4 brands who drive real value with their online communities

Khoros Staff

Today, brands are connecting with customers, staff, partners, and more in myriad ways at a more frequent level than before. One key way many brands choose to maintain and manage connection with these groups is through brand communities.

While the primary argument for brands to build online communities is cost-efficient customer support, they offer so much more than that. Communities have the potential to drive sales, build trust, improve loyalty, and reduce service costs.

Here we showcase four brands offering excellent, diverse examples of how online communities can function to benefit businesses and customers alike.

VISA: Customizing to boost user engagement

As a large brand that works with more than 16,000 financial institutions and major partners, Visa needed a way for external developers to connect more easily with their engineers to foster the exchange of ideas and information. So, they partnered with Khoros to build a brand community: the Visa Developer Platform.

Visa’s previous community platform had several issues that impacted its performance. It was too blog-heavy — preventing opportunities for interaction — and difficult for users to navigate.

Revamping Visa’s community layout and functionality

Visa put forums front and center of its new community to send the message to developers that Visa was there to support them. This helped the Visa team prioritize answering important and relevant questions, allowing developers to find support and connect easily with their teams. With this new community structure, Visa increased the number of users, interactions between users, and user satisfaction within the community. With this new community structure, Visa increased the number of users, interactions between users, and user satisfaction within the community.

Visa made the most of its new community features like ease of community navigation, relevant content, and a centralized place to interact with fellow developers. Its most successful update was implementing personalized features for community users. These updates gave Visa precious data from the community, influencing its developer roadmap. After implementing a new community solution, Visa better understands what developers want.


Visa’s community was even recognized externally — winning a Dev Portal Award for the Best Community Spotlight and the public vote for Best Overall Developer Portal.

Takeaway: Make it personal. Motivate members to contribute by providing a curated feed with relevant content. Communities with personalization features are better at treating members as individuals. Personalization is also great for the bottom line; it can increase marketing efficiency by up to 30% and sales efficiency by up to 8%.

Key Stats

  • 80% of consumers are more likely to do business with a company that offers personalized experiences.

  • These improvements helped Visa achieve a 124% increase in community membership.

Recap: How did Visa do it?

  1. Used data to focus efforts on its online community's highest traffic resource areas — including forums and technical articles.

  2. Optimized community structure by putting the forum front and center so developers could easily find support and connect with the Visa team.

  3. Partnered with the Khoros to customize the Visa community design specifically to Visa’s brand.

  4. Fostered developer engagement with gamification and recognition features, so developers want to stay and participate.

HP: Winning with digital-first customer care and community

HP aims to create technology that makes life better for everyone in their global customer base. But, of course, a global audience has diverse needs. To support millions of customers, HP implemented Khoros Care and developed a Khoros-powered community — creating a round-the-clock self-service support center backed by knowledgeable agents who moderate activity and answer tough questions.

One of HP customer support agents' biggest obstacles before onboarding with Khoros was spending too much time responding to logistical questions, such as "where do I ask this question?" This decreased their ability to build the HP brand by deepening customer engagement.

Both Khoros Care and Communities help HP expand its social footprint and encourage audience interaction with the following benefits:

  • Providing a centralized hub to HP’s large customer base

  • Giving HP a clear view over the number of customers they’re serving, the number of solutions provided, and the number of solutions viewed by other customers.

  • Helping HP organize, document, and enrich its customer support knowledge base while giving customers a place to quickly find answers to their questions at any time in multiple languages.

  • The ability to archive answers and improve suggested search results, leaving agents free to prioritize the most pertinent problems.

The ease with which HP could authentically connect with customers through Khoros allowed HP to gain deeper insights into its customer base — improving overall product strategy and customer support. HP believes in the value of a strong digital customer experience, and its Khoros-powered community has been integral to its customer support operations.

This put HP in a position to receive an award for Total Community All Star.

Great online communities can help free up a brand’s digital customer care agents by keeping the answers to common logistical questions in one easily-searchable place.

The takeaway: Serve up your best content first. Successful communities are constantly generating content; eventually, some gets buried. Features like Promoted Search, Analytics, Synonyms, and Content Archival make it easy for community managers to monitor searches and match them with popular content.

Key Stats

  • The community helped HP achieve a 41% year-over-year reduction in inquiry resolution time and a 35% reduction in agent response time.

Let’s recap: How did HP do it?

  1. Created a voice of the customer survey with Khoros Care.

  2. Empowered agents to engage with customers more efficiently and effectively by combining care and community.

  3. Built a Khoros-powered community where customers can gather and share information.

  4. Measured community interactions diligently, uncovering opportunities to surface valuable content and automate solutions to logistical issues.

Sony Europe: Shining bright with a vibrant online community

Sony Europe is the UK division of the consumer electronics giant Sony Corporation. Sony Europe’s previous support forum, European Sony Electronics, served as a place where customers could resolve technical problems. But Sony Europe had a bigger vision: a vibrant community where people could interact with each other not just by resolving problems, but by creating and sharing user-generated content (UGC).

Sony understands that encouraging UGC fuels stronger relationships — value people then associate with the brand. Sony Europe wanted to create a centralized location to engage users through company-generated blogs, tutorials, and workshops to help them get more out of their products and our services.

Activating Sony brand advocates

Sony wanted to provide a platform where their photo-enthusiast fan base could share its content in galleries and participate in photo competitions. With the flexibility of a Khoros-powered community, Sony Europe created a compelling photo gallery fully integrated with its website — all on brand.

Thriving online communities activate brand advocates by encouraging, honoring, and showcasing the most loyal superusers. When empowering your most passionate community members, they become brand advocates who contribute valuable content. Brand advocates are more likely to recommend your brand to friends and family. Not only does this increase brand awareness, but it directly impacts revenue. People trust the reviews of other individuals more than a brand’s advertisements.


Sony Europe found great success with its Khoros-powered community. They have more than seven million searches, nearly seven thousand posts, and 1,400 new topics per month. Before partnering with Khoros, their user-generated content was 80%, and now has reached 99%.

Sony Europe found great success with its Khoros-powered community. They have more than seven million searches, nearly seven thousand posts, and 1,400 new topics per month. Before partnering with Khoros, their user-generated content was 80% and now has reached 99%.

Sony Europe’s ultimate goal for its community efforts was that those efforts translate into increased revenue, loyalty, and savings for the business. With a Khoros community, Sony Europe achieved its goals by providing a robust, flexible platform that could adapt to measure its strategic goals using different content types, developer tools, and metrics.

Takeaway: Let your users generate the content. Smart brands understand the value of user-generated content (UGC). UGC increases engagement, strengthens perceived value and authenticity, and contributes to growth. Because it’s written by and for members, UGC is more trusted and shared — helping the community grow.

Key Stats

  • 77% of companies believe an online community significantly improves brand exposure, awareness, and credibility.

  • Sony Europe’s audience grew to nearly 10 million, and their sales reached €33 million.

Let’s recap: How did Sony Europe do it?

  1. Repurposed its photo contest module as a wallpaper gallery within the community.

  2. Brought company blog posts, tutorials, and workshops into one easily accessible place.

  3. Ran monthly Sony World Photography Award competitions, generating 2,000 – 4,000 photo submissions per month from users spanning 15 countries.

  4. Encouraged its audience to submit content to the community.

Telstra: Fostering peer-to-peer connection through community

Telstra is Australia’s largest telecommunications company, with over 16 million mobile users. Telstra knew its customers and employees engaged digitally with them daily to have questions answered, problems resolved, or to share experiences with Telstra’s products.

As digital interactions with customers increased, Telstra wanted to offer the same authenticity they showed customers offline. So Telstra set out to create a complete customer care experience with a dedicated place for customers to gather and interact without engaging the Telstra support team.

Telstra onboarded Khoros Care and Khoros Communities so customers could connect with the brand. Telstra’s community now offers authentic digital customer care coupled with a platform where customers can discuss products and services with each other and crowdsource solutions.

Enhancing customer experience through an online community

Telstra already offered an excellent customer service experience through traditional means like phone support, but the team knew their digital customer care needed to catch up.

By partnering with Khoros, Telstra built its online community, CrowdSupport. CrowdSupport connects Telstra’s customers on a platform where they can talk about products and services with each other without Telstra staff playing an active role.

CrowdSupport connects customers to other customers and occasionally support staff for better problem resolution, insight, crowdsourced innovations, and shared experiences at every digital touchpoint. Telstra also turned to Khoros for a game-changing customer service experience to offer the next wave of gamification and customer value exchange for its community members.

The peer-to-peer support that Telstra’s community offers helped the brand provide 24/7 customer care and created more than 20k pieces of content in the first five months of launching the community. In addition, they saw a 22% YOY increase in accepted solutions and a 76% YoY increase in knowledge-based articles. Combining the power of digital customer care agents with knowledgeable members of a great online community allows brands to address many more customer concerns than they could with just agents alone.

Takeaway: Reward and recognize to maximize. Gamification encourages customers and employees to share more frequently by recognizing contributions and incentivizing activities that add value to the community. Automate the right incentives and recognition, and you can improve engagement in your community exponentially.

“What’s brilliant about our customer community is the richness and authenticity of the feedback and interactions that are provided by our customers. We learn so much about how we can make our products better in the community through the quality feedback our customers provide.”

— Monty Hamilton | Digital Operations Director, Telstra

Key Stats

  • 22% YOY increase in accepted solutions

  • 76% YoY increase in knowledge base articles.

Let’s recap: How did Telstra do it?

  1. Empowered the digital customer care team to have authentic conversations with customers.

  2. Provided a place where customers could gather for peer-to-peer interactions without engaging the brand.

  3. Ensured brand safety and effective governance with an active digital customer care team.

  4. Built advocacy and loyalty with customers by delivering authentic support on the channels their customers chose.

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