Utility + Message = Experience ≠ Branding

Someone proposed the question; Is Consumer Generated Advertising the next big thing? And by someone, I mean someone on a participant network. I was a little confused by this question for a few reasons.

The fact that someone has asked this question in a quasi-public forum while having it answered by industry professionals and lurkers alike, is testimony enough. This survey is community-driven and in-effect, user-generated. It has been contributed to and advanced upon by many without provocation or payment. I think the term; Consumer Generated Advertising,(CGA) is over-defined or not implicit enough. Every brand should expect that all users will participate in brand development. And as technology for synchronized communication with ubiquitous access to information on home/mobile devices grows closer, we’ll see more participation. A brand that enables and contributes to its prospects voice(s) will see greater return on their marketing. Public Relations, as a term, has taken center-stage from the industry’s perspective as a way to market itself. But it has no more value than any other channel in the branding arena.

Utility + Message = Experience ≠ Branding.

Let’s also consider something else; This approach to marketing is not always the best approach for every brand. CGA isn’t a push, it’s an unexpected result. People creating their own How-To’s with products and services are doing it because they can. Not because they we’re asked to endorse something. This type of CGA, in itself, is nothing new. Everyday day we help others out. Especially with recommendations and demonstrations of our intimate understanding about a topic of some sort. If a brand provides a product, service or idea that merits discussion, it will happen with or without Public Relations.

Remove those mental barriers.
Mitigate crisis with a conversation.