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Own Your Community, Or What Do You Own?

This article was published in the Spring 2021 issue

by Trygve Jensen, CEO, Current

At the beginning of Current we ran influencer campaigns while we finished our SAAS product. But six months into the launch of Current, the pandemic took center stage. Campaign work literally went to ZERO. I called a team meeting and announced we would no longer pursue doing any campaign work. In conjunction with that, we would only focus on building a world class tech stack to empower influencer, ambassador, and community efforts for brands.

This put immense pressure on all of us, just when we were trying to figure out pandemic life. That pressure forged our product market fit. It cut off all roads of retreat and created the set of core beliefs that we shared as a team. We all coded faster and built a solid team to handle the flood of software subscribers we would add at the end of 2020 and beginning of 2021.

Culture is formed by your beliefs. If you don’t believe it - it won’t be your culture. Here are some core beliefs that got us through to product market fit during a pandemic.

Proactive by default - Time is everyone's most valuable resource. Let nothing sit. If a decision can be made, make it. If something can get done, do it. We are always looking for what needs to be done. We are always picking up the slack. We are always prioritizing the most important tasks for execution. It’s not someone else's job, it is yours.

Fuel Growth & Innovation - Revenue answers most problems. Innovation creates corporate value for everyone. It is easy to ask- is this helping us grow revenue or is this driving innovation in a real way?

51% rule - When doing deals it's ok if the client gets more than 50% of the benefit. We want them to get the better deal in everything we do. This goes for coworkers too.

Optimistic Trust - Lean towards optimism always. Trust the person next to you. If either of those are difficult to do… talk about it. Fix it.

These might not be for everyone, but it helped my team find market fit and scale our SAAS product. Current is now powering influencer and ambassador programs with over 10,000 participates.

At Current we see hundreds of DTC brands, big retailers shifting digital, and media companies building online. We see funding term sheets, valuations and exits for customers. If you have a real community your brand will be worth more. Literally multiples more… everything should focus on building community around your brand.

Everyone is running Facebook ads and pay per click, everyone is trying affiliate and doing video. All those activities are being commoditized. You have to do them well, but it won’t make you different or stand out. You have to find a way to own an authentic community around your brand. Build a custom experience for influencers, for ambassadors and customers. If you are relying on solely networks or social platforms to build your community, you don’t own it. They do. You need to know your community and empower them to create amazing content, advocate your brand, and participate in your brand’s direction.

No one can take community away from you. Paired with your unique brand vision, you now have something worth multiples of revenue. Without community - you are just building a marketing company.


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Own Your Community, Or What Do You Own?
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