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Digital Customer Communities

online communities

Own the content, define the rules, maximize engagement

Digital customer communities offer enormous opportunities for organizations seeking to remain relevant and seize market leadership. Yet many organizations already struggle to manage customer input on public platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Why, then, would your company want to build your own private community? Here are five good reasons:
  1. You want to own the data.
  2. You want to control site policy.
  3. You want to design the community to meet your needs.
  4. You don’t want your content blocked by businesses or governments.
  5. You want to increase user engagement, loyalty, and advocacy for your brand.

Private digital customer communities can be categorized as either private branded communities or knowledge management communities.

Private Digital Customer Communities

Private Branded Communities transform the conversation within an organization or with its customers from a one-way to a two-way conversation, and then to a multi-dimensional conversation. This creates an environment where members can share knowledge, ideas and best practices independent of time zone or geography thereby increasing engagement, advocacy and share of wallet. Sample communities include:

  • Customer support communities, which decrease support costs and encourage peer-to-peer interaction and advocacy.
  • Distributor support communities, which help distributors drive sales, support new hires, and leverage shared resources.
  • ‘Voice-of-the-customer’ communities, which focus on ideation and customer input on products and services.

Knowledge Management Communities

Knowledge Management communities sit at the intersection of knowledge management and social media. They combine social media tools and knowledge management principles in a dynamic environment where people can collaborate, share information, and organically create an evolving and up-to-date knowledge base for both internal and external audiences. This knowledge base is searchable, ever-evolving, and stays with the organization. Applications include:

  • Retaining institutional knowledge as employees retire or leave.
  • Warehousing solutions to recurring problems.
  • Sharing information across time zones and geographies.
  • Breaking down silos of information.

Paper: Download our ‘Does Your Company Have Plans to Build its ‘Digital Customer Community’? Private Online Communities‘ Thought Leadership Paper.  


The ISM Difference

ISM creates and implements Digital Online Community strategies that leverage both public communities (e.g., Facebook, Twitter) and private communities to drive new sales, enhance marketing impact, and quickly resolve customer service issues.

We have built private, branded communities for global, best-in-class companies, including ExxonMobil, Heinz-Kraft, AAA, and others. Our proven approach includes working with our clients to ensure the community’s strategy is driven by business objectives and member needs and aligns with existing people, processes and systems. We ensure that these communities tightly integrate with all other customer-centric activities to ensure maximum customer engagement. We also provide on-going moderation support and community administration services.

The results have been astounding:

  • 90% of community members would recommend products to others.
  • 56% more business from distributors belonging to one private community.
  • 36% more business from customers that are private community members.

We are uniquely positioned to make this difference through:

  • More than 3 decades of thought leadership and experience
  • Proven implementation methodologies and support
  • A metrics-based approach to driving successful outcomes
  • 100% objectivity from all technology vendors & implementation partners
  • An engagement model that utilizes seasoned executives, not mid-to-lower tier staff
  • A history of success with world-class, global B2B and B2C organizations
  • The ability to help you at any stage of your Emerging Technologies journey including design, vendor selection and implementation of new technologies AND/OR the re-engineering of legacy systems.

Watch this ISM Webinar: Branded Social Communities

ISM Services

ISM’s core service offerings can be customized to provide maximum impact. Key service offerings in the area of Private Digital Online Communities include:

For additional information on how we can help your company create a Digital Online Community, call (301) 656-8448, or e-mail us at