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Leveraging Communities: Consumers Want to Feel Closer to Their Favourite Brands

New research shows disconnect between brands and consumers, presenting an opportunity for brands to leverage their communities to drive influence and build loyalty.

AspireIQ’s new report focuses on helping brands understand how to build an effective community marketing program and found a disconnect between what consumers want versus how brands engage them, presenting an opportunity for brands to leverage their communities to drive influence and build loyalty.

Out of the 617 consumers and 155 brands surveyed, 90% of consumers engage with their favorite brands in some capacity, whether that’s purchasing a product, sharing referrals, or joining a loyalty program.

Meanwhile, nearly half want more personalised interactions as only 21.7% of consumers surveyed said their favorite brand does a good job of interacting with them in a personalised way.

Consumers express an eagerness for communications with their favorite brands beyond the point of sale — and while brands see value in driving more meaningful interactions, there’s an opportunity for growth. Consumers crave more two-way connections with their favorite brands: 52% want to join a loyalty program, 42% want to contribute feedback to a product or service, and 35%  want a brand to respond to them on social.

Two-thirds of consumers surveyed do not feel like they contribute to a brand’s story, content, product, or service but half of those were keen to contribute more, illustrating the value of brands who co-create their stories alongside consumers.

“We’ve officially entered the participation economy, where consumers want to have a say in shaping the brands and products they love. Brands that recognise this, and welcome consumer voices and values into their communities, are more likely to drive loyalty and sales,” said Anand Kishore, CEO and co-founder at AspireIQ.

Influence

When looking at what impact others have on which brands consumers prefer, 81% of respondents agreed that others can have an impact on their brand preference. Friends were the most influential, followed by influencers. While influencers have a substantial impact, they don’t carry that responsibility alone. Customers also provide a significant impact beyond purchases, with word-of-mouth referrals to their network.

“Tied closely behind influencers are employees and experts — experts being professionals who have specialised knowledge or credentials in a certain industry, like nutritionists, personal trainers, dentists, makeup artists, stylists, chefs, and many more. Combined, these groups make up about a quarter of this survey and can have a massive impact on brand affinity and revenue,” the report states.

You can read the full report here.

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