Buzz words, and buzzing phrases… it’s intriguing to see how concepts that made perfect sense when they were first used gradually erode to the dust of absolute hollow meaninglessness.
The phrase I heard most so far at #canneslions is “harnessing the power of communities.” Seriously, every keynote or seminar I went to I heard it used. Harnessing the power of communities. People on stage trying to make us understand that, regardless if you’re in communications, marketing or media buying, you need to aim at that community. And harness its power. Whatever that means.
What rubs me the wrong way is the directional connotation that the new buzz phrase has. Go harness the power of the community. The community is your target. Go, mighty marketing soldiers… go, and harness its power.
I do not see it working. If a community is your target you will fail, miserably. The secret potion of success lies in understanding the community, finding common grounds and interest points and creating a partnership that is built upon mutual respect. To make it work, you’ll need engagement and regardless of how well you target the community and how desperate you want to harness its power, well, you simply cannot. Because engagement and interaction comes from them, the people within the community. They will choose whether or not you’re interesting, funny, nice, intriguing and adorable enough for them to invest some of their energy in you.
See, the power of a community exists. It’s pure magic, but you cannot harness it. The power of a community is a precious gift and rather than go and conquer it, you’ll have to earn it.
Earning trust and respect, that will lead towards engagement, is a social skill. The social in Social Media was not put there by accident.
So, stop talking dust.