9 Clouds Automotive Marketing Blog

Where automotive meets digital marketing.


The Advice We Don’t Follow: Meditations on Community


There's been a three-year debate at 9 Clouds about this very blog.

We write about both business and community, but we often ask ourselves: Why talk about community?

If we followed our own digital marketing advice, we would write only about what our business does. The more tips we learned and shared, so the thinking goes, the better we would get at our jobs, and the more likely potential customers would find us.

This is the gospel of inbound marketing, but I'm not ready to fully convert.

Art is shaped by context. Ignoring that context robs the soul from our work.

There is pressure to remove personal experience. It feels unprofessional to talk about it, especially in our businesses. Even when I was attacked with a machete, I still ignored this event in my writing.

But emotion is an essential part of our work. (In fact, I wrote a whole thesis about it.) Sharing your context gives others a reason to not only listen to your information, but also listen to you. It is the icebreaker that changes you from a Google-able fact to an empathetic face.

What's more, bringing your experience into your work enables connections with others. When you open up and share who you are, your weirdos find you. These connections may not be (immediately) meaningful for your business, but they will be personally rewarding and potentially impactful for your community.

Your Community Belongs in Your Business and in You

This week has been a numbing sequence of violent incidents. Tears, frustration, and confusion are omnipresent.

It is tempting to escape these emotions in the cleanliness of emotion-free work. But that's not what the world needs. Excluding your feelings discourages connections and leads to lifeless work.

Our communities, our emotions, and our personalities deserve a place in the heart of what we do. 

When 9 Clouds writes about building community, it's not because it help us grow our business. We share ideas on building community because it matters to us. Those who believe what we believe will naturally want to work with us, either professionally or personally, to help us move our passions forward.

If we can learn anything from millennials, it should be the importance of passion in our work. It creates better art and connects us with others who share our passion.

Imbuing our work with personality is not going to instantly build relationships and solve the large problems in our communities. But it's a step.

We continue to share thoughts on community because that's at the core of who we are at 9 Clouds. We want to build and support our communities, and we believe everyone should have a chance to be heard.

Your community needs you. Share who you are, so your community can find you and work with you.

Thanks for being a part of our community and making yours better.


If you would like to read more meditations like this, consider subscribing. We'll share one email with a big thought on business or community each weekend.