A bridge provides a connection across a chasm.
You and your team can be the bridge between your organization and the community.
You can shuttle (and filter) information from one group to the next. You can pass and filter information from one group to the next.
Most community professionals are the bridge between their brand and the organization.
Bonding is different.
Bonding removes the chasm by interlinking the two. The deeper the links, the stronger the bond.
You’re bonding when you persuade employees to test their marketing ideas in the community, source case studies from members, and get developers to host AMA chats directly with community members.
You’re bonding when you persuade members to provide direct feedback to engineers, have voting rights on key brand decisions, and invite members in to meet the staff and CEO.
The problem with being the bridge, is your colleagues don’t get direct experience of the community. They don’t see the enthusiasm, the remarkable contributions, and the same opportunities you do.
The problem with building bonds is it takes time, persuasion, and subtle nudging to gradually get more colleagues to see the community as an objective which directly supports their work.
At the moment, we have far too many bridges and far too few bonds.