The effect of forums or communities on brand recognition

(Duncan Field) #1

Splitting this out into a topic of its own.

Introduce yourself (or at least just say hi)
(Darren Gough) #2

I was CM for MSE for almost a decade where the community was an intrinsic part of the brand recognition / reputation. Infact it became so powerful it often overshadowed the main site which was a problem in itself.

We had topics on almost anything money related, and had external organisations actually hosting boards within our forum, not to mention having specific feedback areas for utility companies and the like. The net gain was that people came to us as first port of call to solve money issues, knowing we had both the staff expertise, community reach and relationships with most of the main players in most of the main money fields to get answers.

There’s a lot of questions in your other thread - perhaps you could break it down a bit more for me and start with your main concern/opportunity thought first?

(Duncan Field) #3

I think the main thought is that we have an established reputation in our community, which is why people come to us for our resources. We hope that the same reputation will help draw people into this community for information in this other format - discussions, article sharing, private chats, etc. This has the opportunity to expand our reach to people interested in the community but who have not previously interacted with us before.

I’m wondering how great the risk of dilution is - if the community, linked to our brand, is home to information or opinions that could mislead members, it can damage our members. I wonder what amount of moderation is needed, or if communities are generally self-correcting, even when they get together to learn primarily.

(Darren Gough) #4


So we also had that exact problem - making it clear the difference between our journalistically, highly researched staff content and member content.

People are actually a lot more astute than you think. If you clearly state your house rules / guidance in a prominent place and ensure that staff community accounts are very clearly marked differently from general accounts people will understand. This is the MSE one (the description is nothing to do with me :slight_smile: )

Likewise, you’ll find that people who support the brand will essentially self police and do moderation for you. They will correct misinformation (admittedly sometimes a bit aggressively so keep track of that) and ensure the community is doing the right thing.

Your super user / advocates group becomes essential here. Make sure these people are well treated, feel like they are part of the team, get regular feedback opportunities and they’ll be your active eyes on the community.