Communities are not controllable

We talk a lot about about "community". Building a community around your brand.

It's the language of business today.


  • Because customers talk to other customers
  • Because word-of-mouth is huge  (offline & online)

In the shop, down the phone, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (you can add long list  here)

People even send each other emails about their experiences with businesses.

We are social creatures. We chat a lot.

Communities are chatting people.

You belong to many different overlapping communities.

Big successful brands - like Apple, Starbucks, Disney & Nike - build communities around their brand.

Brands attract people.
Humans love to attach themselves to brands - like people love badges & uniforms.

Brands build communities.

Brands wish they could control communities

Brands dream of managing communities (even appoint "community managers")


Communities are not controlled nor managed.

Communities have a life of their own.

Communities can be celebrated, influenced, challenged, engaged, loved & invited to do something.

Like this ...

This is a living community that's hit a roadblock: SOBCon has hit a wall.

From within the community - people have got in touch with each other - chatted.

No one in control. No one managing the show. People alive with conversations (offline & online).

Something emerges. A changed future, a fresh move, a different future.

An invitation. Community life.

When you're a big business with a big brand - you too can hit a wall. You too can be faced with an end. A strong loyal community is your greatest asset.

When you're a small business with a tiny community - you too can hit a wall. A strong little community is your greatest asset.

That's why all people with an identity & a cause need to build stronger community around their brand.

Even a brand of one needs a partner to help it grow.

This experience of SOBCon is an example worth following.

We are all community animals. We love watching how other communities live.

I invite you to read all about what happened in SOBCon - and what is emerging.

For the sake of the communities to which you belong.

Your job today:  remember all the communities you've belonged to.  Compile a list of those that are still alive.  How many have hit a roadblock?  And moved on?

Write down that list.

ps:  Disclaimer - I was introduced to SOBCon in 2012 by Jane Boyd.  The people there welcomed me (online) with open arms - in a welcoming style that took me aback & won my heart. The prospect of joining those people in that room for the sake of my business & me became irresistible. I organised my life to go to SOBCon in Chicago in 2013.  I hit my personal roadblock. Recovered & was honoured to be invited to speak at SOBCon 2014.  Another roadblock, another challenge, another opportunity.  That's life.

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