featured image for post Building Brand Communities Amid Covid-19
May 07, 2020
Building Brand Communities Amid Covid-19

In these unprecedented times, brands are being challenged to re-think how they can connect with their consumers. This week General Mill's Arjoon Bose and Hearst's Nancy Berger, joined our CEO Amber Atherton for a live webinar to discuss how brands are turning to their fans to drive storytelling on social, replace influencer spend and increase loyalty through personal connection.


On the importance of advocacy & community as part of your brand marketing budget

"Do we believe community and advocacy should be at the heart of brand building? Absolutely. Is advocacy really the future? I would argue so very much, and brands that don't really don't embrace that strategy, and have it at the heart of their future brand building community strategy, I think would be missing a trick right there." - Arjoon Bose, General Mills

On the difference between paying influencers vs investing in community

"I think one of the core differences between paying an influencer versus building a community of your true fans is that there's no payment. It's not a one to one, emotionless financial transaction. What it is, is genuinely a community of people. And it is a very positive environment where they're supporting each other, they're learning about each other. From retailers, like an All Saints or a net-a-porter through to mass produced food products we all know and love. These brands are opening up to allow community to be built on their brand's platform. We all as human beings crave, recognition, validation, connection, to be part of a social group, and I love that our software can provide that environment with brands to have those close connections, especially in this time, where, you know, you're not seeing people" - Amber Atherton CEO Zyper

On the future role of advertising

"Advertising is being decentralized and influence is being democratized to the everyday consumer, in that they are trusted advocates, they have high engagement, they can create just as amazing if not better content than agency or an influencer. So why not involve them as a trusted advocate for your brand? So to me it feels like the future is one that is that is decentralized and you only need ot look at the hugely successful and disruptive DTC brands like Away or Glossier (whose investors are also investors in Zyper) who have a core part of their go to market strategy from day one has involved community and building and investing in that. And I think that is evidence enough that this is a future pillar of building truly relevant brands." - Amber Atherton CEO Zyper

On marketing in a post COVID-19 world

"Whilst the landscape is changing, and we're having to evolve to these unprecedented times the fundamentals of marketing still remain the same. 83% of people trust friends and families referral more than any other form of advertising. So I'd ask how can you use this time as an excellent marketeer to really go back to the basics of finding your fans and building that groundswell of trust." - Amber Atherton CEO Zyper

On Community & Privacy

"That's why Zyper exists. It's a very scalable way for you to identify your top 1% of fans and build community. And I think to your earlier point around platforms and the evolution of the social media landscape, Facebook is no longer going to be the dominant place where community is built. Brands went through that first generation of building their own apps, like there's the Nike run club app, there's all of those apps, but they don't have a central community component. And I think what we've seen is that consumers really want a space where they can be in a private chat environment, you know, particularly for Gen Z privacy is important. Bringing your customers together, where they can collaborate with you and give you those sort of recipe insights, the chat element is like a focus group 2.0 you get real time insights feedback." - Amber Atherton CEO Zyper

On evangelizing real people

"Fundamentally what really makes the heart of community is being able to create democratised conversations right? And really, what we do with great communities is we're evangelizing real people, with honesty and purposefulness. So, yeah, I think we are going to see a shift. So as much as we think like younger people are more socially conscious and want to have a voice, I think, posts coming out of COVID we're going to see an interesting mix in the demographics as we go along." - Arjoon Bose, General Mills

TREND: Digital Experiences with Products

"Our mission at Zyper is to build these spaces that are fundamentally about trust. And I think that what this experience has taught people is to ask who to trust. We will gravitate towards smaller groups and we will seek out community and people that we can trust for product recommendations to discuss things with. So I think that's going to be a core theme. And but I also say that I think digital experiences- will start rising and I mean when you purchase something online, it should have a digital experience component for example an AR filter. A game or how to video. "

TREND: Community at the heart of brand building

"So I think really, community is going to be at the heart of all brand building. Community, is what's going to keep brands like ours at the forefront of the wider cultural conversation. And, personally, I think, we're lucky to be in a place like General Mills, which really believes in living its purpose of serving the world with food people love, and now need. And for us as marketers, I think it's important to be brave and really purposefully go and build our brands. And do so in a a manner in which we can continue to live our purpose in everything we do. Increased marketing no matter what during challenging times, not only grows your sales and brand love during that period of the crisis, but beyond. I think of our role as marketeers is to provide comfort now that will be remembered. It's to provide perspective, but more importantly to provide creative ingenious solutions during these times and at all times. And really underpinning it is community at the heart of it." - Arjoon Bose, General Mills

Why Zyper?

"Amber and I met at the Forbes CMO summit. I was still in my old role and I think we'd really appreciated the amount of work that we'd had to do to try and build community manually. From a grassroots level in Lara bar, but I think when I looked at the Zyper platform and heard what Amber was doing , I looked at myself and said, you know, being able to have a partner like this would just simplify our lives and enable us to really elevate this part of community building to the next level. So as I started to join the dots on how powerful a tool like brand superfans and advocacy could be for us on even on a lot of our established brands, it stuck out to me that, you know, the work Zyper was doing, not just with DTC brands in fashion and luxury, but also in some major brands that really could do with this sort of spark of what I am very passionate and in our CMO in the US, is genuinely really passionate about will be called remarkable modern magical marketing. There was that little moment of magic and what we saw there." - Arjoon Bose, General Mills

To be invited to our next webinar please email hello@zyper.com and we will add your name to the waitlist.

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