By: Ashley Wright
There are many personal benefits to being a part of a community. In online communities, there is a chance to share ideas, gain encouragement and advice, and connect with people that you otherwise would not have the opportunity to meet. From a business standpoint, creating an online community in which consumers can communicate about shared interests and connect using your brand name or specific product line, generates an opportunity to gain significant knowledge about the wants and needs of your target population, as well as to collect an immense amount of specific feedback from people who are using your products.
Using the foundation of experience co-creation (ECC), Nike has created an online running community specifically focused around their line of running shoes, and an innovative running device created in partnership with Apple, called Nike+. Nike+ is a small device that inserts into Nike shoes and monitors an individual’s activity and uploads it onto an online profile. This community allows users to track their progress, challenge their friends and get encouragement from other runners in the community. Another aspect of the community is the health education that runners receive from experts regarding ways to capitalize on their running progress and how to avoid injury while training. This kind of open forum and educational opportunity enhances the runners’ experience in their training as well as with the product and the Nike brand as a whole.
By giving the customer a positive experience through the community the value of the Nike+ product increases as it not only contributes to their exercise routine, but also to their social experience, giving them a sense of belonging. This additional value increases the likelihood that these customers will remain loyal to the company and remain involved in the community. Also, in the online realm, people are more likely to post, share or tweet about how their experience with your product made them feel. As a company, being able to monitor and facilitate these conversations between consumers, about their experiences and the product, you are able to track and create new innovations based on direct customer feedback. It allows you to build value directly based on the customer experience.
Nike utilizes the DART model as a way to capitalize on the Nike+ brand. Building dialogue for customers to communicate with one another within the community as well as with the company allows real-time conversation and helps to build trust in the brand. The Nike+ device allows customers to access the community, and the online forum allows the company to access customer feedback and product evaluations. The community decreases injury risk for runners because it educates them, and it decreases risk of customer dissatisfaction because enables the company to constantly receive and adjust to customer feedback, ensuring better value creation. Finally, in this model transparency of the information shared between both consumer and company allows for the success of the company by providing customers with a wide variety of information and the opportunity to provide meaningful feedback that the company can use to create new products..
By using the DART model to build value with the customer, Nike has become a perfect example of how to successfully create an online community that benefits both the consumer and the company. Using these kinds of formats allows businesses to remain continuously aware of changing values, wants and needs of their customers. By building these communities and allowing for customer engagement, it can help to catapult seemingly any product or brand into untapped success.
Ramaswamy, V. (2008). Co-creating value through customers’ experiences: the Nike case, Strategy & Leadership, 36(5), 9-14.