Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Can Companies Create Social Value?

The lastest trendwatching briefing is interesting in that what is being discussed is how to create interactions with customers that enable the customers to acquire increased social status. http://www.trendwatching.com/briefing/ Additional commentary over at the emergence marketing blog at http://www.emergencemarketing.com/mt/mt-tb.cgi/758 For "socially consumed products and services" the uses are obvious. We like to feel that the products and services we buy are expressions of superior taste, better buying skills, being "in the know". The examples given in the trendwatching report of "distill your own whiskey" are, in my opinion, another take on the trend towards "mass customisation". What I find interesting is that companies often do not look at how their product or service might be able to provide an opportunity to increase the customers "social equity" within a given social network, or the "brand equity" of a company within its customer, supplier, and partner ecosystem or network. The ones that do, do so by mentioning the customer in key case studies, reports, and best practice measurements. Hey, everybody likes to be thought of as being on top of their game, professionally speaking. But what about enabling that person or company to re-configure your service or product so that it speaks about their ability to understand value creation, not your ability to give them access to "exclusive products and services". I guess what it boils down to is a simple question. "Do you believe that companies can create social value for their customers" or "Do companies provide the best platform upon which customers can define what value means to them"?

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