Mar 30, 2007

"Citizen Marketers" -

Jackie Huba started her presentation by commenting on MTV's atlas initiative and Time Magazine naming "You" as the Person of the year. Clearly - we have moved into an era where User Generated Content is clearly shaping perceptions about Organizations, Products, Services and notably - well known Brands. This trend has been largely facilitated by the "Democratization of Media" - cheap broadband, access to tools on your PC's- make it possible for anyone to generate/create content.

So, if I'm a brand manager for a large Global Brand UGC and Citizen Marketers in general, will certainly have an impact on how the general public views my brand. As an aspiring World Changer and Citizen Marketer - I now have a voice, vote and vocation. One great example which Jackie mentioned is Barack Obama's social network site. Apparently it has spurned plenty of UGC and Groups Clearly, "Word of Mouth" has never been more influential than it is today.

I learnt a little about how Jackie and Ben about how they define and categorize Citizen Marketers - as Firecrackers, Filters, Fanatics and Facilitators. It appears that the categorization is based on the relative intent of each user - sounds pretty subjective to me. Truth of the matter is that every Citizen Marketer can belong to any of category. Any one of us can be the provider of Negative UGC - Comcast Repairman , purpose driven UGC - such as the Surge Site. My favourite examples of Citizen Marketers are the "Netflix Expert" and the independent Mini Marketer. One key question which I often ask myself is - WHY? Why are these people doing all this stuff? What's going on with them? Jackie contends that Citizen's see UGC as a form of Productive Leisure - people are doing something they love - a hobby or casual pass time. Well, it probably starts out that way.

Okay - so here are some of my key takeaways from the session........

Any democratized forum often operates by the 1% rule. Less than 1% of the visitors actually generate and populate the content - in spite of the fact that everyone can create content and just about any one can benefit from good content. Organizations seem to favor contests as a means of interacting with Citizen Marketers. One way is through Contests. such as the Chevy Tahoe debacle or the Converse "Chuck Daly" campaign. Another way is through the "Co-Creation" concept. Recently Shakira's record lable came up with an interesting idea to promote her new single "Hips don't lie" by asking fans to send in their own video of the song. Co-creation encourages citizen participation, which helps create a viral marketing campaigns.

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