The Usual Errors From The Big Brands

October 23, 2009Comments Off

Last September I wrote a critical, but constructive, post about Digital Nomads, Dell’s community for officeless workers. I love the concept, hate the execution.

Today, the community is close to death. No activity, no interaction between members. It’s another short-term branded community concept which began as a great idea and fizzled to death.

You can find dozens of these from top brands. They always make the same mistakes:

  • No core group. When you launch a community you need to spend time engaging in one to one interactions with 50 to 100 people to develop your core group. These are the rocks of your community, the one that define the culture and the atmosphere. Brands ignore this, they hope a huge number of people will collectively gel. Sometimes they do, but sometimes isn’t a good strategy.
  • No community manager. I’m guessing nobody had the full time job of developing the digital nomads website into a full-fledged community for netbook owners. If they did, they were a bad choice.
  • No follow through. Dell launched Digital Nomads brilliantly, nearly every top communications/business blogger either wrote for the community or wrote about the community. Dell failed to convert this attention into a sustaining community. Where was the long term planning to keep people engaged throughout the year?
  • No content about the community. The content was entirely based around advice and information, there was no content about the community. Big brands continually underestimate the importance of being a part of a group. People are desperate to know what other people in the community are doing.
  • No community spirit. Dell should have done much, much, more to generate a community spirit amongst Digital Nomads. With so many people tweeting, blogging and writing about their work it’s easy to imagine they could have made the community feel part of a unique group and special.

Dell are capable of (and usually are) so much better.

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