As a part of our research on building B2B communities, I recently did a whiteboard exercise with Kim Celestre and we attempted to categorize all of the different types, or Contexts, of B2B communities. The Context in which your audience wants to engage with your community is the first stage of our new CLICK design framework for building B2B communities, followed by Linkages, Knowledge assets, Identity, and Conversations; the model is outlined in the graphic on the right. (If you’re a client of ours, check out the full report).
Your community context — defined as the circumstances and settings that determine how you and other community members interact — should be the first design point for a new community. All other decisions, including both if it should be on your own domain or part of a larger social network and the choice of technology platform, will follow.
Please take a look at these dozen different contexts and let me know what you think. I’ve grouped them along one of the axis of our community strategy matrix; whether or not your brand is central to the community. I’m especially interested in any contexts you think I’ve left out or that don’t fit.