This week’s BrandWeek has a thought-provoking feature on what they refer to as “open source branding.” The basis of the article is on empowering brand advocates by putting the brand in their hands – through consumer-generated media and generally taking marketing advice from your own consumers.
Of course, they mention the first failures of CGM campaigns – the Chevy Tahoe “build your own commercial” site that resulted in numerous satirical ads condemning the Tahoe’s less-than-environmentally-friendly fuel consumption.
Some of the best quotes from the article pretty much sum up what a go-get’em marketing person needs to know before delving into this space:
“When you flip the funnel, you turn it into a megaphone for your happiest customers.” – Seth Godin
“Consumer-generated ads make sense for some brands and not for others… if you don’t have an insight to back up your idea, you’ll fall flat on your face.” – Noah Brier, Senior Writer at Renegade Marketing
“It’s a mind shift from going out and deciding what people want and then giving it to them.” – Steven Addis, Addis Group
I like the idea of open source branding, though I do agree that it won’t work as well for everyone as it did for companies like Fluevog or Jones Soda. But get customers involved in your brand messaging, and they’ll certainly react more positively than just shoving your message down their throats.