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Companies Creating Communities With Core Customers

Leading consumer brands are seeking to deepen their relationships with core customers by creating communities that ideally lead to higher sales. Retailers, in particular, are augmenting events at their traditional bricks-and-mortar stores with online efforts aimed at striking up a "conversation" with customers.

Twice a week, 30 or more people gather at the Nike store in Portland, Oregon, and go for an evening run. Afterward, the members of the Niketown running club chat in the store over refreshments.

At the Whole Foods supermarket in Seattle, shoppers take part in a "singles" night the first Friday of every month. The store's marketing staff organizes a wine tasting or sets out snacks. Customers can wear a red or blue ribbon to indicate whether they are looking for a male or a female partner.

Separately, Nike's social-networking site, which was created in partnership with Google to run for eight weeks during the 2006 World Cup, was used by more than 1 million people to establish personalized World Cup pages.



Read the whole story at Los Angeles Times/Financial Times »

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