We are no longer your audience.

The web has changed us.

We don’t want your advertisements. We don’t care about your sales pitch. We hate you for interrupting our conversations.

If you don’t build it, we’ll build it ourselves.

If you try to hide it from us, we’ll rip open the doors and take pictures.

We go to websites that entertain us, that give us the information we’re looking for without hassling us and that treat us well.

We use tools that help us do what we couldn’t do before. We create. We publish. We connect.

We share.

We will spread the word about you if you listen to us, trust us with your information and let us be creative with it.

Open up. Don’t try to “generate user content.” Give us the keys.

Let us in, and we will help you. Lock us out, and we’ll ignore you.

And now that the web has become our main form of communication, we won’t bother with you on television, in print, on the radio or on billboards unless you can be more like the web.

Welcome to the Interactive Age.

Stop trying to “reach” us with your “messaging.” Give us something to play with, to share or to talk about instead.

Better yet, why not join us?

4 Responses to ‘We are no longer your audience.’

  1. A pretty good manifesto. But in some ways stating the obvious. The trick is to take this somewhere. Not simply speak on behalf of consumer and challenge the brand, but to show and guide the brand to ideas that will resonate in this new age.

  2. Indeed. Though, if you think I’m stating the obvious, then you clearly get it. Unfortunately, in the marketing world, that isn’t as common as it should be.

    As I see it, TV as a medium allowed the marketing industry to become what it is today. All of its biases, all of the lenses through which it looks at communication is built around TV as the dominant form of public discourse. TV has certain biases, such as the immediacy of visceral emotional impact, which have guided the very notion of a brand.

    The industry has built structures, models and entire career categories around the TV lens of the world. With the Internet, people are looking at the world with a whole new set of glasses.

    Where does this take the brand? In directions that traditional agencies can’t be comfortable with (and to be fair that also goes for, governments, big businesses and other large institutions). Controlling the message is no longer an option.

    The brand becomes interactive. Rather than something that is communicated with audiences, it becomes one hub at the centre of a series of interconnected networks.

    How does that work? That’s where things get a tiny bit more scary, especially for people that are caught off guard by phenomena like Wikileaks or Anonymous or Bit Torrent sites.

    The brand adopts a certain level of flexibility. It adapts as it makes different kinds of connections. It finds ways to take note of significant activity within it’s network and responds on the fly.

    Vetting and calculating and testing and measuring are done as you go instead of as a precondition for moving forward.

    Branding, in short, becomes more like jazz and less like a metronome.

    And thanks so much for your comment. The fact that you “get it” is why I read your blog and follow you on Twitter. You often have a great deal of insight.

    And the fact that it has taken me this long to respond goes to show that my alternative to the agency model is a work in progress. If I had “staff” I wouldn’t have weeks at a time where I have no time to tend to the very thing I preach!

  3. I wholly agree with this. This is why I preach to my clients as well. I have never been one to “marketed at” as commercials and bill boards generally offend my intellect. Quite blatanly. Don’t make me, as a mother, feel guilty for not using hard chemicals to clean my counters with.
    Don’t insult my intelligence by plastering a picture of a mother and father watching their daughter in a ballet recital, and try to make me think eating pork is .okay. Why don’t you just come right out and say, “we want you to buy our product?” This would give me the opportunity to say, “you torture pigs and hurt the enironment in doing so.”
    This is my rant. It amazes me that these large corporations just don’t get this. How much money do they spend in order to alienate me, I often wonder?

  4. Pingback: The real trouble with Facebook is its escalating self-contradiction. | David Pensato

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