May 15, 2008
C3 Spring Retreat Discussion on Audience/Community

Our second panel discussion at the C3 Spring Retreat in our Friday session focused on the topic of media audiences and the worth of looking at media audiences as a community and as social beings. Moderating the panel was new C3 Consulting Researcher Nancy Baym, who previously wrote a book about U.S. soap opera fan communities online and who now works on "bandom."

The panel was launched by some thoughts from C3 Consulting Researcher Robert V. Kozinets, whose work has focused on the correlation between fan communities built around media content and "brand communities." In short, Kozinets has built his career researching community online and the intersection between community and consumerism.

Also joining the panel from the academic side was C3 Consulting Researcher Aswin Punathambekar, whose angle on the panel in part looked at the multiple communities that might develop around media content in a global context.

These three C3-affiliated academics were joined by two folks from the industry side, Brian Haven from Forrester Research and Judy Walklet from Communispace.

Their bios are below:

Brian Haven is a Senior Analyst for Forrester Research and an industry expert in social media and social computing. His research focuses on engagement -- key to understanding the dialogue companies have with their customers and how to measure those activities. He also conducts research in corporate social responsibility, corporate citizenship, and green marketing. Prior to joining Forrester Research, Brian was a design researcher and strategist for Catapult Thinking, a design consulting firm focusing on communication, product, and brand strategy. He conducted and directed qualitative (ethnographic-based) research efforts for companies in the consumer electronics, manufacturing, and financial services industries. He holds a Master of Design degree in interaction design from Carnegie Mellon University and a B.S. in business administration and marketing from California State University, Fresno.

Judy Walklet is Director of Strategic Accounts for Communispace. With more than 25 years of experience in consultative sales, client relationship development, marketing and strategic planning, she has worked with many leading brands in media, healthcare, consumer packaged goods, insurance, financial services, retail and travel & leisure. Prior to joining Communispace, Judy was VP of Strategic Accounts for Iconoculture, an innovator in consumer trends research and advisory services, translating consumer insights into actionable marketing strategy. Judy also served as VP of Sales for ThirdAge Media in San Francisco, the leading online media, consultative marketing and research company serving baby boomers and the marketers who recognize the enormous opportunities to reach them as they redefine the concept of aging. Judy is a graduate of Middlebury College and completed the Program for Management Development at Harvard Business School.

The discussion was a great compliment to our look at storytelling and the ways in which technology is creating new ways to tell a story to audiences in a "convergence culture." I hope some of the ideas from this event will help guide us as we begin thinking about how to plan for our public Futures of Entertainment 3 event in November.

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