Virtual Community Building – a short-term solution or long-term strategy?
An interactive and connected community has great potential to strengthen a company’s corporate identity and, together with the customer, to shape products and markets in an effective way. But what influence does the current COVID-19 situation have on this established formula? Don’t other KPIs, such as cash flow, play a more important role in these times? These are exactly the questions we have asked ourselves at launchlabs. Our goal is to find out what role the own community plays in times of COVID-19 and which social investment in terms of events, meetings and communication will be successful in the virtual world in the long run.
It was mid May 2020, when we as a team decided to cancel this year’s Community Day in our premises in Berlin Kreuzberg. The measure seemed more than plausible due to the ongoing lockdown. However, we were very aware that our beloved Community Day is not only a contribution to our community, but also offers us, as launchlabs, the opportunity to talk to our customers, address their needs and initiate new innovative projects.
What role does our community play for us as launchlabs?
Our network is the foundation of our business and is therefore a core element of our purpose and vision. The decision for the virtual Community Day was guided by our Objectives and Key Results (OKR’s). They state that the orientation towards our existing customers as well as new customers is the core of our daily work and that their needs and problems are what make up our goals and challenges. As a result, our answer to the question “Don’t other KPIs, such as cash flow, play a more important role in times of COVID-19?” is NO. While the cash flow secures our existence, it is rather the result of our OKR’s, which have a strong focus on the needs of our existing and new customers.
First virtual Community Exchange Day as an experiment
For us as launchlabs, this insight meant reviewing our current operations to ensure they were customer-centric and launching new initiatives. As a result, the initiative “Virtual Community Exchange Day 2020 (ComX 2020) was launched with the aim of hosting the new format virtually in mid-July. As in the past 4 years,we planned two inspiring days, during which the community would network, exchange views on current topics in the realm of innovation and agility and receive valuable input for their daily work. By making use of digital tools, we were able to provide a platform and virtual space to our community to meet new inspiring people from their own and other sectors, to receive guidance on current challenges, to experience a recently unknown level of informal interaction in the virtual world.
Will there be a second ComX?
The positive feedback after our first virtual community event was overwhelming. We would like to take this experience further with a next edition of the virtual Community Exchange Day next year. Nevertheless, for us Community Building goes beyond organizing Community Days and rather relies on individual conversations and sessions with our clients and partners. We are looking forward to further virtual experiments and are curious to see which inspiring actions will be created within the launchlabs community in the future. The ComX 2020 is our first step towards virtual community building, but it certainly wasn’t the last.