How 6 Major Brands Are Taking Community Management to the Next Level

March 28, 2024

Have you thought about which business benefits you want to gain from your brand community? Perhaps it’s better publicity? Increased sales? More innovation? Improved brand image? Increased customer retention and loyalty? Lower marketing costs? Or maybe enhanced customer support?

Whatever your business priorities, it’s important to shape the management of your community accordingly.

Here’s how six prominent brands are leading the way when it comes to community management—and how they have guided their communities by using fun, inspiring, engaging, and educational means to meet their particular business goals.

1. Oracle Community.

Millions of Oracle product fans worldwide interact on the Oracle Community platform for both personal and professional purposes. The platform features a range of brand- and product-related blogs, as well as more personal videos, pictures, and stories.

Oracle took a flexible and collaborative approach to building its community platform, enabling members to form independent groups, create their own networks, and participate in meetups in their local area. This greatly improves both online and offline word-of-mouth, as well as brand engagement.

Additionally, the platform’s support function allows members to ask the global community for technical help and encourages a rapid and cooperative approach to problem solving. This significantly alleviates the pressure on the company’s technical support teams.

2. My Starbucks Idea.

Have you ever used the free Wi-Fi at Starbucks? This idea actually came from the Starbucks community and then became a global phenomenon which saw the company’s profits rise to unprecedented heights.

My Starbucks Idea encourages creative idea sharing, promotes feedback discussions, and helps cultivate a sense of contribution and recognition for members when their suggestions move from concept to action. This translates into meaningful and engaging experiences for its more than 150,000 members, and, notably, ensures that the company is always full of innovative business ideas.

From skinny drinks to digital tipping, the ideas generated through My Starbucks Idea have led to the implementation of more than 300 innovations within six years.

3. SAP Community Network (SCN).

The SCN boasts over 2.5 million active members, made up largely of software users, developers, consultants, mentors, and students.

SAP’s community success comes from facilitating social and technical interactions for its members, allowing a free flow of ideas and feedback, and providing learning opportunities dedicated to SAP technologies. This strategy has served to increase community engagement, drive internal and external innovation, and increase product knowledge and loyalty.

To further inspire brand engagement, the platform features not only a range of topical blogs and discussion threads, but also free product trials, e-learning, and polls in seven languages.

4. Sony’s PlayStation Community.

Sony’s PlayStation Community connects gamers from around the world, supports real-time gaming, provides discussion forums, and highlights the newest product features through dedicated channels. This lets Sony gain important insights, offer full product support, and make continual improvements based on gamers’ suggestions.

Sony also adds value to its members’ experiences by acknowledging their contributions and performance to the community. It does all this, while also keeping the experience entertaining and engaging, with the use of avatars and themed competitions, where members can win trophies and exclusive prizes.

5. Apple’s Support Community.

Apple is one of the best examples of how a community can contribute to a brand’s success. It has created a new generation of tech fans who not only identify with the brand’s core mission but are also willing to advocate for its superior quality of products.

On Apple’s Support Community, members can post technical and operational questions and not only get answers rapidly but also connect with experienced users from all over the world on issues related to specific products. This way, Apple offers a high level of user-generated support for each product sold and saves millions in internal customer support costs.

Members are rewarded for their community participation and commitment with reputation points and an increase in their community status, which helps keep them focused on and enthusiastic about the latest Apple innovations.

6. Airbnb Community Center.

Airbnb has not only made travel more accessible but also transformed the global accommodation market. Its online community center is a key reason behind the platform’s incredible success.

Used by more than 955,000 active and verified hosts, the Airbnb Community Center is a social, idea-centric, and support-oriented platform all rolled into one. It enables local and global networks of people to exchange ideas, share tips on rental services, and learn about each other’s cultures. This reinforces the personal ties already created in the online environment, and, crucially, enables and encourages members to become better hosts.

This results in improved accommodation experiences for guests, and therefore a greater likelihood of repeat business for the hosts and for the platform as a whole. Win-win-win.

Managing your own community will depend on your business type, size, and available financial and staffing resources. But as the above successes demonstrate, you should always prioritize your organization’s business needs. This way, you can shape your community strategy to meet these needs, as well as take your community, and your business, to the next level.

How 6 major brands are taking community management to the next level

This is a blog by Diana Gabroveanu, founder of the Advocacy Mavens Coalition.

The Advocacy Mavens Coalition is an association of open for contracting customer-led professionals, each with extensive industry experience. We’re experts in building advocacy and community programs, designing experiences, running advisory boards, creating content, managing and migrating platforms, and more.

Our members are experienced advocacy marketing strategists, community and customer success managers, educators, designers, video producers, analysts, and technical consultants. Whatever your program goals, this coalition has you covered!

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