For fifteen years I’ve provided research, evidence and
carefully chosen words to anyone who would listen to describe the benefits of
allowing interpersonal communication within a brand-space. We used to call that "social network theory" or "social engine theory". Over time, the 'social
media' industry grew up around our voices (not loud enough to dominate it but
still we prattled away).
Today, my agency and team operate as a very tiny part
of a £Billion business based on the very same ideas; that conversations are a
form of marketing, that the customer can be an ambassador and that brand
choices are part of expressible identity.
The questions I’m asked each day remain essentially the
same, although the vocabulary has changed a little. Ten years ago a major sports
brand asked me "What will I do if the public are critical of our product in a
forum we put our brand on", today they ask "What are the costs and risks of