Why unicorn brands are so focused on building communities

Traditional digital marketing strategies fall flat in the age of ad blockers and brand over-saturation. Meanwhile, competition gets tougher and customer acquisition costs go up. The modern digital economy requires a unique approach to marketing. That is why many of the most successful companies invest in things that don’t directly lead to more sales but strengthen the brand in the long run: they are focused on building communities around their product. It has become increasingly important for those brands that want to reach and engage with Gen Z.

source: https://www.thedrum.com/industryinsights/2019/08/09/why-unicorn-brands-are-so-focused-building-communities

To become a movement

Having a strong community isn’t just a way to differentiate yourself — it’s a way to transcend the boundaries imposed by the core component of your business. No matter how good what you’re selling, at the end of the day it’s just a product. And one’s relationship with products can only get so personal.

According to the 2019 Meaningful Brands survey, 77% of brands could simply disappear and not a single customer would care. But if your marketing is structured around your community, your brand can avoid that fate. It can, instead, come to represent a passionate group of like-minded people.

To provide social context

Your community is a market positioning tool like no other. A lot of brands produce ads featuring sports cars and luxury items, trying to appeal to the target demographic’s ideal self-image. But in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t mean much. By now we’re used to these tactics, that sell everything from skincare products to energy drinks. We all know that a new pair of shoes does not make one worthy of a Met Gala invitation — no matter what the ad wants you to believe. However, when your product is actually used by actual celebrities — this social context is impossible to ignore.

To gain brand ambassadors

Related to the last point — the people who feel ‘at home’ in your community are also most likely to convince others to use your product. Word-of-mouth marketing is a force to be reckoned with — even though you can’t easily measure it. 6 out of 10 customers won’t trust your brand unless someone else vouches for it. They want to be sure that you deliver on your promises. Content, generated by the members of your community, can convince them to take the risk.

Moreover, these same people will willingly expand effort to ‘convert’ others. Because, as we have previously mentioned, they perceive it as a movement, a lifestyle choice — not a purchasing decision. Their connections will become your leads — 71% of consumers are highly influenced by their friends’ recommendations.

To develop brand loyalty

Community loyalty often, though not necessarily, translates into brand loyalty. These people are brought together by your corporate vision, and will, as a rule, enthusiastically approach products that expand it. This can present a set of challenges: if your development decisions somehow damage the ideals your community was built upon, users will abandon your product en masse. However, if you stay true to your promises, people will be eager to try out new things.

To make smarter decisions

Having an active community is a great way to ensure a transparent feedback loop between you and your customers. Individual reactions get lost, but communal resonance is hard to miss. Your community can amplify the voices that would otherwise be drowned out.

It also gives you a great way to measure how well you’re doing as a company. You can use it as a metricfor customer satisfaction and customer retention.

According to Accenture Interactive, 91% of Gen Z and millennials are willing to switch brands over ethical issues. If you monitor your communal spaces, you can notice the early signs of things going wrong. To speed this feedback loop further up, you can even directly address your customers in a public forum and listen to their grievances or suggestions.

Moreover, it’s far less expensive for a business to retain customers than it is to acquire new ones. Yet most companies continue to prioritise customer acquisition over retention.

To bridge online and offline

Last, but not least, it’s a great way to establish yourself on both sides of the screen by bringing your online community offline (or vice versa).

Your online community does not cease to exist in the real world. If you’re a company that makes digital products, or uses direct-to-consumer sales tactics, you can take advantage of this to establish your presence in meatspace.

Companies from Blizzard to Google and Coinbase arrange meet-ups and conferences, giving their community members an opportunity to convene in real life. The connections people make online are more tangible than they might seem and nurturing them offline will only make them stronger. Moreover, real world presence will work as advertising for people you’ve been unable to reach online.

Likewise, traditional brands can establish online communities so that their users, no matter where they live, get the opportunity to lead an active communal life.


Brand communities are a part of our digital culture — and you can’t ignore it. If you are not nurturing the communities of both your customers and your supply-side partners, you risk playing a losing game against the rising cost of traffic and clicks.

We need to open channels of communication through regular people, those we can truly connect to. Only they can reliably drive long term user retention. That’s why it is vital to focus on your social impact in addition to conventional marketing channels.

MNFST – lifestyle app for Gen Z

Intervention de Yannick Bolloré – Président Directeur Général de Havas à Bpifrance Inno Generation (11/10/2018)

Retrouvez l’intervention de Yannick Bolloré, Président Directeur Général du Groupe Havas lors de Bpifrance Inno Generation, le 11 octobre 2018.

Havas Meaningful Brand Study: 2017 Belgium Results

LARGEST GLOBAL ANALYSIS OF ITS KIND: 1,500 global brands, more than 300,000 people, 33 countries and 15 different industry sectors

BETTER BUSINESS RESULTS: Meaningful Brands have outperformed the stock market by 206% over the last 10 years

GLOBAL RANKINGS: Discover which brands and industries top the meaningfulness charts

A WAKE-UP CALL FOR MARKETERS: Content delivered by brands is underperforming to such an extent that it’s having little impact on business results or people’s lives. 84% of people expect brands to produce content. Yet 60% of all content created by brands is poor, irrelevant or fails to deliver.

NEW CONTENT EFFECTIVENESS INDEX: Exclusive data that tracks the relationship between a brand’s performance, its meaningfulness and the content it produces.

THE WAKE-UP CALL: Havas Meaningful Brands 2017 – Belgian Results coming soon !


People wouldn’t care if 74% of the brands they use just disappeared.

75% of us expect brands to make more of a contribution to our wellbeing and quality of life, yet only 40% believe brands are doing so.

60% of content produced by brands is declared as poor, irrelevant or failing to deliver.

Meaningful Brands : 60% des contenus sont hors de propos (source: Media Marketing)

Source: Media Marketing | News | Meaningful Brands : 60% des contenus sont hors de propos

Havas a publié les résultats 2017 de son étude mondiale Meaningful Brands, présentée en long et en large sur un site dédié particulièrement bluffant. Pour rappel, l’outil mesure la contribution des marques à la qualité de vie des gens. Au menu : pas moins de 1.500 marques étudiées dans 15 secteurs et 300.000 personnes interrogées dans 33 pays.

On notera ces trois “wake up calls” épinglés par Havas : 74% des marques pourraient disparaître demain sans que cela n’émeuve qui que ce soit ; 75% des répondants attendent des marques qu’elles contribuent davantage à leur bien-être et à leur qualité de vie ; 60% des contenus produits par les marques sont considérés comme pauvres et hors de propos.

Havas constate également que la courbe de tendance des indices boursiers des marques “qui font sens”, surperforme de 206% sur une période de 10 ans (2006-2016) et que ces mêmes marques ont augmenté leurs KPIs de 137%.

Le top 3 mondial des Meaningful Brands est dominé par Google, PayPal et WhatsApp. On notera que ces deux dernières n’étaient même pas reprises dans le top 10 de l’édition 2015 de l’étude et que dans cette même édition, Google occupait la deuxième place derrière Samsung qui chute de quatre places. Outre PayPal, WhatsApp, ce même top 10 en 2017 voit l’arrivée de YouTube (5ième), Mercedes-Benz (6ième) et Lego (10ième). IKEA maintient son rang (9ième) et Nestlé qui était encore sur la troisième marche du podium en 2015, perd 15 places.

Les secteurs les plus “meaningful” sont les voyages & loisirs, devant le retail, le food, les transports et l’automobile.

How marketers can use new tech to deliver meaningful brand experiences | Econsultancy

Source: How marketers can use new tech to deliver meaningful brand experiences | Econsultancy

According to the Future of Experience report by Adobe, produced in collaboration with Goldsmiths, the customer journey no longer exists.

Instead of concentrating on the traditional path to purchase, brands need to consider the customer’s experience as a whole.

And to truly connect, this experience must be meaningful.

That’s easier said than done, so here’s a look at five ways in which the report suggests brands can create meaningful experiences.

Use technology to drive emotion

Most consumers crave experiences that connect on an emotional level.

For brands, this means using technology in more creative ways.

With their ability to transport users from reality into an entirely different world, virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR) are the most obvious tools to use.

However, it can only work if the technology and content work in unison.

If it allows the user to connect with an idea or other person (as opposed to isolating them from the world) then it moves from an immersive experience into an empathetic experience – one that’s driven by emotion, regardless of the channel or platform.

Another way brands can promote empathy and emotion is through social good.

One example of this is Lush, a cosmetics retailer that runs charitable campaigns and supports grass-roots organisations.

By giving the consumer a meaningful reason to buy, it also provides them with a very good reason to come back.

Creating new and unexpected experiences

Is there such a thing as too much personalisation?

Some say there is, with tailored recommendations and highly curated feeds taking away the element of surprise (a key factor for a meaningful experience).

So what’s the answer?

To ensure that human, one-to-one creativity works in conjunction with technology to create a contextual experience for the consumer.

A good example of this is when brands only work with influencers when there is benefit for all parties involved.

If there is a lack of natural affinity, not only will it harm the reputation of those involved, but it will also alienate the audience.

Providing a value exchange

When it comes to technology, privacy and data protection is a hot topic.

However, a new conversation has recently started in relation to technology actually creating or aiding moments of privacy.

As we’ve seen from the growing popularity of ad blockers, consumers are increasingly keen to take control over their own digital worlds.

Input from brands is often seen as an intrusion or unwelcome distraction – unless there is an exchange of value.

And where does the value lie? Again, the report suggests it’s in that meaningful experience.

Whether it’s help to get fit or map out a journey, so long as brands provide something of value (as well as complete transparency), consumers are likely to accept their data being taken in exchange.

Offer practical and progressive experiences

With 54% of people citing that a good digital experience seamlessly integrates into their own lives, experiences don’t only need to be emotional to be meaningful, but helpful and practical too.

If an experience helps a user progress some way, they are automatically going to want to use it again.

With machine learning and artificial intelligence constantly evolving, brands need to learn how to interpret and use data for the benefit of the consumer.

Provide a connected experience both on and offline

While consumers value technology-enabled interactions, 64% of people said they prefer engaging with a human being.

In line with this, we’ve already seen many brands attempt to blend the physical and digital worlds, using both to deliver inspiration and discovery.

While ecommerce companies are most obviously suited to this, other industries can still take heed by focusing on a seamless experience across all touchpoints.

2015: AXA joins the Top 50 Best Global Brands – An innovative brand at the heart of the digital transformation

#AXA is ranked 48 in the #BestGlobalBrands Interbrand 2015 & 1st global #insurance brand

Source: AXA/ Newsstand News Interbrand 2015: AXA joins the Top 50 Best Global Brands

The Interbrand ranking has just been published, providing very good news indeed for AXA. Interbrand, the brand strategy and design consultancy, which is recognized worldwide for its expertise in brand assessment, rewarded the AXA Group, which rose 5 places compared to 2014, reaching 48th place in the 2015 Best Global Brands ranking. AXA also joins the Top 50 of Interbrand, which values the brand at USD 9.254 billion.

This rise in the rankings acknowledges AXA’s positioning in key sectors and its decisive initiatives, which enabled the Group to exceed its objectives and affirm its position as global leader.

An innovative brand at the heart of the digital transformation

In 2015, AXA sustainably strengthened its innovation ecosystem, particularly in Asia. AXA Lab, already present in San Francisco, was set up in Shanghai; the Data Innovation Lab, active in Paris since 2014, arrived in Singapore; and AXA Strategic Ventures, created in February and already present in San Francisco, New York, London, Paris, Zurich and Berlin, opened an operation in Hong Kong. Furthermore, 2015 saw the creation of Kamet, a technology innovation incubator at the service of insurance customers.

After having established partnerships in 2014 with Internet giants LinkedIn and Facebook, AXA pursued its initiatives in the digital domain. New agreements were signed in 2015, notably with BlaBlaCar, European leader in ridesharing, to provide insurance cover for BlaBlaCar members.

A responsible brand, working to protect everyone

In 2015, the Group reported its best-ever score on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI), with a score of 83 out of 100. With this score, AXA is positioned among the leading enterprises worldwide in terms of corporate responsibility (CR). Furthering its active commitment for the environment, AXA participated in CR Week 2015, Climate Finance Day and COP21. Henri de Castries has already announced his intention to take the Group out of all carbon-related investments by end 2015.

The AXA Research Fund was particularly dynamic in 2015, allocating €15 million in 2015 to 44 new research projects on risks in 19 countries. In parallel, AXA established apartnership with IFC-Banque Mondiale for parametric insurance, and is expanding its initiatives in micro-insurance.

A brand that’s close to its customers and its employees

The digitalization of AXA services also continued in 2015, with the launch of the HealthU and AXA Drive Coach applications. Start-in, AXA’s participative innovation program, has already generated several innovative prototypes to better serve AXA customers. Two of these services will be brought to market in 2015, followed by four more in 2016.

The Corporate Online Open Course (COOC) entitled “Do you speak Digital?” was developed by the AXA Digital Academy, with the goal of familiarizing all Group employees with the digital domain.

AXA owes this success to its employees, who generate ideas and initiatives, but also and most of all to its customers, who put their trust in the Group and its agents every day.