10 Ways to Achieve Multichannel Commerce in the Year of the Digital Customer
Part 9: Imagine All the People
Speaking to a journalist in 1969 John Lennon offered these insightful, almost prophetic words:
“…and the Left Wing talk about giving the power to the people… you know…anybody knows that the people have the power. All we need to do is awaken the power in the people. People are unaware, it’s like they’re not educated to realise that they have the power.” You can see the interview below and the quote at 0:23.
Fast forward over 40 years from that interview and you realise that that is exactly what social media has done – it has awoken the power in the people and given a voice to each and every one of us. We’ve seen truly momentous events unfold politically through the power of social media and the power it has given people to organise and mobilise themselves against oppression. Recently I have wondered how John Lennon would have seized the power of social media. I suspect, John being John, he would have used his unique Brand to draw attention to any injustice that he saw in the world, to promote peace and love, and maybe to take the odd dig at the latest whimsical tune offered by his former co-writer. Whatever he did though, I’m pretty sure it would have been engaging, entertaining, and informative.
Many times I end up in conversations with Brands asking about how they can get social media to ‘work’ for them. Perhaps they’ve tried and failed in the past, in some cases they’re unsure of what value it may bring and, in other cases, the fear of ‘not being in control’.
Reversing the perspective of Lennon’s statement, I tend to remind them that the first thing to realise is “You are not in control – the people are – they always have been, but you’ve been stuck in some commercial illusion that has fooled you into believing that you call the shots. You don’t!” That realisation is the point from which you can move forward as a Brand and start to think about how you can engage meaningfully with your audience, and to think about the value that you can elicit for the Brand from the value that you create for your community.
To paraphrase the Great Man again, Imagine all the people…in your community engaging in discussions that provide value for all those who participate. Imagine ‘giving’ power to the people by connecting them in such a way that they begin to share and solve each other’s problems before picking up the telephone to call your support helpdesk.
And then think of the overall value to the Brand…credibility, trust…somewhere in there is a return on investment that can be measured beyond dollars and cents. Perhaps it is better to think of it as a return on engagement. Instant Karma? Well, maybe not quite instant, but by making the effort to Come Together it might not be as long and winding a road as you may think.
In this discussion Allen Bonde, CMO of The Pulse Network, and myself talk about how Brands can unlock the power of knowledge in their networks to drive scale and deliver value to their communities.