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Why brands need fan action, not fan acquisition


The reason a brand builds a social community is to provide a fair exchange of value. The company offers something meaningful whether it’s product, service or cause related, and that generates goodwill and loyalty that effectively puts the community to work for the brand through word of mouth advertising. Yet if a brand is simply rushing to hit a “magic number” and has no intention of genuinely engaging with their community, that’s what consumers will share with their friends and peers doing more harm than good.

Social media is not a numbers game. It’s a relationships game. If you’re not interested in your community, they won’t be interested in you. So work out what’s meaningful to your brand and share it with your community. What consumers want is an emotional connection. Once they get that, they’ll build a community for you.

Do you think most brands are building communities the right way? Of are they simply managing perceptions?

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The crowdsourcing dilemma: the idea with the most votes isn’t always the best idea


You might wonder, with great anti-biasing technology, why wouldn’t the idea with the most votes always be the best idea? There are all sorts of reasons: a great idea might have been entered relatively late in the crowdsourcing process or the submitter might have given it a non-compelling title, for example. But by looking at implicit data, as well as explicit data, (that is looking at how the crowd interacts with ideas and not just at the hard data like votes), you can identify other indicators for ideas that are truly merit worthy, despite not getting the most votes, or even a lot of votes. You may not be able to immediately tell if the “underdog” idea is in fact a better idea, but you can provide it with more visibility within the crowd so that you can do an apples-to-apples comparison with the big vote getting ideas.

Here are some of the things we do, and suggest others do, to ensure a reliable, accurate outcome, and avoid the “popularity contest” syndrome:

* Multiple idea order display – Display ideas in a variety of ways, such as most recent, most discussed and most active for example, and don’t just default to listing the top voted ideas.
* Zero-start finalist round – Use a finalist round to allow the entire crowd to focus on just a few ideas which all show signs of being superior ideas, and start all finalists at zero votes.
* Weighted voting – give insider experts, your panel, or more long-time active members more vote weight… you’ll find these people are highly motivated to filter the best not just the popular to the top

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Making sense of crowdsourced data


Turns out crowdsourcing has a lot in common with information governance.

This week at a beautiful desert oasis in New Mexico, Chaordix participated on IBM’s Data Governance Council Forum to work on strengthening and modernizing the Maturity Model that sets out best practices for information governance that distinguish leading organizations. Among an elite of IT, governance and finance professionals for some of the world’s largest organizations in health, banking, utility sector and the US Army, I began feeling an outsider to the scope and scale of information management challenges that these organizations face.

But when asked what they wanted to talk about, it turned out their top 3 interests were the same as top concerns enterprises have about data that is…crowdsourced!

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Innovation does not start with idea generation


I’ve just finished reading a book called Intangible Capital (more on that in another post) by Mary Adams. The book does a good job describing the value and importance of knowledge, intellectual property and other intangible assets, and why innovation is key to the creation of those assets.

But that’s not the subject of today’s post. Today’s post deals with the fallacy that innovation “starts” with idea generation. I’m picking on Mary’s book because it was at hand and the latest to suggest that innovation starts with idea generation. I know this because it says so on page 85, but Mary’s writing does not stand alone. Far too often I hear people suggest or read that innovation starts with idea generation. Sorry, no – and my apologies in advance to Mary for calling out this small problem in what was otherwise a very good book.

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Crowdsourcing for Market Research Part 2: Getting Better Input


A common question we hear is “how is the quality of information, ideas and data derived from crowdsourcing better than what you might get from traditional research?” Here are a few answers:

More ideas: With a traditional survey, each recipient fills out the questions based on their thinking right then. Once they have filled out the survey, they usually can’t go back to add additional thoughts that might come to them later. In addition, since they can’t see other respondents’ replies to the survey (by design), their own thinking isn’t triggered by the thoughts of others. How many times has a good idea come to you because of something someone else said? Crowdsourcing provides not only a way to capture ideas both now and later, since most crowdsourcing sites live on for weeks if not months, it also enables the sharing of responses that can trigger more thoughts and ideas.

Better ideas: With traditional surveys, each respondent puts in their own ideas, and then those ideas are rolled up and analyzed, but at no point is there collaboration that enables the improvement of those ideas. Sometimes this is desirable and intended, but if you are looking for innovation, what you really want are the best ideas, shaped and enhanced by the collective intelligence, experience and viewpoints of the community. In some crowdsourcing models, the submitters or “owners” of the ideas can revise and enhance their ideas based on the feedback and comments from the crowd. In addition, through ranking or voting, you get a relative rating of how the crowd feels about a particular idea relative to the other ideas submitted. This can result in both better input, and a way to more clearly determine market preference.

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Crowdsourcing for Research Part 1: Getting unbiased results


With the plethora of market research techniques out there, some people might question the application of crowdsourcing to get information from the market. What with surveys, panels, focus groups, Neilsen, Ipsos, MyPoints, suggestion boxes, etc. we should be able to get all the input we need, right? After all, if over 50% of Fortune 500 firms only used focus groups, they’ve gotta be good right?*

Well, yes and no. The issue isn’t getting input, it’s getting reliable, accurate, unbiased input that’s most important. Getting market input isn’t all that hard. Ensuring that it’s accurate feedback that represents what the market truly wants and being able to assess all of that information to pull out only the most salient information is very hard to do well. And that’s where crowdsourcing differs significantly from traditional research.

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Why every business MUST care about social media!


Originally posted at rediff.com on August 16th, 2010.

Social media is no more a buzzword today. Given the rate at which it is growing and the impact it is making in our everyday lives, we will soon see the answer to this question: ‘Why should I care about social media?’

Over the last three years, I have closely observed and actively used this medium, as one of the most powerful tools to solve and address multiple business challenges, ranging from hiring an employee to acquiring a new customer.

In the following pages are my learnings and points of view on why should a business pay attention to and invest in social media.

Statistics speak loudly: Given the volume of action on social media web sites, as measured by some of the key statistics mentioned below, it is evident that social media is no more a small or niche medium…

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Gabriel Catalano

Gabriel Catalano

Gabriel Catalano

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