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Adam,

What is interesting though is that a community built around your brand may not necessarily be your customer base. Perhaps a representative group where there are also customers. So it's a balancing act, because your customers might not be involved, yet they are watching how you respond to the situation.

These are interesting times indeed. I do like your blog - glad you got that kicked off. I should publicize you ;-)

Valeria, this is a great and timely discussion that we need to be having as brand marketers.

Those of us who are entrusted with brand stewardship sometimes miss the fact that our brands have brand communities that surround them and with which they interact and must maintain a relationship. Interacting with your brand community means being a good community 'citizen,' though

Social media is the online embodiment of community, and on one hand it is a great way to interact with your brand community.

But when you're in your 'community,' you have to be on your best behavior -- which means give and take.

Communication in the social media world also is very one-on-one.

I think that marketers, though, are often taught to talk AT their customers -- only listening to them when it's a 'marketing research project.' They are not pepared for two-way dialogue. And the challenge with social media is that it inegrates both outbound and inbound conversation. It is real communication; it is real two-way dialogue.

That brings us to the big question: Are marketers prepared to engage in real -- two-way -- brand communication?

I'm not sure, but I think it's the challenge we have to overcome. And we definitely have to tackle this issue if we're going to engage with our brand community via social media.

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