This is guest post is by Sarah Robinson, author of Fierce Loyalty: Unlocking the DNA of Wildly Successful Communities. She is based in Birmingham, Alabama and advises international clients on how to build a thriving, successful community, how to increase social media effectiveness, and how to develop a remarkable online and offline business presence.
*Please join our guest, @SarahRobinson on Friday, December 7th at 5pm GMT/12pm ET/9am PT for the Twitter chat, #KaizenBiz as we discuss “What Creates Fierce Loyalty In a Community?”. Not sure how to participate? Please click here for tips and advice.
“What is the difference between a community and a Fiercely Loyal community? What sets the Fiercely Loyal one apart?”
I get asked these questions almost everyday. And I don’t think people ask because they don’t recognize Fiercely Loyal Communities when they see them. Just look at Harley-Davidson, Apple, and Starbucks and you know your seeing communities that stand above the rest.
I think people ask because they want to understand why they stand apart from the rest. What do those communities have that other brand communities don’t? The unspoken question is “And can I get my hands on whatever it is they have?”
What Is a Community?
A community is made up of a group of people who share a common interest, who have the needs of belonging, recognition and safety and who get those needs met my building or finding a community structure built on connection, support and predictability. Most of the communities out there are settled in right at this point. The community is functioning, members are getting their needs met and things are humming along. \
The Distinguishing Traits of a Fiercely Loyal Community
For the Fiercely Loyal Communities I mentioned above, and for the thousands of communities like them, there is something more present. These communities have evolved beyond just functioning and humming; they’ve become a vital part of members’ lives, something they won’t do without and something they tell all of their friends about.
What is this something more? In my research, I found three distinct qualities that are present in Fiercely Loyal communities. They are Pride, Trust and Passion. While these qualities may be present in varying degrees in other communities, they are the centerpieces of the Fiercely Loyal one. And the good news is, any organization can foster and encourage these qualities to develop and evolve in their community.
Pride is what you see in those crazy football fans or Harley Riders who are swathed head-to-toe in logos and slogans. They are so proud of their affiliation with their communities that they want to be walking billboards displaying their devotion. And once you get them started talking about their community, they practically gush about it.
You know when members of your community have your back and have your best interests at heart. In Fiercely Loyal Communities, members who’ve never even met feel this way about each other. Mac owners who’ve never met but sit down next to each other at a coffee shop have an instant bond. They understand each other and trust each other with their deepest darkest tech secrets.
There is a deep, magical connection that happens in our most fiercely loyal relationships and it happens in Fiercely Loyal Communities, too. The community is a fundamental part of who we are, integral to our happiness and we don’t want to be away from it from very long. I know many Starbuck’s devotee’s who feel this way about their local Starbuck’s hangout. And even if they can’t be at their favorite location, they can always get a little passion “fix” at any Starbuck’s they can find.
Seeking fiercely loyal communities
As our world becomes more and more disconnected, I believe we will seek out Fiercely Loyal Communities to give us the meaningful connection and engagement that we so crave. I also believe that organizations who can offer Fiercely Loyal Communities will be the ones who survive and thrive through these tumultuous financial times. Do you believe Pride, Trust and Passion are their most distinguishing qualities or do you think there are even more?
About the author: Sarah Robinson is a seasoned business strategist and author of the recently published book Fierce Loyalty: Unlocking the DNA of Wildly Successful Communities. Based in Birmingham, Alabama, Sarah advises her international clients on how to build a thriving, successful community, how to increase social media effectiveness, and how to develop a remarkable online and offline business presence.
How do you differentiate between just a group of people and a community?
What role does socializing play in creating fiercely loyal communities?
When could a fiercely loyal community limit a businesses growth?
How are fiercely loyal communities the same or different from Seth Godin’s “tribe?”
What role does engagement play for members to become fiercely loyal?