We recently received a call from one of the largest retailers in America. Our client, a strategist at the company, had noticed that Sears, a competitor, had started an online community for survey and research purposes. The client, whom we’ll call Charlie, wanted to know how his company should respond. When we got on the phone with him, the conversation went something like this:
“Hi, Charlie, how can we help you today?”
“I saw that Sears has started this community, and I wondered if we should do one, too.”
“OK. So what’s your objective, Charlie?”
Long silence, stammering.
“Are you more interested in a community for listening to what your customers are saying or for influencing them?”
“Well, I’m really ...