Mar 28, 2007

LEAP University - Brand Management and Web 2.0

This is the second of a three part series on the impact of Web 2.0 for businesses who have an online presence. "Web 2.0" is a term coined for the next generation of development in interactive design and development. Originally published in LEAP University.

In our last issue, we discussed the latest trends in interactive development, collectively referred to as "web 2.0." This issue, we'll be discussing the potential implications to your brand management strategy when you begin opening up to user-generated content.The old advertising adage of "control the message" is quickly being exposed as an impossible task. With the advent of social media and the explosion of user-generated content on the web in recent years, "the message" has become a hydra of mythic proportions. The answer for the savvy marketer is not trying to cut off more heads. A better strategy might be, look into buying some Hydra Treats, and make friends with as many heads as possible.In many ways, user-generated content is the oldest form of advertising known to man: word of mouth.It may lack the professional polish of your intentional messaging, but it often has a passion and a sense of legitimacy that those messages lack, particularly with the less-trusting younger generations. Learning to cultivate your most passionate users and customers into volunteer brand cheerleaders is what will set smart businesses apart in coming years. User-generated content can't be controlled; and in some ways, that's what makes it so effective. However, it can be managed by someone with the resources and understanding to do their homework. Managed effectively, user-generated content can push your brand into a grassroots phenomenon.

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