Separating Consumers from Social Generated Media
Many manufacturers (distinct from marketers) never had problem with the duality of consumer as producer or vice versa. Much closer to the innovation of the product itself, they see the inherent need for people to participate via inspiration, insight and feedback in the process. The symbiotic relationship between producer and consumer is well served in social media, while perhaps not so well served in the layer between: Branding
According to the AMA, marketers define consumer as "... the ultimate user or consumer of goods, ideas, and services".
The dictionary defines consumer as“a heterotrophic organism that ingests other organic matter in a food chain.”
Given these definitions, it’s no wonder marketers are having a hard time seeing consumers as producers. The marketer asks, “can consumers generate brands - after all, isn’t it the marketer who make the media?”
There’s already a word for someone who generates, finances, or builds something - producer. But the marketer, still clinging to control, wants to identify the subject as “consumer” and consider the contributions they “generate” in relation to their "media." So a new term is coined and heavily adopted within the marketing landscape: Consumer Generated Media.
The dictionary and logic would see this as an oxymoron.
If advertisers see consumer generated media simply as an innovative extension of their advertising initiatives, they may have trouble reaching and convincing the enthusiast who’s own motivation is to contribute to the manufacturer’s product.
Some advice when headed down this path:
• Avoid encouraging the “consumer” to generate content about the ads you make - help them find a way to make content about the products directly - especially the benefit of your product.
• Help people move from interested, to enthusiastic, to influential, to advocate.
• Develop relationships along this path, know who you’re dealing with and respond to what they need.
• The closer to “advocate” one becomes, the better relationship you as the advertiser need to foster. Have plans in place for this relationship.
• Encourage and stimulate the brand advocate to generate media, not just the consumers
"Advocate Generated Media" is ideal for manufacturers looking for the constructive product innovation insights cultivated and curated by communication agencies who let go of “control” and thereby regain their influence.