Way long ago, Jerry Bowles and I had the experience of working with Diane Hessan, who headed up The Forum Corporation, a consulting firm that focused on customer retention and loyalty. Diane was brilliant, creative, and likely to call you at bed-time to pursue a new idea. Imagine how delighted we were to learn that she now is in charge at Communispace, a seven-year-old concern that has taken customer relationship management into the realm of online community formation.
Communispace helps companies like CDW, Novartis, Starwood Hotels, and Nabisco form communities of interest around specific objectives, such as new product development. In the truest sense, the community becomes co-innovators with the client, available 24/7 for questions about future direction, product, customer experience, and so on. Rather than wait for a focus group, a company can access an entire community of hundreds of its most influential stakeholders whenever it needs to, in a virtual environment that is user-friendly, private and - thanks to years of best practice development around what makes a community thrive - vibrant. There are scads of other ways that the Communispace model addresses the ROI of social media, from customer retention to viral marketing.
You'll have an opportunity to learn more about Communispace soon. Julie Wittes Schlack, Senior Vice President of Innovation and Research is participating in our next SMT Roundtable on "The Art and Science of Creating Successful Online Communities." The event is scheduled for Wednesday, June 6, at 1 pm EDT, and will be hosted by Bulldog Solutions. We'll be posting a link to the registration later this week.