Making Tomorrow Instead Of Trying To Defend Yesterday
January 18, 2011
Successful author, speaker and entrepreneur Guy Kawaski used the very hot trend of crowdsourcing to design the cover of his new book, Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions. I'm sure most of you are familiar, but just in case.
Crowdsourcing is the act of outsourcing tasks, traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, to a large group of people or community, through an open call.
Many look at this as an innovative new approach because of the rise of social networking and its fancy marketing mash-up word, but it's not.
While I was Marketing Director at Z100 in New York in early 2000, we tapped into this power for each of our major concerts; Jingle Ball and Zootopia. It wasn't called Crowdsourcing at the time, but we used the same basic idea because of a desire to build a deeper relationship with the audience and start a conversation around some of our biggest assets.
We simply went to the ZVIP database and asked them to help with the following:
- The chance to choose the final cover for the concert program, which would be handed out to thousands of fans.
- The opportunity to choose who the headliner of the show should be, out of the 10 to 12 artists scheduled to perform.
It wasn't easy because it happened when the technology was not perfect. There was no social networking yet; broadband was not universal and this type of conversation usually only happened in small groups recruited by the station or a research company.
All of that didn't matter to us because we knew it was the right thing to do and a critical strategy of making tomorrow instead of trying to defend yesterday.
The result was unclear in numbers, but very evident in buzz that those database members told others about the chance to select the headliner of one of the biggest concerts in the world.
We were thrilled with a concert program that became a collector's item to thousands of fans; some were even sold through auctions on eBay. We were rewarded as the concert venue remained almost completely full as the final artist did their encore.
The "Social Impact" continues today as people still look to Z100 as the tastemaker for what's happening right now in pop culture and music, because they have been listening to them now for over a decade. It has created a relationship that is powerful and a brand that stays relevant in a city and a world of endless choice.
What about you? Are you focused on defending yesterday ... or building a strategy around making tomorrow? Many great brands have a big head start -- and crowdsourcing is only going to grow and grow. If you're not thinking this way, you may just get drowned in a sea of messages who are still shouting to be heard, but no one is listening.