The Consumer Collaboration Manifesto

Business has an intimacy problem. We’re afraid of getting close to consumers. Of having a real relationship with them. The distance and the falsity of the “engagement” between companies and consumers is a growing question for businesses to consider.* Really!?! This is how we do business!?!

We build walls, departments and structures to keep consumers on the outside. We engage consumers from behind one-way mirrors in focus groups. We count up their clicks, tweets and likes. We’re more comfortable seeing people as data points or in crowds. (Borrowing here from Seth Myers and Amy Poehler…) Really!?! REALLY!?!

There has to be a better way of doing business. Where we aren’t scared of consumers, but where we invite them in to partner with us. Not to outsource or crowdsource business decisions, but to be inspired by consumers, to work with them. Where we create a shared purpose and a mutual benefit for consumer and company. Where the consumer is integrated throughout the business. Where we get beyond just collecting data on consumers, and start collaborating with them … as a better way of doing business.

We introduce this Communispace Manifesto on what we and many of our clients are calling “consumer collaboration”… To provoke. To start discussion. To force reconsideration of how business is typically done. To re-imagine how disciplines from market research to advertising to innovation to executive management evolve the role the consumer plays in their practices.

Does your organization have an intimacy problem? Ask us how you can collaborate with consumers.

*For a great bit of thinking about the lack of engagement between company and consumer on a mass scale, see this presentation from Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam.

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