Recently, I’ve been reading and thinking a lot about communities and their application in business. This goes back to Robin Wight’s talk at the Autumn 2010 Likeminds event entitled: The Future’s Bright, the Future’s Social.
Both of these, amongst others, got me to thinking about how and why we might want to build communities in business?
Starting with the why, there’s a lot of talk about how building a community is a great way to help:
Penguin Books through their Penguin Readers’ Group initiative, Giffgaff, the SIM only mobile phone network run by it’s members, and some of the gaming franchises seem to be doing well. But, there doesn’t seem to be a huge number of examples of businesses doing it well.
Why is that?
One of the main reasons, I believe, is that many businesses, if they decide that building a community fits with their business strategy, are doing it wrong.
You can’t just build a community. A community has to evolve and start from something that makes sense to its members. That’s where most businesses fail as they start from what makes sense to themselves not their customers.
Here’s a suggested set of steps to help you get your community started. Personally, I think the first one is the most over-looked part of the process, but if you get it right then much of the rest will follow.
What do you think?
Thanks to niallkennedy for the image.