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Gavin Heaton

Beautifully said ... you make it sound so easy! As you point out, Russ Klein is right on the money -- people "get" passion and they are good at it. And whether marketers like it or not, brands only come to life when they rub up against humanity.

James Cherkoff

Thanks Gavin. I think you've hit the nail on the head there. So many brands live in ivory towers and have less and less relevance to people's everyday lives.

David Koopmans

Great post James. I think the way you described the Nike vs Arseblog situation really sums it up. I think one of the challenges of business creating communities is that it is inherently artificial. Nike has an outcome in mind, Arseblog doesn't. Nike's Marketing Manager is in harsh competition with Adidas, so would rather swallow glass than let anything Adidas join their community. I guess that marketing is by nature adversarial and competitive.

One more comment; you wrote: Why? Because, very simply, people are good at passion. And being spontaneous. And witty. And empathetic. And lots of other qualities that corporations lack.

How does that translate into the B2B world? Here we have the problem that the buyers and the sellers both are corporations...buyers motivations are as much about not making the wrong decisions as they are about making the right one. They are motivated by keeping their job or getting a promotion instead of personal gratification. Would love to hear your thoughts.

James Cherkoff

Thanks David, your 'desired outcome' take is very interesting. Reference B2B, so much of what is happening today is about organisational culture as it is about technology. One thought is that if companies don't adapt from the culture you describe, a gap could appear for a nimble competitor to jump in and make hay. To a degree this is what has happened in the marketing industry, where a complacent business has failed to innovate allowing some bright young things (Google) to come along and pick their pockets to the tune of $10bn per year (growing at an eye-watering 70% per year). In some ways, not being prepared to innovate is the BIG *wrong* decision.

Graham Hill


On the money, as usual. Some of the best research into what makes an effective community and a community effective has been done by Utpal (Paul) Dholakia at Rice University.

Check out some of his articles identified in this Google Scholar search - http://scholar.google.com/scholar?num=50&hl=en&lr=&q=utpal+dholakia+%2B+community&btnG=Search.

Graham Hill

James Cherkoff

Thanks Graham, I am vvery interested in the clash between corporate culture and online communities, I'll definitely take a look at that.

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