Truth be told, brands were never in control. But they had lots of money and media channels were exclusive; the public had little power, except with their wallets.
That reality shattered in the mid 1990s, and continues to mutate. Today, brands are most definitely not in control, media outlets are a dime a dozen and consumers are radically empowered. Tell me something I don’t know, right? Perhaps the better question might be: Tell me what to do in this new reality?
I suggest brands adopt the role of Curator, and embrace the practice of Curation.
In other words, brands ought to embrace the unending flow of content created by people outside their corporate walls and the corporate walls of the firms they hire to create ads, brochures, videos, etc. Brands should get curious, comfortable and excited about the idea of empowered consumers telling stories, about and related to their brand, industry and its subject matter.
Brands should be tastemakers—like radio DJs and newspaper editors.
When a brand curates, it’s saying and demonstrating several key attributes of modern (e.g. influenced by social media) marketing:
“We’re listening.” Curation demonstrates your brand is taking the time to see what our audiences are saying, what interests them and gets them excited, or angry.
“We have opinions and perspectives, just like you.” Curation helps guide your advocates and enthusiasts by showing them how your brand sees the world.
“We like what you have to say.” Curation is a pat on the back, a thumbs-up, that tells advocates and enthusiasts you appreciate the content they’ve created. Essentially, this action says, “Do more like that!”
In the past, there was comfort in control. But that control was limited by budget. Today, there ought to be greater comfort in community–in the realization your brand does not have to be the only creator and disseminator of ideas and opinion that might persuade others. And who wouldn’t prefer to diversify the expense of producing branded-content?
The solution to today’s marketing challenge lies in curating content that’s right, from your brand’s perspective, to help guide and influence the never-ending conversation in today’s marketplace.
[Image via Flickr by Tommy Kupo. All rights reserved.]