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March 07, 2006


JC Allen

Hi Alan,

Thanks for your message before. Going to buy the book next week and intend to quote it for a presentation about the importance of communities (if that's ok). Hopefully it'll go ahead in the next month or so- i'll let you know how it goes.

Regarding this post I think it's is right to point out that communities lend context to brands... but it seems to be a chicken and egg and egg problem. If you look at all major traditional brands, it strikes me that they would never have succeeded had it not been for recognising the community in the first place. The community then responded to the brand rather than the latter adapting to fit into the community. In fact rebrands generally occur at points where they recognise that they have lost touch with the modus operandi of their community. To see communities as contextualising brands is still an entrenched "us and them" attitude, that takes their position in the market place/relationship to their audience as a priori. That's an illusion! Brand owners have to think in terms of "them and us" and admit that their position in the marketplace is rug that can easily be pulled from under them.

If there is one thing Google (the biggest brand in the world) is doing right in their PR storm at the moment is recognising that despite being the largest, fastest growing company in the world, they are in an incredible precarious position - and can admit that vulnerability. It's not going to be PR that kills them- it's going to be the DIY 'brand values' of the internet itself - free flowing, customised, and relevant information on demand. They seem to recognise that when the wind does change (there's no question of may or may not) they may well be left with a rictus grin.

So in my opinion, you're back to square one, which is that communities dominate brands from concept, inception and deployment, whether you try to avoid it or simply submit!

Kind regards,


alan moore

Dear JC.

Thanks for the comment. I wonder whether its more an industrial mindset for legacy companies. Seeing that as marketeers your job is not to engage but to extract - cash. To drive people to the poiint of purchase. That's all very well when your marketing costs are 1:3 but when they become 1:1 its economically untenable, so you are forced to rethink as P&G are currently doing. Though that will be a huge supertanker to turn round. Though as someone ponted out to me in Barcelona last week. IBM managed it.

I agree that it is a very foward thinking company who is prepared to engage in a debate, particuarly the one that engulfs google at theis present time. Be it the China issue or the book scanning one. they demonstrate they are prepared to listen and debate.

At least everybody gets to have their say.

Or think about Jonathan Schwartz and his 1000 bloggers at Sun Micosystems, who say "My 1000 bloggers have done more this company that a $billion Ad campaign could ever do.

And of course a conversation always, or, should always constantly flow. Just think of IM. we liek to think its a bit like grooming haha :-)

also it comes down to value and how to create, co-create and release value in todays world. And how organisations are constructed and operate.

Please feel free to quote us.


To see communities as contextualising brands is still an entrenched "us and them" attitude, that takes their position in the market place/relationship to their audience as a priori.

Please feel free to quote us.





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