A customer community is a group of customers who are fully invested in a brand. They interact with the brand in regular and meaningful ways beyond the purchasing of products. They are the group most likely to write reviews, refer friends and promote your brand on social media.
With a brand community, ecommerce businesses can build brand love and foster long-term customer loyalty – resulting in customers who spend more. But, despite the well-known advantages of having a brand community some still view “community” as a wishy-washy tactic that’s difficult to implement and hard to measure.
This blog post explores how a brand like Missoma has successfully established a thriving brand community that generates long-term revenue to bust down the myths and inspire you to take your own to the next level.
Offering a contemporary statement with their designs, Missoma is a personalized, demi-fine jewelry brand for the everyday woman. They are “on a mission to inspire confidence, spark creativity, and fuel collaboration”.
This year, they created an on-brand loyalty program called “the Stack”. They wanted a new way to reward their customers and increase their lifetime value through enhancing their brand community.
“I want to remind other women of their own creativity and power. Expressing my creativity through design has helped me on my own journey to inner confidence.”Marisa Hordern, Founder & Creative Director of Missoma
From the outset, Missoma was all set to create a customer community. Collaboration is one of their key brand values and their community is celebrated across their site. They say that they want to start “a chain reaction. Leaving a positive impact on the world.”
But they had a challenge…
Challenge: With such a big brand community they found it difficult to pinpoint and reward their most loyal customers and keep encouraging them to make repeat purchases.
They had to think about how to reward their most loyal customers and continue to serve everyone else. So what did they do?
To better connect with their community on a personal level, Missoma created an on-brand loyalty program that made the brand’s values clear and easy to relate to.
Layering is one of their design essentials. To reflect this they created a loyalty program, introducing it with: “you’ve unboxed a new layer of Missoma.”
The loyalty program rewards customers points for purchases and completing activities (like a social media follow). They are then rewarded with discounts and access to exclusive shopping events.
They explain “How to stack up points’”
They layout their reward system:
“Every 20 points collected saves £1 on your next order and you need to collect 200 points to start using them. Once you start collecting, we’ll keep track of your points for you and tell you how much your stack is worth as you go – and you can always check it in My Account.”
So 200 points = £10, 300 points = £15, 500 points = £25 etc. It is a simple reward system that is conveyed clearly on their website’s loyalty page.
Rewarding customers this way gives community members a value exchange for engaging with the store. This value differentiates the brand from others in the mind of the consumer and strengthens the emotional connection they have. They stack up points and over time become more invested in their relationship with the company.
A loyalty program like this is also a tool to hook new customers. It is easy for members of your brand community to tell others about how stacking up points via simple methods (like following their Instagram page) will give them value for their money when they shop at Missoma. We’ll go into more detail on this point when we discuss brand ambassadors later.
When connecting with your customer community, you need to build purpose into your interactions. Missoma realized this and created content their community likes. This means going beyond the hard sales push. You can’t build a community through inauthentic and blatantly sales-focussed interactions.
They pushed out content through their initiative called “The Link Up”. Here they interview creatives about their work, inspirations and motivations.
“Here’s a space to find all the Missoma layers you haven’t met yet, from exclusive interviews with up-and-coming creatives to behind-the-scenes of our latest campaign collaborations.”
Their Missoma Meets series offers customers something beyond the traditional online retail experience. It makes their website a place to connect and learn as well as a place to purchase products.
They then shared this content where their customers are.
They repurposed The Link Up content into a series of IGTV videos. They also have a whole Instagram highlights area where they keep stories of their community wearing their products.
While you want people congregating around your own website it’s also important to forge links across all the popular social media sites too. This is where your customers are and social media lets customers have conversations with one another – connecting community members with one another.
To get more community members to see this content, Missoma rewards shoppers points for following their social media channels.
Creating and promoting content like this unites Missoma’s customer community on shared interests and purposes – making them feel a part of the brand. An opportunity they would have missed if they focussed on only selling products.
Missoma recognized that even though they had a strong community who enjoyed posting about their products and engaging with content, they weren’t doing enough to empower members to share the brand with others. This is crucial to the growth of the community because if shoppers promote your brand positively you’ll attract more members into your community who are like-minded.
To make their loyal customers act as brand ambassadors, Missoma rewards shoppers with 200 points for referring a friend.
“You can refer a friend by email, WhatsApp, or via social. Once signed in, go to Refer a Friend on your dashboard and choose your preferred option so that they can start saving too. You’ll receive £10 credit for each friend that spends at least £40 on their first order. Now that’s friendship”
Referred customers are extremely valuable and are more likely to be loyal. A study showed that referred customers have a 37% higher retention rate and are four times more likely to refer more customers to your brand. And, 50% of customers are likely to give referrals if they are incentivized, get social recognition, or access to an exclusive loyalty program.
Empowering members like this means Missoma can grow and sustain its community. When you have loyal brand ambassadors your marketing burden is lessened. They will spread your message and help grow your community if they feel that you have built something worthwhile.
Missoma is a great example of how building a brand community is effective. It doesn’t have to be a purely sales-driven exercise. Missoma has built a community around shared ideals and used storytelling to make its mission exciting.
Missoma has fostered its community by giving value through a points and rewards system. They have then deepened their relationship with customers by connecting with them through purposeful interactions. This has enabled Missoma to turn its loyal customers into brand ambassadors.
These three solutions provide a template for success when it comes to building a loyal brand community for your own company. If you’re ready to build your own, connect with one of our Loyalty Analysts today to get started.