So, what is the common thread connecting the following events?
a. Upload personal videos/photos on a website and view videos uploaded by others
b. Better still, upload/view videos shot through your mobile phone and also get PAID for it.
c. Sell T-Shirts that are designed by randomly invited customers.
d. Ask the public to determine what policies and rules they would like the Police Department to enforce in the future
e. Upload and share personal details with strangers on the WWW and become web-friends (also fiends sometimes, given the risky nature of the internet)
f. Design your own curriculum and complete your professional education course AND also get credits for the same
g. Speak your mind through technology that helps in spreading your thoughts far and wide
h. Create a web glossary of various topics and ask the general public to provide inputs and keep the subject matter updated at all times.
No surprises here, right? Yes, that is correct. Welcome to the world of Customer Generated Media or as the technocrats and geeks put it, Web 2.0, where the customer decides what he/she wants and gets it through personalized customised free for all services and hopefully, products in the coming future.
How ironic! Earlier companies started by giving them clearly specific products (remember the Ford Model T). Then, part customization set in, though, caveated by boundaries set by the manufacturer, more for products in that case.
And now, the shackles have been broken. The WWW has become a very powerful medium to express thoughts and opinion on how good or not so good products are and to set individual choices. Information availability, discovery and dissemination (earlier the very foundation of many businesses) is now a given, thanks to the internet revolution and access through various devices (PC, mobile, PDA, etc). For the services industry, where a tangible look and feel product nomenclature is missing, this is the mantra of success.
The concept is mind boggling and will change the way businesses are going to be conducted, going forward.
The potential for CGM pervasiveness can be gauged by the fact that Internet penetration in the world's top two populous countries (India and China) is yet to take off.
As I said earllier, this opportunity is very BIG! No wonder companies like Toyota now have a UGM Executive whose sole responsibility is understanding the consumer psyche through UGM posts and thoughts.
So, what are your thoughts on this concept? Please do consider sharing them with me. Thanks in advance.