Crowdsourcing, and Purpose

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So I’ve gone and written something about crowdsourcing. The concept du jour. Partly because I think it genuinely has the potential to change how we do what we do, partly because my belief is that (many) media owners are missing out on a big opportunity to incorporate their audiences far more into the fabric of the way in which they work, and partly because I agree with Saneel that “serving as a scaffolding for customers to engage with brands beyond transactions” is a real opportunity for agencies.

I liked Saneel’s differentiation between different models that are characterised by the active participation and collaboration of customers (summarised by the slide below, taken from his excellent deck on the subject). It’s something that is not recognised enough.

For me, the far more interesting area right now is at the opposite end to that which attempts to involve people by asking them to make your ad for you. I have absolutely no doubt that we will inevitably see plenty more poor executions of this concept. Partcipation-fatigue-generating, poorly-thought-through examples of brands continuing to expect people to get involved with their message on their terms. Antithetical to this of-course, are the approaches that create mutual value and genuinely involve people in the substance of what you do. And this is something very different. Money is a powerful motivator, but for this to happen in its richest sense you have to have people who believe in what you’re doing, and for that you need clarity of organisational purpose. Judging by the similarity of the corporate-speak-loaded mission statements of the Fortune 500 companies we have some way to go before we achieve that in many organisations.

You can read the piece over on Mediatel.

(a HT to Tom at IDEO, with whom a conversation the other day helped crystallise a few things for me, and to Tom Fishburne for a couple of links used in this post).

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