If you’re building a community for the first time or looking for ways to revitalize your existing one, branding is a major component to success.
Branding is much more than aesthetics too. Community branding strategy is all about building a world for your members to feel at home in. That means you not only need a stellar logo, but your community should have a unique feeling that members can’t get anywhere else.
Ahead, we’re breaking down how you should think about branding a community so that you can bring your business to the next level.
What is community branding?
Community branding is the practice of creating a unique brand identity that’s centered on the look, feel, and experience of a community–including name, design, and a unique identity for your business that your supporters can rally behind.
Many creators make the mistake of thinking that branding is simply the visual components of how you identify your business (think logo, website aesthetic, and product design). But in reality, branding is more than just looks.
At its core, branding is about how someone feels–not just the visual elements like a logo or color scheme. When you design your community in every sense, from your copy to the user experience to the visual identity to the products, you’re creating a community brand.
So, you may be wondering what are some actual community branding strategies you can implement. Ahead, we’re providing an assortment of tips on just that.
Tips for branding a community
As we said before, branding is more than just how your business looks. It’s important to have an awesome logo and a clean design, but you’ll also want to think about what unique experiences you can provide your community members.
1. Build a flywheel
Old brands used funnels to sell their stuff. New brands use flywheels.
Unlike a funnel, a community flywheel doesn’t shove people through a set of steps and force them to make a decision about purchasing. A flywheel brings people into the community and creates a ton of value for them–all the time.
McKinsey has called flywheels a better business model that’s centered on community.
When you build your community as a flywheel, you bring people in and provide consistent value to them. You’ll see user-generated content as people join discussions and share their experiences, and you’ll find that the need for creating and selling products comes completely organically.
Your members’ experience in a branded community is ultimately what becomes the brand differentiator for them; not the color scheme.
2. Choose your Big Purpose
Another component in branding a community is clearly identifying the goal, interest, or motivation that brings your members together. Remember, your brand is providing your community an experience, which means that there should be a clear goal or idea that you’re pushing them toward.
Think about it this way: The best-branded communities are ones that help people achieve a goal they couldn’t on their own. That could be something as simple as providing them the confidence to change their style, or it could be something more abstract like a new way of dealing with mental health. Whatever it is, branding a community is going to be about providing a journey for your members from point A to B.
3. Be consistent
The value you’re offering is in consistency, and that’s why you need to consistently show up. Communities are the greatest business around, but they can take some time to build and nurture. By showing up consistently and posting on a regular basis, you’ve created the conditions for success your brand needs.
4. Invite UGC
There’s something really cool that happens in the Lego community. Users can submit their own Lego builds and the top ones get chosen to be Lego’s official designs.
By letting users create content, Lego has created space for the brand to become even more valuable… thanks to the community.
As you brand your community, it’s vital to understand that your members play a part in that brand. You’re inviting them to create content and share, and the content they create becomes part of your members’ experience of your brand.
It’s amazing to see it live! You can watch your brand grow thanks to conversations you don’t even start, and that’s fantastic.
5. Choose the right name
One of the most important aspects of branding a community is coming up with your name. While this might seem fairly obvious, naming a brand can be an incredible challenge. So much so that many businesses miss the mark.
When you are coming up with your brand name, there are four key factors to keep in mind: recognizable, adaptable, meaningful, and distinctive. Here’s a short breakdown of what we mean by this:
Recognizable: When you’re branding a community, the name should be easy to understand, say, and read. That doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with it, but you don’t want people getting tripped up on your name. Recognizability also means that your name should clearly suggest what your community is all about.
Adaptable: Another thing to consider when coming up with your name is to choose something that is a bit flexible. Your community might start with one goal in mind, but as you grow you may expand into new industries or content models. Having a name that you can adapt to fit your ever-growing business is a great thing to keep top of mind.
Meaningful: When you think about what your branded community’s essence or identity is, what comes to mind? Whatever you’re thinking of should somehow be communicated in the name of your brand. Think of your name as the first step into getting someone to join your community. That means the name should conjure some kind of idea, image, or feeling in anyone who comes across it.
Distinctive: The best community branding strategists understand how to communicate what makes your brand unique. Your name is the first step in separating yourself from the pack of competitors you’ll have.
If you can incorporate these ideas into your brand naming process then you should be on the right track.
Check out our Community Name Generator to create a community name that feels like magic.
6. Choose your community’s aesthetic
Okay, so we said the visual isn’t everything about branding a community. But that doesn’t mean it’s not important.
Everything from your logo design to your color palette are ways that people will identify with the experience you’re creating for your community. In the same way that your literal name will communicate what your community is all about, so too will the looks and feel of your community and logo.
For this step, part of your community branding strategy will involve a lot of research into what kinds of communities are already out in the world and understanding how they’ve branded themselves. You might draw some inspiration from how they designed their logo, but you also will gain ideas on what not to do or what’s already taken.
Ultimately, your logo and color palette will communicate ideas to your community members in the same way that your brand name and content will.
7. Customize your welcome sequence
One of the things that gives you an amazing opportunity to brand your community is with a welcome sequence–and it’s a missed opportunity in many cases.
As new members come into your community, are they welcomed and encouraged to participate? Do they get prompts that help them dive in at the deep end?
Or is your community a bit like the party people go to, look around, and leave once they realize it’s intimidating to meet people.
Creating a customized welcome sequence can be an amazing brand differentiator that helps launch people into community action!
8. Build a branded app
If you’re an established creator or brand trying to run a community and you don’t have your own app, frankly you’re missing out. Having an app under your brand is a HUGE boost to your community branding. Imagine getting your members together on your own app in the App Store or Google Play Store, with your notifications.
Here are some of the amazing transformations we’ve seen once people launch a branded community app:
- A podcaster and author sold 5,000 seats to a $997 course in 10 days.
- A health-focused launch to 100 high-ticket members added $40,000 in ARR.
- One community launched a 13-week add-on course and generated an additional $100k in revenue in 2 months.
- One personal finance community generated $130K in five days with their latest course.
If you don’t have a branded app, chances are you’re leaving money and opportunities on the table.
9. Choose the right online community platform
The final tip for branding a community is actually choosing an online community platform that gives you the freedom that you need.
There are a plethora of online community platforms out there, but unfortunately, not many give you much room to customize your branding. You’re going to want to look out for a platform that allows you to implement your community branding strategies in the ways that you intend.
That means giving you the ability to upload your personal logo, utilize a custom domain name, access to your brand colors, and more. Most importantly, you should be able to create content on the platform that’s in line with the identity you’ve built around your brand.
Additionally, you’ll want to choose an online community platform that allows you to expand your community branding strategy thanks to access to new features. What are some possibilities that you might explore? Anything from online courses, to paid memberships, and even hosting virtual events.
All of these options speak to our idea of creating a unique experience for your members that they can’t get anywhere else.
Ready to build?
Branding a community is more than making sure your business looks good. It’s about taking the time to develop a unique experience around the awesome things you’re building.
We’ve covered a few tips for how you can rethink community branding strategy, but at the end of the day, you need to build your community on the right platform.
When it comes to online community building, only Mighty lets you bring content, courses, community, and commerce together in one space. Only Mighty lets you run your whole community flywheel and upgrade to your own branded apps when you’re ready.
Sell paid memberships or bundle any other feature with the community–collecting payments in 145 different currencies. You’ll get control over your brand, bringing in your vision and creativity and mixing it with a platform that lets you serve value in a TON of different ways: think virtual events, live streaming, live or pre-recorded courses, chat & messaging, video or written content options, discussion forums, and more.
And only Mighty has Mighty Co-Host™, the AI community engine that can generate a visual identity, tagline, landing page, invite message, welcome post, and more. With auto-course outlines, an icebreaker generator, and the “make it better” text editor, Mighty Co-Host™ has the tools to put branding on autopilot.
Schedule a call with us and we’ll show you what we could build together!