I have just seen a report in PR Week that HSBC is looking for digital agencies to help it build what appears to be a massive community within which its customers are going to manage their lives. As the brief puts it ‘We will build a distinct digital offering centred on customers’ future needs, financial and non-financial.’
The amount of money that HSBC is going to waste in pursuit of this flawed objective makes me want to weep – not least because I bank with HSBC (or First Direct which is basically the same thing).
Now HSBC is absolutely right to identify the importance of community and communities within social media. It is absolutely wrong to assume that this means you can build communities within which your customers will then live. The most important thing to realise about communities in social media is that consumers, customers or citizens will create (and are in fact creating) communities in order to manage their relationships with institutions. They will not want to be managed within communities created by institutions. Continue reading