Philosophically, organizations need to shift their attitudes about how they communicate and engage with stakeholders and view digital properties as not only owned, but managed. A corporate or brand presence established in a community should be treated as setting up an embassy. You’re not in full ownership, but you are responsible for managing it appropriately. In other words, it might be your embassy, but not your land—you are not exactly native to the population. Your embassies need to be staffed with “ambassadors” trained in the art of public engagement, as much of their communication and interaction with stakeholders will be on display for the community to see. But it’s not enough for an organization to equip a digital embassy with ambassadors—they must also dispatch “envoys” to outposts where others have ownership (and control). These are blogs, message boards, forums, etc. It is this dynamic which extends what traditional institutions such as marketing have always been about. Instead of mass communication to a broad audience, more targeted engagement is initiated with specific/niche groups of stakeholders and behaviors and opinions are gradually influenced over time resulting in “lifetime value” for multiple stakeholders.
via Digital Embassies: A Blueprint For Community Engagement | Edelman Digital.
Edelman’s a thought leader in the big brand digital engagement space and working with them has always been a privilege. They seem to see the space very clearly and I think their hiring is key to that; they hire people who naturally navigate the web with grace and poise, and thus find compelling ways to help their clients do the same thing.