Brands will be defined by the communities they serve

Anyone managing a brand these days had best be thinking about how to engage customers in ways that let them experience the brand. One obvious manifestation of this is to create an online community.

A truly engaged online community can generate a high volume of content. For example, on any given day, the ITtoolbox community creates 1,500 to 2,000 pieces of content through discussion groups, blogs and wikis. Obviously, the audience engagement factor is incredibly high since the audience is not only consuming the information, but taking part in its very creation.

What’s going on here? Well, with the emergence of all the new Web 2.0 technologies, anyone with a computer has the ability to contribute and be a publisher.

But what is interesting to me is the fact that this gives traditional publishers, whose ad revenues have been declining over the last few years, the upper hand. Where else can you find a homogeneous community just waiting to be served? Two examples: InformationWeek, with 500,000 like-minded technology professionals and enthusiasts, and CIO magazine, a community of 150,000 CIOs. Just add water and it makes it own sauce!

Where’s the Buzz? We are still in the early adopter stage of online communities. And their evolution will bring greater value to both community creators and members.

One thing is for sure. Going forward, brands will be defined by the communities they serve. So you better listen to their needs and find a way to serve them. As Bob Dylan once said – “You’re gonna have to serve somebody!”

3 comments to Brands will be defined by the communities they serve

  • Ravi Karandeekar

    Hello Paul, thanks! I find this very encouraging at this point of time in my carrier as a blogger. You mean, if i keep on listening and serving my community, i may be able to develop bigger community than my traditional rival publisher. The ability of my each and every member to contribute will not only generate huge volume of content but even build a bigger community. The creator of the community (of course, me!) will be a big brand! Hope, i got you. Sounds great!

  • Joan Damico

    Good post, Paul. There’s a new book about consumer-defined brands called “Wikinomics: How mass collaboration changes everything.” (great title… right?) Anyway, it’s by Don Tapscott (good writer) and Anthony Williams and is available on Amazon and I’m sure other book sites.

  • seanod

    How do you think brands might be impacted by search? Particularly big brands?


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