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Mike:

In the specific case of H&R block, the USP is the tax expertise their associates bring to the table. I don't know about you, but I am more keen on learning about tax code from my accountant than I am from my neighbor. That kind of interaction interests me for the degree of expertise there already is built in.

Two other thoughts about your comment:

(1) people suffer from blank paper (or screen) syndrome. In my previous post I talked about corporate bloggers and the skill sets they should have to be successful. The best way to build a sustainable community is with great content. So the hand over may not work if there is no content. I participated in two wikis that never took off because nobody was in charge, it was left up to the community...

(2) can you give me an example of a blogger that set up a community? Someone who has used their own resources and time to create a space for others to fill and create guidelines for - who, as you put it, rolls with it. Do you know of any blogger without an agenda (focus is an agenda), or a message?

I am detecting cynicism as to the ability of a company to create something of value to its community. Potentially even the assumption that everyone at that company does not get it. Does everyone in the community get it, then? Are company and community two separate things? To me employees are a company's first community...

Finally, I have seen communities where nobody was leading that flopped famously because there were too many people trying to control the message. People have agendas. This is not a bad thing, it's often what gets things done.

I think many people are suspicious of Organisation that create Communities for people to interact within. (After all people interact with others all the time - what's the USP?)

One way for Organisations to get around this is to create the Community, get it up and running then hand it over to the people who participate in it...yikes!

Don't give them a set of rules, let the participants generate their own guidelines for use, and if that includes requesting the Company who set it up to act in a particular way, then roll with it...

Scary? for the company absolutely, however how many Companies do this at present with no overbearing mannerisms? find the edge...

Be the Catalyst that brings people and ideas together, then step back...

Without the perception that the Community is an attempt to "control the message" it will grow and grow.....

Mike Ashworth
Marketing Coach and Consultant
Brighton and Hove, Sussex, UK

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