A Community Is A Brand, Without A Community There Is No Brand
Yesterday, I had a great meetup with John Krissilas, CEO, Co-founder of TransitHub [@TransitHubTO], a new location-based startup in Toronto. TransitHub is a community for transit riders to connect, share and discover the hidden gems around transit stations and stops. It is an interesting idea. I lived in Vaughan and now in North York. I might know the best place to get bubble tea on highway 7 but clueless about downtown Toronto. This app would be perfect. But more than just a cool app, our conversation was about the relationship between a community and a brand.
A community is a brand, without a community there is no brand. [Tweet This]
If you visit the TransitHub website, you might notice that there is no app yet, just a demo. The team came together only a few months ago at Startup Weekend, and are still building the app. The interesting fact is that they already have a community. They have a blog, Facebook, and Twitter without a real product. They are building a tips database and sharing it. It will help creating a better first experience when it launches. A problem many users ran into when they try a new app is no users. That would ruin the first experience. In a very competitive app market today, you do not have a second chance. This was my experience with Colour, the startup that got $41 million funding earlier this year. I loved the idea but there was nobody around me using the app. It was worthless for me because without people to share with it is just an useless cool app. The purpose of social media for brand is building and connecting a community not just broadcasting. A community is a brand, without a community there is no brand. There are million apps out there but not all of them have users. Most famous companies out there are not the first company came up with an idea nor the best one. But they build and maintain a strong and loyal community who would support them. A good product without any customers is not a good product. Without a community your “the next Facebook” and your dream of success will stay with you somewhere in a dark basement. It is important to build a community, bring together the people who believe in you and your brand.
Products fade, ideas remain. [Tweet This]
The next question is ” I don’t have a product what am I going to to talk about?” Talk about your idea. Give people a reason to connect with you. Is that possible? People like to hold on something not an idea?
Of course I know this very well because my father is a master of it. He has always been selling ideas. My father got a few public relations contracts before he had a clear idea what PR is and started his firm. He has been investing and a consultant in real estate way before he bought his first real estate company. There are many more examples. I am not saying you can do what my father always did. It is a very difficult thing to do and not everybody can do it. It has always turned out good for him because he can put together a very strong team of experts in the field. Building a team is hard plus my father is the best salesman I know. He can make people believe a horrible idea is the next big thing. He does not run the businesses, he makes them run it for him. The lesson here is you need to sell your idea whenever it is possible. When an opportunity comes, you don’t tell it to wait for you until you are ready. [Tweet This] You just need to catch it, and figure out things along the way. It is alright to start before the perfect time because there is no perfect time. Most of the time, you won’t really end up with what you started with. Your product will fade, but if you can sell the idea well, the idea will remain with the brand. People know Google for its minimalist design. People remember Apple for the clean and easy to use products. People voted for Obama because they were hoping for a change. People will remember you and your brand, because you will make the best out of what life will throw at you and sell them an idea.
Lastly, you should build a community before a brand because without a community your success means nothing. [Tweet This]
It’s your turn. What do you think is better building a community before a brand or build a brand before a community? Why?
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