Community Planning is what you get once you've done a good job with Engagement Planning

Last week I was asked why I called a "Community Planning" agency the place where I was an intern. I think it deserves a post. I would call "Community planning" a Planning aimed to build a community of customers. With Engagement Planning you define brand and customers values. But then you have to make those values come to life, and this requires a dynamic community.

With Community Planning, you kind of forget about the brand at the beginning of the process. The first thing we used to do was to identify, for a given product or service, all the people involved in the production, the distribution and the consumption of the market segment. The idea is to reveal the underlying social network behind a specific experience and thus, to understand how the conversation about the product/service works.

When this is done, your job is to find a proper Media strategy to connect all of them : you make the community possible. The community must allow different levels of engagement (this is the "Engagement Planning" part), because your fans will be much more active than a lambda user. For that you have to build -adaptive or not- categories. Then you have a kind of "open access intranet" and consumers are more likely to share their personal experience and their opinion.

The magic thing is that consumers will be involved in future innovations and they will... do your job.

I think that's really what is called Social Media Marketing. But that's not all. The tricky part is to lead the community. A nice thing to do is to organize events. Indeed, the feeling of solidarity is only virtual on the web. But if you make people meet in "real life", they will clearly realize they're part of something. If your event is clever and offer a well-designed experience associated with what th client sells, you will have press coverage and those who couldn't come will be able to watch videos or to read articles.

So, yes, I think that gives a glimpse of what I called "Community Planning".

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