4 Community-Fueling Strategies To Cultivate an Inclusive Brand

November 9, 2021
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It’s no secret that a successful business is only as strong as the community behind it. In fact, people are 84% more likely to trust a referral or recommendation if it comes from a friend or like-minded person, putting the importance of brand affinity and community at an all-time high.

Building a brand powered by community not only cultivates loyal customers but presents an opportunity for new learnings, leading to improved products and innovations. But in order to build a community, a brand must lean into the creation of a space for inclusivity driven by intention and care. 

Together, Create & Cultivate and Mastercard recognize that building such a community requires much more than bringing people together in the same place or hitting a target number of users on an app or website. In fact it’s shown, 70% of consumers agree it’s important to buy from companies that are clear about the values they stand for. So, to truly be impactful, brands must go beyond selling a product. 

Mastercard has proven its commitment to cultivating a culture and community where everyone feels accepted. By continuously assessing the company values, customers’ voices and everyday actions, Mastercard works to build inclusive environments and provide support to businesses who follow suit.  

At our recent Small Business Summit presented by Mastercard, Nicki Grant, SVP of North America Consumer Marketing & Sponsorships at Mastercard, facilitated a thoughtful conversation with four successful entrepreneurs– Lauren Chan, Ashley Sumner, Priyanka Ganjoo, and Tiff Benson– on how to build a successful business through cultivated and inclusive communities. 

Catch 4 community-fueling tips from these powerhouse business owners, below!

Transparency Manifests Success

“Our marketing comes from community building. It looks like partnerships with retailers that match our message, who specifically serve plus sized women. Those partnerships have always garnered so much more success, whether it’s sales or customer acquisition because it’s specific to our community. So my advice is to be a person and be yourself. You will find people who want to participate and are excited to join your community. We started in a way that was very human and transparent, and now it manifests in everything on paper that makes a good business.” –Lauren Chan, Founder & CEO of Henning

Curiosity is the Foundation of Coming Together

“I believe in active listening. We can all learn ways to listen to one another; curiosity is the emergency break for judgement. If we can stay curious and ask questions, then that’s the foundation of coming together.”  -Ashley Sumner, Founder of Quilt 

Always Remember the Why

“I realized I was in the beauty industry not doing things for people like me––who look like me. The more I spoke with South Asian women, the more I realized that the bigger gap we have is this emotional gap, where we don’t feel beautiful. I decided I couldn’t remain in an industry that wasn’t serving people, or supporting the narrative, of people like me. Always remember the why and share your story. Other people will feel invited to share their own.” –Priyanka Ganjoo, Founder & CEO of Kulfi Beauty

Real Conversations Matter 

“Having a strong community can truly amplify your voice in ways you can’t do alone. I nourished my community, and had real conversations with them. I would never have been able to land an opportunity if I didn’t have real conversations and shared experiences with my audience.” –Tiff Benson, Founder of The Fragrance Society

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