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Community and Evolution is the Future

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Community and Evolution = the Future

Community and Evolution is about how two excellent #mustread posts – Cendrine Marrouat’s interview of Mary Green for B2B News Network and Columnfive’s Evolution of Human Connection ebook – came together in our brain. Here are five things we noted or thought:

  • Community is HARD – Building online community is harder than you think
  • Change – Think CHANGE has been crazy so far, just wait
  • Tools – Tools can’t be both MEANS and ENDS
  • Immersive – Assume What’s Next = Immersive
  • Web Rule #1 – Everything Everywhere All The Time

Community Is Hard

Community means people LOVE you, your products, services, thoughts, ideas and campaigns. Do you love someone who doesn’t know you exist? Maybe, but not for long. We love those who engage, challenge and reward our attention, time, and feeling.

That’s why I love this paragraph from Cendrine Mary Green interview:

Mary approaches community building in B2B in a straightforward fashion. To be successful, you must be genuine and seek out conversation. You also have to be willing to educate yourself and others and to walk the talk: “Find great sources of information on digital marketing and social media and read everything you can. Implement what you learn.”

Nothing crushes an existing online community or makes it impossible to start a successful community more than dissonance between a brand’s walk (core values) and talk (marketing communications).  If you don’t believe, follow and evolve your WHY who will believe?

Answer: No one will. And if that sentence sounded like Simon Sinek’s Start With Why it was on purpose. If finding and engaging those who love you, your brands and company sounds complicated you are right. The hardest thing I’ve EVER done is create an online community, and I have the Big C.

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Cendrine Marrouat’s B2B News Network interview of Mary Green re: Community

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Mary Green

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Evolution of Human Connection interactive ebook from Columnfive

Creating community is HARD because it is easy to sound, appear or be stupid, insincere and clueless in a digital realm. We’ve written about “digital listening” being different than other kinds of listening since the nonverbal clues you use to signal “listening” and the words you use to confirm you heard someone are absent.

Responsiveness online is a matter of PRESENCE and MESSAGE. If you are PRESENT and saying the WRONG things, then a community will not form (for long). If you are not PRESENT, a community will not happen. How do you know if your marketing communications, your “talk,” is “wrong”? By listening, using analytics and testing, always testing.

The web is a deep blue sea. As we sail the internet, we must “sound” using crude methods akin to dropping a heavy weight and counting how long it takes to reach the bottom. Creating online community is HARD, but the most important marketing job anyone has these furious, connected, and cacophonous times.

Change Faster

Even a casual glance through Columnfive’s interactive ebook confirms what we know – change is speeding up…again. From virtual reality to developing new technology so all five senses can be engaged and overwhelmed online. We love this paragraph from Columnfive’s ebook:

Using haptic technology, Showtime added an extra level of interactivity to Homeland’s season four trailer. Viewers who watched the special mobile trailer experienced vibrations and rumblings on their devices, with the most intense sensations occurring during a bomb explosion.

We had to look up “haptic technology” to understand how touch and feel can be layered onto look and feel. If we can add touch to a Homeland trailer is smell, hearing and taste far behind? Answer: no.

Tools

If you haven’t read Why Medium Is Not A Publishing Tool you should. Ev Williams, Medium’s founder, teaches a lesson in how to think about “community” in his “must read” post. Tools are MEANS to the greater END of connection, conversation, and commerce.

We connect therefore we are.

When social media marketing was introduced marketers tried to PUSH. We were used to driving and soon learned no amount of force was going to work. Social media is SOCIAL MEDIA and all about the conversations as we shared in a Haiku Deck.

Communication is two-way. Tools such as Scoop.It, WordPress and Facebook are important MEANS to the ENDS of walking your brand’s talk online. Tools are not an end unto themselves as Ev Williams so eloquently explains.

Immersive

In Experience Is The New Branding we wrote about a dinner with friends at Peaceful River Farm. Now imagine that post, the details, pictures, tastes, food and experience as digital recreations, as second life finally accessible, dynamic and magical. Technology is about to change the very nature of “experience”.

We think of experience as something in the world, as a thing we know and can do. Soon “experiences” will be as much created as “in the world”, as much digital as “in-real-life”, and as much crafted to hear, harness and expand what “experience” means as our vision and technology will allow. We will sing the body electric.

I sing the body electric,
The armies of those I love engirth me and I engirth them,
They will not let me off till I go with them, respond to them,
And discorrupt them, and charge them full with the charge of the soul.
Was it doubted that those who corrupt their own bodies conceal themselves?
And if those who defile the living are as bad as they who defile the dead?
And if the body does not do fully as much as the soul?
And if the body were not the soul, what is the soul?
Walt Whitman may use words of his time, but he is describing community, networks and support. What is the distance between your heart and mind in a digital world or inside a thriving community? Imagine the shortest distance between two points and follow that straight line to the future as experience, technology as a path, and connection our soul.

Everything All the Time

Watching Joi Ito’s influential Nowism TED Talk, we began to understand our inevitable slouch toward real-time as a defining “rule” –

The web is about everything all the time, and there is only one “time” online – NOW.
The NOW Rule of digital marketing

Don’t underestimate the reach, implications, and impact of the web’s NOW Rule. Some effects include:

  • Inclusive – No subject is ever “wrong” or “out of bounds.”
  • Community – Lines between US (marketers) and THEM (customers) are razor thin
  • Competition – Line between US (marketers and THEM (competitors) is razor thin
  • Conversations – Communication is what binds community
  • Commerce – In an era of absolute abundance we buy from those we LOVE
  • Connection – We LOVE those who love us back

The web is how we touch the face of God, share the experience (of that touch) and begin to answer our “essential questions” such as who are we, why are we here and where is meaning. If you believe what we just wrote can your marketing (or thinking) ever be too big? Answer: no.

About the author

Martin Smith

Marty is a cancer survivor, 15 year Internet marketer after consumer products goods marketing & sales training with P&G, M&M/Mars & NutraSweet. He started 4 companies including Found Objects, Dada Box, Scenttrail Marketing & Curagami.

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