Brand and Customer Communication

Christy Canida (, Ilana Rabinowtiz (Lion Brand Yarn Company)
Focus on Community
Location: 2009 Level:
Average rating: ***..
(3.25, 4 ratings)

Brands want to engage with their end users, but often see these communications as fraught with peril. How can brands have genuine, meaningful contact with their users? How do they decide which online communities to target? Can (or should) brands dictate the terms of the conversation? How can brands present their message to stand out from a sea of user-generated content?

The answer to these questions will require some soul-searching on the part of the brand. End users fall along a broad spectrum, so choosing which segment to target determines both the type and terms of conversation. Stepping into a community and voluntarily engaging earns points, but there needs to be a long-term plan for staying connected. Brands can also choose which users’ voices to amplify – done well, this is infinitely better than attempting to present their message top-down.

Photo of Christy Canida

Christy Canida

Christy Canida is the Community and Marketing Director at She earned her BS in Biology from MIT, and previously worked in big biotech, transgenic mouse labs, and an aquarium.

Photo of Ilana Rabinowtiz

Ilana Rabinowtiz

Lion Brand Yarn Company

Ilana Rabinowitz is the V.P. of Marketing of Lion Brand Yarn Company, a 132 year old brand. She started a website for the company in 1996 that has won several awards including the Webby and receives 2 million monthly visits. Her development of digital marketing initiatives includes an e-newsletter with over 1 million subscribers, a podcast that was awarded the P.R. News Platinum Award for best podcast/videocast in 2008, a corporate blog recognized as best blog by PR News in 2009, and a Forrester Award. A Facebook fan page, launched in June, 2009, has over 105,000 “likes”.

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