Is your brand a community?

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A community is a place where people come to gather, do things for each other and organize around common ideals and goals. In communities, people build trust and create relationships that hopefully last lifetimes and maybe even generations. Does this sound like your business? Maybe or maybe not. But it can and probably should.

My grandparents drove GM cars and passed that on to my parents. Well, until the 70s gas crisis but that’s another story. They also shopped at Sears for Kenmore appliances and craftsman tools. Now my whole family uses Apple products (although it took my wife awhile to warm up to Office for Mac.) We often discuss how we feel about the products we use with each other and our friends – I’m sure your family is similar.

In the old days these discussion only happened in homes, stores, barbershops and the break room. Now they extend to the internet onto corporate websites and to social networks.

This extension provides the opportunity for a national brand to create the kind of community that used to only happen in barbershops and bar rooms. This community won’t always discusses personal things but it can have  honest and open discussions about people’s lives and the products they use.

You’ll find these online communities like this on the Ford websites, Ebay and organic communities like Lugnet, a Lego users group.

But community can also be built around something as simple as a pair of scissors.

Why would you want your brand to be a community?

People will share their experience with your brand.

People will give you direct feedback on your products and services.

People will solve each others user issues (important for complex product.)

People will build interest for your brand on their own.

Creating community online or offline won’t make or break a brand or company. Besides having a community strategy, you also have to have a business strategy that can live beyond an economic crisis. Just look at all those community banks that went under. And what about Saturn? Clearly somethings are bigger than a community strategy. But community can sure help a business weather the storm. And soon, building community may be required as a cost of doing business.

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Posted on: March 23, 2010, by :