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Brands and peerage production

August 7, 2006

Nick Carr coined the term Peerage Production after seeing the astonishing information that just 100 users account for 55% of all posts on Digg.com. That’s fairly significant because there are over 450k registered users of Digg. Nestcape realized these top posters had value and offered to pay them. The result, the top 10 top contributors on Digg, Newsvine, and Reddit went over to Netscape for a “salary” of $1,000/month.

The point of all this is simple, when it comes to peer production, there aren’t many peers that produce. Putting a post up on Digg isn’t that creatively demanding, but very few people do it, so these few that do have considerable value.

If you flip this into the brand context, there are some important implications.

In simplistic way, there are now five types of consumers that a brand can have.

1. Non-Users-
2. Brand Users- they simply use the brand nothing more
3. Brand Loyalists- they are loyal to your brand- they keep buying it and account for a substantial proportion of sales and profitability
4. Brand Conversationalists– They are the “noisy minority”; loyalists that generate the most positive noise about your brand. They blog, they post comments. They aid the positive buzz about your brand and products. The talk and generate WOM.
5. Brand Haters- These are non-users. In fact, they hate your hate brand and they are only too happy to tell people.

Users and loyalists are informed by the Conversationalists and sometimes the Haters, so what’s a brand to do?

In a world of “Peerage Production” you must ensure the Conversationalists have the forums and the incentives to contribute to the conversation and that you have answers for the Haters.

Beyond that, how can you turn Users and Loyalists into Conversationalists?

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