Is your community part of the company or outside of it?

Karl Long talks about the McKinsey report on Web 2.0 (we covered it before). He opines on something I dont necessarily agree with:
IMHO companies are still uncomfortable talking to their customers
directly, actually, uncomfortable allowing “employees” to talk to
customers directly. They like the idea of social networks and
communities, they are easily distinguished from the “company.”

Really? Can you distinguish communities from “the company”. The community is most often an extension of your brand, its presence and your interaction with customers. So how can you disassociate yourself from the community?

If you are, then you are not leveraging the value proposition of communities to extend your brand.