Monday, December 04, 2006

Sparking a Spoof

CGC (Consumer Generated Content) is the way to go, says most marketing pundits. Marketers have woken up to the fact that it makes tremendous sense for them to hand over their brands to consumer and allow them to do the brand communication as if they own it.

However, handing over a brand communication to consumers may sound very risky to Indian Brand Managers. Blindly following the rules of western marketing may not be the only way, they might think. But New Media has made it possible for consumers to choose how they want to communicate and consume contents. Talking to them is even more difficult these days. Moreover with the kind of creative content that agencies are producing, consumers no doubt shut themself from taking shit anymore. Why not allow our dear consumers to take part in the communication of the brands they love so much? Why will communication, content still be the domain of marketers and their agency when the end-product is meant for the consumption of common man. With more consumers finding their voice, it is imperative that brands need to re-think their communication strategy. And re-think they should NOW.

Alex Wipperf├╝rth in his book “Brand Hijack” says, “Fueling the momentum of a brand driven by its community is one of the most challenging assignments in marketing. It requires that finest of lines between safeguarding the integrity of the brand’s soul and keeping its legitimacy within the market community. Success hinges not only on your ability to resist the tremendous urge to do “cool marketing,” but also knowing when to turn the switch to mainstream marketing and brand investment.”

The following brands made a small but a significant move towards CGC, derived the benefits and recognition to great extent.

CNN IBN: Citizen Journalism. Though the model has been copied directly from CNN US response from Indian citizen are poor. Probably they should put in that extra effort and make it more popular. CNN Citizen Journalist Award is the right move to bring more citizen on-board.

Red & White: They started a great campaign with the “Bravery Award,” a great platform for consumer generated content but unfortunately not much of it is seen today.

Nokia: The Nokia Mobile Film Contest in collaboration with Discovery Channel was a great example of CGC, where Nokia Phone users could make short films using their mobile phone camera which was later telecasted on TV.

Nikon (via Jaffe Juice): When Nikon launched their new D80 camera they gave away their camera to Flick user, to click to their hearts content. See how they were rewarded.

Goerge Masters iPod Ad, GE's Imagination Cubed, Honda's Consumer Choice (via imedia connection) are all well documented and shows the power of consumer generated content and consumer interaction with brands.

Now, how can other brands in India gain by allowing their consumer to contribute towards developing content:

Yashraj Films/Adlab Films: Audience Script Writers. Audience is invited to write a synopsis of a true story that happened in their life. The best writer gets to work on a new film project based on his/her story.

Mumbai Mirror: Bring more Mumbaities to write for the paper and not just hide them in a small section called "Citizen Reporter" "Your Space" with a topic already thrown in to discuss. get more creative and ask them to do real journalism asking them to unearth more local stories for the betterment of Mumbai city.

Sprite: Ask consumers to make ad based on the “Clear Hai” theme for Sprite instead of Sania Mirza trying to explain why she plays tennis and drinks Sprite. "Obey Your Thrist" is not very exciting either. (O&M did a great job with Mentos, asking consumers to make ads on its “Dimag Ke Batti” theme.

HP: “Computer is personal again”… what a profound thought … but where are those personal stories that will make others believe?? Allow consumers to write in why they feel their PC/Notebook is so personal, celebrate those stories and you have a years campaign ready.

Incredible India: The biggest campaign promoting India and become brighter and beautiful … ask happy tourist to speak about their visit to India. Ask them to write articles, books, blogs, compile the photographs and videos they have taken into short films, documentary and use them for a bigger campaign. Make every tourist a tourism evangelist. Incredible India will become even more interesting.

The best way forward is 'Spark a Spoof Movement,' for brands with Indian consumers. They might laugh with you or they might laugh at you, whatever they'll do, it will only make your brand more HUMAN.

Speak up, want to hear more about CGC from you.


Manish said...

some thots on the subject:
1. CGC shud not end up being a gimmick/ tamasha/ TRP tool

2. The question we( brand owners/ custodians/ planners must ask - how sincere are we?

3. Surprise and excitement is a key element

4. Using CGC effectively is an art. There can never be a template...

5. CGC like many marketing 2.0 ventures is open -source. One can't use this 2.0 tool with old mind-set


pooR_Planner said...

Very true Manish. Being an open source tool it makes more sense to bring end consumer on-board. Nokia and Nikon are great examples of relevance, surprise and excitement. As custodians, I think we should pin-down this under-currents and use it effectively for greater benefit.Good that you mentioned about the "smallness of big brands" which just reflects the lack of thinking on our (read marketer's) part.