Build it and they will come
At least that’s what some brands are betting on when it comes to the latest marketing obsession: “community” building.
At first glance, it all sounds a little gimmicky–why would people who buy Brawny paper towels, for instance, need to be in a community for literally anything? But for some brands it really works. Replace Brawny customers with Harley-Davidson owners and it begins to make sense. But why is it happening now?
The secret’s in the post-pandemic sauce. After two years of isolation and global upheaval, collective humanity was–and is– craving something we’ve been missing: genuine human connection. And what do you do to meet that demand? Create spaces that offer a sense of belonging.
As we speak, the purely transactional model of buying and selling is shifting to a highly experiential one. Take Microsoft’s move toward new storytelling features to promote connection in the workplace, or Disney’s plan to build actual residential communities for superfans. Pretty cool if you ask me.
When it comes to social media, the idea of migrating to smaller communities free from the barrage of irrelevant content and shady algorithms is especially appealing. Just look at the massive exodus from apps like Snapchat, or the recent fury over Instagram’s feed. There’s even a movement of Gen-Z influencers who are ditching big platforms like TikTok and YouTube in favor of conversational apps like Geneva and Discord.
The perks of assembling these small communities are undeniable. As a creator, you gain instant access to focus groups, and as a consumer, you can actually participate in an ongoing dialog around a shared interest. A nice trade-off.
But does it really count as community? Is there a downside to selling the human need for connection while still requiring some sort of economic buy-in? Sure. If the purpose of community is to find belonging and share an emotional connection, brands will always fall a bit short.
On the other hand, there’s a unique opportunity to harness branding as a tool for creating meaningful connections. To help create a culture where authenticity is normalized and celebrated. A place where “community” is less of a gimmick and more of a natural side effect of good business. Brands who embrace their role as facilitators of community have the best chance of bringing folks together for an experience they’ll remember long after their purchases.
Amazon to acquire One Medical for $3.9 billion
Amazon is diving even further into the healthcare sector and, unsurprisingly, people have a lot of feelings about it.
If the deal to purchase One Medical goes through, the tech giant would gain access to the medical data of 700,000 of the primary care organization’s customers. As it is, Amazon’s track record with sensitive customer data isn’t exactly perfect, and there is growing concern over the idea of a company that knows everything about your buying habits gaining insight into the intimate details of your health. Who can blame them?
But, there are some bright spots, too. Some experts are pointing out that the acquisition is a huge opportunity to make healthcare more accessible and affordable to patients. After all, one of Amazon’s strengths has always been understanding exactly what customers want, and then streamlining that process to make it the most convenient option possible.
If Amazon finds a way to integrate all its existing health care ventures–Amazon Pharmacy, Amazon Care, Amazon Web Services, and now, One Medical–we could be seeing a whole new way of accessing health care in the not-so-distant future.
Until then, I’ll be right here, enjoying the Prime of my life, (and taking my multivitamin) thank you very much.
WHO declares monkeypox a global health emergency
Another day, another mysterious virus, am I right?
A disease in the same family as smallpox, monkeypox is luckily, far less deadly. Still, a surge of new cases, particularly in the U.S., is causing considerable concern among global health experts, prompting the World Health Organization to recognize the virus as a worldwide health emergency last week.
Although the survival rate of monkeypox is 99%, children under the age of 8, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, and immunocompromised individuals are among those at higher risk of fatality and are encouraged to be cautious. (As for the symptoms, I’ll spare you the details, but they’re definitely not pleasant.)
The White House’s pandemic preparedness director, Raj Panjabi, said a “coordinated, international response is essential” for stopping the spread of the virus, making vaccines accessible, and protecting the communities most at risk.
Stay safe out there, folks.
Best of the Week
Metrics got you mesmerized? You’re not alone. Here’s a quick refresher on the ones you should actually care about when it comes to content strategy.
Follow the trends
Speaking of content, people consumed 30% more of it in digital spaces in 2021. But what makes content good? Turns out it has nothing to do with trends and everything to do with the tried and true principles of good storytelling.
What to watch
Everyone’s losing it over the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever trailer, and for good reason. I won’t spoil it for you here, but do yourself a favor and check this one out ASAP.
In the early 2000s, while Gen Zers were fingerpainting, the Millennials among us were busy burning CDs for our friends, crushes, and road trip companions as fast as our 20 lb laptops could crank them out. This week I give you, labeled in carefully printed Sharpie, The Burned CD, 2006.
More News from the Week.
- Oh Snap! Soon you can take the party to your desktop with Snapchat’s new ad-free (for now) web app, only available on Google Chrome. Users will be able to chat and call in the same window, with AR lenses coming soon. Work is going to get a whole lot less productive. Yessssss.
- Well, we can officially say that college is not the same As It Was. Texas State University students can now take a course on “Harry Styles and the Cult of Celebrity.” And it totally makes sense–why pay big bucks to pull an all-nighter when you could spend all your time Late Night Talking?
- Northern California is up in smoke again as the Oak Fire continues to blaze through thousands of acres surrounding Yosemite. The largest fire of 2022 has scorched upwards of 16,800 acres and could threaten 3,300 homes and businesses. The good news? The flames are expected to be contained over the weekend.
- The NFL launched its mobile streaming service, NFL+, with Plus and Premium subscription tiers starting at $4.99 a month. Users can access a range of coverage from live primetime games to live audio coverage and condensed replays (but only if you’re a Cowboys fan).
- Chipotle is making National Avocado Day (July 31) super extra without paying extra for guac. Play the “Buy the Dip” interactive game and you could win free crypto and promo codes for 1-cent queso and guac. Normally I’d say, bravacado! (But I don’t want to make it guacward.)