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Community Is Important For Your Customers AND Your Employees


I think I have been hammering on about this for sometime now…in this blog, in conversations with friends and family and just to myself sometimes, lol. And before you go any further…here is what spurred this current blog post — this wonderful “Cluetrain Manifesto”.

But now I am going to write about this as much as I do about digital communications, passion and music — why? Because all of them are inherently bond to each other…each of them is bound in the concept of community. That wonderful entity that I love so much — I actually think the word community was made for people like me…people who love to connect with people, who love authenticity and who love helping people…but I digress, lol.

Too many companies fail to understand the vital role that a community plays in the company’s future success. Not your success three years down the line but a decade from now and even further into the future. Marketing as people understand it now will, frankly, no longer exist. Marketing will be essentially community management. Yes, I said it. Marketing as community management will be what consumers and employees demand in less than five years.

Community gives your consumers a sense of purpose and does not leave them feeling as if you just used them for their money – I mean, who actually enjoys feeling used? I don’t care if people look at it as a part of life…no one like how it feels, not really. And your consumers are fed up with feeling used — trust me, they most definitely are fed up. And now they have the means to ignore you, switch teams and leave you in the dust. So giving your consumers more than just your stale and vacant messages is now required of you. But who will build these communities with you and with the consumer?

Yep…you guessed it. Your beloved employees will be building these communities with the consumer.

And I mean beloved. You had better get used to looking at your employees in that manner because they are fed up of being used — not being acknowledged nor encouraged to grow and learn. And they will leave you as well if you continue to ignore the beauty and necessity of community. Not a good scenario for future growth, is it?

Some of you may already understand the importance of building a community and now are wondering how one goes about building a community — check out Jono Bacon’s “Art Of Community” book. I have this book and it is great…it really is. Jono understands approaching people as people — not as cogs for you (the company) to just use for your benefit.

But for all of you who are still resisting this idea of community, especially community between your employees and consumers…I am urging you to STOP.

Just as everyone thought music would solely exist in the hands of the record companies, that passion was something that people should do in only a small portion of their lives and that the Internet would not be able to stand on its own two legs — those people were wrong then just as you are wrong now. So…let it go and recognize that it is okay to be wrong sometimes. Just let go of your old ideas and at least take a peek at what is not coming around the bend but what is already here. And it is better for you to be proactive and focus on building a community for your engaged consumers and employees — instead of being reactive and struggling to earn the trust of your remaining employees and consumers to gain a space in their communities. It is becoming increasingly hard to earn people’s trust…so let your employees and consumers converse with each other and actually build a community now, huh?

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  1. Jo
    March 8, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    Excellent post Sophia!

    Glad that my reposting of the Cluetrain 95 Theses inspired this.

    I can only echo what you write, in that I too believe in the word COMMUNITY and know that this will be the model – as you say – in the next 5 years..and about time! Marketing needs this, Business needs this, People need this, the World needs this (because lets face it, we haven’t done that great a job in recent years)

    I think social media is just the beginning – a facilitator and all of us (like you and I) are just that..helping to pave the way and change things forever.

    Thanks for sharing such a great take on it all

    Jo
    @brandguardian

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