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The Communis Manifesto - JVW

The Communis Manifesto - JVW

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Published by gamages
Why communities are the future of brand communications

ABSTRACT: The brand communications which evolved in the mass media era are becoming more and more ineffective at changing peoples’ perceptions of companies and brands.

The connections people make and communities they form nowadays are increasingly where they source their information; people are influenced most by people and communities.

I believe that the future of brand communications lies in finding a way to become part of communities, and communicate with them in a way that is shared, participatory and reciprocal.

In this way companies can affect peoples’ perceptions of them, and make all of their brand communications more effective.
Why communities are the future of brand communications

ABSTRACT: The brand communications which evolved in the mass media era are becoming more and more ineffective at changing peoples’ perceptions of companies and brands.

The connections people make and communities they form nowadays are increasingly where they source their information; people are influenced most by people and communities.

I believe that the future of brand communications lies in finding a way to become part of communities, and communicate with them in a way that is shared, participatory and reciprocal.

In this way companies can affect peoples’ perceptions of them, and make all of their brand communications more effective.

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Published by: gamages on Nov 14, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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01/17/2014

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Why communities are the futureof brand communications
John V Willshire,john.willshire@phdnetwork.com
ABSTRACT: 
The brand communications which evolved in the mass media era are becoming more and more ineffective at changing peoples’ perceptions of companies and brands.The connections people make and communities they form nowadays are increasingly where they source their information; people are influenced most by people and communities.I believe that the future of brand communications lies in finding a way to become part of communities, and communicate with them in a way that is shared, participatory and reciprocal.In this way companies can affect peoples’ perceptions of them, and make all of their brand communications more effective.
 
The words ‘community’ and ‘communication’ are both hugely important to thefuture of brands. Interestingly, both stem from exactly the same source:The Latin word ‘communis’ is the root of many words we use today todescribe people and the connections they make
1
. In its basic form,
communis 
means “common, public, shared by all or many”.Whilst community is still used very much in this sense, communication hasevolved into something very different. If we were to define communicationproperly, it would be as:
“a social and reciprocal act of participation, an act mediated by the use of symbols that have meaning among different individuals and groups” 
2
.
However, in the context of brands and advertising, “communication” in the 20
th
century evolved to mean little more than ‘the sending of messages’.This isnot the result of manipulation by the owners of brands, but simply a result ofhow the communications landscape developed.Companies were schooled in creating and broadcasting homogenous,impersonal messages through a mass-media system. Sending out identicalbrand messages to millions of people at once was a logical, efficient andeffective course of action in a mass media world. Indeed, companies had littlechoice; it was the only way to talk to all their consumers.People watched, readand listened passively and attentively. They did notexpect the right to reply, never mind the ability to create and disseminate theirown thoughts. But nowadays people
can 
create, copy and distribute their owncommunications as far and as wide as any company.The people are in control, and as a result they are demanding somethingdifferent; I believe that the future of brand communications lies in finding away to make these communications shared,participatory and reciprocal.This involvescompanies becoming a credible part of the conversations thatcommunities are havingand to becomemore in step with the ethos of‘communis’.To do this, they first mustunderstand why people form communities.
 
Why do communities form?
We have evolved as a social species and it has been the reason that we havedone so well (Earls
3
); many, if not all, of our achievements would not havebeen possible without forming communities (Leadbeater
4
).Everything we have built, discovered, invented or created has been madepossible by communities sharing knowledge and experience, communicatedfrom generation to generation.If we think about what a community actually is, it will help us understand thebenefit in forming them. A community (McKee
5
)is:
“A group of people who form relationships over time, by interacting regularly around contexts which are of interest to all of them” 
There are three key elements necessary in any community:
The
People
who form the community
The
Relationships
they form to create and strengthen the community
The
Context
around which they form that community; the commonshared interestWhat fuels these communities, flowing through the three elements likeelectricity, is thecommunication of information. For example:
Our ancestors thousands of years ago would come together to fend offdangerous creatures that attacked the community. They wouldthenshare information on how to do this with the next generation throughtelling stories
6
.

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