What do Sunsilk and Sapient Wealth have in common?



imgbd Harley Davidson is an iconic motorbike brand - its enthusiasts are fierce loyalists, and pride themselves as Harley riders. The company understood the power of the brand and promoted an entire community around Harley riders. Online forums, sharing of peer rider experiences, new places to explore with your Harley, even themed cafes where Harley riders meet each other and exchange notes - Harley's got a hugely vibrant community going for itself, which serves as the best possible brand promotion for its bikes and its brand.

Closer home, Royal Enfield's Bullet too has its share of fierce loyalists (remember the old Bullet anthem: Yeh Bullet merijaan?). Royal Enfield too has sought to develop its Bullet community with an active online forum that Bullet riders actively use and a series of events across the country for Bullet riders.

Every brand is not fortunate enough to have fierce loyalists rooting for it. But that doesn't stop them from creating communities around their product, to attract the right audience for their brand. Take Sunsilk's Gang of Girls initiative for example.

imgbd Gang of Girls has gone through a few makeovers, but the core proposition remains the same - it's a forum, a meeting place for every girl who wants to discuss haircare and hair styling issues with other girls. There's a whole bunch of useful information and importantly active sharing of experiences on hair care and hair styles, which attracts girls across the country to be active on Gang of Girls. And right in the centre of it all is the brand Sunsilk - Unilever's shampoo brand.

imgbd Closer to the fund distribution business, Sapient Wealth has created its own Sapient forum for all its clients. Clients contact each other in this community to seek and share information on a wide range of unrelated topics: Know a good ortho doc I can go to? Know a reliable interior decorator you can refer me to? Sapient also uses this forum to post messages - some related to investments, others could be as far away from investments like an upcoming musical program. What this does for Sapient is bind the loyalty of its clients with an additional layer - its community.

Community marketing - the common thread

Community marketing is seen as one of the most potent marketing alternatives, especially in today's hyper connected, social media oriented world. The cost is next to nothing, the value can be immense - provided the community is seen as offering value to a like minded set of consumers who share something in common. Community marketing can either enhance brand loyalty and thus drive referrals - like Harley, Bullet and Sapient are doing or can be a clearly customer acquisition vehicle like Sunsilk's Gang of Girls.

Ideas for IFAs

Sapient has made a beginning in our industry with community marketing. Is there scope for IFAs to take this concept forward and create vibrant communities in their own cities and towns around shared interests? Can a Ranchi based IFA for example create a Ranchi Tax Savers Association and register it as a non-profit organization? The association can host on ground meetings, can have its own Facebook page and can become the focal resource centre for any Ranchi resident who wants either guidance from peers and experts on tax saving tips or wants to share his/her experiences - good and bad. The IFA who leads this effort can be at the forefront of this initiative, as the expert and can also encourage his clients to share their experiences to get the peer-to-peer sharing going. Likewise, why shouldn't a Jaipur based IFA set up a Jaipur SIP Investors Forum, with similar objectives - focused on SIP investors and SIP prospects. It could over time become a vibrant peer-to-peer sharing platform (on-ground as well as on social media) for Jaipur based investors who either want to start a SIP or raise a query or an issue with their SIP or share their experiences as SIP investors.

Big brands like Sunsilk and Harley Davidson may do their thing on a national and international level. But that doesn't mean that community marketing is not for smaller businesses - in fact community marketing can perhaps work best in smaller communities, if led intelligently by resourceful people like successful IFAs.


All content in Marketing Wiz is created by Wealth Forum and should not be construed as views of Kotak MF.

Share this article