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Why Corporates Need Community

Updated: Jun 30, 2021

What are the markers of a successful business?

The success of a business is often measured by their increasing profits and growing customer base. While this is true, we believe that the success of a business stretches beyond their ability to generate profit through productisation and marketing, but engaging and fostering consumer-relations beyond the transactions. The financial yield of a company is just an indicator of the effort gone into maintaining and developing these relationships. In creating a sustainable business, trust between consumer and corporation is essential. However, success from community building can be difficult to quantify or measure.

In today’s Covid-19 climate, businesses are scrambling to digitalise their products and services. These branding efforts often try to sweeten the deal through attractive infomercials, memorable jingles or big monthly discounts. Digitalisation of the marketplace has also facilitated a more efficient model where there’s greater accessibility. Yet when a business does not intentionally include community development in its strategies, the longevity of every customer relationship will only be as fragile as the next discount code that comes along.

A good illustration can be found in one of the most valuable start-ups in S.E.A; Grab. Beginning in the ride-hailing business, Grab weren’t the first movers in the market. There were intense competitors of the likes of Uber and Lyft, who were making waves in the US and growing into the S.E.A. space. Yet, we find that they have succeeded in many ways, one key ingredient that we’ve noticed in their success is often in how much they would go out of their way to serve people better; community building.

Here is a non-exhaustive list of examples which showcases community building were very obvious in Grab’s story

  1. Their relentless focus on safety for users for every ride, through real time data updates (which is important in a S.E.A context).

  2. Working closely with various stakeholders from the government to the grassroots community on serving them better. (When Covid-19 hit Singapore shores, Grab facilitated an on-demand service with the necessary protocols in order to transport the hospital staff safely).

  3. Creating Cloud kitchens to enable Foodpreneurs to set up shop at lower costs with more convenience by leveraging on their food delivery platforms.

While no company is perfect, the above serves as an example of important community building moments that have won over the trust of its people, enabling Grab to grow into a super app with more than 187 million users. Community building is more than giving away perks to your customers, but intentionally listening, reiterating and co-creating with them. Because what you build together will last longer than what you offer others.

Solve n+1 has been in community building since 2018. As a young start-up, we began by serving the vulnerable communities (read more on our projects here). In our journey, we found that when businesses seek to serve the people better, you create more value in the products and services you offer. This approach has the potential to feed the hungry, end poverty and facilitate the space for a much healthier society.

As Covid-19 becomes endemic, people will continue to hunger for human connections. This reveals a greater urgency to innovate on community building, to relook, rethink and recreate connections with one another.

If what we write resonates with you and you wish to consult with us on designing community building strategies for your business, do reach out to us at

Written by Kenneth Heng

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