I mention this a lot in advice I give to people who are just starting out, it’s one of the first questions I ask them, and also would/should be one of the first questions I ask the key business stakeholders when planning and looking to launch a new community.
What’s the point? Why do we we/you want to do this? What’s in it for the customers/members? What’s the value they’ll get from being a member and (hopefully) participating? What’s in it for us as a business? Why?
When I took over as Community Manager at FinancialForce the first question I asked the exec sponsor was why are we doing this and what are we hoping to get out of it?
What’s your community’s WHY?