the value of “building a community”

I’ve studied online communities, I’ve joined them, created one and I often think that most companies just want to jump on the social media bandwagon without really questioning its meaning or the actual value that it has for the members.   (Ew…”value” – what an arbitrary term….I shall post my views on that term soon too)

I love the ideologies behind mass collaboration (re: wikinomics) so here’s one example of a community that I thought had those principles. Mind you, the group is a little too techie for me – I think it hits the ‘value’ point.

“Intel has quietly launched a new online community that it plans to use to take feedback and suggestions from OEMs and end users for new features in its vPro chips and management software. Intel envisions that the community will grow to allow users to get answers from other community members faster than Intel’s support group can answer questions.”

You want a better product? Open up the design for discussion and collaboration from its users. That’s smart marketing.

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4 thoughts on “the value of “building a community”

  1. Jay Godse says:

    If you read “Crossing The Chasm” by Geoffrey Moore, a “market” is defined by a group of people with similar needs and wants and problems who could use your product, and who reference each other in making buying decisions.

    This whole community thing is really a way of teasing out folks who reference each other in making buying decisions.

    The downside is that as an enterprise, you lose control of the “conversation” about your products and company. That is bad news for companies with evil practices and/or bad products.

  2. Jane Porter says:

    Haha….that’s definitely on my reading list. (Must have to amazon it from here though…not much english choice.

    Anyways, I still don’t quite see the bad side of it, teasing or not… the consumers are making products that the consumers want to see… they’re engaged, they’re participating, and end result is a product that suits them.

    Agreed that the ‘conversation’ allows for negativity but that’s not always bad. Transparency can go along way….. and if that’s bad for the evil ones, then so be it;)

  3. Jay Godse says:

    There is a huge down side for companies that are used to controlling the conversation, which is most of them. A lot of companies don’t want to admit that consumers know what they need. As a result, when somebody criticizes their product, which is an expression of the company’s opinion of what their customers need, they get upset. That’s kind of too bad because anybody willing to take the time to criticize the product is somebody who has already decided that they are willing to pay the company for a product or service. i.e. a hot sales lead.

    Transparency is fantastic because it aligns the knowledge of the service provider with the knowledge of the consumer. However, too many companies still make a good business from information asymmetry that happens with the lack of transparency. The loss of this perceived information advantage resulting from transparency scares many product companies because if the customers know, then their value is diluted. What they don’t get is that they can harness their customer’s knowledge and innovation for almost free. Wikinomics has some analogous examples.

  4. josh says:

    Good comments. We are attempting to bring the IT Enthusiasts together to create this community of practice.

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