I-Networks on Overdrive


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Imagine a world in which 100 million consumers became aware of and watched a 30-minute infomercial on the history and key message of your brand, all within the space of three days, at no cost to your company except the production costs of the video?

Imagine that content penetrating the consciousness of all those consumers and causing them to not only share it with their “I-Networks”their individual networks of friends and family that COLLOQUY’s 2030 Forecast identified two years ago (http://www.colloquy.com/article_view.asp?xd=7763) but also whose message was so strong that many of them immediately went online to part with their money to buy your product?

Now, here’s a buzz kill: Imagine that all that incredible social media power was circulating and taking action on some frightening and negative news about what your brand was doing to the human family, the biosphere, or anything else people care about?

Welcome to today.

As you know, unless you’ve been under a rock or on a REALLY sweet vacation, this is exactly what has come to pass in the last three days. Facebook, Twitter, and the blogosphere have been thrust into overdrive by the presence of a half-hour video about the Central African bandit known as Joseph Kony. This blog is not about him, or the merits of using social media to aid in his capture, or the other sides of that story.

This is a blog post about what will happen next.

Let’s just use a little of that imagination to consider that the instantaneous, global, and motivating message of the KONY 2012 video becomes an historical bellwether in the early history of social media.

Kids today who are bringing this story to the attention of their parents and teachers, who are organizing protests at their elementary schools, high schools, and colleges, will remember this event as well as some of us remember the Civil Rights march on Washington DC in 1963, or vigils following the 9/11 attacks. How will they carry the lessons forward in the next few years, and why should brands and companies care?

The iNetwork is a powerful concept. Millions of iNetworks linked on the same quest is an awesome force. This week’s experience will become a habit for young people, who also play the role of consumers every now and then. Here’s how:

1. They have learned and will continue to apply their collective power to “encourage” change in a host of social arenas, including their commercial relationships with brands.
2. On negative news from companies and brands, which is getting easier to access all the time, they will organize actions, including boycotts, that cut across national boundaries.
3. On positive news that resonates with their values, a prediction: they will organize “buycotts” that channel demand towards the brands and companies who are making real contributions to causes they champion.
4. They have learned this week just how powerful they are, no matter what becomes of Joseph Kony. This is unstoppable.
5. Those I-Networks are changing the world, and that includes the loyalty marketer’s world. Check out this post from September last year: http://colloquy.com/blog/blog_view.asp?xd=8902

Is your company ready for this? Or is it “busy-ness as usual?” The time has come for those companies who intend to compete as “customer intimate” to embrace an enterprise-wide sweep of practices that do not contribute to that central focus. A loyalty program is a good thing to have but a bad thing to rely on solely for the broad, holistic, integrated, and transparent behavior your customers expect.

After this week, things have changed.

Jim Sullivan
Jim directs the advancement of enterprise loyalty at COLLOQUY, an endeavor guided by his almost 30 years of managing in marketing, strategic planning, business development, innovation, and communications. Jim also assists with COLLOQUY's loyalty workshops, seminars and conferences, and serves as an academic liaison for colleges, universities and thinking institutions performing research on Enterprise Loyalty.


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