Case Study / Creating an Online Community
Fable Trading Ltd
Charm Beads | www.trollbeads.co.uk
|Objective||Plan and deliver pilot programme for an online fan community and transfer skills into the business to maintain and develop further in future.|
Fable Trading is a highly successful small business with ambitious growth plans. Established in 2005, they are the sole UK & Ireland distributor of the premium Danish jewellery brand, Trollbeads.
The jewellery is a range of interchangeable elements that form a collection from which people can create their own unique jewellery combinations. At the heart of the collection is the range of over 1000 charm beads. The Danish brand owners were the first to bring this concept to market.
Research found that existing customers were extremely loyal, and vocal. Many had formed their own online groups and forums. There was a strong emotional attachment to the products, where each bead held a deeply personal and emotional significance for the collectors. However, Fable Trading had limited access to these people because the products are sold exclusively through a network of independent retailers. The digital footprint was fragmented, with fan forums, retailer websites, and Fable’s own site competing to be recognised as the official online home of Trollbeads. In recent years a number of competitive products have joined the market. It is against this backdrop that Clear Thought advised Fable Trading to mobilise and motivate the fans to form an online brand community.
The benefits of an online community
Focusing on social media and digital engagement for a concentrated period enabled:
- A direct one-to-one connection between the distributor and the customer.
- Creation of a channel to cross-sell, up-sell and promote new products.
- Stimulation of online and offline word-of-mouth through a highly informed core group of fans.
- Generation of effective user-generated content to use in external communications.
- Developing a sense of trust between the brand and the core fans, leading them to spontaneously defend the brand if required.
- A level of intimacy that isn’t possible in other channels or by larger organisations.
Strategy and set-up:
Clear Thought sourced and coordinated a team of specific experts, whilst undertaking the key strategic planning. We then project-managed and worked hand-in-hand with the client and the chosen suppliers to:
- Assess and recommend the key social networks to focus on.
- Map-out the connections between external sites, Fable’s own website, email data capture and offline activities.
- Set-up, integration and branding of key sites and tools, e.g. Wordpress Blog, Facebook,Twitter, You-Tube, Mailchimp, Get Satisfaction.
- Preparation of a content strategy, key messages, tone of voice, keyphrase definition, launch campaigns and initial activity plan.
- Delivery of the first 12 weeks of activity, including weekly Facebook competitions, weekly blogs, monthly fan blogs, monthly Twitter competition and extensive daily personal interaction with fans.
- Undertook key internal communications and skills training with key staff.
- Established key metrics and reporting.
- Sourced, appointed and briefed key suppliers for the ongoing implementation at the end of the pilot programme.
What this has meant for the client:
The client now has the core elements for an ongoing fan community. They’ve immediately seen benefits – firstly in sales, and, also in building trusted one-to-one relationships with customers to support continued profits and growth.
“We knew that Trollbeads customers can be fanatical, and we loved that. We just didn’t have a way of engaging with them. We’ve grown our business by focusing on building relationships with the retailers, but we knew that to continue to grow we needed a fresh approach to reach out and connect with our end customer."
"Our website at the time was old and stale, devoid of customer interaction and created without technical direction or control of our website provider. The end product was disappointingly hard to navigate, difficult to search and also very frustrating to finally deliver. Under Clear Thought’s guidance and their enthusiastic professional approach we now have an online presence to be proud of, that looks great, works fantastically and is all maintained in house."
"The complete process has been a hassle-free journey from the initial research and strategic planning, to project management of suppliers and hands on skill to deliver. We were introduced to excellent key suppliers from their broad network of contacts and the whole process was managed within a strict budget delivered on target."
"Our customer experience has been greatly enhanced and social media fan base grows by the day. We’ve been delighted, and somewhat amazed, at what they were able to achieve in such a short time that has really managed to give our marketing the step-up it needed.” Richard Morfoot, MD, Fable Trading Ltd