Co-creating the future of research communities together with clients

Connecting a full day with your clients definitely results in valuable insights. That is what we’ve learned last week. We’ve invited our community clients to our first Client Connect Day to co-create on the future of research communities. And we can tell you: the future looks bright! By joining forces and sharing our experiences on research communities we’ve discovered new opportunities:
1. Overcome the fear for the unknown. We’ve observed that people within the organization are insecure about starting an online research community and communicating directly with the consumer. They don’t know what to expect. Therefore, it’s essential to overcome this fear and involve these people in the community process before the community is going ‘live’. For example, an internal kickoff session will help overcome this barrier. This session informs people about the tool and it enables people to experience what community members feel during the kickoff. A demo community will further help to clarify the concept of a research community. Also, sharing community cases that we’ve done with other clients creates a mutual understanding and more support for the community.
2. Start the internal conversation. While the community is running, we’ve experienced it is important that you create awareness within the organization for two main reasons. First, we need to gather input from all different people within the organization to feed community discussions. This requires an internal organization that is well aware of the project and its opportunities. Second, we need to make people interested in hearing the insights of project. So, it is essential to create curiosity and the willingness to meet the community members. It will inspire people to take a look at the community and join the conversation. One example to do this is by printing the best member quotes of the week and hang it in the coffee corner. This will definitely serve as an internal conversation starter about your community project and its members!
3. Share relevant insights with the right people. Sharing insights about the community discussions with your organization always remains a challenge. People already receive enough e-mails each day so it’s key to share relevant insights with the right people. These insights need to be surprising for the longer term while also be relevant for their daily jobs. You can use newsletters for example that are built up by chunks of information that are relevant for a specific group of people. Targeting information is crucial and keeps your audience interested.
This is just a glimpse of what the Client Connect Day has brought us. The conclusion of the day is that we actually need to manage two communities: one with our consumers ánd one with internal clients. Engaging people of the organization with our research communities will result in the highest ROI in terms of insights and information, leading to a real change within your organization.
So, co-creating with our clients definitely paid off. We’re already looking forward to our next edition of the Client Connect Day to create new best practices. See you next time? Contact Anke Moerdyck for more information on our next events.

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