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Power to the People

posted 28 Oct 2009, 13:24 by Mario Pedroli
Social media urge to be open, flexible and fast. Both science and commerce say so.

KitchenGarden went to the round up of science and commerce at the #SWOCC_nl conference on Social Media, People and Brands. Science men Daan Muntinga and Fred Bronner reseached COBRA’s (Consumers’Online Brand Related Activities) and the effect of Posters and Lurkers on eWOM. Still with me?

Scientist make you think in models. That comes in handy when you have to explain the behavior of people on the web. Like as postings about qualities and specs are specific for people searching something. And postings on service and experiences are specific for people that want to share their experience on a holyday, a camera, a concert or whatever what. Sort of obvious you might say but it helps to put the world in a model.

Not so for Sara Lee. They realized that knowledge nowadays does not come from inside the companies. No organization can handle all the information needed for real innovations. So “open innovations” as Sara Lee’s Johan Sanders calls it, start with inviting the outside world in. Like asking 55+ people to comment on the products and to help improve them. Or like asking for new product designs in the redesign communities. Scoop: they will start a product line from scratch based on consumer input starting next January.

Funny thing: R&D people are fine with input form no matter where, but marketing people really can’t stand their methods and theories being ignored. I knew it!

Ronald van der Aart did the turn over at UPC. From deeply hated to well respected. Took 8 years of monitoring the web, reacting sharp, not getting into discussion, no anonymity, but above all change the company culture. The power is outside so you can not afford arrogance, disinterest or inflexibility. And I will get worse: on the web groups with special interests will unit. Power to the People!

Mario Pedroli