Starbucks and Lego Turn To Online Communities To Engage With Their Customers

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Online communities are a great way to understand what businesses are doing right and wrong. More and more companies of all sizes and in all sectors are reaching out to their customers in this new and exciting way. Companies can use their own online communities to engage with their customers and make them feel part of their business and any future plans. Below are a couple of examples where online communities have successfully been used to enhance the company brand and build strong relationships with customers.

The first example to look at is a well known chain of coffee shops. Starbucks set up an online community, MyStarbucksIdea as a platform to allow their customers to share ideas and thoughts. Users are encouraged to openly express their opinions around current and future products, such as their favorite teas and coffee blends, as well providing feedback about their overall experience, such as the atmosphere and the level of service they received from the staff at checkout.

Starbucks uses this platform as a way to both learn and act on customers suggestions. As part of the community they have implemented a rating system which enables customers to vote on the ideas that they think are really important. Each month the ideas with the highest ratings are taken to the Starbucks executive team for consideration. With more than 3 million visitors and over 60,000 ideas generated from customers, the community site has been a great success for Starbucks and its brand.

Another brand that has progressed within the online community world is Lego. Whilst other toy manufactures have stepped aside and made way for the e-games industry, Lego has held its own and still remains a firm favorite in homes around the world. Lego Club to its users is a platform in which people can swap ideas and show off their designs; however to Lego itself the platform is a strategic marketing tool that allows the company to understand its customer base and segment them in order to implement a successful social media strategy.

Lego has split their online customers into three types: lead users (people Lego actively engages with on product designs), 1:1 community users (people whose names and addresses are known to Lego) and connected community users (people who have bought Lego and have also been to either a Lego shop or park). These customers are defined based on the strength and depth of their relationship with the Lego brand. Lego use their online community to work with these customers and get them involved in developing their product offerings, thus making them an important part of the development process. Customers like these are important to the brand as they are likely to be the brands biggest advocates.

Looking at the two examples above it is clear to see how an online community can help a company to develop a brand that is more attractive to the customer. Understanding how each customer’s needs differ is extremely valuable. PerryWorld believes online communities allow a business to target and engage more specifically with the customer and understand their needs more closely. Companies of all sizes are turning to online communities as a way of communicating with their customers on a one to one level.


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