Community: Build a community that thrives with Copy Club’s Lottie Unwin (episode 162)

by April Buencamino-dy

Not only is Lottie Unwin the Founder of ‘The Copy Club’ – a community for marketers with over 1,000 paying members, but she also helps eCommerce brands to build community and is CMO at luxury Fashion accessories brand Elizabeth Scarlett. Hear her take on what she has learnt over the last eight years.

Lottie Unwin Copy Club Community

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Becoming a Community Specialist

Lottie shares that she was motivated by loneliness and their natural extraversion. She started her career at Proctor & Gamble, where she learned about marketing and experienced the community within a large corporation.

When she shifted to a startup as the head of marketing at a young age, she felt isolated and struggled in her role. To cope with this, she reached out to people around her, eventually organizing a supper club where she brought together a group of individuals who had connected through conversations. This marked the beginning of her community-building journey.

Community Challenges

In the early stages of community building, the first challenge is to find someone with genuine passion and deep knowledge about the topic to create a thriving community.

Another challenge lies in the commercial context in which community building is approached. Many businesses mistakenly treat community building as audience building, but a community is a group of autonomous individuals who interact and engage with each other even in your absence.

Additionally, community building is a slow process that requires nurturing one conversation at a time. This long-term approach can clash with the short-term goals and expectations of brands, which can hinder successful community-building efforts.

Aligning Objectives and Goals

Lottie emphasizes the importance of aligning the model and objective of community building with what your members want. In the case of Elizabeth Scarlett, despite considering the idea of a community, they didn’t pursue it because they lacked the necessary resources and were unsure if their customers truly wanted it.

Lottie believes that community building should be driven by genuine insight and a deep understanding of the community’s needs, rather than solely focusing on business objectives.

Important Community Tips

For Lottie, it’s perfectly acceptable to not have a brand community, and she emphasizes the importance of not succumbing to the pressure of making it a “must-have” in your marketing strategy.

However, if you choose to build a community, it’s important to focus on meaningful interactions with prospective members rather than prioritizing scalability. You have to commit to the process, but doing it definitely has its rewards and moments.

Insider Tips

If we’ve inspired someone to take their first step with community – what do they need to know to give themselves the best chance of success?

It’s important to actively listen to the perspectives and experiences of your first members. Pay attention to what they actually say. Remember that your role is to serve them, so listen with your ears wide open.

Once you’ve started of course you’ve got to ‘keep optimising’! So what’s your favourite way to improve community performance?

Lottie’s advice is to ask for help. In community building, where your customers are also your members, embrace the opportunity to ask for assistance from both your community and those who’ve done it before.

If someone listening wants to learn more about community is there one cheap/free resource you’d recommend?

Lottie recommends joining the Copy Club, which is an international community for marketers that covers a lot of functional and even emotional aspects of marketing.

Crystal ball time – what’s coming up in the next 6-12 months that we should be getting ready for in community?

Community building has always been around, but recent technology updates have brought about exciting shifts. WhatsApp, for instance, has expanded its features, making it a more viable platform for community building. Also, the potential role of AI in enhancing community integration and leveraging platforms remains uncertain but holds promise for future developments.

Interview Links

Lottie on Social media:

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