Der neue kaufDA Navigator für Android führt seit Tagen auf Platz 1 in der Kategorie "Shopping" im Google Play Store !
kaufDA ist bei Smartphone-Nutzern als mobiler Einkaufsberater buchstäblich erste Wahl.
Der neue kaufDA Navigator für Android führt seit Tagen auf Platz 1 in der Kategorie "Shopping" im Google Play Store !
kaufDA ist bei Smartphone-Nutzern als mobiler Einkaufsberater buchstäblich erste Wahl.
Der kaufDA Navigator war gestern und an diesem Morgen wieder die meistgeladene App im App-Store - ein herzliches Dankeschön an unsere Nutzer für diesen tollen Erfolg !!!
Mac OS X Lion – When innovating advantages should dominate considerably – otherwise consumers could become frustrated…
Joachim M. Guentert steigt als Leiter Unternehmenskommunikation bei kaufDA.de ein
Ehemaliger eBay-Kommunikationschef für Deutschland, Österreich und die Schweiz treibt zukünftigen Markenaufbau beim „Start-Up des Jahres 2009“ voran
Berlin, 16. März 2010 – Joachim M. Guentert übernimmt die Leitung der Unternehmenskommunikation des deutschen Start-Ups kaufDA.de . In der neu geschaffenen Position wird der ehemalige deutsche eBay- Kommunikationschef ab April 2010 die internationale Kommunikationsstrategie von kaufDA.de verantworten. Das bereits mehrfach ausgezeichnete Unternehmen informiert Verbraucher auf dem Portal kaufDA.de regelmäßig und tagesaktuell über lokale Produktangebote und Aktionen verschiedenster Einzelhändler. Die Nutzer können dabei eine Vielzahl von lokalen Prospekten online durchsuchen und vergleichen. Gleichzeitig bietet kaufDA Einzelhändlern erstmals die Möglichkeit, Verbraucher über das Internet regional zu erreichen, um so ihren Filialumsatz effektiv zu steigern. Darüber hinaus bindet kaufDA.de die Angebotsinhalte der Händler auf großen Partnerseiten wie t-online.de, meinestadt.de, immobilienscout24.de und suchen.de ein.
„kaufDA.de hat ein herausragendes Geschäftsmodell mit gewaltigem Potenzial für die Zukunft“, so Joachim M. Guentert. „Ich habe mich nach meiner Aufbauzeit bei eBay und als Kommunikationschef für die DACH-Region lange nach einem neuem Start-Up umgeschaut. KaufDA.de ist ein unheimlich spannendes Unternehmen mit einem professionellen Team und einer echten Chance, sich bei den Konsumenten als Marke zu etablieren. So wie eBay in Deutschland für Online-Auktionen steht, wird kaufDA.de in Zukunft für regionale Shopping-Information stehen.”
Christian Gaiser, geschäftsführender Gesellschafter von kaufDA.de: „Joachim M. Guentert ist einer der erfahrensten Kommunikationsexperten im deutschsprachigen Internet. Ich freue mich, dass wir ihn für unser erfolgreiches Online-Unternehmen kaufDA.de aus der Schweiz nach Berlin holen konnten. Zusammen mit der Geschäftsleitung wird er die marktführende Stellung von kaufDA.de weiter ausbauen. Gleichzeitig leitet das Unternehmen mit diesem Neuzugang eine neue Phase seiner Entwicklung ein, die sowohl für Innovation als auch weiteres rasantes Wachstum steht.“
Joachim M. Guentert (46) war sieben Jahre bei eBay als Leiter Unternehmenskommunikation in drei Ländern tätig. In den Jahren 2000 bis 2004 steuerte er die Kommunikation von eBay Deutschland in Berlin und begleitete eBay als Teil des Management-Teams auf dem Weg vom Kreuzberger Start-Up zur populärsten Marke Deutschlands in 2003 mit über 17 Millionen Besuchern pro Monat. 2005 führte er eBay Österreich in Wien mitverantwortlich zur Marktführerschaft. Bis 2007 verantwortete er schließlich die Kommunikationsstrategie von eBay in der Schweiz in der Europazentrale der eBay International AG in Bern. Seither arbeitet Guentert von der Schweiz aus international als Berater und Investor für zahlreiche Start-Ups.
kaufDA.de informiert Verbraucher bequem und tagesaktuell rund ums lokale Einkaufen: Die Nutzer bekommen Produktangebote und Aktionen verschiedenster Einzelhändler aus ihrer Stadt mit einem Klick aufgezeigt und können dabei eine Vielzahl von lokalen Prospekten online durchsuchen und vergleichen.
Gleichzeitig bietet kaufDA.de Einzelhändlern erstmals die Möglichkeit, Verbraucher über das Internet auf die Region bezogen zu erreichen und so den Filialumsatz zu steigern. Darüber hinaus bindet kaufDA.de die Angebotsinhalte der Händler auf großen Partnerseiten wie t-online.de, meinestadt.de, immobilienscout24.de und suchen.de ein.
kaufDA.de hat bereits zahlreiche Auszeichnungen erhalten: Das Handelsblatt verlieh dem Start-Up den „Weconomy Award 2009“, das Fachmagazin Gründerszene wählte das Unternehmen zum „Start-Up des Jahres 2009″, die Financial Times Deutschland prämierte kaufDA.de zum „Start-Up des Monats“, Bloombergs BusinessWeek zählt kaufDA.de zu „Germany's Star Companies“ und das international führende Experten-Blog techcrunch.com bezeichnet kaufDa als „one of Germany’s leading promotion search sites“.
Gegründet wurde kaufDA.de von den jungen Unternehmern Cihan Aksakal, Thomas Frieling, Christian Gaiser und Tim Marbach, die ihre Geschäftsidee zu kaufDA.de 2008 im Silicon Valley entwickelten.
Hinter kaufDA.de steht die Deutsche Telekom mit ihrem VC-Fond T-Venture sowie eVenture Capital Partners mit dem zweitgrößten eCommerce-Händler der Welt, der Otto Group als Ankerinvestor und weitere namhafte deutsche Kapitalgeber.
Hinweis für Journalisten: Pressefotos von Joachim M. Guentert und Christian Gaiser finden Sie als Download unter folgendem Link: http://downloads.faktor3server.de/pr/Guentert_Gaiser.zip
Every day almost one million people worldwide log onto their computers and share their views and thoughts with the world in a blog. Most bloggers are independent and do not seek any financial return for their views, but when it emerges four out of five post brand or product reviews, with 37 per cent posting them frequently, it becomes clear that this is a powerful voice. The big issue, however, is about listening.
'Previously companies have largely been forced to communicate to their audience through a megaphone approach - send their message out broadly and hope their audiences hear it,' says Karla Wachter, senior vice president, product development, Waggener Edstrom Worldwide. 'Social media has changed this one-way dynamic into a two-way conversation by creating a pipeline that allows companies to build and nurture personal connections.'
'More chief executives are blogging and many brands are directly engaging with consumers on social networks. We're seeing an age of transparency emerge where people want to connect with brands on a personal level,' adds Stephanie Agresta, global director, digital strategy and social media, at Porter Novelli. Making a success of that kind of conversation, though, requires an understanding of the power of influence, argues Wachter. 'Influence is about reaching the right people, with an engagement that delivers value, offering a company's audience a meaningful connection to their brand,' she says. Achieving this also means knowing what conversations are going on, and which of the many thousands are relevant and require responses. As Wachter says, it's the ability to 'collect data that helps [companies] discover the who, what, why, when, where and how of influence'. It all starts with a social media monitoring strategy.
The problem with monitoring
Despite the business potential, it seems that many companies currently underestimate the importance of such monitoring activity. 'Some organisations believe that [online] conversations about them just do not exist,' says Michelle Goodall, social media marketing consultant at Econsultancy. 'But monitoring is not just about focusing on your organisation, it's also about direct and indirect competitors. It can help you gain an understanding of competitor customer service or product issues, to analyse gaps for potential products or services or to help understand why their communications campaigns did or didn't work.'
She also thinks that some organisations discount monitoring activities because they do not believe their key audiences are involved in social media. 'Your audiences don't have to be active participants in social media to see a bad product review or a customer service complaint visible in Google when they search for your organisation, products or services. Monitoring is not a nicety but a necessity for all organisations,' she says.
The delay in companies actively monitoring social media may also lie in some confusion over the tools available, and how monitoring can be resourced effectively. 'Brands and communicators are having problems deciding upon the metrics, what the technology is and how they can bring realistic goals and objectives to the activity or campaigns they wish to create,' says Tim Gibbon, director at media consultancy Elemental. 'More importantly, brands and communicators are unclear what channels are available, and how to work with them to connect with audiences, and subsequently what methods should be employed to measure activity.'
The problem is compounded by the amount of material circulating online. Ploughing through millions of conversations to find the few that will be relevant to a brand is likely beyond the resources of most companies. 'There are so many blogs out there that you quickly ascertain that a lot of blogs don't get read. There's a huge number of people writing and posting blogs with no-one paying attention,' says Marcus Gault, managing director at media intelligence company Precise.
Technology to the rescue?
Myriad tools have emerged promising to help organisations in tracking these innumerable online conversations, including free tools such as Addictomatic, Google Alerts, Technorati, Surchur and Socialmention; social bookmarking tools, such as Delicious; RSS readers that group and collate data feeds, such as Google Reader; as well as more costly but sophisticated enterprise-level tools and technologies such as Radian6, Crimson Hexagon, Alterian/Techrigy SM2, Brandwatch and Buzzlogic.
Technology may have its limitations, though. 'Whilst the technology used to locate environments and the conversations within them is now a science, social media monitoring remains more of an art. This is because regardless of how great the functionality of the technologies that are available, it is the simple, yet complex conversation and dialogue that is exchanged that holds the real crux of useful information that communicators and brands can benefit from,' says Gibbon.
Goodall agrees, arguing that even the best tools require an element of human analysis and interpretation of data to factor 'influence' and 'sentiment' into the source of the conversations. This requires time and training, resources for which may be in scant supply, especially in these recessionary times. Goodall also thinks that experience of free tools may have put off some companies from monitoring activities altogether. 'Many people are using free tools such as Google Alerts but they are getting frustrated at the amount of noise, irrelevant information and results that are thrown up, so assume that effective monitoring will be time intensive and resource heavy.'
To resolve these issues, companies are working hard to develop monitoring products that go beyond merely collating data. Waggener Edstrom, for example, has devised monitoring tools such as 'twendz', a data-mining application, and 'WExPulse', a multi-channel monitoring solution that enables agency account teams and clients to better track news and conversations from a variety of global channels. Twendz was devised by Waggener Edstrom's software engineer Tim Sears as a way to track emotion in Twitter posts. 'Twendz utilises the power of Twitter Search, highlighting conversation themes and emotion of the tweets that talk about topics you are interested in,' explains Wachter. As the conversations on Twitter change, so does twendz by evaluating up to 70 tweets at a time. The aim, Wachter says, is to provide organisations with a glimpse into what's on people's minds and their emotional reaction. Meaningful words in each tweet are compared against a 'dictionary' containing thousands of words that are associated with positive or negative sentiment; each word receives a score that, when combined with the other scored words, allows twendz to make an educated guess at the overall tone of a tweet. 'Twendz provides a number of ways for communications and marketing professionals to see influence in action on Twitter,' says Wachter. 'You can see brewing trends, conversations and determine key actions you should take.'
Porter Novelli has been working in partnership with Crimson Hexagon, which creates custom analytics reports about online conversations. 'In addition to measuring the volume of mentions on platforms like Twitter and blogs, they can also measure the sentiment of the conversation,' says Agresta. 'We add a layer of value to the tool through interpretation of this data and knowledge of the influencer base.'
The human equation
While the tools are becoming more sophisticated, this human dimension will likely be forever essential in effectively monitoring social media. Wachter admits, for example, that while products such as twendz can provide the user with the 'auto sentiment' needed to monitor emotion, the real power of these tools comes through coupling them with personalised consulting. 'While tools such as twendz can prove powerful if used as an early warning system, it is important to remember that it requires human interaction to have a two-way dialogue,' she says.
With this in mind, Precise has spent the past few months devising a social media monitoring service that works on a distinctly human level. Rather than fruitlessly attempting to search every blog and online conversation, Gault and his team narrow down the most relevant sites for each particular client and work from there. 'We look at the people that engage in a blog, the credibility of the blog and list a few thousand blogs that matter. And then we monitor those for our client. We track it all the time and send alerts when something comes up,' he says.
In addition, the firm looks at the social media scene more broadly, before boiling it down into three or four-page reports of trends relevant to each client. 'This saves clients from having to search thousands of posts that are just not relevant. For example, we've just produced a report for one of the large banks. In 30 days there were over 25,000 blogs and tweets about their organisation. No one [at the client company] is going to have the inclination to plough through all that. We can pull out the relevant posts - which might boil down to just a handful - and then summarise what's going on that really matters,' he says.
A strategic approach
Nicholas Scibetta, partner at Ketchum Pleon, has a similarly strategic business-focused outlook on the monitoring process. While he agrees that tools play an important role in a monitoring strategy, he says that relying on tools alone is a one-dimensional approach that overlooks the all important strategic rationale for engaging with social media. 'At first, there was a real frenzy in the social media trend - with lots of companies wanting to get involved just because others were,' he says. 'But you have to start with the strategy: what are you trying to achieve? And what would success look like? You have to set your benchmarks before you start listening and engaging.'
Such a strategic approach aligns with the step-by-step advice of Mike Manuel, general manager at Voce Connect, a division of Voce Communications, who advocates tempering any monitoring activities with the realities of business resources and objectives.
He recommends dealing with the 'paralysing volume of online conversations' by taking a slice of the conversational web - perhaps Twitter, Facebook or forums - and then focusing on monitoring and successfully engaging in these places first, before broadening those efforts. 'This is also a helpful way to control the time and budget investments in these programmes, because it lessens the man hours spent monitoring and responding to things each day, and it counters the temptation to over-invest in monitoring technology until the organisation has proven it's capable of acting successfully on opportunities found,' he says.
Manuel thinks that companies have been paying far more attention to what people are saying online, compared to just two years ago when 'far fewer communications teams understood the value of online listening'. But he also argues that there remain difficult questions to answer in getting a social media strategy right. 'I think that companies are beginning to make larger investments in organisational teams and tools that can help make sense of the social web,' he says. 'A lot of companies are trying to figure out three things:
- What can they do with all of this new insight they're collecting;
- How can they smartly (and quickly) act on conversations as they surface on the web; and
- How can they measure or otherwise calculate the value and return of their listening and engagement efforts.'
People technology = success?
There seems to be agreement that monitoring is just one step of what should be a much broader social media strategy, which focuses from beginning to end on turning research into action. As Wachter says, getting the right data from the right places may be important, but gleaning actionable insight from that data is imperative. It is this latter task may well be the most difficult task facing companies today. 'To ensure you overcome these challenges, we believe that any social media programme should consist of credible tools like twendz, combined with highly skilled influence analysts that can provide the who, what, why, where and how behind that data, that allows you to drive action,' she concludes.
The term 'social media monitoring' implies a fairly straightforward process that merely extends the mainstream media monitoring that firms have long conducted. But tap beneath the surface and the nature of social media makes the process more of a minefield than it might at first appear. The breadth of conversations now conducted online requires a well-thought-out and targeted monitoring programme, but one that is based on a deeper strategic rationale that looks to the business benefits of engaging with an online and interactive audience. In recessionary times, resources to conduct such activity might be in short supply and there may be some dispute as to which in-house team would be best suited to take on the activity - for example, communications or marketing? With more effective tools and skilled third parties hitting the market with more effective solutions and services, however, the monitoring process is likely to become an ever-more prevalent and essential component of an organisation's online communication strategy.
Global faces and networked places:
A Neilson Report on Social Networking's New Global Footprint
- Two-thirds of the world's Internet population visits a social network or blogging site, and the sector now accounts for almost ten per cent of all Internet time.
- 'Member Communities' have overtaken personal email to become the world's fourth most popular online sector after search, portals and PC software applications.
- Time spent on social networks and blogging sites is growing at over three times the rate of overall Internet growth.
- The total amount spent online globally increased by 18 per cent between December 2007 and December 2008.
- In the same period, the amount of time spent on 'Member Community' sites rose by 63 per cent to 45 billion minutes; and on Facebook by 566 per cent - from 3.1 billion minutes to 20.5 billion.
Caroline Poynton examines the challenge of listening to online conversations without interrupting their flow.
By UTPAL M. DHOLAKIA And SILVIA VIANELLO
Social Web sites that focus on products and brands have taken off in recent years. In these "brand communities," customers or would-be customers can learn more about the products, discuss problems and potential solutions—or simply communicate with others about their shared passion.
Trouble is, this online world is divided into haves and have-nots.
The Journal Report
See the complete Business Insight report.
The haves are the sites where visitors like to hang out, exchanging ideas and information, chatting freely about the product or company—or about the weather, if they prefer. These Web sites have rich potential for marketing insights and for strengthening bonds between the product makers and their customers.
The have-nots, not so much. These sites tightly control what visitors can discuss—often, the product only—and offer few ways for them to interact. These communities are so drab, so uninviting, that many visitors never return after a brief first visit.
But here's the really sad part: Most of these have-not communities are run by the companies themselves. The more-successful communities are usually run by enthusiasts and customers of the brands and products.
In other words, in their efforts to set up brand communities, companies are missing out on a marketing tool with huge potential, particularly in this weak economy. At a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing programs, a well-designed brand community can be used to conduct market research with very quick turn-around; generate and test ideas for product innovations; deliver prompt and high-quality service to customers with a problem; strengthen the attachments that existing customers feel toward the brand; and increase good publicity through word-of-mouth.
For all of these reasons and more, companies need to make their online brand communities more like those created by the fans.
Here are four things companies can do to turn a tired and rigid brand community into a powerful market-research lab, early-warning system and customer-loyalty builder, all rolled into one.
1. Stop controlling everything.
Most company-run communities host discussions about products and services—and little else. Some explicitly prohibit posting personal information; others forbid comments about anything unrelated to the products.
Ford Motor Co., for instance, has a brand community, syncmyride.com, for its Sync product, a voice-activated entertainment and communication system for Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles. But rules on the message board limit discussions to Sync itself: "Grandma's muffin recipe may win blue ribbons," the terms and conditions say, "but because it's not related to a SYNC topic, please don't submit it."
But allowing discussion and activities like networking and socializing leads visitors to participate in the site for emotional and social reasons. It keeps them coming back, and thus strengthens the bond between them and the company.
Part of giving up control is also giving visitors the freedom to complain and criticize the brand, or to wax lyrical about a competitor, to their heart's content.
If a company's brand community restricts discussions, unhappy customers will simply go to one of dozens (and for many brands, hundreds) of enthusiast-run communities and vent just as much. The company loses the opportunity to gain insight from customers with potentially valuable criticisms.
Allowing customers to post criticisms and complaints is a good way to spot small problems before they become big ones. The company can respond both on the forums and by taking concrete steps to correct legitimate problems such as service issues or faulty product features.
When customers are free to say whatever they want about the brand, and draw comparisons with competitors without restrictions, this freedom results in greater degrees of credibility and trust in the information found in the community. Also, when complaints are handled well, customer satisfaction and loyalty skyrocket.
Companies, like Facebook, Yahoo Inc. and eBay Inc. actively seek both positive and negative customer feedback through their own brand communities. A few years ago, eBay retracted fee increases for professional sellers on the auction site largely based on extremely angry discussions and mobilization among forum members in its community. The company also has sought feedback from its forum users on auction tools and the pricing of Paypal, its online-payment service. The company did not respond to requests for comment.
2. Welcome diversity.
Too many company-run communities seek out visitors who fit the profile of the brand or product's typical customers. This is mainly because they think of their brand communities as extensions of their long-held marketing objectives.
Nintendo of Europe, a subsidiary of Japan's Nintendo Co., restricts membership in its Italian brand community (at www.nintendo.it; click on "Club Nintendo"), and other European versions of Club Nintendo, to customers. A product code is required to join.
- The Situation: Online brand communities, where people can hang out, chat and learn about specific products and brands, offer companies rich potential for marketing insights.
- The Problem: Many companies are too controlling of their brand communities, or are unaware of what they can learn from independent Web sites that fans and customers of their products have created.
- The Solution: Companies should make their brand communities more like those created by their fans—freewheeling forums with lots of opportunity for interaction, discussion and insights that can lead to innovations and new markets.
But limiting a community to customers only can prevent a company from discovering attractive new market segments it hasn't considered before. Nintendo could be missing out on opportunities in Italy for marketing its consoles and games to other promising consumer segments that have not yet purchased its products but are interested in doing so.
A Nintendo of Europe spokesman says the company feels it is providing a service "for an already wide community that has a common interest." Potential customers, he adds, can sign up for two newsletters without registering for Club Nintendo. The newsletters include product news and links to a variety of Nintendo content.
Another reason to welcome diversity: When a community's members are too much alike, they tend to think alike. Diversity, by contrast, encourages creativity and innovative thinking in brand communities.
When Lego Group set out to develop Mindstorms NXT, the latest version of its game for building programmable robots, it enlisted help from a group of adult enthusiasts whom it found on Lugnet.com, the largest unofficial community of Lego fans. While the marketing target for Mindstorms is mainly teenage boys, the people that Lego reached out to were a group of men in their 40s and 50s who knew each other from communicating and working together on elaborate Lego projects on Lugnet.com.
The group's members, according to a Lego spokesman, contributed "incredibly valuable insights" in hardware, software, design and usability based on their own experiences. The company credits the group with helping to make Mindstorms NXT appeal both to adults and "a new, younger generation of robotics enthusiasts."
3. Give visitors ways of interacting.
Lots of company-run communities are good at putting visitors in touch with a company representative, or at helping them find solutions to problems. But many of these sites don't let visitors talk to each other. Where is the community in that?
For Further Reading
See these related articles from MIT Sloan Management Review.
- Building Stronger Brands Through Online Communities
By Gil McWilliam (Spring 2000)
Consumer brand companies need new management skills, and brand managers must understand online behavior if they wish to develop strong, sustainable and beneficial online communities around their brands.
- Innovation by User Communities: Learning From Open-Source Software
By Eric von Hippel (Summer 2001)
Creating complex products with limited manufacturer involvement is a growing phenomenon occurring in markets as diverse as windsurfing gear and open-source software.
- Don't Confuse Reputation With Brand
By Richard Ettenson and Jonathan Knowles (Winter 2008)
Corporate reputation and brand are not one and the same, and confusing them can lead to costly mistakes.
- Viewing Brands in Multiple Dimensions
By Pierre Berthon, Morris B. Holbrook, James M. Hulbert and Leyland Pitt (Winter 2007)
The concept of a "brand manifold" helps managers understand that a brand's impact varies according to who is valuing it, in what context and at what time.
- Four Smart Ways to Run Online Communities
By Ruth L. Williams and Joseph Cothrel (Summer 2000)
Kaiser Permanente, About.com, Sun Microsystems and Ford have created four kinds of innovative online communities. Their experience shows not only how to manage communities, but also how to manage today's work force.
Participants in poor company-run communities have superficial relationships, if any, with one another. Once their product-related problem is solved, they tend to leave the forum. The result: The community has to keep recruiting new members to replace those who have left, and remains anemic—often little more than a site providing customer support.
Most fan-run communities, by contrast, encourage a variety of social interactions. Visitors frequently network, flirt and joke with each other. Off-topic conversations are common, though so are rules against personal attacks, pornography and other types of offensive postings.
Some of the features that customer-run sites use to encourage interaction: the ability to chat with other members in real time; forums for discussions unrelated to the brand or product; the ability to post personal history, pictures, and videos; ways to announce and conduct online and offline social events; and reputation tools, or ratings by fellow users, that suggest the quality and quantity of a member's participation in the community.
At Oraclecommunity.net, a site for people interested in Oracle Corp.'s database and software products, members share personal stories, pictures, videos and birthdays. They can create blogs on the site, form groups around themes and build networks of designated friends. Members can also schedule meetings and events both online and in person.
Letting visitors talk and interact makes them feel that they are part of a special group, which reinforces their support of the brand and fuels resistance to rival brands. Shared rituals and traditions also arise, such as narratives of the brand's origins and history, celebrations, and unique jargon. These types of cultural underpinnings help tighten bonds between customers and company, too.
4. If you can’t be like the fan sites, at least monitor and support them.
Many companies have no systematic programs in place to monitor and support unofficial brand communities. Some are not even aware of their existence. Others are naturally ambivalent because of the presence of outspoken, demanding and fiercely independent customers in enthusiast-run communities, and their lack of control over these groups.
But systematically tracking and engaging these communities opens up a host of potential benefits for companies. Not only will marketers gain access to some of their most devoted and influential fans here, but they will also find more ideas for innovations; sharper criticisms of existing product problems, along with ideas for fixing them; and more sincere providers of customer service.
Some companies, like Microsoft Corp., have begun to engage their enthusiast-run communities. In Brazil, which is home to one of the largest independent forums for players of the Xbox game console, www.portalxbox.com.br , the company has invited forum members to events at which promotional items and advance looks at new products are featured.
A Microsoft spokesman says such events not only help the company spread news about new products but "garner feedback and input on existing and upcoming offerings."
--Dr. Dholakia is an associate professor of marketing at Rice University in Houston. Dr. Vianello is an assistant professor of marketing at SDA Bocconi School of Management, Milan, Italy. They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I've worked with Utpal and Silvia on community research for eBay. They've done a great job in analyzing community behavior. Interesting learnings from this report.