Monday, January 8, 2007

Your Brand is Naked

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The power of influence is shifting to every consumer with a voice, which is everyone. In this new economy your brand is naked for all to see, comment on, and share with the world. There's no avoiding it, this is simply the world we are living in today, this really isn’t anything new, this phenomenon has been around since the beginning of marketing, back then it was called word of mouth. The difference now is that with the Internet, the consumer’s voice has just been given a megaphone that can be heard across the world.

The megaphone like devices have taken form in blogs, podcasts, secondlife, social network sites like Digg,, and consumer-written product reviews pioneered by Amazon. The power of advertising and marketing is truly in the hands of the consumers.

The truth is that companies have never really controlled their brand; their customers control it with blogs, YouTube and podcasting just to name a few ways. For proof of this we don’t have to look any further than Dells exploding battery, which was accelerated by the blogosphere and YouTube videos.

As scary as this may be for some, a unique opportunity exists to create an authentic connection between brands and consumers. One-size fits all mass media no longer exists in today’s marketplace, you don’t need to be big, today you can be small and be big within a niche market. The size of the market segment is much smaller but the value is much greater. Media buyers have always based campaigns on the size of the segment, how many eyeballs see an ad, and online media has been guilty of this as well. There is been a marketing allure to 435,000 views but what does that really mean to marketers?

  • Do different segments have different motivations?

  • Is there a different financial value for different segments?

  • Do different segments use different media?

In a world where consumers own the broadcast towers, you tube, podcasting, blogs, the collective consumer voice becomes even more powerful. Within all of this lies an opportunity to hand over control to your customers in the new social media consumer content driven space. Because your best customers are the greatest marketing mouthpieces you can ever have.

The challenge for marketers is how to create brand enthusiasts in a genuine way, how to listen to them, and cultivate a relationship with them. How do you go about designing that relationship?

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