MIMA – The Age of Participation: Transforming the Nature of Brand Relationships

Rachael Marret – MRM Worldwide,

Great Event – highly recommend checking out the podcast, even if it won’t be able to convey the images, the spirit of the even, interesting conversation, and, oh, the food! 🙂  The podcust and pictures are already posted on the site.  Ha! You can spot my very photogenic back on one of the pictures 🙂

The age of the participation – consumers expect brands to behave in a certain way.  “The balance of power” between the brand and consumer.

Consumer expectations:

  • loyalty paradigm is inverting: consumers expect brand to “be loyal,” to assure consumer’s privacy.
  • Consumers expect transparency
  • Consumers are “self-servicing” their way to brands

Marketing need to behave differently:
Before – “What does the brand wants to say”
Now – “How the brand allows consumers to participate”

We need to get beyond “engagement” to “participation;” participation has higher emotional bond.

Participation enabling tools:

  1. creativity
  2. community
  3. collaboration
  4. culture

Some of the examples:
http://www.msdewey.com/ – which takes too long to load on my home computer 
Famous Evolution video (yep, it is YouTube – blocked at most businesses)

How do we measure participation?

Participation – proxy of consumer value. There are more passive users than active users. Level of participation can be used for consumer segmentations.

The most poignant quote from the presentation, I think is this one:

“It is not about Web 2.0, it is about consumer 2.0”

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MN AMA – 8 Top Trends for 2008

MN AMA Educational event with Hans Eisenbeis, Sr. Editor, Iconoculture

As usually – a very exciting event!  It was the most highly attended event during last two years I can remember. I felt “locked” into my seat by the crowded room, but the energy in the audience was invigorating and energizing.

We stated from networking activity to which I was not ready again…  However, I had enough business cards (finally!) and I am getting used to networking when I am not ready 🙂  During this exercise we changed assigned tables and introduced ourselves to two different groups of people. What a great idea!  I actually met marketers who do not always chose the table closest to the free food!  🙂 Thank you, Spoken Impact,  for new networking feature of AMA events.

Trends…  Sometimes I think that spotting and trying to interpret trends is a national pass time in the marketing universe, but listening to people who do it for a living and can devote resources to the “game” is truly enlightening.

Hans Eisenbeis clarified for the audience the definition of trends in comparison with fads. Fads are passing preferences, abut trends are fundamental shifts in consumer values. Iconoculture consider itself as a trends explainer rather than trends spotter. Based on the company’s evaluation, 44 macro trends are active now.

One of interesting trends that did not quite ‘make it” into the real list – people are not getting enough sleep (yes, they drive in this condition too and this is frightening). As a result, people are becoming more interested in trying to find ways to get more sleep…

Top 8 trends in 2008:

  1. Dislocation. “Virtual storage lockers” allow consumers to store the information somewhere beyond their personal hard drives. Google calls it storing information “on the cloud.”
  2. Experts 2.0. Consumers are tired of questionable information produced by the blogosphere and search for expert advice. Companies are advised to provide trusted information.
  3. Group solving. Consumers are feeling the recession and realize that they have more power as a group rather than individuals. Consumers demand help from companies, unions, and government organizations in solving problems on group level.
  4. That’s What friends Are For. Social networks are very popular among consumers; social networks are experiencing interesting class divide.
  5. A New Afroholistic Age. African American consumers are moving toward holistic approach to health and identify. Healthy food became noticed.
  6. Latino Media Explosion. Spanish language content is produced by more and more companies specifically for Latino consumers. The most important is the quality: good content connects, bad content repels.
  7. Beyond Green. Consumers are confused of what is green and moving to their own definition of what is ethical. Religion and sustainability – a moral bridge. “Greenwashing” – making sustainability claims that are not true. Consumers are watching and would like to have the third party to help.
  8. The New Propriety. The rise of the new desire for manners. “New Victorians” and formal dinner parties. Implication: manners do matter.

Hans Eisenbeis also recommended a few business approaches suitable for current trends:

  • emphasize that your organization is part of the solution
  • if your brand in crisis sector – be proactive (particularly for crisis industries such as financial and health care)
  • foster genuine community

Iconoculture  must be an interesting place to work – the company that helps businesses to benefit from consumer trends…