Webster defines "community" as a group of people living together as a smaller social unit within a larger one. Communities provide a convenient way to look at slices of your market.

However, they are not the same as market segments; rather, they are groups of people linked by a common thread, a common experience or a common vision that may have nothing to do with your product or service at all, but can have everything to do with building your business.

Attributes such as shared interests, common traditions, ownership and mutual advantage are often assigned to community. When you think of it, aren't these the attributes you would like your most valuable customers to think about when they describe their relationship with your product, service or company?

How wonderful it would be to hear them compliment your organization for caring about what they care about and for providing a tradition of service. And because you have listened to your customer's needs and worked together to improve your products, services and their communities, they share a pride in ownership with you.

Sound good? If you are nodding your head, then read on to see how a solid community-building strategy can create this type of customer relationship and why women are the best community builders.

Women Communities Vs. Men Communities

It will come as no surprise that women's sense of community is quite different from men's. We recently conducted a survey asking women and men panelists to describe in their own words what "community" means to them. Men defined community as their place of living or work. Short, sweet and to their point. Women described a rich tapestry of interwoven relationships, providing examples that spanned their lifetime.

Clearly, the women had emotionally bonded to their communities at a level that our male responders had not. Their communities included traits such as these:

  • Longevity
  • Constancy
  • Often a secondary focus of caring and cause
  • Giving emotional fulfillment and balance to their time strapped life
  • Fun, friendly, supporting and showing mutual respect

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Terri Whitesel is the founder and chief translator of Interpret-Her, LLC. Reach her at terri@interpret-her.com.