Can organized communities drive innovation, and will they need representation? That’s the question (a bit of a mouthful!) that blogger Jeremiah Owyang, web strategist, posed over the weekend.
What he means: Communities —and here we mean not necessarily physical communities but online groups of people organized around a common topic— have already started to gain power as they support one another and band together. He cites UserVoice , GetSatisfaction or Ideastorms as examples “that allow communities to define what features they want with products.” To this list we’d add The Consumerist, which has had great success recently helping stiffed consumers get their money back from companies that don’t seem to respond to normal customer service channels.
So the big question is: Do these communities need PR?
With communities in the driver seat over product, a shift will happen as communities can define the spec of future products and therefore multiple brands will bid for their business. As a result, we should expect the agency model to flip over, where PR agencies start to represent communities of customers â€“rather than brands.
What if these communities (we’re likely all part of at least one) started to band together and used UserVoice to define what we want? What if a savvy agency saw this, and decided to take our ideas to market on our behalf?
Some have asked why PR is the right skill set for this. But why not?