Friday, August 11, 2006
Companies That Act Like 2-Year Olds Need to Grow Up
My son, Sam, will turn 2 in early September. The "terrible twos" have already started. Thank you for your support. His two favorite words at the moment are "No" and "Mine." He might even use them in a sentence, "No, mine." Sam likes to repeat himself. A lot. "No. No. No. Mine. No. Mine. Mine. Mine. No. Mine. Mine. Mine." It strikes me that I've heard this sort of "kid speak" before, and I'm not referring to his little friends. I'm talking about companies. Companies like to say "no" and "mine" as much as Sam does. (And recently he started saying, "Oh f---" which plenty of companies say all the time...usually behind closed doors after they realize no and mine don't work anymore.) Both words are all about control. Sam's trying to exert control over his environment, just like companies do. They want to control their brand, their image, their marketing, etc. If they could, they'd probably try and control everything down to when their employees go pee. But it's coming apart at the seams. Why? Cause of YOU. YOU are taking over. YOU are demanding more and voicing your opinions openly online. YOU are growing the blogosphere faster than I can give in to my son with his fiftieth cookie of the day (don't tell my wife.) YOU are the most important person. YOU are the consumer. Bravo, consumer. Social media is giving more and more power to the consumer and many companies are running scared. They're lost. They're still clinging to no and mine. What I think they're really missing is that they could in fact have more control if they learned to play in the same sandbox with the consumer. Yup, I said more control. It's just a different type of control. Companies may no longer be able to control their message and brand as tightly as they once could, but they can fan the flames when consumers take something positive and run with it. When the proverbial poo poo hits the fan, companies can respond more quickly, openly and honestly through blogging, podcasting and other media that consumers get into ultra-quickly. Play fair and smart, and there's an immense
audience community waiting with open arms.
Here are some interesting links:
* Steve Rubel's del.icio.us page on YouTube
* Are You a Fat Pig? Beer Naming and Advertising at its Fattest.
* Corporate blogging on Technorati
(Technorati Tags: corporate blogging, branding, marketing, youtube)