Monday, April 10, 2006

Consumer Generated Content

My first topic for today is probably about podcasting and blogging. How had podcast change the way we look at marketing? Essentially, the world is shifting from marketers being the provider to being an enabler. We can no longer able to continue providing content to satisfy our consumer because they do not buy into our messaging. The marketing environment has shifted since then and we’re beginning to create “tools” for self-expression within the construct of a brand.

The irony is of course a lot of old thinking still embedded into this new medium by certain marketers who believe that podcast and blog is a new channel for them to flock some banner and maybe a Flash-based advertisement. Such a creation not only block consumer from believing you but actually amplify their thought you’re just in to rip their money.

In a new environment like what we’re living today, it’s imperative that our thinking be shifted towards a stronger customer-centric approach by empowering our consumer to create and manage their own content. By saying words like these, I probably have legals from client side all totally worked-up because they believe consumer might tarnish their brand. Frankly, opening up to a new environment is not easy but if you choose to be the last to open up, so be it. I’m not forcing anymore but I’m certain that the future is here, and consumer should be given the right to voice their delight or unhappiness. Our old advertising school always teaches us branding is perception and yet brands today are beginning to be exposed for what they are and this is a scary thought to many marketers.

Personally, if you brand is weak when it’s exposed, you should actually revisit your product structure or pricing strategy rather than living in denial that communication can solve all your problems even if your product sucks!

As a communication person, we can work with the channels; weave ourselves into the space with right messaging rather than outright “Buy me! Buy me!” blatant ads. By mixing the right ingredient of magic, you can see that the consumer begins to open up to you more than you can ever imagine.

Let me take Lego for example. Knowing that they are in decline while challenging big boys like Microsoft Xbox or Sony Playstation, they re-invented themselves by giving their own fans an opportunity to create rather than being sold some pre-fab pieces. First, they created Lego Factory that allows customer to design, pick their own pieces and they will wrap it in a box to ship to you. ( And that’s what I’m talking about. Lego is truly giving consumer the ability to create their own content. Secondly, they are invited their Mindstorm fans from all over the world to participate in programming and providing constructive feedback to finalise the product. Lego has shifted their business to consumer, so can you …


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