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Consumer collaboration can help bridge the consumer chasm
Businesses have distanced themselves from people. By using marketing tactics to target consumers they have forgotten about the human being. A lexicon of military terminology is used to “target” consumers: positioning/barriers to entry/guerrilla/warfare, and the same brands expect love in return.
At the same time, social media is intended to bridge the chasm between a brand and its audience, but ends up retarding authentic interaction. By compartmentalising consumers into segments that are contained and manageable, brands are essentially putting people in cages.
People are not demographics – brands must refrain from treating people as numbers, segments, respondents, adopters or targets. We are dealing with humans and to succeed we need
empathy. We need to know what people care about.
As humans, we care about community, religion, friendship, patriotism and family et al. But do we care about brands? Do brands really care about humans, as opposed to
consumers? We are so busy analysing that we forget to feel; we forget to empathise.
To create empathy we need to bring the human voice into the boardroom. We need to insource the consumer to collaborate on every stage of the business journey. We need to collaborate with
the individual. We need to ask people what they want, get them to help design it and give it back to them.
Consumer collaboration can’t be done with ad-hoc interventions, but through establishing a Collaboration Community. Not a community of consumers, but a community of friends.
A community of friends, who imagine, decide, work and create together. A successful Collaboration Community, like all successful friendships, is enduring, is forgiving, is honest, is
low-maintenance, and perhaps most importantly, is genuine. These communities of friends create relationships that are mutually beneficial for businesses and people.
Consumers need to be invited to collaborate and co-create as people, and not be interrogated as respondents.
Why collaboration is economical
Collaboration brings out real insights based on human truths. It identifies the perfect problem and allows for agile and real-time decision making. Collaboration produces viable and feasible
ideas that ultimately lead to organisational and stakeholder alignment.
It creates opportunity for action through creating content that creates conversation. Collaboration Communities empower people to steer brands, not by pitching products in an asynchronous manner to consumers, but by inviting participation amongst friends.
It’s about worthy content that respects and rewards people through symbiotic relationships. This is good for the individual, society and your business.
Image: IamNotUnique via Flickr.