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It Works Both Ways – Croudsource Unbranding

December 15, 2011

Yesterday I had a chance to read an op-ed piece written by a communist with whom I rarely agree.  But it’s the Holiday season where miracles do happen!    His piece, titled, “Help Wanted” offered a fascinating twist on crowdsource branding theme I just had to share.  Here are some excerpts.

THE historian Walter Russell Mead recently noted that after the 1990s revolution that collapsed the Soviet Union, Russians had a saying that seems particularly apt today: “It’s easier to turn an aquarium into fish soup than to turn fish soup into an aquarium.” Indeed, from Europe to the Middle East, and maybe soon even to Russia and Asia, a lot of aquariums are being turned into fish soup all at once. But turning them back into stable societies and communities will be one of the great challenges of our time.

We are present again at one of those great unravelings — just like after World War I, World War II and the cold war. But this time there was no war. All of these states have been pulled down from within — without warning. Why?

The main driver, I believe, is the merger of globalization and the Information Technology revolution. Both of them achieved a critical mass in the first decade of the 21st century that has resulted in the democratization — all at once — of so many things that neither weak states nor weak companies can stand up against.   -read more-

Friedman goes on to discuss how “crowdsource branding” (my words), or in this case “Unbranding” (again, my words) has recently undermined no other than Vladimir Putin, Netflix, Bank of America, Gap, and Coca-Cola…

A lot of C.E.O.’s will tell you that this shift has taken them by surprise, and they are finding it hard to adjust to the new power relationships with customers and employees.

“As power shifts to individuals,” argues Seidman, “leadership itself must shift with it — from coercive or motivational leadership that uses sticks or carrots to extract performance and allegiance out of people to inspirational leadership that inspires commitment and innovation and hope in people.”

The role of the leader now is to get the best of what is coming up from below and then meld it with a vision from above. Are you listening, Mr. Putin?

Getting all those fish back and swimming together in one aquarium will be no small task — one that will take a very courageous and special leader. Help wanted.   -read more-

In short, democratization of technology and the ability for people to virally share their passions (both delight and disappointment/anger) can work in both directions for startups, big companies and previously, seemingly impervious institutions.  It seems that new must-have skill if you plan on running something is the knowledge to marshal this power for both good (Crowdsource Branding) and to prevent the bad (Croundsource Unbranding).  Just ask Lowes!

Do you have any good examples of Crowdsource Branding or Unbranding?

One Comment leave one →
  1. January 3, 2012 4:44 pm

    I always was interested in this topic and still am, appreciate it for putting up.

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