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The Hyper-Social Organization: 3rd Annual Tribalization of Business Study

IMG00018-20101104-1512 Francois Gossieaux & Scott Wilder presented the latest findings from the 2010 Tribalization of Business Study.

The study, now in its third year, and sponsored by Deloitte, Human 1.0, and the Society for New Communications Research looks at how companies leverage communities and social media as part of their business.

More than 350 companies participated in this year’s study, bringing the total number of companies profiled in the study to date to over 1,000.

Age: More than 3/4 quarters who participated have communities are less than three years old. Could mean that for certain communities there is a life circle, for example, at Adobe, they run the communities for a period of time, and then shut them down.

Active Community Members: Only 5-10% of your addressable community will participate in your community.

Type of Community: A lot more people are taking a federated approach to community management. Companies engage people where they go online in communities.

Top Business Processes: Knowledge management scores high as a factor in reasons for starting communities. Marketing is driving a lot of this, rather than the disciplines that cover those areas, Scott Wilder suggested because marketing is looking for ancillary benefits from those efforts.

Business Groups Involved in the Community: Marketing is big, finance is small.

Who Manages the Community?: Marketing, PR, and the community department are all managing the department.

Focus of Community: 58% focused externally, large majority are external, or internal. A minority of companies are thinking about how they can leverage their employees to support their community.

External or Hybrid Community Focused: Focus is customer. Few look at detractors, despite the potential benefits if you can turn a detractor around.

Activities in the Community: Many companies are providing more activities within their community.

Business Objectives: Reducing customer cost of acquisition grew dramatically.

Objectives Least Successful: Unsure, and increase sales are high. Increase sales is on both ends of the scale with the participants.

Analytics Used in Communities: Number of visitors, how often people post or comment, number of active users, and number of repeat visitors.

What Makes a Community effective?: Ability to connect with likeminded people, ability to help other people, moderation.

Biggest Obstacles: Getting people to engage, getting people to come back, attracting people, and finding enough time to manage community.

Managing Communities: 84% managed internally.

# of People Managing the Community: 51% part time people. Big problems with the number of people available to manage community from companies.

Community Pilot: 53% of companies piloted the community. Dynamics of small community different from a large one.

Concept to Launch Timeframe: Lots of communities stayed in pilot stage, things are moving faster to launch.

Ambassador Program: Only 19% of companies have an ambassador program.

Content Development: 65% have internal content developers. You never have enough content for everyone.

Did you Engage with Tribal Leaders?: 73% of companies said yes, they engage.

Lurkers in Communities: Only 16% are capturing data about the community.

Impact on Business Processes: 24% of have embeded processes.

Future Investments: 24% are investing, same as last year. Expect tilt of funds towards time investment.


  • Most programs are marketing programs.
  • Most are company and product centric.
  • Disconnect between objectives and what contributes to success. 
  • Lack of engagement with influencers - tribal leaders/ambassadors.
  • Need to encourage employee involvement and tribal matching.
  • Lack of internal infrastructure.
  • Companies don't understand that tribes hang out in different places.