Robert Kozinets, an associate professor at the Schulich School of Business, opened the event with an academic-centered dissection on community, jam-packed with metaphors for your mind to swim in. Thinking about the concept of community, one of Rob’s key comments to anyone looking to create or grow a community was that "unless you [a business] are willing to talk [to and in the community], don’t join in the conversation." Robert likened managing communities to the role of a beekeeper, and of cultivation, a metaphor I quite liked.
Jennifer Evans of Sequentia followed Rob, and told the audience that "every company has a community, and that every community has life cycle that needs to be understood." Providing some fantastic case studies, Jennifer did what every other social media presenter I have seen failed to do: link social media and interactive tools to hardline analytics, proving that cultivating communities and creating/maturing them can be done with successful results (and not just *X* number of video views, or comments, which are inherently not a sign of profitability). Jenn closed her presentation with her belief (with supplied proof) that good content has longevity and lead generation long past its initial creation.
Lee Dale, founder of Smack Inc. was the final presentation of the morning, hearkening to Malcom Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point about the different members of a community; The Connector, The Mover, and the Sales People. Lee’s presentation was laden with specific case studies and examples of how companies are building communities to complement their real-world brands.