When you think of your favorite brands — the ones that you keep going back to, that you tell your friends and family about, or that just make you smile — what do you think of? Brands like that are unique, special even, because they’ve found ways to resonate with us on a personal level. Often what we think of when we think about those brands isn’t the product they’re selling, but the way they make us feel. And it’s those feelings — whether it’s ease, trust, delight, or anything else — that ultimately drive brand affinity.
Below we look at three examples of iconic brands that have each found their own way of connecting with their audiences by creating brand communities. Sure their products are great, but they’ve also figured out how to create strong user experiences that forge emotional connections and drive customer engagement that extends well beyond the point of purchase.
1. Casper Creates the Perfect User Experience
Online retailer Casper has completely disrupted the mattress buying process. They’ve managed to take what was once the boring and tedious chore of going to a department store to try out different mattresses and transform it into a seamless, novel experience that you can complete in minutes from the comfort of your own home.
What makes the Casper user experience so great is the fact that it’s simple and easy to understand. From navigating their website to placing an order, to unboxing and setting up your new mattress, the whole process is frictionless. Best of all, if you’re not happy with your purchase for any reason, you have up to 100 nights to return it for a full refund. The experience has been so popular with consumers, that it’s been shared virally on social media. YouTube videos of people opening their new mattresses have garnered thousands of views. Meanwhile, others have taken to Twitter to not only share their experiences but advocate for the brand, effectively building an organic Casper brand community.
Simply put, Casper has taken what has traditionally been an unenjoyable shopping experience and made it about as easy and fun as you could hope for. By not only giving customers a great product but also paying close attention to the user experience, they’ve managed to win over a lot of customers and build a community that drives a big portion of the inbound traffic to their website.
2. Coca-Cola Drives Engagement with Its Viral “Share a Coke” Campaign
Coca-Cola is one of the best-known brands in the world, with a staggering 1.9 billion servings consumed worldwide every day. And while it’s ubiquitous, that doesn’t exempt the brand from having to find fresh and innovative ways to remain relevant, particularly among younger consumers. To help address this issue, the company launched its “Share a Coke” campaign.
At face value, the campaign was simple enough. The company swapped out the branding on bottles and cans with people’s names, inviting consumers to share a Coke with [insert the name of your friend or family member]. By personalizing their bottles and cans in this way, Coke was able to create a viral campaign and brand community that not only drove tremendous engagement but also took on a life of its own in the 80 markets where it ran. The result was billions of additional bottles and cans sold and a renewed love for the brand.
3. Sephora’s Emotional Appeal
According to French beauty retailer Sephora, 75 percent of engagement is driven by emotion. Among the emotions the company is most interested in are happiness, trust, surprise, delight, anticipation, and pride. To tap into those emotions, it thinks of its brick-and-mortar locations as beauty playgrounds that feature engaging LED displays, trendy music, and highly manicured aisles with thousands of products for shoppers to test.
The company has also focused on building a beauty community that gives customers the opportunity to come together, ask questions, get recommendations, and post inspirational photos. Not only has the community helped drive emotional engagement, but it’s also been a rich source of insights into the types of products customers are most interested in.
The Power of Love
True brand affinity goes beyond the products you sell. It’s about creating thoughtful, memorable experiences that help make customers’ lives better. Brands that can pull that off, not only sell more products but are the ones that consumers truly love.