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Building Communities with a Unifying Vision
Everyone building in web 3 understands the importance of building a community. Most also understand the value of genuine community members over vanity metrics.
However, actually building communities is often hard because the community isn’t singular. Everyone in the community is a different, and have varying backgrounds, motivations, levels of experience, and so on. It can become tricky to prioritise and understand which sub-communities to focus on, or how to balance growing to new audiences verse catering to the existing audience.
This short article aims to dive into a universal challenge that all communities face, and the concept of building communities via a “Unifying Vision”
Communities aren’t singular
Most web 3 communities aren’t singular. They comprise of different groups of individuals, all of whom have different backgrounds and motivations.
Let’s take the example of a gaming project. We’re likely to see the following:
Some care about the game and are patiently waiting for it to come out
Some care about regular updates and want to be kept in the loop
Some care about getting involved, in moderation, curation & more
Some care about buying the initial sale and flipping for a profit
Some care about the token price and actively monitor and discuss this
Some care about playing the game and trying to earn from them
There are probably more groups, but you get the idea. In practice, this manifests in conversations such as:
“Why is the token price so low? When will NFT holders be rewarded? Why is this project taking so long to launch? The team doesn’t give enough updates”
This diversity results in a number of challenges for managing the community:
Unable to support needs: Projects have to deal with many diverging needs and wants, yet also have limited resources to do so. Building for one customer segment is hard enough, let alone multiple segments.
Decisions are always ‘bad’: Every decision that a project makes has implications on its community segments. For example, let’s say a game decides to release their game demo only to NFT owners in the community. This will make non-NFT owners upset. On the flip side, if a game decided to release their demo to the active Discord members, then silent investors would get upset. Decisions are always ‘bad’ for someone.
Growth increases difficulty: Projects which aim to grow often do so by targeting new community segments. This is because the initial audience of a web 3 community are either crypto-native early adopters or are investors. As a project expands, they begin to target non-crypto native users and users (rather than investors). This growth is good for the project, but also increases the diversity within the community, thereby exacerbating the above issues.
So how do you build a community when everyone in the community wants something different?
You need to find the unifying vision. Something that everyone in the community will support and be happy with. This unifying vision is something that:
Sets an inspirational and audacious long-term goal
Gives a sense of shared purpose and belonging
If achieved, benefits everyone in the community
For example, the unifying vision for the Guild of Guardians is to onboard millions of gamers into digital ownership and web 3 gaming. The shared, fundamental belief is that players should own their in-game items, and that we are on a collective journey to transform the gaming industry. And if we succeed, every community member will benefit, regardless of whether they care about the game, NFTs, tokens or something else.
This unifying vision is also useful as a consistent, guiding light for making decisions. Trade-offs are easier to make when there is a goal that you are optimising for. And importantly, community members are more likely to support it, even if they don’t agree, or if in the short-term they may not benefit from it.
In summary, web 3 communities will most likely always have different user segments who all want different things. The way to cater to all of their needs without being pulled in different directions is to create and work towards a unifying vision.
Hope this helps! Let me know what you think in the comments
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