You don’t just create communities

There’s an interesting interview with Woody Harrelson in today’ Sunday Times.  In it he talks about choosing to live in an environmentally conscious community in Maui which he describes as “we all get together for Thanksgiving and look after each other’s kids. It’s a real community, like one I’ve never been a part of in my life”.

This got me thinking about everybrand’s attempts to create communities online.  Particularly in a jumping-on-the-bandwagon kind of way.  The thing is, you don’t just create communities.  You create a place where similarly-minded people can come together.  Its not ‘I am brand, come worship at my website’, its ‘you love our stuff?  that’s great, come and talk to us about how we can be even better and maybe connect with some people who love us too’.  I know this isn’t exactly new news, but I’m constantly amazed by the number of brands that still don’t get it.

2 thoughts on “You don’t just create communities

  1. I’ve thought about this, too. It’s amazing how many brands still don’t get it. I’ve always recommended that big brands approach online communities like message boards and MySpace groups with caution and respect, because you can’t build in four weeks what people have spent years building, on their own free time and with their own money. It’s crazy how clients expect that creating a new space to play can somehow translate into consumer loyalty overnight. It just doesn’t work like that.

  2. Apparently at last years Davos gathering Mark Zuckerberg was asked by the assembled media moguls ‘How do I create a community?’. He replied ‘You can’t. Communities already exist. Instead, think about how you can help that community do what it wants to do.’ I’m in violent agreement with you.

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