Great communities are intentional: they are carefully considered, built on the exchange of social objects around a shared purpose that unites its members. Community success in large part is predicated on the existence of a shared purpose. Shared purpose answers the question “Why would anyone invest time in this community?”
Shared purpose is the bridge between the brand promise and brand purpose, ultimately it is what the brand and customer aspire to create together.
Creating a healthy branded community requires an investment in aligning the community participant, or stakeholder, values with the established brand values.
The social web is littered with online community ghost-towns. In fact, Analyst Jenny Sussin from Gartner, in her report The 3x5 Approaches to Peer-to-Peer Communities for Social CRM, predicts 70% of these will fail by 2014 after generating little or no return for their owners. Innovative brands design communities of shared interest and empower participants as co-creators of engaging experiences within these communities.
What does shared purpose look like?
Avon Beauty Connects is a community with a strong sense of shared purpose. With a rich 128 year heritage, Avon is a leading global beauty company as well as one of the world’s longest standing direct selling companies.
In 1886, direct selling at Avon represented a means for women to earn their own money at a time when not many women worked outside the home. It connected women, who were otherwise isolated and immersed in domestic life, in what the company calls “the original social network.”
Discovery and identification of a shared purpose that aligns member aspirations and commitments from the brand is a necessary first step to building a long-term, self-sustaining enterprise social customer experience strategy.
5 questions to help you define shared purpose:
To define the shared purpose of a community and how it maps to your social customer experience, ask yourself these five questions:
Why go through all this work?
Shared Purpose is you community’s “reason for being”, and is critical to creating a guiding point of view and vision. Once you nail this, you’re ready to move on to building your experience: Here are some of the ways our customers have used this work in their community design strategy:
As you think about developing a branded community, consider your communities shared purpose and how you will go about discovering what it is. Putting your community team through its paces on this exercise will help your community reap the benefits of long term sustained engagement from your customers, employees and the empowered consumer that represents long-term growth and the future of your business.
Xavier is Director of Social Strategy at Lithium. His time at Lithium is spent focusing on building digital transformation and long-term customer engagement programs and solutions for our enterprise retail, marketing and media customers. Xavier has been a featured speaker on topics including web analytics and digital branding, CRM and customer loyalty at shop.org, eMetrics, The Word Of Mouth Marketing Association and the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business.
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