What is it with communities? Seems like every recent meeting I’ve had with both agencies and clients revolves around building communities. Specifically most of these large brand owners want to build and own their brand communities.
NEWSFLASH: Most brands that people care about already have their own self-organized communities. They are not waiting for you, the brand owner to build a community site where they can talk about your brand.
What are communities? My definition:
Communities are self organizing groups of like-minded people who gather to share information & opinions, argue, compete, make suggestions, make friends, get together, etc.
Do you see “to increase the value of a brand” anywhere in here?? NO! Communities are not about you. Communities are about the interests of the members. If you keep that in mind, you can join and participate. If you ignore that – well, you won’t be there long.
No doubt the vendors have been doing a great job selling communities to brand owners, but I don’t think that the effort will deliver on the underlying promise of higher levels of brand engagement and advocacy.
First, listen to understand what the community cares about. Next, learn how to feed that interest and become a valuable member of the community. Finally, if it still makes sense – build a community.