It really is about you. And we aren’t just saying that.
We are not one of those agencies who take on clients to tell them what they want to hear. We don’t do viral marketing. We won’t help ‘create’ your brand message. We won’t push your pixels.
- Coworking / Citizen Space
- Pinko Marketing
- Twitter Fan Wiki
- Creative Commons
- Spread Firefox
Citizen Agency does have a mission: changing the world through empowering individuals. We believe in architecting for collaboration, not merely participation.
Our core business is built on the principle that when you have a strong community, you have a strong company. A healthy community just happens, it can’t be forced or fabricated. However, we believe that there has got to be some significant factors in place for people to want to come together and collaborate:
number 1. Embrace the Chaos
Know that no matter how much you want to control direction and outcomes, your customers will probably take you in an entirely different direction. Tara wrote a blog post here about the advantages of embracing the chaos, but what does it mean?
Don’t overplan. Don’t worry. Don’t go over every reason why it won’t work. Make it work. Open up. Be vulnerable. Throw ideas out to the public and see where and how they are picked up.
number 2. Balance your Tripod
We believe that community building isn’t a separate branch of thought. It is integrated in every aspect of your product and environment and way you conduct your own life. The tripod we are referring to consists of:
- Environment – you can’t change this, but you can be aware of it and how it changes over time
- Product – if you aren’t delighting people with a kickass product, you have an uphill battle
- Community – this includes things like trust, communication and openness
We work with our clients to help them balance their tripods. Through communication and user experience design consulting, balanced with the needs of your current community and an unbiased, knowledgable understanding of the environment you are working in, we work towards the perfect triad.
number 3. Put Community First
Before anything else. No exceptions. Citizen Agency may be paid by our clients, but we answer to the community. We don’t answer to VCs or bottom lines or lawyers. That is for VC consultants and bottom line consultants.
We believe strongly that if you treat your community well, you will grow a stronger business long term.
And every community is unique as well as every community member. Simply put, I think we have our work cut out for us already.
number 4. Be Part of the Community You Serve
That means our clients have to do the work. We are not hired to build relationships for ourselves. That wouldn’t help anyone. We are hired to help our clients forge those relationships, help them empathize, show them how to become part of their own community.
Surprisingly enough, very few people know how to open themselves up to community interaction. It makes someone vulnerable. It means that you may have to admit failure in certain areas. We say, fail early and fail often! It’s the only way to getting closer to ‘right’ when it comes to community.
Besides, from our experience, communities are pretty nice about screw ups when they know you are trying and have their best intentions at heart. Opening up will just help you get there faster.
number 5. Have Patience
This is about building real, human relationships. This is about never trying to get the quick cash grab, never trying to ‘trick’ or ‘dazzle’ anyone into buying something less than they deserve. You want $30 today or $30,000 over a lifetime? (although it isn’t about the money at all, really)
This is about respecting your customer as intelligent and giving them the best possible option in your product and respecting if they still don’t give a damn (but finding out why and what you can do to please them).
Community building takes time. It takes patience. It takes integrity and heart and soul. You may or may not have 50,000 community members in 6 months. You may have more. That isn’t what it is about. It is about the depth of those relationships and building towards a better relationship every day.