solves problems or answers questions. This could be in the form of articles, webinars, or Q&A sessions.
Create a 'Safe Space': It's not about not letting your community have heated discussions, just that it pays to make your community a safe and inclusive space where members feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and experiences.
Two-Way Communication: Make sure you're not the only one talking. Encourage community members to share their own tips, stories, and questions, product/service use experiences.
Regular Updates: Keep the community updated with regular content, updates, and announcements.
Feedback Loop: Always ask for feedback on what members like, what they don't, and what they'd like to see more of, and make sure to act on it. This not only improves the community but also makes members feel heard.
Offline Events: If possible, organise offline events or meetups to strengthen community bonds. Probably wait with this until you have a big enough community for it to make sense. E.g. let's say you have 300 people. 30 will likely be up for a meetup.
Measure and Adapt: Use metrics like engagement rates, customer lifetime value, and Net Promoter Scores to measure the success of your community. Be prepared to adapt your strategy based on these insights.
Be Consistent: Consistency in engagement, content quality, and community management is key to building a successful community.
5. 📚 Homework:
Find a community you admire and analyse what they're doing right.
Engage with your audience through a Q&A session to understand their needs better.
Draft a community engagement strategy for the next quarter.
6. 💡 Pro Tip:
Whether building a community or designing a category, neither is a one-time effort; it's an ongoing process that requires consistent engagement and nurturing.
Remember Jonathan's advice: focus on long-term benefits over short-term gains.
Fun fact answer: Until 1979, Sweden classified homosexuality as a mental illness. That year, activists took the classification as an illness to its logical extent - Swedes called in too gay to go to work.
Isn't that just fun?
Keep learning and growing! 🚀 ❤️
New episodes of Connecting The Dots & Business Companion are coming out regularly, so stay tuned.
Subscribe to our podcast and keep an eye on your inbox for the next edition of our newsletter as well.
LinkedIn posts worth reading this week:
1. The most common B2B funnel issues
Learn how to spot when you have this funnel issue and how to solve it.