Community-led and community-driven, (to me) these mean the same thing, but what do they actually mean for the community industry?
What actually makes a company community-led? Or what makes them not community-led?
Most of my forum discussions start off as a tweet…
What makes a company community-led?— Rosie Sherry (@rosiesherry) April 3, 2022
Community being prioritised in terms of mission/values, resource, budget and focus. Basically putting resource/effort ahead of empty words.
Companies that have community leaders at the executive table helping direct organizational strategy, their executive teams are “bought in” and understand the power of community, and they allocate resources to community building initiatives.
Iambami + Guild
Iambami: I’d say it having people who share a common goal, listening to their opinions, asking for their back, making every single person in the company feels included.
Guild: Great answer…we’d add “and other stakeholders included”, not solely employees but also customers, partners, investors, advisors etc.
A company that invests more in community initiatives than they do traditional marketing and user research initiatives.
If they aren’t backing that statement up with money and people it’s not real.
There’s also a list on the Community Led website (by Commsor) which lists:
Companies focus on building many-to-many relationships.
Community teams have the resources they need to succeed.
Community is a core thread that runs through the entire organization.
Community provides value for both the company and members.
I don’t disagree with anything in the list above, I just feel we could go deeper, cover more ground or be more explicit overall.
Some examples that spring to mind:
- a community could have lots of resources, but they may not have decision making power at the exec level
- a company could be appear to be supporting the community, but really they are trying to dominate and land grab for their own long term benefits
- ‘providing value’ could be abused, I think it’s more than that, it’s about being more equitable and respectful, giving back as much as you gain, if not more. Too many companies will hide behind ‘but we provide value’ nonsense.
I like the ‘balanced’ approach that Kurt mentions, especially because as much as I love community and believe in the magic it can co-create, a business needs more than community to survive. Maybe we should all have equal pieces of the pie for community, product, growth/marketing/sales, business operations, etc.