Resurgence of Owned Communities #CMAD

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On Air: 19:00 - 20:00 EST (GMT-5)
Monday, January 27th, 2014


The internet was forged by small, highly engaged communities of interest, and this ‘owned’ approach was favoured by cutting edge brands and organisations as a uniquely powerful way to build relationships with customers or fans. But as social network monoliths like Facebook took off, branded communities fell out of favour (for many), and were replaced by a social outpost model that’s delivered tremendous success, but many challenges.

As the power of data and CRM come into their own, and organisations grow weary of keeping up with the commercial agenda of vast channels they don’t have claim to, the ‘owned’ or branded community seems poised for a comeback.

We’ll look at:

  • How owned communities set the foundations for today’s social web
  • Defining owned community – what does it mean? Has that definition changed over time?
  • Key differences and benefits of owned community (why they’ve persisted)
  • How is community managing an owned community (like a forum) different to managing a Facebook page or Twitter account?
  • How branded communities can work hand in hand with social media

We’d love to hear about experiences of this in your world. Do you think owned communities are being ‘rediscovered’ by businesses and organisations looking for longer game with their social strategy? Or should we double down on our Facebook pages and keep focusing on building meaningful outposts?


Venessa PaechVenessa Paech
Group Senior Manager – Content & Community at REA Group

Venessa is an international community management authority, specialising in enterprise online communities. Currently she is Group Senior Manager of Content and Community for ASX listed REA Group. Venessa spent four years at Lonely Planet as head of global community management. and has developed community strategies for leading private and public organisations around Australia. She holds a BFA from New York University and an MA in Creative Media from the University of Brighton (Virtual Ethnography). Venessa is a published academic and a popular speaker and consultant on community building and management, moderation and governance. In 2008 she founded the Australian Community Managers Roundtables and co-founded the flagship Australian community management conference, Swarm. She is a Director of the Community Brave Foundation and proudly wears her old timey community manager badge, having been involved in virtual communities since the late 80s.

Connect with Venessa on Twitter at @venessapaech or on Google+.


Kate FenertyKate Fenerty
Web Editor at AMP

Kate Fenerty is currently a part of the Community Management team at AMP, working on an award winning and collaborative intranet space called the Hub. Kate spent over 7 years with Yahoo! as the AU/NZ Community Manager for Flickr, Answers and Forums; along with an extensive background in online gaming. IRL she can be found blogging, chasing around her toddler, running training or spamming Instagram with photos of the aforementioned small human.

Connect with Kate on Twitter at @Kehly or on Google+.

Sarah HawkSarah Hawk
Community Manager at eModeration

Formerly a developer in the corporate world, Hawk (who is a Kiwi and is only called Sarah by her mother) said goodbye to the code and succumbed to the lure of all things community. An enterprise Community Manager with SitePointUXMastery and eModeration, Hawk spends her off-the-internet time with her 5 year old twins or in the gym.

Connect with Sarah on Twitter at @ILOVETHEHAWK or on Google+.

Alison MichalkAlison Michalk
CEO at Quiip

Alison Michalk is CEO of Quiip, Australia’s leading online community specialists; and co-founder of swarm, the world’s first online community management conference. An industry pioneer with more than 10 years experience working with online communities, Alison is a respected industry leader, engaging speaker, widely published commentator and sought-after trainer in the areas of social media, online community governance, management, moderation and engagement. She has worked as a community manager, content producer, editor, director and producer. Her blog appears on the Quiip website.

Connect with Alison on Twitter at @Quiip or on Google+.

Discussion Questions

  1. How do/should we define ‘owned’, or branded communities?
  2. What are the key differences between owned communities vs. social networks for participants?
  3. What are the key differences between owned communities vs. social networks for community managers and custodians?
  4. Why are owned communities enjoying renewed popularity?
  5. What advantages (& risks) are there to an owned approach to online community?

RSVP & Watch the Hangout

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Sherrie Rohde

Community Manager at Magento
As the Community Manager for Magento, Sherrie connects people with resources and with each other, and, since she’s just a bit passionate about the topic, she also co-produces a weekly broadcast for community professionals called #CMGRHangout. An ENFP, Sherrie is obsessed with innovation, terrified of status quo, and motivated by adventure. 
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