Back in 2002, I came across this amazing, thriving community of bits and bytes coming together for solutions to problems that did not exist. It was called Sourceforge.net. You think the app store is a new concept? – it was here in a free community format years ago.
Fast forward 9 years and now, not only has technology advanced by leaps and bounds, but people have gained access to technology that is interactive, but also spreads faster. This unlocks a new realm of possibilities for businesses, but I dont think firms are taking the right approach to understanding how they can create interactive experiences and harness the information at the same time. Behavioral targeting is all very good, but at the end of the day, they way people are using such information and going down the ROI trail – it’s nothing more than voyeurism. If you are not getting people to respond to you in a new way, through multiple touchpoints, you’ve hardly ’engaged’ them.
Threadless http://www.threadless.com/ was about true crowdsourcing and engagement.
A campaign that is running right now for the range rover evoque http://www.helloevoque.com/ is a great example of getting passionate fans of a brand together to create a movement.
HBO did a great multiplatform campaign which allowed people to look at things from new perspectives http://vimeo.com/14029101
New technologies are opening up new ways for people to interact – just search the internet for kinect hacks and you’ll find how people can become puppeteers and storytellers.
I think this is how brands should start thinking about their campaigns – not just about how many fans liked my page or how many twitter followers I have gained from the last bit of money I gave to the digital media company.
I want to create a ’cause museum’ – a place where artists and designers create a canvas for visitors to experience or express themselves, where technology is widely used and the rewards from the ’expression / interaction’ would be one that can be shared over a social network to your frends. There are lots of ways to monetize this as well.
My first idea is to have a hand operated pump that lets you pump out a holographic stream of apps onto your iPhone/iPad for 10 seconds. The ones you catch on your screen can be gifted to friends over a social network. You would need to buy some credits to play with the installations which would then proceed to the relevant charities – there are lots of villages in this world to whom it would make a world of difference if they could afford a hand operated pump in the village.