Crafting Culture. Jack McFall on how to create brand platforms that go beyond product.07/06/21
Creating brand loyalty means connecting with consumers – and for digitally-led brands that goes a whole lot deeper than demographics. B&B Senior Strategist Jack McFall explores how to attract an engaged community.
Social media’s ability to connect communities and strengthen sub-cultures is its super power. No matter how niche, whatever it is you’re into, you can find not just someone similar, but a whole network of feeds and followers dedicated to the same.
This presents great opportunities for brands who want to harness an engaged and loyal following. And building a positioning with an emotional hook that goes beyond product is essential to connecting in this way, ensuring ongoing visual and verbal content that’s relevant to your offer but not completely defined by it.
Embody a Lifestyle.
Creating, then embodying, an aspirational lifestyle that aligns with your consumers’ desire is a great way to connect on social. US aperitif brand Haus is the epitome of laidback at-home entertaining, its entire brand built around the idea of home, from its name, through to its curated playlists to its collaborations with brands like Soho House. Even the founder story centres on the brand’s conception in the owner’s living room. Haus’s social content brings this lifestyle to life, casually slipping into your Instagram feed and subtly seeding the desire to slip into something more comfortable, relax on your retro modernist sofa and enjoy an at-home aperitif.
Create a Subculture.
Mood-based cereal OffLimits takes niche subcultures to the next level, creating its own community of “cereal-and-art-lovers” brought together by a shared nostalgic love of kids’ cereal, arcade games, digital art and a cartoon aesthetic. From creating a digital art gallery offering prints from diverse and counterculture artists, to resurrecting cereal toys with a range of merch including keyrings and spray paint, the brand speaks with a culturally-aware clarity that is about a million times more interesting than key product benefits.
Embrace a Community
Sometimes demonstrating passion for your product is best achieved outside the confines of your brand. Unbranded content, like Away’s Here magazine and Casper’s Woolly magazine, can be a great way to build consumer relationships, while separate social feeds can enable a brand to share its authentic values without the marketing veneer. Accidentally Vegan, an Instagram account that shares news of the latest vegan products in the UK marketplace, is run by the founders of The Vegan Kind, the UK’s biggest online vegan supermarket, but deliberately avoids promoting its own offer above its competitors. The feed’s delight in welcoming any new entrant to the vegan space, be it from Gregg’s, Burger King, Tesco or Iceland, puts their passion for plant-based front and centre and – accidentally – reinforces The Vegan Kind’s reputation as the trusted voice for vegans.
As the digital world continues to disrupt traditional marketing disciplines, today’s brands have the power to craft and shift culture by engaging communities online. Those that do this best not only understand the unique role of their product in consumers’ lives, but are also able to elevate those relationships by aligning with the values and aspirations that define that community.
Jack McFall is Senior Strategist at B&B studio