I spoke with a company last year which wanted their community to be about the industry.
They wanted the community to have its own brand and not be beholden to internal conflicts.
This meant they rarely promoted the community to millions of customers.
Instead, they were hoping for a miracle.
They were hoping millions of industry professionals would suddenly hear about the community and join it.
The miracle was never going to happen.
It doesn’t matter what you do in a community if no-one is going to see it.
It’s hard to fill a community with members when you only have drops of attention to work with. Far better to figure out who controls the attention faucet and how the community makes their work better/easier.
The community doesn’t have to be about your brand, but if your brand isn’t willing to promote it, it’s not going to work.
(p.s. It’s hard to keep a community separate from the rest of the company and still succeed. Believe me, even if you do magically make it work, your marketing/PR/other teams will want to be involved).