Access our Collective Intelligence whitepaper here.
What is collective intelligence?
Collective intelligence is what drives us to keep innovating as a species. But what does this mean, and how do online communities help bring it to life?
Some of the greatest innovations of our time are here because of collective intelligence. The Oxford English Dictionary, is among them, one of the earliest examples of collective intelligence. In short, the term describes how people unite to share knowledge and brainstorm ideas that become bigger than any individual effort and how organisations are harnessing the power of this combined knowledge. Together we’re stronger, and collective intelligence harnesses this.
With the rise in new technologies to connect more individuals across the world in real-time, there’s no better time than now to harness collective intelligence in and around your organisation. This drives creativity, productivity and employee and customer retention. Because as a species, we crave seeing collective intelligence unfold.
The bedrock of this is the online community. Bringing people together and harnessing their shared expertise is the reason we started Zapnito, and the reason we’re still going today. The Internet is a powerful way to connect people, especially in today’s hybrid world, as long as you do it in a trusted, vetted space that you own.
Ways brands are collecting marketing intelligence online:
- Creating more engaged and loyal relationships across the customer lifecycle with a community-led growth strategy.
- Uniting people around a common purpose: creating a hub of knowledge around niche topics
- Providing space for trusted knowledge-sharing: reliable information from people you can trust
- Amplifying different voices: allowing new perspectives to be shared on any issue
- Allowing collaboration and co-creation: Providing opportunities for people to share ideas and work together
- Offering insight: Collective intelligence means more insight at every level
Let’s take a look at some of these points in greater detail.
Uniting communities around a common purpose
You could be the most knowledgeable person in the world on a specific topic. But with nobody to share that knowledge with, and no way of finding people with the same interests, what use is any of it?
Online communities create dedicated spaces for even the most niche topics, allowing people to share their knowledge and collaborate with like-minded people. The relationship between expert and audience changes entirely; where once it was one-way and transactional, it is now an open dialogue that allows everyone to contribute and learn from each other. This is what we mean when we talk about collective intelligence – less passive consumption, more discussion.
In knowledge communities, such as WildTeam’s WildHub community, the primary goal is to bring together people who otherwise might not have ever met but who possess insight which might benefit others. This is the very definition of collective intelligence being harnessed – community members coming together to form something greater than the sum of its parts through the power of collaboration.
Trust is critical to the success of any business with 7 in 10 customers stating that they buy more from brands that they trust. Trust is so important to today’s businesses, that Edelman has dubbed it “the new brand equity”. It’s been in short supply lately with many people mistrusting of what they read in the news or on social media.
Experts are having their time in the limelight, and if you can create a space where people know they can get specialist, authoritative insights from vetted peers, you will stand tall amid the noise of public forums. By association, your brand will become known for consistency and attentiveness, building trust in the process. That, in turn, will develop stronger emotional ties with customers that improves retention, referrals, and possibly lifetime value and revenue.
A side note on this – collective intelligence can only be harnessed when every part of the collective is represented. When voices are not heard, we lose sight of critical perspectives that could change the way we think. Indeed, research has found that gender diversity in particular increases the collective intelligence of a team.
Ed Gerstner, Director of Journal Policy & Strategy at scientific publisher Springer Nature, describes diversity in the sciences as ‘absolutely crucial’. In a webinar with Springer Nature, Ed discussed the ‘power of inclusion’ that the publisher’s online communities provide it with, explaining, “We had more material than we could ever publish in (a) journal… We were able to provide a platform for the voices of many people.”
Collaboration and community-led growth
Collaborating with your customers and prospects is one of the best ways to drive innovation in the direction they, and the market, needs. Indeed, 58% of businesses are currently experimenting with customer-led co-creation projects. This is one of the best examples of collective intelligence, with online communities fostering collaborating at all levels — from peer-to-peer interaction to active participation with a brand.
Community-led growth describes a go-to-market strategy that puts the community at the core of the business. Bringing customers and brand experts together in a trusted, exclusive space, gives them the opportunity to share knowledge to improve product adoption and results, and to drive customer advocacy. This type of engagement can create a direct, measurable impact on recurring revenue, and it all begins by harnessing your collective intelligence in the right way.
Unlock your community-led growth with Zapnito
As you can see, there are many benefits you’re missing out on when you’re not harnessing your collective intelligence to drive business growth. Your people are ready and waiting to get involved in your brand, so give them a way to do that.
Zapnito has developed an exclusive methodology for community-led growth. Talk to the team today to find out how to put your community at the core of your go-to-market efforts.