Tag: WeMedia

The JFK Principle

The JFK Principle

In my WeMedia talk this afternoon, I will be mentioning the JFK principle.

I am often asked – in and out of work – about how to get fans, customers, ambassadors, bloggers to do something FOR US.  This very approach is why most communities and outreach efforts never get off the ground and the disconnect that Mack Collier discussed in this blog post.  Most community building efforts fail because they are created in order to be monetized, yet communities will not grow and thrive around the concept of monetization.

In order for you to grow a community, you need find a core set of people who will find disproportionate value from what you can provide.  This could be information, a space to gather, entertainment, or a willing ear.  That audience will be the ones to offer you feedback and guidance on how to build a community (or any sort of engagement program) and the ones who will talk about it, help you recruit, etc.  So how do you find ask your core audience?  By asking (with apologies to JFK):

Ask not what your audience can do for you, but what you can do for your audience.

This is similar to the advice that we as a community offered to Recipecomparison.com here, but it is applicable in any number of social media strategies where you are trying to find your talkers.

Try taking this audience-centric approach and find the people for whom you can do the most.  They just might be the ones who can do the most for you regardless of their “influence levels”.

WeMedia ’09: Community Values

WeMedia ’09: Community Values

I am excited to be in planning mode with my co-presenters for an upcoming workshop at WeMedia ’09 next week in Miami.

WeMedia Miami '09

BlogTalkRadio’s John Havens, Divine Caroline‘s Suha Araj, the Washington Times‘ Chuck DeFeo and I will be leading a workshop on growing community in a variety of different business contexts.   While prepping for this, I started thinking more about Mack Collier’s thoughts about Why Your Community Building Efforts Aren’t Working.   In this post, he hits on the disconnect between what most companies want (to market) and what their customers do not want from a community (to be marketed to).

So what is a brand marketer, digital strategist, or even a brand FAN to do to cross this chasm?  To address this in the positive, I want to quote another great thinker in the space – the head of creative for Ogilvy Interactive Jan Leth.  In a recent presentation on the future of advertising, he discusses the new organizing principle for brands and communities: Value Exchange

“The key to engagement with consumers is reciprocity or “value exchange”.  Consumers must get entertainment, utility, or information out of their engagement.”

So begin not by thinking about what you can “get” from your customers in a social media environment, but what you can provide them.  This could be great stories, the chance to know things first or you could simply be providing them with the utility of a place to congregate and talk amongst themselves.  The key is in the audience centric approach.   This same principle (the JFK “Ask Not…” principle) applies to any strategy involving blogger outreach as well.

My one potential addition to the list of ways to provide value through entertainment, utility, or information is validation.  I believe that a brand demonstrating it is listening and human, even when it can not change or solve a business issue, can drive loyalty and continued community.  Projects like MyStarbucksIdea and Ideastorm demonstrate this on a large scale – thousands of ideas, only a few of which make it into the business model, but all with their day in front of the brand and to be judged up or down the priority list by the court of public opinion.  Validation has emotional value only, but people will keep coming back for it.

For those unable to join in Miami, I’ll publish our collective list of killer community growth principles later next week.