Why do people love communities? 3 takeaways from our 2016 Impact Awards

Why do people love communities? 3 takeaways from our 2016 Impact Awards

By Jason Ku · 30 September 2016 · 3 minute read

Weren’t able to make it to our Impact Awards last week? No problem, we’ve got you covered! After soaking in all the sharing from clients, inspiration from Vision Critical, and discussions with members, we have a few takeaways we’d like to share. A HUGE shout out to all our clients, guests, and members who joined us for a night of networking, sharing, and celebration.

Through the evening, we were excited to hear WHY people love communities. We heard so many unique stories from different industries on how our clients and members found community engagement so rewarding.

As Peter Harris, APAC MD at Vision Critical, posed the question… “Am I worthy of my customers?” These days we are inundated with ads, choices, and information that brands need to truly engage their customers.

Communities are an authentic commitment brands make to their customers to building a relationship.

So what were the takeaways from the evening?


  1. ENGAGEMENT - The importance of exploration

Technology and communication are constantly changing the way we connect as people. Now more than ever, we are using online and digital ways to connect, which means online discussions, chats, videos, app diaries are all the norm. As Scott mentioned, in the old world, trying something new or running additional projects was expensive. Now with communities, the costs of trying new tools are marginal, and working online with your customers is almost always faster, more cost effective, and will allow you to connect with your audience in a more natural way.

Bashuli Sane, Product Manager at Cathay Pacific, shared with us that “…now we have more and more people knocking on our door. It started off as some teams that wanted to validate an RTB for my campaign, then the conversation led to let’s understand the pain points, which then impacts the creative…” Moving forward, we need to recognise the importance of trying new things and seeing what works, to gain refreshing new insights that matter.


  1. AUTHENTICITY - Members are authentic “brand consultants”

During our client panel, Marcus Lui, Head of Customer Experience and Design at Asia Miles, and Betty Ho, Senior Director at Manulife, both shared their excitement about their members, saying that their members are “like brand consultants” and “they are almost better than us at reading our brand!” Betty added, all types of feedback come through the community, even constructive feedback. “But they’re not completely negative! They truly want to help you improve!

It’s always amazing to us at ABN to see the enthusiasm from our members and how well they understand the brand and how much they genuinely want to help and give their opinions. If you are seeking authentic and genuine feedback, turn to your community members.


  1. EMPATHY – Understanding is not enough; you need to empathize

The next step after engagement, customer centricity, authenticity is going beyond… it’s about “empathy”. As Marcus shared throughout the evening, sometimes understanding is not enough, but we need to connect emotionally and be empathetic, which is now a core principal of design thinking at Asia Miles.

Diane Chiu, Head of Marketing at HSBC Retail Banking and Wealth Management, also highlighted 4 steps of building relationships with humans (their customers).

  1. Partnership
  2. Support
  3. Have fun
  4. Intimacy

HSBC not only talks to their members online, but also invited them offline to actually build the emotional relationship to the brand. Members visited the HSBC archives to chat with the team, learn more about the brand, and even get a tour of where the bank notes are made. At our Impact Awards event, we were also fortunate enough to have members from several communities swing by to say hello to the clients and they were very excited to share their feedback and just be involved in the relationship.

Thanks again to everyone who joined and shared their experiences with us during the event. If you have any questions, feel free to visit or drop us a note through our website or on LinkedIn.