[INSPIRED BY RED BULL}
Do you want to leverage the power of crowds?
Do you want to turn a crowd into a community with purpose?
Clear is that crowds become more effective at “anything” when they are enabled by systems and they are engaged by soul. Better systems allow community members to more effectively collaborate and contribute with one another and soul allows community members to more effectively engage with each other in manners that drive preference, commitment and voluntary action way beyond any mechanical logic.
So to unlock the power of crowds we need better system-builders and better soul-engineers!
Let’s start by looking, for example, at brands and businesses like Airbnb and Uber.
They are both strong on purpose and practicality and they both rely on the power of community to grow their business and brand. These brands have given a new function to marketing. It is no longer about manufacturers selling a product built in a factory to consumers and enticing them with an image. It is more about enabling the quality and utility of relationships between different stakeholders so more people can win.
Both Uber and Airbnb tap into underutilized assets and capabilities different parties have and want to bring down the barriers for different parties to add value for one another. They empower sellers who suddenly discover that they have resources which they can monetize and they delight consumers by creating abundance where scarcity prevailed. But when it comes to engineering for a community with soul I believe that Airbnb is better placed because they are more willing to humanize their brand and give its community wings with body and soul.
How can you give a community wings with body and soul?
A community with soul is strong on rituals and routines, it is strong on communication and relationships, it is strong on purpose and mission, and it is strong on social identity and pride. As business humanizers we view these 4 human qualities together to turn crowds into effective communities.
Learning from Airbnb
At AirBnB they seem to understand this very well and,with the arrival Jonathan Mildenhall, their ability to grow a community superbrand with body and soul will only improve.
The strengths of Airbnb start with the fact that they tapped into the already established rituals and routines of hotel booking. It “shared homes, but charged by the night, like a hotel”, and they made it easy with their enabling systems. Too many sharing economy platforms try to create new routines instead of improving on existing ones and this is difficult.
Secondly, Airbnb engages and enables community members to communicate and relate to one another with a specific outlook on the world: a worldview that serves a human need and their business needs. They genuinely believe that they can create a world where everybody is opening up their homes and getting a greater sense of belonging, and that they can enable this. As Jonathan says in his Fast Company interview, “Belonging is a fundamental driver of humankind, ever since we were cavemen, Neanderthals sitting round a fire, we’ve shared this wonderful sense of belonging. As human beings get more and more sophisticated—supposedly—as we get wealthier, embrace technology and all the other luxuries of modern day living, one thing that we struggle with is a genuine sense of belonging.”
This translated in some beautiful communication work like “Never a Stranger”.
Thirdly, this community outlook of belonging everywhere gives the brand permission and power to tackle some cultural challenges while dealing with some business missions. It is now placed to contribute to bringing down the walls that stand between us- something Jonathan learned a lot about while being at Coca-Cola, and from the short film “Wall and Chain,” which Airbnb made to mark the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 2014.
The brand tells the true story of two former Wall guards, one from the East side and one from the West, who meet again by chance through Airbnb. It is a remarkable and touching tale. But it is more that a purpose tale, it is an invitation for more people to make their homes available on Airbnb. And this is a business mission.
The fourth and final step for growing community with body and soul is assuring that the community shares a social identity with pride. They must feel remarkable and special in some way and they must feel that Airbnb is helping them achieve their goals and their way of life. The community must feel remarkable through values and purpose. I’m sure that Airbnb will get this right and it already has the systems in place to do so.
So to conclude lets recap:
The interplay of 4 human community qualities turns a connected crowd into a community with wings. There are routines and rituals to assure behaviour adoption, there are specific relationships that enable attitudes, there are challenges and missions that fuel purpose, and there are symbols of social identity and pride to allow the community to feel special and remarkable about itself.
So if you want to give your crowd or community some wings with body and soul come join us at Crowdsourcing Week in Brussels on 22 October and learn more.
Founder & CEO
Get ready to jump on many of the above conversations at CSW Europe in Brussels, Oct 19-23, 2015. Take a look at the agenda and don’t miss the opportunity to network and connect with the best European minds on the crowd economy.