The Business of Belonging | David Spinks

Summary of: The Business of Belonging: How to Make Community your Competitive Advantage
By: David Spinks


Unravel the mysteries of harnessing the power of communities in the world of business through ‘The Business of Belonging.’ Brandished with innovative approaches and insightful anecdotes, this book provides a crash course in utilizing the strength of communities to propel businesses forward. Explore the SPACES acronym, highlighting the six key purposes of communities – support, product, acquisition, contribution, engagement, and success. Delve into the Social Identity Cycle, learn about the Commitment Curve, and understand the importance of identification, participation and validation in maintaining a vibrant, growth-driving community.

The 6 Purposes of a Business Community

A community must have a purpose that justifies its existence in terms of a return on investment for a business. There are six basic outcomes that a community can drive, which stand for SPACES: support, product, acquisition, contribution, engagement, and success. Each purpose is explored with examples from companies such as Lyft, Lululemon, Duolingo, and Salesforce’s Trailblazer community. Investing in at least one of these purposes could benefit a business, and the key to success is engaging users in the community.

The Social Identity Cycle of Community Membership

This book explains the Social Identity Cycle, a three-stage process that individuals undergo when becoming part of a community. The three stages are identification, participation, and validation. By using the example of Cam, a sales professional, the author illustrates how this cycle works in practice. Cam identifies as a part of the Sales Hacker community, participates more, and receives validation. This cycle continues as Cam becomes more involved in the community. The book emphasizes that the first step, identification, is crucial in creating a community that attracts the right people. Communities should have a well-defined niche to increase identification and foster a sense of belonging. The book concludes that individuals who feel like they belong are more likely to participate, leading to a successful community.

The Commitment Curve in Community Building

Building a thriving community involves understanding the Commitment Curve, where members can be passive, active, power, or leader. It’s essential to have a mix of these categories to create a fully scaled and functioning community. The majority will be passive, but these members are crucial as they form the audience that consumes the content. The active members have the potential to become power members or leaders, and the power members are significant contributors to the community. Leaders are committed members who take on moderator or admin roles. It’s crucial to allow members to move fluidly up or down the curve. To encourage passive members to become active, frameworks should be in place, as demonstrated by Suzi Nelson’s successful “Love our Lurkers Week” targeting passive members.

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