Consumer Empowerment and Disruption

Consumer empowerment and disruption are being unleashed by the many-to-many Web. As we’ve been writing for some time, Web 2.0 is giving individuals collective voices that can rival the authority of global enterprises and governments, which is disruptive because it changes the rules. We call it Consumer Empowerment. Blogs, social networking, podcasts, wikis, vlogs and their intermediaries like Technorati, MySpace and iTunes give customers the tools to create and distribute content for free—instantly and globally. When rules change, you can quickly strengthen your market position by understanding and adapting more quickly than competitors.

Google any specific product, phrase or service, and you will notice that customer content is growing quickly, especially in specific, customer-centric areas that organizations aren’t focused on. Customers contribute customer-relevant content because they are passionate about the subject. Growing “tribes” of individuals connect, collaborate, and become smart very quickly. Threat: large organizations are losing control over the information about their reputations, products and services. Opportunity: adding value to these customer-led conversations can increase your credibility and appeal.

Large organizations attained their market power through efficiency, the hallmark of the Industrial Economy. In the emerging Knowledge Economy, innovation will enter its golden age, but it won’t be like the past, when innovation was a consistent failure because there wasn’t an economical means of involving customers. In the Knowledge Economy, digitized business processes and empowered customers will drive new models of innovation. Threat: it’s risky to share “unsanitized” information with customers. Opportunity: with open innovation, you can seize the advantage and out-innovate competitors.

Consumer empowerment presents opportunities and threats. CSRA helps companies to manage the risk of adapting to the new context that market disruptions create. We advise organizations on creating strategy to increase their relevance and competitiveness in the consumer empowered Knowledge Economy. We help with getting involved in blogs, video and audio content, and how to integrate these efforts into existing processes. We advise on collaborating with Web 2.0-enabled customer tribes to co-create breakaway customer experience. This involves rethinking of many of the assumptions about your business. Explore the Consumer Empowerment Adoption Curve.

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