This is a two-part series where we explore the fundamental steps to community creation while leveraging the Equiem Platform.
Having a vibrant, engaged community in your building engages tenants, making them more likely to stay and recommend your building to others. However, this process of fostering a community doesn’t happen overnight.
An iterative process
Although it's tempting to assume that after a building has been constructed is when everything falls into place, reality paints a different picture. An immaculate lobby and all the systems working - HVAC, lifts, energy, lighting, access control, etc. - does not automatically result in a blossoming, active community.
In terms of building a community in any space, you cannot simply build the space and expect a community to form spontaneously. Even Kevin Costner’s character in Field of Dreams had to work through several obstacles before his baseball field became a success. This rings true for both offline and online communities. Facebook, for example, started off exclusive to US college students and took three years to really grow into the ubiquitous worldwide community it is today.
Here’s the truth - engaging tenants, especially in a commercial tower, is an iterative process - an ongoing project with no “completion date”.
Acquiring an Equiem Portal is going to put you on the best possible footing to engage tenants. Without singing our own praises, it is very difficult to foster a community without a way to easily communicate with all of its members. Traditional communication channels, such as relying on tenant reps, don't provide the reach and cut-through needed to create genuine relationships with everyone in your building.
The fundamental steps
Having Equiem in your building is just the start; the real work begins after launch day. The Portal is the toolset, now it is up to you to use it, employing your own unique strategy to maximise its potential, differentiate your building and accomplish your goals.
There is a proven, fundamental process you can employ to help grow your tenant engagement that's based on the scientific method, as well as the Agile methodologies that have influenced the growth of the greatest companies in the past decade.
The process is simple. The terms may change but the process remains the same:
It’s a repeating cyclical process which boils down to understanding your tenants, creating a hypothesis, testing it, analysing the results, and finally, using your findings to refine your strategy.
Let’s go through each step in detail.
Step 1. Research
The first step is to build a thorough understanding of your customers - in this case, your building occupants. If you can empathise with them - deeply understand their likes, dislikes, what pains them, what delights them - the greater chance your engagement strategy will provide genuine value.
Without the Equiem Platform, acquiring data on occupants is difficult. Building managers are typically limited to feedback from tenant reps. The problem is the tenant reps represent only a small percentage of the total building population (typically less than 5%). In addition, logistically, meetings can only be held monthly. In summary, you are limited by both reach and frequency.
An alternative is to undergo a building-wide demographic survey but this is both slow and expensive, as it usually requires a third party. It also rarely has the granular detail building managers need - such as information on each occupant or company/tenancy.
Thankfully with the Equiem Platform, you can build not only a near-complete database of your occupants (60 to 90% of occupants sign up to their Portal) but also employ a suite of data mining tools to help acquire data on your occupants, which you can employ anytime, as often as you like, without any additional cost. Plus you can start analysing results immediately.
Let’s go through two of the main research tools at your disposal:
Polls allow you to take a quick "pulse check" on any issue. When activated, they appear on the homepage, ensuring high visibility and strong % capture. You can choose from three question types - single selection, multiple or a free text field. You can post multiple polls, however by design users can only answer one at a time.
Polls are great for:
• Gauging your occupants likes and dislikes - what retailers or products they want on the Portal, their favourite prizes, the best time for workshops/classes, etc.
• Feedback on current or past events, activations, building facilities and services
• Quickly gauging tenant satisfaction after a recent redevelopment
Surveys are useful for acquiring larger sets of data. To create a survey, simply contact your Equiem account manager to request one be created. We will work with you on the design, content and publication.
Once it’s ready, there are a number of ways to circulate a survey to your occupants. It can be published standalone - simply linked from any content type (news, events, comments). You can also embed the survey directly onto a news post, which means users can fill it out without exiting the Portal. Once a survey is linked or embedded onto a news post, you can then send it to your database via a Notify (Targeted Email) or Digest (Newsletter).
Surveys are perfect for:
• Understanding your occupant’s demographics
• Gauging satisfaction across multiple aspects of your building
• In-depth feedback on recently or soon-to-be-built facilities or services
• In-depth feedback on retailers, products, service providers
Learn more about creating surveys here.
Armed with customer data, you can now form a hypothesis about your occupant’s preferences. This will drive the themes of the content plan you will be crafting. Quick note - “content” refers not only to articles but anything your customers choose to participate in, such as promotions, events and activations.
In Part II of this series, we tackle how to set your hypothesis and create a content plan to test it (Step 2), as well as how to analyse the results using the Equiem Platform's reporting tools so you can further refine your engagement strategy (Step 3).