How Two Brands Leverage the Power of Community

Mon Dec 23 2019
Jenn Kim
Instagram / @nutrabolt

At the heart of every successful brand is a happy community. Think about it. If you’re a big fan of a brand, you continuously support the business by purchasing its products, leaving reviews, raving about the products to your friends, or helping improve the brand by providing useful feedback. That’s why the smartest brands leverage the power of community to reach new audiences, build long-term relationships, and boost sales.

Smartypants and Nutrabolt are two brands that have mastered the art of building a community of passionate advocates. Smartypants, the all-in-one vitamin company, tapped into its community to overcome the challenge of promoting its wide array of products geared towards kids, adults, and dogs. Meanwhile, Nutrabolt, the leading sports nutrition company, activated its community to create connections in the fitness space and make its products more user-friendly.

Today, we’ve put together a list of tips from Nutrabolt and SmartyPants on how to run a successful, community-focused campaign. Let’s get started.

Tip #1 — Partner with real customers to inject authenticity

Authenticity and trust are at the core of every successful brand. Today, consumers demand transparency from brands and want to buy from companies that have great products, care about customers, and tell relatable stories.

Keeping all of this in mind, Smartypants knows that posting about the benefits of its products from its corporate account can only do so much when it comes to resonating with customers. It’s a much more believable story when, for instance, a mother shares why she gives Smartypants vitamins to her kids.

Because of that, the company works with real customers who can share their authentic stories with their own audiences as well as Smartypants’ community. It educates these brand partners so that they can convey the brand’s messages in an accurate way, but still have enough room to put their own creative spin to the campaign. This strategy adds an important layer of social proof and trust because consumers can see real people actually using the product.

Similarly, Nutrabolt works with devoted customers — even if they don’t have a big following.

A few years back, Nutrabolt found a loyal fan named Ryan Smith who only had a few hundred followers at the time. Regardless, the company started working with him to promote its XTEND products, and as he grew his following, his audience was able to see just how much Ryan actually loved the fitness supplements. Recently, he embarked on an 8-week fitness journey, which, of course, Nutrabolt was there to document and support.

Tip #2 — Have a two-way dialogue with community members

Nobody wants to talk to a wall, and it’s the same when it comes to marketing. People don’t just want to be targeted with ads, emails, and other channel communications. They want to belong to something bigger and feel heard. This means brands need to have a two-way dialogue with their community members.

For Nutrabolt, this means taking inspiration from its community. Recently, the brand heard that people were using its XTEND recovery product — a mix of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), electrolytes, and performance ingredients — as both a mixer and for hangovers. While the brand was caught off guard — this wasn’t its intention for the product! — it leveraged the community’s creativity and launched the XTEND mixology campaign. The headline “work, play, recover” encouraged people to have a fun night out and still make it to their workout the next morning.

For the campaign, Nutrabolt worked with influencers, brand ambassadors, and fitness and health experts to share their favorite mixology recipes using XTEND’s recovery product. The campaign resulted in 4 million impressions, 100K engagements, and an earned media value triple what Nutrabolt spent. Additionally, many organic conversations blossomed out of the creative campaign among the brand’s community.

Tip #3 — Repurpose user-generated content

We’ve been preaching repurposing content for years now. To review why this practice is so important, repurposing content:

  • Reduces content creation costs
  • Adds diversity and authenticity
  • Makes community members feel valuable and special

With the help of its community members, Smartypants was able to source high-quality, authentic, and diverse content. Their content showcased the brand’s many products being used by a diverse group of people (and dogs) doing various things in lots of different settings. Smartypants reposted this content on their own social channels, paid ads, and more. Repurposing content was so effective that Smartypants reduced content creation costs by 80% and generated 7x more content.

Nutrabolt also repurposes content on both the XTEND blog and the Cellucor blog. On both sites, Nutrabolt reuses images, recipes, and tips from its athletes. At the bottom of Cellucor’s blog, there is even an option for community members to submit their own stories to the site and become a contributor. This strategy further encourages participation and engagement from the community.

Tip #4 — Connect people in real life

We’ve stressed time and time again how important it is to take conversations offline. Hosting in-person events like pop-ups, speaking panels, and experiential activities give people a reason to come together and interact with one another in a meaningful way. By activating real-life connections, people can engage in a more personal way and build long-term relationships with both the brand and other community members.

Nutrabolt’s C4 Fitness Summit is a good example of engaging a community through in-person events. Its 360-degree marketing approach included inviting the movers and shakers of the NYC fitness community to attend a retreat in Montauk, where they bonded by working out together and sharing the experience as a community. You can watch some of the highlights here.

As a result, Nutrabolt was able to connect one-on-one with over 50 influencers and reach new audiences on social media via the attendees’ accounts.

Leverage the power of your community

In sum, brands need to engage with their community in order to continue growing and thriving. Smartypants and Nutrabolt have launched campaigns that focus on building their community by partnering with real customers, having two-way dialogues with community members, repurposing user-generated content, and hosting in-person events. Follow their steps to run a successful, community-focused campaign to boost your business in 2020.

Need more tips on building an engaged community? Contact us here.