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Gabrielle Wathen

Gabrielle is a Content Specialist at Higher Logic with a background in journalism, film, and marketing. When she's not writing about online communities or marketing automation, you can find her cuddling her cats Harvey and Wilbur, traveling the world, or storytelling in any way she can. Favorite food: All things cheese. Favorite place: Black Rock City, NV.
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Recent Posts

2019 State of Community Management: What Now? 5 Stats with Action Items for Executive Stakeholders + Community Leaders

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on June 26, 2019 at 1:08 PM | 5 minute read

The data published in The Community Roundtable’s 10th Annual State of Community Management report was collected from 325 community programs between January and March 2019. ICYMI: We shared a collection of 39 nitty-gritty stats from the report in our first blog recap.

Communities are change agents, there’s no doubt about it. The 2019 State of Community Management report reveals that communities are transforming organizations in fascinating (and profitable) ways. Program outcomes can be connected to a variety of complex business objectives like customer retention, innovation, and culture change.

Because communities are complex, adaptive systems, they have the ability to address a variety of complex problems with a multitude of different solutions.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Customer Communities, Member Communities, Online Community Software, Customer Retention, Customer Success, Online Community

Higher Logic Joins Team Rubicon to Tackle Community Disaster Response in Houston

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on June 18, 2019 at 3:27 PM | 11 minute read

HIGHER LOGIC CARES: Through our 2019 Charity Program, we sent a group of nine staff volunteers to Houston, Texas, in May 2019 to assist Team Rubicon in disaster response efforts. This story is about their personal experiences on-site and what it’s like to participate.

Here at Higher Logic, community is our business. The same could be said for Team Rubicon, though their core motto is “Disasters are our business. Veterans are our passion.” While our staff (AKA Higher Logic’s “Orange Army”) utilizes their skills to build and strengthen online communities via our engagement platform, Team Rubicon’s crew (AKA “TRibe”) has the opportunity to build communities in a more literal sense—through vital disaster response work.

Here’s a bit more about Team Rubicon and their mission:

“Team Rubicon is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that utilizes the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders to rapidly deploy emergency response teams. Founded in 2010, Team Rubicon has deployed across the United States and around the world to provide immediate relief to those impacted by disasters and humanitarian crises.”

All together, nine eligible Orange Army volunteers (myself included) geared up to join the TRibe’s mission for a week in Houston, working alongside a series of military personnel, veterans, and fellow “kick-ass civilian” volunteers to rebuild a home that suffered damage from Hurricane Harvey in 2017.

To say the experience was rewarding would be an understatement. (Just grab a tissue and read the Volunteer Feedback section....)

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Topics: Engagement, Volunteer Management, Nonprofits and Charities, Company News, Culture

4 Ways to Use Events + Conferences to Increase Online Community Engagement

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on June 11, 2019 at 1:23 PM | 4 minute read

There’s something special about attending an event that leaves you feeling invigorated, inspired, and better off for having participated. Making new connections in an environment like this can be energetic, powerful, and truly productive. It can also boost community engagement.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Engagement, Customer Communities, Member Communities, B2B Communities, User Group Communities, Associations, Customer Engagement, Member Engagement, Marketing Automation, Online Community, Events

Listen Up + Level Up: How to Actually Hear What Customers Say

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on May 22, 2019 at 12:14 PM | 6 minute read

Once upon 1995, Lisa Loeb released a song that includes the lyric, “You say I only hear what I want to.” I am telling you this (not only because the song is stuck in my head) but because it might serve you to ask yourself if you are being selective about the customer feedback coming your way. When you peruse customer discussions in your online community, how do you react?

Are you only hearing what you want to, or do you know how to actually hear what your customers (both happy and dissatisfied) have to say? Tougher question: Are you even asking for customer feedback?

There is a clear distinction between simply hearing someone, and active, engaged listening (especially when you’re responding to discussions posts within your online customer community or interacting with folks at live events). Alas, it all starts with y o u, yes, you.

In this piece we’ll tap into the three levels of listening: internal listening, focused listening, and global listening.

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Topics: Customer Communities, Customer Experience, Member Engagement, Customer Support, Customer Success, Online Community

8 Tips to Write Emails Your Association Members Will Open

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on May 8, 2019 at 12:51 PM | 8 minute read

Let me guess – your inbox is overflowing with so much content that you don’t know which way is up, much less which emails are worth your time. What to open? What to ignore? It’s a relatable circumstance for anyone with an email address (and fun fact: active email accounts are expected to hit 5.6 billion by 2019). Keep this in mind when trying to reach your busy members.

A “good” email open rate among members depends on your industry and the end goal of your email.

Recent data shows that:

  • The average email open rate (across all industries) is 16.19%
  • The average email open rate for the Civic/Social Membership industry (e.g., associations, chambers, clubs) is 23.09%

If your target audience has opted into your communications, the open rate should be on the higher end. How do your association’s metrics stack up? Regardless of how great your content is, if your members aren’t opening your emails, your message isn't getting out there.

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Topics: Communications, Engagement, Associations, Member Engagement, Email Marketing

6 Tips to Maximize the Success of Your Association’s Publication

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on May 2, 2019 at 2:47 PM | 6 minute read

If your association is interested in maximizing the educational value its offering members, you might already know that having a publication is a great asset to your content strategy. Association members want to learn, and there are multiple different ways publications can support that.

For example, an annual event publication could be your biggest print run of the year – and a huge opportunity for revenue growth and boosting member knowledge. But what if you aren’t seeing the results you want to see? What if your readers aren't engaged? To get your members excited about your association’s publication, you have to deliver one that grabs their attention and delivers the resources they want and need.

If your association’s publication isn’t performing well, it’s time to assess your strategy. If your association has never considered creating a publication, ask yourself why.

Association publications boast a number of benefits, presenting opportunities to:

    • Establish your association as an industry thought leader
    • Strengthen the knowledge of your members + readers
    • Build rapport with your community
    • Enhance professional relationships with partners + sponsors
    • Improve member retention
    • Increase non-dues revenue

Did that get your attention? (That last benefit tends to get people excited.)

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Topics: Associations, Member Retention, Member Engagement, Marketing Automation, Online Community, Advertising, Events

8 Practical Ways to Boost Engagement with Mobile Event Apps

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on April 25, 2019 at 1:00 PM | 7 minute read

Here’s a fun forecast: The number of mobile users worldwide is expected to reach 7.26 billion in 2020. With (nearly) the entire human population walking around with a mobile device in their pocket, it should come as no surprise that people expect a certain level of connectivity in their experiences. Businesses can tap into this potential with a mobile app for their events.

Meeting and conference attendees increasingly expect ways to engage organizers, presenters, and each other – from the moment they register until months after the event. Mobile event apps can be integrated with an online community platform to drive engagement prior to and following an event. This can help demonstrate value to attendees and improve their overall experience.

Let’s get ‘appy and talk about how organizations can cost-effectively enable staff, attendees, speakers, and sponsors to connect and provide feedback during a conference or other event.

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Topics: Engagement, Customer Engagement, Member Engagement, Customer Success, Marketing Automation, Online Community, Super Forum, Advertising

Build a Sustainable Brand with Purpose-Driven Marketing

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on April 18, 2019 at 1:48 PM | 5 minute read

Purpose – what is it? If you’re thinking “the name of Justin Bieber’s fourth album”... that would be correct, but this word carries more weight than his millions of fans.

In the 14th annual Global Consumer Pulse Research, titled ‘From Me to We: The Rise of the Purpose-Led Brand,’ Accenture Strategy defines purpose in the following way:

“pur·pose /ˈ pərpəs / Noun: The reason why something exists. For companies, it is the foundation of every experience. It is the underlying essence that makes a brand relevant and necessary.”

In an increasingly competitive landscape, purpose-driven marketing is about more than building your brand or boosting your revenue. It’s about building a better world, long-term, alongside the people who share your brand’s passion to drive positive change and make a real impact.

To build a sustainable brand, equipped with valuable brand advocates and stakeholders, make an effort to strengthen it by delivering something beyond price and quality.

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Topics: Engagement, Customer Communities, Customer Engagement, Member Experience, Member Engagement, Collaboration Tools, Customer Success, Customer Advocacy, Marketing Automation, Online Community

Talkin’ SaaS Stats: Customer Success is Having a Moment

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on April 11, 2019 at 1:47 PM | 6 minute read

Which begs the question…what took so long? It’s simple. Without customers, you don’t have a business. Without happy customers, you don’t have a successful, profitable, sustainable business. For B2B Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) companies, investing in customer success isn’t optional – or, at least it shouldn’t be, at this stage in the game.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Customer Success, Marketing Automation, Online Community

3 Lessons from a Unicorn: How to Harness Customer Feedback to Drive Brand Growth & Success

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on March 28, 2019 at 8:49 AM | 5 minute read

Facts: The Unicorn is Scotland’s national animal; you are reading this right now; and Glossier, a direct-to-consumer beauty brand, recently joined the ranks of other female-founded “unicorns” (privately held startup companies valued at over $1 billion). How? Customer listening.

Emily Weiss, Glossier founder and CEO, managed to transform what started in 2010 as her beauty blog Into the Gloss... into a beauty brand valued at $1.2 billion, and they recently launched Glossier Play, their colorful spin-off brand. On what she did differently, Emily says:

“Many of the beauty brands I grew up with were expert-led. They told me what products were in style and how to use them. From the start, I wanted to take a different approach with Glossier by co-creating the brand and products with customers.”

If you haven’t harnessed the power of customer feedback, you’re missing a serious opportunity to grow your brand into a community of advocates with customer success and satisfaction in mind. 

You don’t need to have the same business structure as Glossier to heed lessons from their approach - B2B brands can benefit from using engagement tools like online community and marketing automation to tap into their customer base on a more personal level for product collaboration, customer feedback, and brand growth. 

So, let’s talk about the power of people, since all companies are really “people to people” at their core, you know?

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Topics: Marketing, Customer Communities, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Customer Retention, Collaboration Tools, Customer Success, Customer Advocacy, Online Community

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