The power of community marketing

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Jen Wong Community

Since Covid-19 came crashing into our lives – and into the world of business – in 2020, what has kept brand resilience and transformation driving forward? In a word, connection.

Marketing underwent a sea change in 2020. Brands such as Jägermeister had to adapt to a world in which there were no physical venues for their product; online communities including Reddit experienced rapid growth.

Jägermeister developed #SaveTheNight, a campaign centred around the creators and artists who fuel nightlife – a vital component of the brand’s success.

“Jägermeister is a brand that is embedded in nightlife culture,” said global CMO Wolfgang Moeller. “When you look back on last year, suddenly 60 percent of our business just shut down. No nightclubs; no bars; no festivals; no places where you normally have a shot.

“We were sitting in our home office thinking ‘what are we going to do?’ We looked into the community to see what was needed … The nightlife community out there really needed support because they had no income anymore, and the audience was looking for entertainment.”

save the night

Image: Jägermeister’s #SaveTheNight campaign.

Last night, a DJ saved the night

#SaveTheNight – a platform to connect DJs, entertainers and other nightlife performers with their audiences – has so far supported 1,350 ‘meisters’ (patrons) across 52 different markets by hosting events and even releasing limited edition products.

In particular, Jägermeister has focused on diverse communities, helping to save under-threat lesbian bars in the US, and connecting the DJ community in South Africa with its audiences to crowdsource new dance hits.

“Community is really important to Jägermeister and, because of that, we didn’t want to follow the conventional marketing wisdom of making a thing, putting that thing out there, and driving people to it,” explained Allan Blair, head of strategy for Engine, the marketing firm that worked with Jägermeister to develop #SaveTheNight.

“We wanted to do something that powered the community; really solved a problem for them,” Allan continued.

On a niche-to-know basis

While Jägermeister was helping to save communities, Reddit was watching them thrive. The 16-year-old social media platform grew by almost 200 percent during the pandemic while expanding to more than 100,000 communities.

While this was advantageous to a company that gets its revenue from advertising, it should also be on the radar of marketers said Reddit COO Jen Wong: “We have users on Reddit who are not on other platforms … and what’s really different for marketers is the idea of intentional time.”

A lot of time spent on phones and social media is not necessarily intentional, she explained. But, when people go to Reddit, they are intentionally going to find specific information. They do so with an open mindset and a lot of trust in the niche, interest-driven communities they are part of.

What’s really different for marketers is the idea of intentional time.

– Jen Wong, Reddit COO

This, said Jen, is a market segment that is “very rare at this scale and with that graph”.

The last year has also given the company time to develop authentic, local spaces for a global audience. Reddit’s new Berlin (and first non-US) office signifies an intention to serve what now accounts for 50 percent of its traffic: audiences outside of the United States.

“Reddit is best when it is local and has local context,” said Jen.

“The approach we’re taking is that global-local approach, market by market, making sure that the communities have local residents and moderators who understand the backdrop of the culture in addition to the culture they want to create in that community.”

Main image: Diarmuid Greene/Web Summit (CC BY 2.0)

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