It’s not about you, Corporate MarComm. It’s about we.
It’s not just another website, and yet many approach the design of their community site the same way they approached their intranet or corporate Internet site.
Which are usually all about one-way communication and passive consumption.
To avoid doing this with your community’s design, try using what we here at Jive call, “Barry’s Community Flower” to figure out what your community is all about. This thing actually grew (ha ha!) from Gene Smith’s Social Software Building Blocks (which grew from a few other frameworks), but we like to name our stuff after the peeps who bring it to our frontal lobes.
What do the petals mean?
Can you identify what the main characteristic is?
To spark your thinking, check out these communities, powered by Jive SBS. See if you can figure out what the main characteristic is.
- EMC Community
- Bank of America’s Small Business Community
- BlackBerry Community
- Alcatel-Lucent Ideation Community
- Medco Research Community
- CNN iReport Community
- Premier Farnell Element 14 Wireless Community
Identify your community’s top three characteristics
Now, pick the petal that best reflects what it is you’re trying to accomplish with your community, based on:
- Corporate objectives – “ACME Inc. needs to get abc from the community”; and
- Member objectives – “I really don’t care what YOU need, ACME Inc., but I want to do xyz here.” (more on this in Part 2)
How to pick your petals
- A facilitator draws the flower on a whiteboard/flipchart/napkin/back of her hand.
- Everybody gets to pick JUST ONE petal, silently. Shh.
Note 1: It’s not like people are going to do ONLY that one thing, so don’t get your panties in a wad. They’re all relevant, but one has to be primary if you want an elegantly designed site.
Note 2: Don’t think too much about the differences between these characteristics, as they will quickly all seem to mean the same thing, or overlap so much that you cannot make a choice.
- The facilitator goes around the room, asking for each person’s vote – she places a mark next to each petal that receives one.
- Usually, one petal will emerge as the primary community characteristic, and the next two petals that received the most votes become the two secondary ones.
Voila! You have determined the primary and two secondary characteristics of your community! Yay!
First, make sure that your characteristics are in line with the community’s overall objectives. For example, talk/hug it out re: how “Relationships” will help meet the company’s objectives of “Driving Growth” – and make sure somebody is either taking notes or recording your conversation. Gold often emerges here.
If you simply cannot find a connection between the characteristics you’ve chosen and the objectives of your community, stick a tack in that discussion, and stay tuned for Part 2 in this series.