Make Marketing History

The views of a marketing deviant.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Community Can't Be Faked.

Amid all the talk about communities and great examples like NIke +, there's a groundswell developing around the idea that you can build communities. I'm not sure you can. Running clubs, after all, are not new.

People are social animals and thus communities will form naturally around many products and services. The trick is to recognise this fact and concentrate on facilitating that natural formation rather than trying to artificially change behaviour.

Find the areas around your product/service where communication (the root of community) already exists. Focus on reducing any barriers to entry that are based upon elitism, fear and ignorance. Enhance inclusivity. Simplify and guide. But don't lead and control.

If somebody asked you to join a community that you'd hadn't previously coveted, wouldn't your reaction be the same as Groucho who famously refused to join any club that would have me as a member?

Addendum: Adriana tells of a real-life example that shows the perils of interfering in communities.

4 Comments:

Blogger fiat lux said...

Utterly vital advice, and very timely, too! I'm giving a presentation this morning about social networking and am adding a slide on this point.

6:46 AM, October 18, 2007  
Blogger john dodds said...

I should start charging for this wisdom!

9:11 AM, October 18, 2007  
Blogger Amelia said...

http://tiffanykenyon.typepad.com/blog/2007/07/grass-roots-run.html

Thought that you might like this post about the sponsoring of grassroots running in BA

6:34 AM, October 21, 2007  
Blogger fiat lux said...

I did give you full credit on the slide. :)

6:53 PM, October 22, 2007  

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