But first figure out the kind of community that your customers most desire: Clique, Cult, Network or Nation?
So advises popular co-authors of Church of the Customer, Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba. That is if you want to inspire “the word of mouth gospel” from avid customers.
To turn your customers into evangelists (your sales force): choose one of the four kinds of communities. Then wrap everything you do around it (brand personality, outreach, hiring, training, social media, promotion, guarantees, offers, etc.):
1. Clique: Small, trend-setting, exclusive … fickle.
Example: A Small World.
2. Cult: Deeply-held common value, charismatic leader, shared rituals … strong reaction if you violate their value
Examples: Maker’s Mark Ambassadors and Shouldice Hospital.
Many members, loosely affiliated … easy to leave.
Huge, sub-groups, decentralized leadership (like a starfish), pride in affiliation … so don’t damage their sense of identity in the “nation”
Example: Netroots Nation and Dogster.