This is why Church of the Customer is probably my favorite blog. They not only blog about amazing examples of community-empowerment, they bring me similar stories from other bloggers. Today's example comes from Community Guy. Jake told a great story from BrickFest 2006(a conference for LEGO enthusiasts.), during the conference, an Asian woman told the story of how the region was 'underserved' as far as LEGO's community-building efforts were concerned. She said she approached the local LEGO office about ways that her and other customer evangelists for LEGO could work with them in community-building efforts. The office did nothing. That's right, a woman approached the COMPANY and offered to work WITH them to promote their company for FREE, and they send her home.
The amazing part of the story? The woman, who was speaking in front of over 500 people, including the company's CEO, wasn't complaining about the treatment she received, she was asking the audience to give her advice on how she could CONVINCE her local office to change their minds, and work WITH their customer evangelists!
The CEO's response? "I'm actually going to be in Singapore next week. Would you be able to join me when I meet with that office so we can work it out?".
Love it! The reason why this will be such a great move is that by having this customer evangelist with the CEO when he visits the Singapore office, it sends the VERY clear message to that office that you must embrace and LISTEN to your community-members that are WANTING to promote your company. If she's important enough to be with the CEO, she's important enough to listen to. Again, when the community is doing your job for you, you do EVERYTHING you can to make their job as easy as possible. Sometimes it takes a gentle clubbing over the head to get through to some people ;)