Adam Gartenberg's Blog

Business Analytics and Optimization, IBM and Social Marketing

Jerry Garcia and the Lotus Community

"Instead of looking for customers for your products, you seek out products (and services) for the tribe. Jerry Garcia understood this. Do you? "

As always, Seth Godin has a way of netting out changes in the world of marketing and customer interaction.

Today he writes about what he sees as the evolution from Brand Management to what he calls Tribe Management: (emphasis mine)

It starts with permission, the understanding that the real asset most organizations can build isn't an amorphous brand but is in fact the privilege of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who want to get them.

It adds to that the fact that what people really want is the ability to connect to each other, not to companies. So the permission is used to build a tribe, to build people who want to hear from the company because it helps them connect, it helps them find each other, it gives them a story to tell and something to talk about.

And of course, since this is so important, product development and manufacturing and the CFO work for the tribal manager. Everything the organization does is to feed and grow and satisfy the tribe.

This is what I think is so special about the Lotus blogging community, certainly, but also the broader community composed of the thousands and thousands of annual Lotusphere attendees and all of the Business Partners who sell out the show floor each year and help spread the word about Lotus solutions around the world.  

Whether we would have identified it or not, we (the entire Lotus community - not just IBM employees) have been heading this way for some time.  

Ed's blog has morphed from a personal blog on "Collaboration, Technology, Travel and More" to more of a discussion forum on topics important to the community, as have any number of other blogs.  Planet Lotus is making it easier and easier to see what "tribe members" are thinking about or discussing.  We not only have things like the Lotus Greenhouse as an online community, we have partners like Lotus 911 setting up BleedYellow as a community site to allow people to network and congregate online.  I couldn't think of a better example than IdeaJam in terms of soliciting feedback from the broader tribe, as well as the most excellent "Forum Fridays" suggestion Declan Sciolla-Lynch put forward to help bring newer members of the community into the fold.

Maybe this is why we're seeing so much traction for our solutions, so much positive reaction from customers, Business Partners, analysts and press.  Now it's our job in Lotus to make sure we listen and give you what you're looking for.  Based on the feedback from last week, we're heading in the right direction.  Please help us make sure we get there.


    Turtle | Website: | 1/30/2008 10:54:39 AM GMT

    Apple has seemed to understand this for a long time, but they don't limit themselves just to the tribe (like Amiga used to do). They make products which can be offered to "customers" to bring them into the tribe. And then once they're in, they listen (like IBM/Lotus) mostly closely to the adherents and don't go off into the woods too much with new stuff.

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