FOUNDERS THOUGHTS: COMMUNITY BUILDING
Vaal & Vaal Co-Founder Harper Gill created the private members club based on her own desire to have a creative and aspirational space to work, play and pamper around a community of like-minded individuals. Her launch campaign ‘Believe Become Belong’ was centred around the concept of community building. Harper shares her top three reasons as to why community building is important for company growth.
A SENSE OF BELONGING
The saying “it’s lonely at the top” is something I can relate too! In my early days of business I found it hard to find people that I could relate too. My friends in careers didn’t understand my working hours, financial pressures, and staffing issues. For me, community provides a support network for businesses (and individuals) and a feeling that we all look for as humans: a sense of belonging. Vaal & Vaal was established for this exact reason – to allow people on a similar journey and with similar aspirations to have somewhere they can belong. A space (or ‘community’) where our members can connect, share and feel accepted by their peers. By feeling like you belong, you have the confidence to take risks and try new things – a recipe for growth.
AN OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN
Companies do market research to help come up with new ideas or solutions. The same approach should be taken with yourself – do research, put yourself out there! Keeping your circle small limits thinking. When you participate in a community, you can benefit from a wealth of specialised knowledge and experience. For example – going to fitness classes teaches you about health, museums teach you history, and business events give you valuable insight. Human nature means we learn from each other much easier than we learn from a book. By broadening your community, you broaden your mind and diversify your thinking.
Last year, we launched VaalWOMEN (a platform for females to access advice, contacts and experiences from successful and aspirational women) and VaalASPIRE (a platform for pioneers, game changers and challengers) as a way of helping our members have access to a broad range of knowledge. Speakers and themes vary, but one thing that remains consistent is that the Vaal & Vaal ‘community’ provides an opportunity to learn.
People are natural talkers – we just love a chat! If you can tap into this, then it has the power to be a powerful marketing tool. Advertising and social media allows you to send your message to thousands (if not millions) of people, but nothing is quite remembered like a personal recommendation. Forbes reckons 84% of people are more likely to trust a recommendation if it comes from a friend – meaning the community can be a very powerful tool.
One mistake I made in my early days is that I didn’t use my own voice. Had I attended networking events or spoke about my business more, it would have meant that one more person in the community knew about my business. Imagine – if on average each customer recommends you to three people and one of those people act upon it and then recommends to three more people, then the return on investment is better than any PR or advertising campaign you can do! Give people a reason to talk about and recommend your business – our impeccable customer service and level of quality in everything we deliver provides a memorable experience worth talking about. Honestly, the amount of people that have joined up as members from a recommendation from someone else speaks for itself.
The community is powerful – use it to your advantage.