Building a Community for Change-Makers

Building a Community for Change-Makers

We finalize 2018 talking about our passion: Building global communities. This is not another 2018 recap, instead we aimed to get you some usefull insights on this post about what we’ve learned so far on growing consciously a global community connecting and empowering change-makers around slow fashion. Investing in change-makers and creating long lasting relationships is the goal for Slow Fashion World! This is what we did when we met Sina Helmke, our change-maker in Germany.  We, Sina and Mariel, are both passionate about social entrepreneurship, international marketing, inclusive and driven communities taking action.  We got the chance to meet in Sweden and develop guest lecture in Västerås, Sweden holding a guest lecture about Sustainability in Marketing. There we got to speak together in the Podcast Marketing for Change-Makers and talk about how Slow Fashion World started. A global community for conscious creatives that want to empower slow fashion and conscious living visionaries to make their voice heard, show alternatives to fast fashion and increase the awareness about the current ecological crisis in our world.

During the episode, we’ve discussed about the experiences and tips on how to build a thriving community for your business. We talked about community building as a marketing tool and why it is so important in today’s world and especially for Social Entrepreneurs. Check out the Podcast

About Sina Helmke: Building a successful program and consulting agency developing Marketing for Change-makers. Sina, is a fundamental part of the success of this platform, therefore we joined forces again and created a series of resources for the community, both online and offline to raise awareness, develop entrepreneurs, companies and brands into implementing sustainability in their business and personal agendas.

About Mariel Jumpa: Originally from Cusco, Peru and now lives in Sweden. She used to be a flight attendant with a massive passion for traveling and connecting with people, and this led her into starting Slow Fashion World – because she wants to empower, connect and enable collaborations in ethical fashion between Europe and Latin America. Although she only started 1,5 years ago, she already created a community with almost 11 k people all over social media and about 1.600 members in her private Facebook group.

How to Get Started with Building a Community for Your Brand

Three Pillars of Slow Fashion World

The way Slow Fashion World community is operating is based on the following points: 1) Sustainability: Always acting towards having an impact and making the world better 2) Diversity: Creating an inclusive network of changemakers around the world 3) Innovation: Using social and technological innovations to improve society and environment. One reason why Slow Fashion World became successful very quick is the structure of the community. Enabling and empowering different change-makers from 12 countries (more to come) to support a global network with unique skills.  When Slow Fashion World chooses those change-makers, they are not focussing on their number of followers but individual strengths, impact and knowledge. Every Monday one changemaker gets featured on the community. The members are not only designers or brand owners but also advisors, academics and marketing/media experts.

In the founders’ opinion “it is inevitable for international entrepreneurs to build their own community – a personal tribe for their brand. Since social media is a community platform itself, you will not be successful otherwise. But it is also a beneficial way to showcase your mission and ideas and get feedback on them. You can test and find out what is working and what should be changed or improved”.

Common Rules for Successful Community Building

To create a thriving community, you need a strong foundation which should be based on the following aspects:

1) Follow your passion! If you are only interested in this particular idea or project at the moment, think twice if its worth it. You should think longterm!

2) Be ethical and sincere when you reach out to your tribe You will not always receive positive comments, and it is ok not to remove or delete negative ones. Just always be active, honest and answer questions. Do not ignore your members even though you don’t like their opinion. Show them that they are essential to you and keep them engaged by asking questions or using collaborations days.

3) Add value You have to very good at chatting with people and start smart conversations. Try to share valuable content (but always check the source) and keep them up-to-date on your niche/industry.

4) Filter your members You don’t have to add everybody to your community. The easiest way to make sure your tribe consists of people that are genuinely interested in the subject is to add a questionnaire they have to answer in advance. It helps you to preselect and also get to know your members. You can, e.g. ask questions concerning their background and personal motivation.

5) Don’t make it automatic Try to avoid scheduling your content like a robot. Don’t always post at the same time or have theme days every second day. But keep a structure and an order. You can’t automate a community 100 percent, because you have to show your personality. But of course, you can have a team that supports you. But make sure they are aligned with your mission and values.

How to Handle Haters

If you follow the above points, you are pretty good prepared for creating your own community. But of course, it is unlikely that you will have a tribe with thousands of followers overnight. In the beginning concentrate on spreading the word and make it your number one mission that you exist. When you start growing, you may have to deal with negative people or people intending to copy what you’ve built:

1) Listen Try to understand their problem and show them that you respect their opinion. Talk to your critics and try to solve misunderstandings

2) Build trust If you showcase your work with honesty and authenticity, people will learn to know and understand you. It makes it harder for a negative person to damage you and your work.

3) Offline events Organize meetups or other activities with your tripe to deeper connect with them. Face-to-face interaction help to grow meaningful relationships.

4) Policies and rules Make sure to have clear and easy to understand rules. If people don’t follow them, it is ok to block or ignore them. Another not unlikely situation that might occur is someone else starting a similar community. Slow Fashion World is very clear on this point. In her opinion, you should always reach out to them and try to create a collaboration.  Especially as social entrepreneurs we cant stab each other in the back but instead should find a way to cooperate and complement one another. It can be a win-win situation for everyone involved. But if they don’t want to team up, it is also fine. If you want to grow, you have to reach out, look around and not to stay behind your curtain. Don’t fear competition because your personality is always unique – no one can copy it!

4 Steps to Get Started!

SFW tip: Just get started and do it! Do not overthink everything but become more active. The easiest way is to follow these steps:

1) Identify You have to find out, what people are looking for and what their need is. Your passion is essential, but not everything. Make sure you look behind it and define the problem your target group is facing. This step involves a lot of research and testing. You can ask your family, friends and of course people that are within your actual target group.

2) Step Out of the Closet This one might be the hardest part for some people, but it is crucial that you open up yourself to the world. Make sure you are ready to share your opinion and views with your audience. Structure what you want, what your mission is and create a story out of it. Share it on your social media and get used to spreading the word.

3) Communicate The way you talk with your tribe has to be unique and compelling. You have to find a differentiator from other communities. Think about your story, personality, and values and create a communication strategy from it.

4) Feedback Even if there are just a handful of people in your community in the beginning, always ask for feedback. Show them they are important to you and ask them what they enjoy and what they miss.

You are creating your community for your audience and not for yourself.

Thank you Slow Fashion Community

To finalize this post, we are glad to see the Slow Fashion Community taking action and getting closer, with more active members we have seen conscious creatives, industry professionals, academics, advisors and sustainability advocates boosting their companies, gained visibility both locally and globally and that makes it all worth it. 2018 was challenging & positive for the community, although some goals were not reached in numbers the famous 10K goal in Instagram we connected and integrated topics, activities & join forces with a global community building and advocating for social and environmental change! To get started this 2019 we offer you the opportunity to grow as well and take our online course “Develop your brand’s DNA” officially launching soon. For Registration and early bids HERE Once again, thank you for being the change you want to see in this world! Tell us what you think about Slow Fashion World below and what can we do better to help you grow and build a sustainable lifestyle.

SINA HELMKE

SINA HELMKE

CEO ECO MARKETER

Eco marketer is a small agency in the heart of Hamburg with the aim to provide you with anefficient and effective marketing solution. In order to get the most out of your business, we offeryou a comprehensive support in the areas of social media, content marketing and sales support. I created Marketing for Change-Makers! My goal is to help you spread the word about your business and bring your solutions into the world to have an impact. In my opinion, we as entrepreneurs have responsibility for society and the environment. We should all live by this rule and make sure that more and more exciting and innovative projects prevail on the market and create a difference.
I wish you a lot of fun listening to my podcast! 

Building a Community for Change-Makers

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BUILD YOUR BRAND DNA

BUILD YOUR BRAND DNA

BRAND DNA: WHY YOUR VALUES ARE THE FOUNDATION OF YOUR MARKETING

Do you know your brand’s DNA? Or does it even have one? In fact most businesses struggle with this very important point. But creating a brand DNA is key to establish a successful business that has an impact in todays world. Why so? I will try to explain it with an easy example: All of us know Patagonia – an American outdoor clothing company. If you think about them, what comes to your mind first? Right. Most of us will probably think about quality, environmentalism and integrity.

Where does this image come from? This is easy to explain: Because Patagonia has a very clear, powerful and vivid brand DNA that sticks with the customers mind. It is proved that companies with a strong DNA appear to be more trustworthy, create better long-term customer relations and have more impact on society. Therefore, as a social entrepreneur, it is very important that you start building your own DNA right from the beginning.

WHAT ARE YOUR VALUES?

Your next question will probably be: How can I do that and where to start? To define your brand’s DNA you need to be aware of your own personal values and your companies core values. This is not only the foundation of your DNA but of your whole marketing. Unfortunately, most entrepreneurs skip this process or just pick random values without really living them. This might work in the short term, but not in the long term. If you want to build a community and a life-long customer relationship authenticity in your values is very important. Your target group knows when you are faking and not real.

Please take some time, maybe go to a quiet and comfortable place and reflect on your own personal values. What principles do you live by in your everyday life? What characteristics do you like about yourself and others? What makes you happy and feel good? Simply write down everything that comes to your mind – without thinking or judging too much. Do you hate it, if your friends are always late? Maybe you need reliability. It is hard for you to lie? Than you are very honest. Just note all the values that resonate with you. It might also be: transparency, trust, love, humor, freedom, tradition, inspiration, creativity, innovation and a lot more.

As soon as you are finished, take a look at your list and see how you can categorise your values. For example integrity and authenticity are similar aspects that go hand in hand. If you created those matching groups, highlight one word from each group that represents this category. Write all the values you chose on a single peace of paper and voila – You have got your personal set of values!

PERSONAL VALUES VS COMPANY VALUES

Your life can be much easier, when you acknowledge your values and integrate them in your everyday life. For example, they help you in decision-making, friendship and a lot more. But as a social entrepreneur, you have to expand them into your business. They define what your company stands for and lie at the core of its culture.

Maybe you ask yourself right now, why do I need to know my personal values to define my company’s values? If you choose principles for your business that you can’t live by in your private life your are not authentic and after a while you will feel demotivated and less energetic. Therefore it is very important to combine your personal values with those for your company. But of course they don’t have to be 100% alligned. If one of your own values is to have a lot of fun and be humorous but your target group are accountants you can keep those just for your private life.

DEVELOP YOUR BUSINESS VALUES

First of all, take some time and look at your results from the task above. What core values did you choose? Now think about your business. What is your target group, your products, your partners and your goals? Try to be as detailed as possible and write down the most important points. Compare your results and analyse what of your personal values support your business? Maybe you come up with two or three more, that you didn’t put on your list before. This is no problem, as long as they fit you as a private person aswell.

To ensure your core values to be truly powerful, make sure they fit the following key elements:

They have to be memorable

They are short and easy to understand

You only choose a few put strong ones

They are actionable

You and everyone in your team is passionate about them

Keeping these points in memory, now write down your core values you want to implement in your business.

HOW TO USE YOUR VALUES IN MARKETING

After figuring out your values, you need to find an effective way to communicate them and help your customers to identify with them. This step requires an effective marketing strategy. A key part for this is to use content to explain what you stand for and why. Share your messages with your crowd on social media, your newsletter, podcast, interviews etc and always spice them with your values. But make sure not being to pushy and always actively mention your values, but do it in a discreet way.

Make sure, all the information you put out into the world is consistent with your brand’s belief system and follows this structure:

Complementary: Every element of your brand’s marketing supports the others

Continuity: Your communication is consistent and connected

Consistency: Multiple messages reinforce and support each other

Coherence: All communications are logically connected

To get a better practical overview on how to implement those steps in real business life, check out the following example of how amazing integrated marketing (marketing that integrates the brand’s values) works.

Condoms for Pets

The San Francisco Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals ran this ad in 2015 to create awareness on the need to spay and neuter your pet. Their mission is to educate people on the importance of neutering pets to save unwanted cats and dogs from getting euthanized (it happens to 4 million pets each year in the US). One of SFPCA’s values are bringing happiness and long lives to animals.

The reason for this crazy idea of a campaign was, that they wanted to avoid being preachy by offering condoms for cats and dogs. How did they implement this marketing case? They installed pet condom dispensers in several parks and used Facebook and Twitter to spread the word about it. The SFSPCA’s campaign was immediately picked up and shared by 20+ international websites like Huffington Post and Adweek. And it become the no. 1 trending topic on Reddit and made it up to 30,000+ site views. Pretty insane, isn’t it?

YOU WANT MORE?

If you want to learn in a more practical way how to establish your own personal brand DNA and how to implement it in your marketing, send us a quick email or message on social media. We will come up soon with the very detailed and online course „Brand Purpose – Create a Foundation for Your Successful Marketing Based on Your Values.“

Our aim is to give you a an easy but valuable opportunity to improve your brand and help you grow. The following learnings and topics will be included in our course:

Creating a complete set of personal values

Step-by-step guide to transfer personal values into business values

Integrating your defined values into your marketing and your company culture

Defining your brand purpose and developing a brand promise out of it

Several inspiring case studies from international brands and companies

Get rid of limiting beliefs that prevent you from stepping out into public with your brand and become visible

market proven strategies that let you create amazing campaigns that stick in your customers mind

Overview of successful communication strategies that show you how to engage your audience based on your brand’s purpose

The online course „Brand Purpose – Create a Foundation for Your Successful Marketing Based on Your Values“ is created in collaboration with our Changemaker Sina Helmke. Sina is an expert in Marketing for Sustainable Entrepreneurs and the founder of ‚Eco Marketer‘. She has more than 7 years of experience in Marketing and helped 200+ companies in implementing marketing strategies and campaigns. For the last 1,5 years she completely focused on social businesses because she wants to help them become better known and gain a higher media coverage to create a better world with more truly conscious brands.

If your are interested in joining us for this great course, we are happy to hear from you. Please fill in your interest HERE and get a chance to get the course for FREE (2 winners will be selected)

If you have any questions, feel free to drop us a message any time!

SINA HELMKE

SINA HELMKE

SFW CHANGE-MAKER HAMBURG

I am Sina and I provide online support for social companies, helping them to reach more people and gain more time to focus on giving an impact by taking care of their online marketing, social media and sales needs. This serves my greater purpose because I can help them to share their positive message with the world.

Building a Community for Change-Makers

We finalize 2018 talking about our passion: Building global communities. This is not another 2018 recap, instead we aimed to get you some usefull insights on this post about what we've learned so far on growing consciously a global community connecting and empowering...

Slow Travel Diaries ft. Bohetnika (Part I)

Why to Slow Travel? To learn, get inspired and connect. I love to travel like many of you, and I am always thinking of ways to do it with balance and positive impact, for people and the environment. My goal is to always improve, but mostly learn from each city, fall...

Meet Kmana – Conscious World Wanderers

Great news! Kmana is joining our PopUp Store + Events in Paris. Showcasing and selling for a whole week, Kmana is bringing conscious + ethical fashion to our "Creative & Conscious" Paris edition. Let's introduce you now to a fantastic journey from how it all started...

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