What is community? For a long time, it's been an overused buzzword to describe valuable groups of people that help businesses grow. In today’s challenging times, many are seeing it and experiencing it in a different way, as humanity reconnects with each other and divides us at the same time.
As the definition of community continues to blur, Garage Academy sat down with Andee Chua, co-founder of Kampung Collective and James Bernardo, our Regional Programming Director, for a webinar to get their take on it.
Andee defines a community as a group of people coming together and supporting one another. To him, the importance of a community lies in establishing trust, creating a sense of belonging, forging relationships, and creating shared value.
For Andee, Kampung Collective is the vehicle which drives this thinking, providing the space for community builders to connect across different industries and verticals. It provides support to community builders through sharing best practices, challenges and new ways to improve and grow.
James sees community as the meaningful conversations and collective experiences shared between people who have similar beliefs and interests. It’s something that has long been integral to Garage Society’s identity with like-minded members sharing our values and purpose of creating success within our community.
So, how do go about building a community? Whether you’re a business or you’re simply looking to share your passion with others, we have curated 3 tips from our webinar plus some additional thoughts, to start you on your community-building journey.
What to consider before you build a community
Begin by asking yourself two critical questions:
Why do you want to build your community?
Who will be part of your community?
Whether you’re looking to build an audience around your brand or engage with like-minded individuals on a specific topic, identifying the goals for your community at an early stage allows you to set a solid foundation from which to grow. Regardless of what your objectives are, building a community involves planning to guide you in achieving your goals.
An interesting approach is the community engagement cycle, a concept introduced by CMX, a home for community professionals. It consists of four stages you should keep in mind while building your community:
This means that a community member’s identity aligns with the identity of the community. They trust the community and its members and actively participate, and feel rewarded for being a part of that community. If members meet these criteria, you’re on your way to managing an engaged and healthy community.
For a community to be actively adopted, people need to be passionate about a common purpose. From a business perspective, this means focusing on how you intend to change the world for the better, not your profits. These beliefs and hopes encourage people to connect with each other in the context of your brand's cause.
A good example of this is Harley Davidson, whose business hasn't always had a smooth ride. They adopted a community-centric positioning in order to reinforce the connection between them and their customers. By understanding bikers on their own terms, they united a “brotherhood” of riders through the philosophy of rebellion, to successfully turn their brand around.
Create Engaging Content
Content and community should work together, so speak to your community through thoughtful content that provides value will drive engagement.
A good starting point is knowing what your community wants and listening to pinpoint your community's interest. Communicate your message with powerful storytelling and visual imagery and you'll be able to effectively earn and grow a sticky community.
The Garage Way
At Garage Society, we are committed to empowering communities by bringing people, ideas and opportunities together. We do this by blending our 3 focus areas of people, programming and place all of which makes up our Community-Centric Approach.
To learn more about our community, come and visit us at one of our locations.
To connect with like-minded people, entrepreneurs and businesses across the region, join our digital networking platform Garage Commons and be first to know about our upcoming community events.
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