It is often common to hear from our colleagues and competitors that crowd-sourcing with the help of social networking sites will help build a good brand. However, in order to understand the context, we need to understand the interesting history behind it as well.
The Story of Crowd-sourcing through Social Media
Decades earlier the market was led by the supply and demand rule. Consumers bought what was sold by the marketers and the manufacturers produced what was beneficial for them. Times changed and slowly demand took over supply. Consumers, backed with the power of money, realized that they could demand what they desired. The trend of catering to the consumers slowly set in, eventually recognizing the fact that ‘Consumer is King’.
Years have passed by and brands have now come to consider consumers as their extension. Brands have left no stone unturned to ensure that they please, impress and hang on to their loyal consumers and at the same time lure consumers from other brands by creating excitement. Brands always realized the value of engaging consumers, but it was difficult to measure the results. Every consumer wants to feel invested and recognized by the brand they adore, while brands look for every opportunity to keep the relation with the consumer strong.
In that perspective, social media came along as a boon to brands and consumers to connect with one another. Social media came with many opportunities for brands to market themselves in the most desirable way. It became a catalyst for the brand and the consumer to get to know each other better. Brands now had a tool to measure and map their activities to act upon them accordingly. They could directly reach out to the consumer who was extremely pleased with them and even do damage control by talking to a disappointed customer, setting things right instantly.
Brands also realized they could get more from their consumers: that a consumer apart from spilling out his wallet for the brand, could also give fresh ideas, create free and wide spread publicity and indirectly make the brand the talk of the town.
Need for Crowd-sourcing to Build Brands
This is where Crowd-Sourcing put its best foot in. Brands have begun to associate themselves with those consumers, who can talk on the brand’s behalf, ideate and lure others into believing the brand. A consumer’s testimonials are the best words a brand can count on at any point of time. Brands by creating a relationship with a consumer, will up his status among his friends giving him more reasons to stick to the brand , endorsing it at all times.
A few ways to create successful crowd sourcing:
1.Consistent Participation: Brands need to make sure they have a set of identified consumers who regularly participate on the brand’s social media page to ensure that every post/content of theirs has some interaction going on. Regular interaction will also help the post stay on top of the page reaching out to more eye balls and eventually participation.
2.Varied set of Target Audience: Brands need to identify more than one set of target group who belong to different age/demographic and behavioral aspects. This will assure the brand of varied feedback enabling the brand to understand the tastes and expectations of their consumers of a wide range.
3.Recognition: Consumers are not dumb. After a period of intense engagement activity on the brand’s page, the consumer will expect to be identified and rewarded in some way. Direct acknowledgement from the brand will boost the consumer’s ego and will desire to do more. Acknowledgement with monetary rewards along with VIP content, exclusive brand content also act as a great motivator for the consumer.
4.Reliable Measuring Scale: Social media can act as an almost accurate measuring scale to gauge the consumer engagement success. Analysis of the trends and behavioral patterns of the consumers should be studied in depth to understand the consumers better and improvise on upcoming engagement activities.
Crowd sourcing is proving to be a strong channel creating an almost symbiotic relationship with its consumers. For brands, market research agencies almost become redundant due to the access of direct communication with their loyal and potential consumers. Even before a brand sets up a pilot project, the idea can be run through the most active consumers on their social media page helping the brand get deeper and genuine consumer insights.
Brands smart enough, will find a way to make their consumers do the sales for them. Be it creating publicity for an advertisement before it goes on air or even testing out new products in the market to get an initial feedback or even invite friends and extended friends for a brand event.