A couple weeks ago I spoke on a Word of Mouth panel at Forrester’s annual Consumer Forum in Chicago. Attendees were senior marketers, online/ecommerce executives, and CMOs.
The theme was "Humanizing the Digital Experience". The tracks were:
Next Generation Branding
I don’t really like "Social Computing"…but you can pretty much pick the term you like:
Word of Mouth
Open Source Marketing
User Generated Content
Customer Created Content
Consumer Generated Media
To me all these underscore the same theme: Consumers are in more control than ever (their voices are amplified) and they are taking a bigger role in creating the consumer experience and content.
Here are some of the themes from the conference, a la their wiki:
YouTube things are going to happen.
How do you set standards that define your brand as you want?
The product must speak for itself.
Listen to what’s out there and understanding the negative and positive. Research cost benefits, insight methods.
Blogs as a tool for brand analysis. Chance to engage pissed off customers.
Chevy Tahoe Apprentice—create your own ad. Environmentalists were creating bad ones. The world didn’t end.It blew over.
Most of the discussion about the brand is actually positive or neutral.
Perception among CEOs is that blogs are about ranting and complaining.
Even negative comments are refuted by customers.
“Illusion that you have control”—we never had control!
Just do it—dive in, don’t ask for permission
Loss of control will get even worse—marketers need to be prepared for it.
Closed groups will be popular.Harder to reach these people.
To me, all this means if you have a great company, great products, great service…this is a great time to be in business!