Over the years, I’ve realized as I talk to community interaction professionals, whether internal employees or external firms, the issues we all struggle with are basically the same set of core challenges.
When I was at LEGO I found myself repeating certain things enough that I was eventually known for them. These mantras have stuck with me, and I’ve written about a few of them in the past.
Perhaps the most crucial mantra was quite simple: Everybody goes home happy.
The idea is simple – when creating connection between consumers and there needs to be a balanced maintained. Brands shouldn’t be giving away their time and product for no reason, and community members shouldn’t be volunteering to help a company for no other reason than "they asked". Both sides should be getting something fulfilling out of the interaction.
But here’s the all important question….what is "fulfilling"? Who knows! That’s up to each party to determine, and then communicate. The goal is that whatever the fulfillment, at the end of the day Everybody goes home happy.
This is a scary concept to businesses who are not used to interacting with their consumers. You don’t get an answer through a focus group, or surveys. You can only get real answers (rather than strictly data) by interacting with fans directly. Interacting isn’t only about asking questions, it’s about watching patterns, learning the inside jokes, and looking for potential benefits.
As a related sidenote, Tara was on a panel yesterday here at Blog Business Summit and shared basically the same theme, with different words. I love the fact that I’m clearly not alone in this way of thinking.
Tara says: "Community is a non-zero-sum outcome: everyone benefits"