Building a loyal following – a community, a tribe, engaged stakeholders – is vital to organizations world-wide. It means that you have a group of people that support your business, your products, your employees, your brand. They promote your products and services to their friends, they can tell you what your next product should be and they can notify you if you have made (or are about to make) a mistake. Building a community is organic but, I would argue, should be part of an organization’s strategy. Corporate strategy should ensure that it has the mechanisms in place to listen to customers, business partners, employees, communities and the people empowered to make the right decisions for your community and business.
With all the complexities of doing business in developing markets and, in my particular experience, Latin America, it seems that focusing on building a community is a “nice to have” and not a “must have”.
I would argue the opposite and here’s why…
Building a community reminds us why we are in business to begin with. It creates a sense of purpose that helps us (our employees, our management, our board of directors) strive to be our best. It drives us to succeed and to take good care of those around us and those who support us. It is what interaction is all about. And business is about interactions and about creating meaningful and value-driven interactions. If we don’t do this, why are we in business to begin with?