Thanks to Outside Innovation for pointing me in the direction of a report by Matthew Lees, How Should you Manage Customer Communities? (see here)
As Lees points out, designing, deploying and then managing a customer community is a nascent science. It’s a new but burgeoning area of expertise in customer engagement and is seeing influences from marketing, consulting and market research. The people you have desiging and running a community are critical, and it’s not a role just anybody can do. They need to be good community managers and also have an ability to interact with and input to the core of the brand.
A good community manager acts as the glue between a customer community and the brand and makes sure that every party gets the most they possibly can out of the experience. It’s a tough role and one worth investing in.