Brands must offer genuine value to their communities to succeed – not just push for sales

Posted by Dina Zubi in Comment

3 weeks ago

Brands need to take on board that their followings – especially among Gen Z – will offer greater loyalty to companies that provide genuine value to their communities and aim to make a real difference in the world than to those that merely push for sales above all else.

Earlier this month, cultural studio and consultancy Black Girl Fest announced the return of The Black Beauty Grant Programme, which is designed to support Black female beauty entrepreneurs through a 12-week programme and a £10,000 grant – powered by Glossier. The social posts about the grant are filled with comments of excitement and users encouraging brands to enter. Glossier isn’t the only company exploring original ways to connect with its audience, as more and more brands discover that offering value – whether through experiences, exclusive insights or expert advice – is a route to building a dedicated community.

In January, US skincare brand Topicals was planning a trip to the French Alps featuring creators such as YouTuber Nella Rose and TikTok star Victor Kunda. But instead of only inviting established influencers, the brand put out an open call for fans to join. Two months later, the winners were announced and all three have been posting lots of content about the trip and Topicals’ products ever since. Being part of catapulting up-and-coming influencers’ careers is a move that won’t go unnoticed by the brand community. It also goes to show that fans want to feel part of the inner circle, and including them doesn’t have to be difficult.

Smaller groups and events are equally as important. On 18 April, designer and size inclusivity campaigner Sara Brown hosted an event with fashion brand GANNI at its Soho, London shop to highlight its extended sizing. The creator wrote that she “wanted to act as a bridge between the plus-size community and GANNI”. Free and open for anyone to attend, guests were given drinks, snacks and the opportunity to try on GANNI clothes up to a UK size 24, as well as the chance to win a T-shirt customised by Brown.

Speaking of inclusive sizing, creators Lottie Drynan and Laura Adlington are known for their joint “same dress, different bodies” content, and have worked with brands such as Simply Be and Tu for the series. Their videos regularly rack up millions of views, and when they announced a live version of the series, tickets sold out in seven minutes. The event is sponsored by Simply Be, FatFace and jewellery label Carrie Elizabeth – a smart way for the brands to tap into the community Drynan and Adlington have built.

Charity partnerships are also an effective way of standing out and showing that a brand genuinely cares. Makeup artist Jamie Genevieve’s brand Vieve works with personal hygiene charity Beauty Banks, founded by Jo Jones and Sali Hughes, including by collaborating on events. Meanwhile, fashion brand KITRI joined forces with Bobbi Brown for International Women’s Day to create a limited edition makeup kit, with 100% of proceeds going to the charity Smart Works.

Offering valuable experiences, showing commitment and supporting key communities is vital to building a trustworthy brand identity and customer loyalty. Partnering with influencers is a clever way of doing this, as they can act as a link between the audience and the brand, and provide a personal touch that brands sometimes lack.

By Dina Zubi, CORQ news and features writer. Picture credit: GANNI via Instagram