The power of community

06 Aug 2003|Added Value

Last week I had the privilege of sharing an evening with a number of talented friends and colleagues, and to meet some wonderful new people. I attended a BBQ at Kelly Goto’s work/live space in San Francisco, arranged to entertain out of town board members of the AIGA Brand Experience group. The party was also attended by a number of local artist/neighbors from the Allied Box Factory lofts, many of whom opened their studios for the event.

Later that evening, I had dinner with some of my own neighbors to celebrate the arrival of one of an out of town friend.

What struck me at both events was the sense of community that pervaded – the community of artists, of neighbors, of brand experience people from around the country. This wasn’t about virtual community or online groups – the proximity made it special. Community meant not only shared interests, but shared places as well, not to mention shared resources among neighbors (like garden tools and dog walking).

The lesson I took away was that personal contact – real proximity – makes stronger relationships, and creating a sense of community in business requires more than a few emails and a website. Companies talk about creating a community of customers. We have to admit it takes a huge effort to really achieve this.

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