New Research Shows That Most Major Brands Do Not “Get” What People Want From Online Communities

A ComBlu study of 45 corporations and 135 communities finds that only 36% use a majority of community best practices to
engage customers.

Results also indicate that brands lack a cohesive online community strategy for integrating their communities with each other and other social media initiatives.


  • Nearly half of the brands (47%) are still in the experimental phase, while only 20% showed a cohesive, integrated approach to their community and social media programs.
  • For most brands, community and social media were separate initiatives; only 32% of the 135 communities were integrated with social media.
  • Little evidence was seen to indicate that brands had any kind of strategy for leveraging the feedback, ideas and insights they gained from communities.


  • The majority of brands do not understand what people want or expect from an online community or the role they need to play in fulfilling those needs.
  • Most brands fail to realize that customer engagement is both personal and multi-dimensional and requires their active participation.
  • The lack of engagement channels offered by brands shows that most are unaware that different types of people prefer to interact with communities in ways that suit their personalities.