My dear friend Adriana Cronin-lucas at the Big Blog Company drew my attention to a recent e-newsletter by trendwatching entitled customer made
Tendwatching observes the debate that people are having about brands, products services, companies. And, making the point that communities as connected groups and individuals are becoming ever more powerful.
Why now? Because they finally can. For decades, consumers have been saving up their insights and rants about the stuff they consume, simply because there were no adequate means to interact with companies, or with other consumers for that matter. No longer. These fickle, wired, empowered, informed, opinionated and experienced holders of a MC (Master in Consumerism) are getting used to 'having it their way', in ANY way imaginable, which includes wanting to have a direct influence on what companies develop and produce for them
Would you like to help design the new Boeing Airplane?
Be a part of the first airplane design of the twenty-first century.
Boeing is transforming air travel with the 7E7 Dreamliner an innovative airplane that will be efficient, fast, environmentally friendly, and unsurpassed in passenger comfort. And, we'd like your help in making our dream airplane a reality.
Become part of the Boeing new airplane World Design Team?flyers and aviation enthusiasts from around the world sharing the excitement of creating the airplane of the future.
We'll send you regular updates and newsletters that will help you track the progress of the new Boeing airplane. You'll also have the opportunity to tell us what you like and don't like about air travel today, as well as the features you'd like to see in your dream airplane.
Please join the World Design Team and help us determine what features we should build into your new airplane. Anyone 18 or older can join the World Design Team. You can choose to stop getting updates at any time by clicking unsubscribe in your World Design Team newsletter or changing your user profile.
Trendwatch claims 120,000 people around the world have signed up to Boeings initiative. I would argue that nobody is as clever as everybody.
Shoe designer John Fluevog has a section on his site entitled Open Source Footwear Where winning designs submitted by the public are put into production.
Then there is the Mini forum
MINI2 is the number one independent site for the new MINI Cooper, MINI Cooper S, MINI One, and MINI One D. Be sure to read our ever expanding archive of news, updated frequently with the latest MINI happenings. The users of the MINI2 Forums and Chat Room help create the busiest new MINI discussion area on the internet.
Then interestingly there is the
Phillips Streamium Cafe
It's where owners of Philips' new WiFi TV sets and hifi systems tell Philips where they think Streamium is going, and what Streamium should be able to do. Current discussions involve everything from the time format on the appliances' display to 'Support for Real Player RadioPass + Real Rhapsody.' How long before the discussion turns to the question of which OTHER Philips appliances should become WiFi enabled?
Then there is Google: Google's social networking site Orkut includes two communities with over 1,000 subscribers: Forum  "What Should Google Do?" Forum  "What Should Orkut Do?".
Generation C (Community Generation) co-creates Oh my News in South Korea – the Citizen Journalist news site – Trendwatching says
This online newspaper works with 26,000 'citizen reporters', who send in stories and pictures which make up 80% of all content. OhMyNews pays up to USD 20 per article, though for many citizen reporters, getting their name in the paper is the real reward. Fiercely outspoken, OhMyNews has successfully challenged the traditionally conservative press in South Korea.
In Holland a 24/7 news site NU.nl encourages the general public to send in their pictures of breaking events, they get paid if their images are published.
For the traveller their is Lonely Planet Thorn Tree an online bulletin board with over 5,000 posts a day (Lonely Planet also receives around 1,000 emails and letters a week from customers, helping them to constantly fine-tune their content), claims Trendwatching.
And finally Virtual Tourist
where 400,000 members from over 219 countries share insights and experiences to help each other travel smarter, from finding the best place to get great airfares, accommodations or car rentals, to solid insider advice on what to see and do. In their own words: "VirtualTourist members are a friendly and helpful bunch and it's a snap to use the collective experience and brain power of our members to get the help you need."
So what are you going to do as a business or a brand, run out your 30 second TV commercial and hope for the best? Or are you going to roll your sleeves and really think about how your are going to engage your customers and stakeholders, how you are going to co-create value, facilitate greater more valuable experiences, become the conduit to communities who are passionate about whatever floats their boat.
And celebrate that fact that businesses, marketing, creatvity, technology and people can come together in ways today, which were not imaginable 5 years ago. Or is that too hard for you to think about as you watch the minnows become bigger fish as they understand the new dynamics of communities and business in the 21st Century.
It will the creative leap of the human imgaination that will drive sales and business success in the 21st Century.