Divya Haritwal

Community Building
Resources
Engagement Strategies
November 21, 2023

Divya Haritwal

November 21, 2023
Community Building
Resources
Engagement Strategies

Community Flywheel: The Better Way of Building Brand Community

If you are reading this article, chances are you are either already working on your brand community or assigned to build one. While it is easy to start building a community for your brand, the challenge is to turn the “members” into an “engaged community”.

This is where the concept of "Community Flywheel" comes in. Focusing on creating a flywheel allows a business to build user user-centric brands. These brands focus on consumer satisfaction, creating value and utility through their brand’s offering which in turn leads to better customer happiness, stronger association, and improved word-of-mouth publicity. This article will explore the intricacies of the Community Flywheel, its fundamental components, and its profound impact on cultivating robust brand communities. By examining real-life examples, we'll unravel the strategies behind successful community flywheels.

Funnel vs. Flywheel

Before we get into understanding the flywheel model, let’s first talk about why there is a need to change the model in the first place. For a long time, brands have focused on expanding their visibility to prospective customers. Mass media and the rise in social media platforms made it easier for every brand to have a “megaphone” and go gung-ho with ads, discounts, and an array of referrals and other rewards all focused on user acquisition. However, this approach started getting questions as there wasn’t enough focus on user retention. The traditional marketing funnel approach would have customers as an afterthought leading to after-sales dissatisfaction in many cases.

The flywheel model on the other hand keeps customers at the center of all the marketing and sales effort, designing every bit of strategy keeping the end user and their satisfaction in mind.

(source: https://static.wingify.com/gcp/uploads/sites/3/2020/01/Funnel-to-Flywheel-Model.png)

The community flywheel takes it one step further and involves the users in the process of building brand communities creating brand loyalists and advocates in the process. 

Understanding the Community Flywheel

The Community Flywheel, akin to its business counterpart, is a dynamic model that is built by keeping the basic, most essential elements of a business flywheel in mind i.e. attract, engage, delight

Usually, any initiatives taken by the teams feed into the loop in more than one way. For example, referrals are a great way to acquire new users, delight an existing customer via referrer rewards, and a way to measure advocacy through the frequency/ number of referrals. These elements collectively create momentum and a feedback loop that pushes the brand and its community toward sustainable growth.

Components of a Community Flywheel

For ease of understanding, we’ll divide the delight element into two parts, retention and advocacy. Let’s understand each component with examples of different methods as well as use cases where a brand or community focused on one of the elements to get the wheel in motion.

Attraction: Successful communities strategically draw in new members. These communities focus on solving problems for people even before they become their customers. Website content, social media platforms, FAQs, and forums are some of the ways to engage with prospects and create the first step of generating interest in the brand and its products.

Consider the approach taken by Reddit, a prime example of effective attraction and harnessing user-generated content to become a business model of its own. By fostering a diverse range of sub-communities, Reddit has become a hub for individuals seeking specific interests, ensuring a continuous influx of new members.

What’s even more fascinating is that platforms like Reddit and Quora function at the overlap of social media and forum-style platforms, allowing them to earn through advertising because brands want to capitalize on the attraction capabilities of these platforms.

You can strengthen the attraction component for your brand community by leveraging various marketing channels, optimizing SEO, fostering partnerships, and giving users and their journey with your brand a spotlight in various communication channels including social media platforms.

Engagement: To maintain an active community and foster meaningful connections with the brand as well as members of the community, engagement is paramount. Platforms like Discord have converted this need into a business product by offering real-time communication and creating a space for both casual and in-depth discussions.

Other ways of engaging your brand communities are initiatives such as virtual and offline events, webinars, and collaborative projects with the members of the community.

A lot of brands focus on creating in-app engagement features to further boost brand loyalty and feed into the retention aspect. Strava’s shareable maps and leaderboard is one such example where gamification and healthy competition is helping a brand build a community within their product.

Another example is Nike's online community, NikePlus, which achieves this by providing members with early access to products, exclusive content, and a platform for sharing achievements.

Retention: The hardest to crack and the prized aspect of building a brand community. Retaining community members is more than the initial attraction. Research by Bain and Company shows that improving retention by a mere 5% can actually drive profits by as much as 25%. When you look at these numbers you realize that retention is truly the litmus test of a brand’s success.

Now the question arises, how can a brand community help in retention? Brand communities help a business in conducting their engagement activities at a central place where not only they can open a two-way communication channel between the brand and the user, but they can also create a space for users to engage with each other.

Exclusive content or activities, chats and DMs where users can engage and help one another, quizzes, polls, events and the list just goes on… Brand communities can truly help unlock the power of engagement and retention.

(On a side note, you can integrate all the features listed above in your app in as little as 15 minutes by using LikeMinds SDKs. Reach out to us to get started).

Salesforce Trailblazer Community excels in retention by providing exclusive resources, certifications, and opportunities for members to showcase their expertise. This not only retains members but also positions them as an integral part of the community.

Another such example is of the Harley Davidson community the Harley Owners Group also known as HOG. The brand has a cult following and the shared interest in motorcycles creates a sense of belonging within the brand community.

Advocacy: Transforming community members into advocates is the pinnacle of the flywheel. Airbnb has mastered advocacy by encouraging users to share their experiences and refer others to the platform. The community becomes a powerful marketing force as satisfied users promote the brand organically.

Another such example of creating strong advocacy through the brand community can be seen in the recent launch of protein powder by the D2C brand The Whole Truth. A lot of times comments on social media are either driven by internal teams, complaints, or some contest. In this case, due to the strong loyalty and community the brand has built, they witnessed an outpour of support even when they didn’t incentivize engagement in this particular instance.

Assessing Your Community's Current State

Before starting specific initiatives to build a Community Flywheel, a comprehensive analysis of the current community dynamics is crucial. Leveraging analytics tools can reveal insights into attraction sources, engagement levels, retention rates, and the emergence of advocacy.

This will also help you understand and identify the gaps as well as the current strength of the brand which can be leveraged to nurture the community and create a brand community flywheel.

Case Studies: Successful Community Flywheels

Real-world examples of successful community flywheels abound. GitHub, a platform for developers, showcases how engagement and collaboration lead to advocacy. Developers actively contribute to open-source projects, attracting more contributors and fostering a community-driven ecosystem.

Community Flywheel and Brand Building

The interplay between the Community Flywheel and brand development is a symbiotic relationship. A vibrant community not only attracts and retains customers but also becomes a powerful vehicle for brand advocacy. LEGO's online community, for instance, goes beyond selling products; it creates an immersive experience that fosters brand loyalty.

Leveraging the Community Flywheel for Growth

As communities grow, scalability becomes a critical consideration. Strategies for scaling involve adapting to changing dynamics, addressing challenges, and continuously evolving to meet the needs of a diverse and expanding community. The evolution of gaming communities like Twitch exemplifies how adapting to emerging trends can fuel growth.

Community Flywheel Metrics and Analytics

Data-driven insights are essential for measuring the effectiveness of each flywheel component. Metrics such as user activity, referral rates, and sentiment analysis provide valuable feedback. Understanding and interpreting these metrics empower community managers to make informed decisions.

Future Trends in Community Flywheel Strategies

The landscape of community building is ever-evolving. Emerging trends, such as virtual reality interactions, decentralized communities, and enhanced personalization, offer exciting opportunities for future community flywheel strategies. Brands that stay ahead of these trends are poised for continued success.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Community Flywheel is more than a model; it's a dynamic approach that, when executed strategically, can fortify brand communities and drive sustainable growth. By dissecting the components, learning from real-life examples, and adapting to emerging trends, brands can harness the full potential of the Community Flywheel. As we navigate the digital age, community engagement isn't just a strategy — it's a fundamental pillar of brand building, and the Community Flywheel is the mechanism that can turn these engagements into a perpetual source of brand strength and advocacy.

About LikeMinds

Likeminds elevates businesses in unlocking the true potential of their users through their in-app community and social network. Using LikeMinds, businesses achieve higher conversion and retention, by building custom community experiences in their existing platform unlocking community-led growth.

With LikeMinds, businesses get an easy-to-implement and highly scalable infrastructure with a fully customizable UI. All of this with a customization time of 3 days and a deployment time of 15 minutes.

Our Chat and Feed infra have pre-built widgets such as image carousels, PDF slides, short videos, polls, quizzes, events, forms, and more for user engagement and retention along with moderation capabilities to ensure frictionless community operations.

Supercharge your retention with in-app social features

Deploy customised features on top of chat and feed in 15 minutes using LikeMinds SDK.

Let's start!

Share now

Supercharge your retention with in-app social features

Deploy customised features on top of chat and feed in 15 minutes using LikeMinds SDK.

Let's start!

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Community Building

Read more stories

Community Flywheel: The Better Way of Building Brand Community

Divya Haritwal
/
November 21, 2023
/

If you are reading this article, chances are you are either already working on your brand community or assigned to build one. While it is easy to start building a community for your brand, the challenge is to turn the “members” into an “engaged community”.

This is where the concept of "Community Flywheel" comes in. Focusing on creating a flywheel allows a business to build user user-centric brands. These brands focus on consumer satisfaction, creating value and utility through their brand’s offering which in turn leads to better customer happiness, stronger association, and improved word-of-mouth publicity. This article will explore the intricacies of the Community Flywheel, its fundamental components, and its profound impact on cultivating robust brand communities. By examining real-life examples, we'll unravel the strategies behind successful community flywheels.

Funnel vs. Flywheel

Before we get into understanding the flywheel model, let’s first talk about why there is a need to change the model in the first place. For a long time, brands have focused on expanding their visibility to prospective customers. Mass media and the rise in social media platforms made it easier for every brand to have a “megaphone” and go gung-ho with ads, discounts, and an array of referrals and other rewards all focused on user acquisition. However, this approach started getting questions as there wasn’t enough focus on user retention. The traditional marketing funnel approach would have customers as an afterthought leading to after-sales dissatisfaction in many cases.

The flywheel model on the other hand keeps customers at the center of all the marketing and sales effort, designing every bit of strategy keeping the end user and their satisfaction in mind.

(source: https://static.wingify.com/gcp/uploads/sites/3/2020/01/Funnel-to-Flywheel-Model.png)

The community flywheel takes it one step further and involves the users in the process of building brand communities creating brand loyalists and advocates in the process. 

Understanding the Community Flywheel

The Community Flywheel, akin to its business counterpart, is a dynamic model that is built by keeping the basic, most essential elements of a business flywheel in mind i.e. attract, engage, delight

Usually, any initiatives taken by the teams feed into the loop in more than one way. For example, referrals are a great way to acquire new users, delight an existing customer via referrer rewards, and a way to measure advocacy through the frequency/ number of referrals. These elements collectively create momentum and a feedback loop that pushes the brand and its community toward sustainable growth.

Components of a Community Flywheel

For ease of understanding, we’ll divide the delight element into two parts, retention and advocacy. Let’s understand each component with examples of different methods as well as use cases where a brand or community focused on one of the elements to get the wheel in motion.

Attraction: Successful communities strategically draw in new members. These communities focus on solving problems for people even before they become their customers. Website content, social media platforms, FAQs, and forums are some of the ways to engage with prospects and create the first step of generating interest in the brand and its products.

Consider the approach taken by Reddit, a prime example of effective attraction and harnessing user-generated content to become a business model of its own. By fostering a diverse range of sub-communities, Reddit has become a hub for individuals seeking specific interests, ensuring a continuous influx of new members.

What’s even more fascinating is that platforms like Reddit and Quora function at the overlap of social media and forum-style platforms, allowing them to earn through advertising because brands want to capitalize on the attraction capabilities of these platforms.

You can strengthen the attraction component for your brand community by leveraging various marketing channels, optimizing SEO, fostering partnerships, and giving users and their journey with your brand a spotlight in various communication channels including social media platforms.

Engagement: To maintain an active community and foster meaningful connections with the brand as well as members of the community, engagement is paramount. Platforms like Discord have converted this need into a business product by offering real-time communication and creating a space for both casual and in-depth discussions.

Other ways of engaging your brand communities are initiatives such as virtual and offline events, webinars, and collaborative projects with the members of the community.

A lot of brands focus on creating in-app engagement features to further boost brand loyalty and feed into the retention aspect. Strava’s shareable maps and leaderboard is one such example where gamification and healthy competition is helping a brand build a community within their product.

Another example is Nike's online community, NikePlus, which achieves this by providing members with early access to products, exclusive content, and a platform for sharing achievements.

Retention: The hardest to crack and the prized aspect of building a brand community. Retaining community members is more than the initial attraction. Research by Bain and Company shows that improving retention by a mere 5% can actually drive profits by as much as 25%. When you look at these numbers you realize that retention is truly the litmus test of a brand’s success.

Now the question arises, how can a brand community help in retention? Brand communities help a business in conducting their engagement activities at a central place where not only they can open a two-way communication channel between the brand and the user, but they can also create a space for users to engage with each other.

Exclusive content or activities, chats and DMs where users can engage and help one another, quizzes, polls, events and the list just goes on… Brand communities can truly help unlock the power of engagement and retention.

(On a side note, you can integrate all the features listed above in your app in as little as 15 minutes by using LikeMinds SDKs. Reach out to us to get started).

Salesforce Trailblazer Community excels in retention by providing exclusive resources, certifications, and opportunities for members to showcase their expertise. This not only retains members but also positions them as an integral part of the community.

Another such example is of the Harley Davidson community the Harley Owners Group also known as HOG. The brand has a cult following and the shared interest in motorcycles creates a sense of belonging within the brand community.

Advocacy: Transforming community members into advocates is the pinnacle of the flywheel. Airbnb has mastered advocacy by encouraging users to share their experiences and refer others to the platform. The community becomes a powerful marketing force as satisfied users promote the brand organically.

Another such example of creating strong advocacy through the brand community can be seen in the recent launch of protein powder by the D2C brand The Whole Truth. A lot of times comments on social media are either driven by internal teams, complaints, or some contest. In this case, due to the strong loyalty and community the brand has built, they witnessed an outpour of support even when they didn’t incentivize engagement in this particular instance.

Assessing Your Community's Current State

Before starting specific initiatives to build a Community Flywheel, a comprehensive analysis of the current community dynamics is crucial. Leveraging analytics tools can reveal insights into attraction sources, engagement levels, retention rates, and the emergence of advocacy.

This will also help you understand and identify the gaps as well as the current strength of the brand which can be leveraged to nurture the community and create a brand community flywheel.

Case Studies: Successful Community Flywheels

Real-world examples of successful community flywheels abound. GitHub, a platform for developers, showcases how engagement and collaboration lead to advocacy. Developers actively contribute to open-source projects, attracting more contributors and fostering a community-driven ecosystem.

Community Flywheel and Brand Building

The interplay between the Community Flywheel and brand development is a symbiotic relationship. A vibrant community not only attracts and retains customers but also becomes a powerful vehicle for brand advocacy. LEGO's online community, for instance, goes beyond selling products; it creates an immersive experience that fosters brand loyalty.

Leveraging the Community Flywheel for Growth

As communities grow, scalability becomes a critical consideration. Strategies for scaling involve adapting to changing dynamics, addressing challenges, and continuously evolving to meet the needs of a diverse and expanding community. The evolution of gaming communities like Twitch exemplifies how adapting to emerging trends can fuel growth.

Community Flywheel Metrics and Analytics

Data-driven insights are essential for measuring the effectiveness of each flywheel component. Metrics such as user activity, referral rates, and sentiment analysis provide valuable feedback. Understanding and interpreting these metrics empower community managers to make informed decisions.

Future Trends in Community Flywheel Strategies

The landscape of community building is ever-evolving. Emerging trends, such as virtual reality interactions, decentralized communities, and enhanced personalization, offer exciting opportunities for future community flywheel strategies. Brands that stay ahead of these trends are poised for continued success.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Community Flywheel is more than a model; it's a dynamic approach that, when executed strategically, can fortify brand communities and drive sustainable growth. By dissecting the components, learning from real-life examples, and adapting to emerging trends, brands can harness the full potential of the Community Flywheel. As we navigate the digital age, community engagement isn't just a strategy — it's a fundamental pillar of brand building, and the Community Flywheel is the mechanism that can turn these engagements into a perpetual source of brand strength and advocacy.

About LikeMinds

Likeminds elevates businesses in unlocking the true potential of their users through their in-app community and social network. Using LikeMinds, businesses achieve higher conversion and retention, by building custom community experiences in their existing platform unlocking community-led growth.

With LikeMinds, businesses get an easy-to-implement and highly scalable infrastructure with a fully customizable UI. All of this with a customization time of 3 days and a deployment time of 15 minutes.

Our Chat and Feed infra have pre-built widgets such as image carousels, PDF slides, short videos, polls, quizzes, events, forms, and more for user engagement and retention along with moderation capabilities to ensure frictionless community operations.

Supercharge your retention with in-app social features

Deploy customised features on top of chat and feed in 15 minutes using LikeMinds SDK.

Let's start!