Monday, November 17, 2008

Should Brands Take Part in 3rd Party Communities?

If you've ever read my post, Build vs. Join - you'd know that my answer to that question is HELL YEAH! However, my colleague, Doug Wick, brought the question up again today on Yammer. He and I went back and forth a bit on the pros and cons.

Rather than bog down the rest of my colleagues with lots of text, I thought about getting my thoughts down in an Utter-cast. What do you think? Should companies participate in third party communities instead of building their own? Should they only build their own and eschew third party efforts? As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts...

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  1. In my mind it's useful for a brand to have a presence on any platform where customers, fans or even detractors congregate. By establishing a community there (such as we've done with the Hoover's Users groups on LinkedIn) we create a focus point where we can meet them on their terms. It's hubristic, IMHO, to say "if you want to interact with each other and our brand you must do so on our platform." It also misses the point that if your brand creates passion those communities will spring up on third party platforms anyway as fan groups; might as well be part of it.

    The difference is in worldview: is the world a mall, where to interact with Brand X you must enter their store? Or is it a marketplace, where Brand X interacts with customers and vendors in multiple forums?

  2. @rsomers couldn't agree more. great insight in your comment and I like the mall analogy btw.