12. Community Relations
For most of the 20th century, public engagement by large firms was limited mainly to corporate communications, public relations, and philanthropy, typically via one-way, firm-to-public interactions. But the web’s growing social and mobile technologies now allow far more two-way interactions between firms and their communities.
In addition to feedback systems in marketing and customer service, most large firms now need such community strategies as social media teams, corporate social responsibility and sustainability programs, and employee engagement efforts for these and other community programs. Dave Kerpen’s Likeable Social Media (2011) is a popular guide to helpful, friendly and respectable community engagement, communication and brand management on social platforms. David Scott’s The New Rules of Marketing and Public Relations, 2013, is another useful guide to blending organizational marketing and community engagement functions on the modern web. The Community department is also commonly a Marketing Management foresight function, though Leadership may take responsibility for it or any of its business functions (communications, philanthropy, CSR) in various firms.
Hopefully this brief survey of foresight functions, challenges, and frontiers at the departmental level has highlighted the great variety and value of modern organizational foresight work. As a practitioner in any of the social roles we have described (Creative, Entrepreneur, Consultant, Academic, Organizational Leader) you can bring foresight to every department of the firm, and use that foresight to create competitive advantage. Let’s now look at a few good diagnostics that can help you discover your strengths (talents and traits), and ways to use them to best advantage in foresight practice.