The Benefits of Community

Many businesses ask whether there is value to building or participating in communities. But this is, in my view, fundamentally the wrong question. After all, the communities are already in existence – people of like minds, with common interests, fascinations or even passions gravitate towards each other. They find a sense of purpose. And they talk about you, your business and your brands whether you want them to or not.

Now, I don’t want to flippantly claim that return on investment is unnecessary – but I do want you to consider HOW you view your business ecosystem. And rather than calculating the return on investment that you want to make, try to determine the COST of irrelevance.

Online communities, if well considered, managed and supported can transform many business processes. And because they are fundamentally human, they unleash creativity and innovation in unpredictable ways. But, really, we know this already – we have been tapping into our personal networks for years (for sales, leads, new jobs etc) – the real opportunities come with the scale that comes from digitising these networks.

But don’t take my word for it. Listen to the participants of a vibrant community. This short video on SAP’s Business Process Expert community demonstrates the diversity, value and robust nature of communities. Wouldn’t you just love to have people speaking about your brand in the same way?

Comments

  1. great stuff Gavin.

  2. As you said, the community is already there and I believe the role of the business should be to herd (not meant in a derogative way) the community into a common place of meeting and then give them the vehicles to share their voice.
    The business doesn’t “own” the community – they almost facilitate it.
    “they unleash creativity and innovation in unpredictable ways”. That’s what I find both exciting and a challenge (and maybe even just a touch scared).
    Good times

  3. A sense of community can also be used to motivate people to create change in their environment. Whether its in the business world in our personal family lives. The community we know will be the most likely place we go to for help and at times even business contacts. To make lives better and solve our problems has been a motivating factor in community for centuries.
    By using the internet people are empowered to challenge problems in their business and personal lives. These new ways of operating now yields a more level playing field. Information is no longer as compartmentalized as it used to be and new types of communities are being developed.
    Community isn’t the same concept that it was 20 years ago. Change is moving us forward more an more quickly as we enter the 21st century, bringing opportunity to many that were in “shackles” just a few years ago.
    Today the idea of community is taking on a different shape one that isn’t looking back as it is forming it new way. I think this smells like opportunity
    What do you say…?

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