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How to Handle the Obligations of Brand Community

080703b Once you've committed to a brand community, you accept some leadership from them. You DO get to set boundaries, but within those boundaries, you have to let the brand change. Not just evolve into something more successful, but to follow where its market wants to take it. That's very, very hard to do.

Adweek: These Brands Build Community. 2008-May-12, by Brian Morrissey

"The community changes the brand to suit them," said Jeffrey Kalmikoff, CCO at Threadless parent Skinnycorp. "We don't have expectations of what Threadless will be. We just manage the parameters." That includes trying to manage the perception that the brand is getting too big. It turned down offers to sell its shirts in department stores, for example, and chose to open retail stores in markets like Chicago and Boulder, Colo., rather than New York and Los Angeles.

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