An Award Winning Community Strategy… 30 Years in the Making

Two weeks ago my former team and colleagues at Autodesk won a Forrester Groundswell award for Social Relationship Marketing (Business-to-Business)”. I am very proud of the work the collective team did (and continues to do), and heartened to see that the online community strategies I put in to place continue to bear fruit.
A Rich History
Community has been part of the fabric of Autodesk since the beginning, and as early as 1986 the company was engaging customers in the nascent virtual communities forming around BBS, Compuserve and the like. I came on at the beginning of 2001 to help with a new online community initiative called Point A,one of the first online communities that was also contextually embedded in the product. After the bust of 2001 Point A was retired, but out of the ashes came a thriving online discussion forum community, a robust blogging community, and vertical online communities like AREA, a community for 3D artists and designers. I left Autodesk in 2007, and came back in 2011 to help restart Autodesk’s business community and community-based service initiatives.
Autodesk Community Evolution

Click for larger view

Ebbs & Flows
As with many corporate initiatives and functions, attention and focus ebbs and flows – at Autodesk, the fabric of the customer community tended to tear and mend over time. But with every mend, the fabric grew bigger and stronger – and at this point, the community continues to grow stronger every day thanks to a solid strategy, strong community leadership and executive support.
Highlights and the Details
Some highlights of the Community strategy are called out in the Groundswell submission post on the Lithium blog:
In particular, the platform and Customer Experience transformation, the Community Advocacy Program and the Fusion 360 Community are called out. All great examples and components of “Community with a Capital C” at Autodesk. Below are a few presentations I’ve done explaining the strategy and work behind those projects and programs.

The Autodesk Community Transformation

Community Advocacy: Autodesk Expert Elites
The Fusion 360 Community
I left Autodesk in February of this year to launch Structure3c because I saw the opportunity to help organizations connect with their customers and stakeholders through online communties. I think many brands are waking up with a social media hangover and realizing that they have over-invested in 3rd party social networks and are now essentially renting access to their customers and prospects. Further, Online Communities can help create enormous value through peer support, product development, advocacy, crowdsourcing, peer to peer marketplaces and much more.

I’m currently building a select list of clients to work with to build amazing communities. If you would like to schedule some time to talk about how I can help, please drop me a note.

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