Building Authentic Community | Growth Stage 2
You did it. You identified your unique value proposition (UVP), you’ve defined a potential target market, and you’ve established smart partnerships to get the right distribution. Now what? Your pickles made it onto Whole Foods Market shelves. Your restaurant launched. Your new food+tech app is live. What are the steps in creating authentic, scalable community around your product or service so that you have repeat customers or users? Where do you begin? At Cure[ate], our Growth Stage 2 is all about defining a B2C product launch strategy around community building and influencer marketing.
Now, lets discuss what it means to “build community,” part of the second stage of growing your business. Chances are, you’ve heard those words thrown around in marketing meetings and during development planning, but what does that really mean and how can you harness that to benefit your business?
Here at Cure[ate], building community is one of our strengths. We generally have two types of clients: large nationwide companies who are looking to connect with customers on a local level; and local companies who are looking to expand beyond their current customer-base to a regional or national level. Our job and end-goal with each client may shift based on their goals, but since no two businesses are exactly alike, we have the unique opportunity to tailor our journey with each group. It’s our job to help you find the key to the culture that surrounds your target audience.
One of our collaborations is with the team at Power Supply. There are two UVP’s at Power Supply that really get us excited. First, they have an amazing network of local chefs that prepare freshly-made meals each week. This is a huge differentiator in the prepared meals space as most other companies in this vertical churn out meals in a commissary kitchen. Each Power Supply meal is crafted by their local chef network. Second, one of the distribution points for Power Supply is through their gym partner network. Step into a local gym/crossfit or yoga studio, and you’ll see a branded Power Supply fridge! On your way to or from work, picking up your meals post-workout has never been easier.
Power Supply has tapped into an ingrained community of both chefs and customers, and we’re here help grow the product’s reach by retaining and building that authentic community -- no matter what location they are opening next! Cure[ate] is currently working with Power Supply’s existing market in DC Metro, and helping to launch Power Supply in Los Angeles.
The key into the culture of your target audience is an influencer within that community. As part of growth stage 1, we discussed conducting in-depth market research into your target market and what makes them buy the products or services they do. With this information, we are not only are better able tailor your product to that group, but we are able target certain individuals or hyper-local communities within your target market. As such, we are able to get the word out about your business not just to any average joe, but to the right person that has an influence on others within your target audience.
The term “influencer marketing” begs the question, what is an “influencer?” To us, an influencer within a subculture is someone who has some sway within the community.
Compared to twenty years ago, its much easier to connect with people around the world with just the touch of a button. In every subculture, there are a couple people who are considered authorities on a particular way of life, whether they reach out to people in person or online. “Authority” can mean many different things at this day in age, but an influencer may be a popular blogger, a celebrity chef, or even, the most organized mom at the PTA meetings. These individuals have the power to promote or blacklist a product because they are trusted by their followers. Never doubt the power of gossip over cocktails or a whisper in a meeting over a cool new product – they can be just as influential as an online post, given the right person spreading the word.
The Cure[ate] team is a big proponent for individualized marketing for both the business and the target market, so influencer marketing is right up our alley. Our goal is to cater directly to the influencer and their community in a way that can give them the best and most authentic experience of your product that they can possibly have. That influencer then has the chance to let their followers know just how great you are throughout their various channels either online or in-person.
Cure[ate] Founder Kim Bryden once worked for Whole Foods Market, and opened the Whole Foods Market Foggy Bottom store in Downtown Washington, D.C. One of the key takeaways from her time there was the brand’s ability to have a global presence, but adapt buying and marketing strategies down to a hyper-local level. You don’t just feel a difference between Whole Foods Market DC & Whole Foods Market Philadelphia, you can palpably feel a difference between Whole Foods Market Foggy Bottom and Whole Foods Market P St -- less than 2 miles from each other. And no matter where you are in the world, you can imagine your two closest Whole Foods Markets and know what we’re talking about. That ability to stay brand-strong nationally or globally, and identify and execute on the ways to be strategically local, are the essence of Cure[ate]’s growth stage 2. This is where growing a product or service is defined.