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What are people doing to your brand?

June 20, 2011

There’s the whole idea of getting consumers to create content for your brand, which is pretty pervasive right now and it’s usually forced onto people by an agency or a crowd sourcing house. Most of the time it doesn’t really feel right- OK ideas emerge and you never really know where they came from, who did them and what their relationship is to the brand.

Those questions never really get asked- all that seems to be wanted is a process to generate something that’s more or less than same as usual. The fact the brand sought out the contribution of the crowd is the story, rather than the content itself. Of course, the beancounters in HQ usually end up quite happy as well because they didn’t have to pay too much for it.

At the opposite end of the spectrum is the stuff that gets created spontaneously out of love or sometimes hate for a brand and what it does. It’s this material that seems the most interesting because it’s not forced or prompted- it just happens.

The example of drawings on Netflix envelopes is perfect- it seems real- Netflix never asked its customers to compete for an art competition and there’s a freshness and realness about this stuff. (the picture above was created by Garrett Miller). I guess the unintentional and unused media of the Netflix envelope and it’s pure utility gives “artists” just
the canvas they are looking for.

I guess my point is that in age of consumer generated content- Planners have something of a responsibility to look for this stuff, it is the archaeological remains of brand expression and it can exist in many formats and it could tell so many stories.

It’s not always about the “fan” that creates the YouTube video with the most views that matters. What are the topics, themes, styles, questions etc being asked by the hundreds of others.

Peering into this world of user content could be just the thing to better understand how brand relationships are being transformed in front of our eyes.

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