Futuristic digital man, recovering PR guy, magic beansman, aspiring know-it-all. Chief Strategy Officer at Northern Army. More...

Open source branding

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.


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  1. Glad you enjoyed the quote.

    And thanks for the pointer, I actually had no idea it had been published.

  2. I think it’s a really important point. There are a lot of people really evangelizing the whole CGM and PR 2.0, but some don’t think about how it fits their organization. If you don’t have the right type of audience or the right type of culture, it’s not going to work – and might even backfire.

    Thanks for reading!

  3. Ryan,
    Can you share the name of the article and which issue it is in? Can’t find it on the Brandweek website. Thx.

  4. Hey Jackie – it’s from the June 19 issue of BrandWeek – and the feature is called SuperBrands. It’s the cover feature… I didn’t see it on the site either, actually.