What should brands do about web 2.0?

Brandweek features a good, summarising, article of what brand marketers should take into account when dealing with all stuff „web 2.0“.

The user-generated content upheaval—manifested in blogs, podcasts, videocasts and wikis—is quite real, and so is the revolution of consumer empowerment. But despite the resultant chaos, brand managers simply must learn to maintain a balanced perspective. Yes, the digital media environment is being democratized, but that doesn’t mean that you have to turn the keys to your brand over to the digital inmates of the Web 2.0 asylum.

That is a bit harsh. „Digital inmates of the web 2.0 asylum“! But in a way he’s right. Brands do not have to respond to every web 2.0 challenge, just because someone thinks it could be fun if the brand did. Just like you, yes you, dear reader, wouldn’t just jump of any bridge, just because someone else thinks it’s fun. Brands need to engage with their target audience in a way that is true to their core brand personality. That implies that some brands might actually engage more carefully and less openly than others.

Brands might also take very different approaches in the way the open up the conversation with their target audience. But to some degree, they will all have to:

If you’re to have any hope of maintaining your brand equity in the Web 2.0 world, you must begin by assuming that while your happy customers will remain silent, your critics will be all too happy to denounce you online. So you might as well provide the place for discussion and retain some control of how the dialogue develops. An invitation to the public to air its views need not, however, be a free-for-all. You should take a hard-line on obscenity, vulgarity, hate speech and intolerance. You may even want to curb anonymity to raise the overall civility of the discourse.

Regard this as an opportunity: you never had the chance to learn so much about your customers. Providing an open platform for your customers gives you the ultimate opportunity to learn about the opinions of your target audience – you can even find out about the tonality they prefer, which in turn can help you (or rather your agency) write better advertising pieces.

Engage your customer, ignore the hype and don’t fear the revolution—whether it’s downloaded from iTunes, read from blogs or stolen from YouTube.

Funny! This reminds me of:

  • „The revolution will not be televised“ – Gill Scott Heron
  • „The Television will not be revolutionised“ – (I think it was Joseph Jaffe, who said that in one of his podcasts)

But the quote I find the most useful – and it is also something I keep telling everyone:

there’s also no single ‚right way‘ to manage in the reality of the Web 2.0 world. Be prepared to experiment.




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