Read an Excerpt
REINVENTING YOUR COMPANY IN A CUSTOMER-DRIVEN MARKETPLACE
By SEAN MOFFITT, MIKE DOVER
The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.Copyright © 2011Sean Moffitt and Mike Dover
All rights reserved.
THE BIRTH OF WIKIBRANDS
From, Ownership, Trust, Want, Preference, Love, and Now Partlclpation—a 150-Year Fascination
A progressive set of organizations, products, services, ideas, and causes that tap the powers of customer participation, social influence, and collaboration to drive business value.
Derived from the Hawaiian word wiki, traditionally meaning "quick" but more currently meaning "tribal knowledge" and "a collaborative website," and the Middle English word torch, whose current business meaning is "a distinctive name identifying a product or a manufacturer."
Wikibrands represent the future of business—a future that calls for a fundamental shift in long-held business management tenets on how we approach customers. We have entered a new generation of brand building. The litmus test for a thriving business in this marketplace is "Does your brand deliver genuine participation?" This issue does not touch marketing alone nor is it solely a public relations concern. Neither is it single-mindedly a technology or social media manifesto. However, if you are in the business of driving company direction and delivering winning performance in today's customer-controlled marketplace, wikibranding is a wake-up call, strategy guide, and execution road map, as relevant for the C-suite as it is for front-line managers.
Let us take a step back. Since 1875, and likely even before, when Bass Ale registered the first branded trademark, brands have become a controlling force in the marketplace, representing something customers look for alternatively to buy, trust, want, prefer, or love. In many companies, the brand has become their single most important operating and financial asset.
For more than a century, businesses have effectively cultivated customer loyalty, competitive advantage, and positive benefit perceptions for their owners through the tools of brand management. Traditional mass marketing efforts have acted as long-term value generators, allowing brands to command significant price premiums over commodity and price-based adversaries. Coca-Cola, IBM, BMW, McDonald's, and Heineken have epitomized the strength of a well-positioned brand marketed to a mass consumer audience through traditional media channels. In fact, Coca-Cola corporate lore claims that if the company suddenly lost all of its physical assets, it could get funding to rebuild the entire enterprise using only the power of the brand as collateral.
Although there are many more recent headlines like "Can the Wrong Fame Smear Your Brand," "Attack of the Blogs," "Brands Under Attack," and "The Decline of Brands," we assert that brands are still very relevant to the evolution of postindustrial business strategy and the building of business value. Face it: brands still belong, even in the marketplace of the future.
Business founders and managers can depart or retire. Organizations can be "right-sized." Media can be overhauled. Production can be completely outsourced. Logos can change. Whether you like it or not, what remains is still a mystifying belief in brands. Don't take our word for it. Think about what might tempt you. If Apple launched a refrigerator, wouldn't you be the slightest bit interested? If Google opened a restaurant, wouldn't a good chunk of you line up around the corner? If BMW launched a personal computer, wouldn't you give it a test drive? If World of Warcraft launched a real-life amusement park, a large percentage of its eleven million players would probably make the pilgrimage.
Before we appear too defensive on the side of the brand flag and conventional mass marketing theory, be assured that we believe a significantly new practice needs to exist. The status quo is not an option. We're not entirely throwing the "brand baby out with the bathwater," but we see all too clearly a call to change, particularly in how business goes about building itself up in a customer-controlled marketplace. We must guard ourselves against laziness, against allowing our vision to blur what is going on in the world outside the corporate walls. Too often it is easy to become comfortable and stop experimenting. Even entrepreneurs and start-ups can be guilty of blindly imitating outdated best practices and consultants' advice that worked in a bygone era. As John Lennon summarized, "Life is what is happening to you while you're busy making other plans." Perhaps the famous Beatle was a wikibrand advocate ahead of his time.
Wikibranding provides a manifesto that allows progressive-minded souls—and even some establishment types—to implement the change required in their organizations. In Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies, Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff make the math pretty simple: engaged brands are growing their value by 18 percent; those that don't engage are declining by 6 percent. This is a chicken-or-egg argument, but the choice is pretty obvious: engage.
For a long time, companies created products and services and then pushed them out to customers using the tools of the period. The Four Ps of marketing—product, place, promotion, and price—were sacrosanct (we will present two alternative versions of this model). When strategies were formed, the role of the customer was in the business of planning and pushing out these messages through media intermediaries. The message was controlled; the role of consumers was to listen and buy. Now faced with a dramatic shift in how technology-enabled collaboration changes relationships, an Internet-savvy generation will bring about huge changes in business and culture. How businesses create value through brands will be transformed by the relationships and experiences these businesses have with customers. Brands will no longer be an abstract concept in the mind but will require a new, more sophisticated architecture that involves two-way conversation and integrity.
What caused the shift? Consumers found that, through peer-to-peer connection and social media, they had a voice in the brand conversation. It has been suggested by both traditionalists and some early Web adopters that five years into the mainstreaming of social media, people will become tired of these tools. In exchange for the return of their privacy and leisure time, they will gladly placate themselves with the passive consumption of entertaining messages via big media funded by organizations, albeit in different formats. For those people seeking relief from this social media pollution, we're sorry to say the genie is out of the bottle for good.
Collaborative technologies and social media that connect family, friends, colleagues, and interest groups are not just a fad; they are the currency that runs the future marketplace. The growth and reach of new media and new technology is mind-boggling and undeniable. Compared to even a decade ago, the pace of change is staggering. As recently as 2000, could we have conceived of a world in which five hundred million people from around the world spend an average of forty-two minutes a day chatting with, liking, checking in with, and playing with each other in a digital playground called Facebook?
The early twenty-first century is distinguished by the pace and intensity of change in the marketing and media landscape. Trends such as the emergence of more than one hundred million citizen bloggers, more than two billion Internet users, and more than four billion mobile phone users (which is more than have regular access to running water) only begin to tell the story.
Could we have predicted, even optimistically, that Internet use would vault ahead of the incumbent media heavyweight TV? Well, it has. With a reach of more than two billion an
Excerpted from WIKI BRANDS by SEAN MOFFITT. Copyright © 2011 by Sean Moffitt and Mike Dover. Excerpted by permission of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.