People want to participate, so follow and be followed

The best websites let you interact and encourage you to participate. You can learn, buy, recommend or post something, seek advice, connect to others, stream, share, measure and click in countless directions. Apple is a superb proponent of this. Interactivity runs through everything it does because inviting people in and giving them things to do increases media value.

In much the same way, greater brand influence comes from inviting participation. If you’re not prepared to have conversations you’ll lose your audience. Ideas are fluid. They are multi-stranded, constantly growing and changing. And sometimes that idea is only the start of the execution, the beginning of a dialogue.

Good advertising is something that’s worth sharing with others, that consumers feel they can participate in, talk about, build a conversation or a movement around

Because advertising is no longer simply a one-way transmission – it’s often an action to which consumers are able to respond within interactive arenas. Good advertising is something that’s worth sharing with others, that consumers feel they can participate in, talk about, build a conversation or a movement around.

And the communications work both ways – consumers want brands to follow them as much as brands want consumers’ attention. There is a huge demand for brands to ‘notice’ people, so that they are not just lifestyle accessories but identity accessories.

By ceding control over how a story is told, brands can be seen as more authentic, enabling messages to reach more disparate audiences and developing a closer understanding of consumers and their desires. Such tactics allow consumers to live out their identities within and at the edges of your brand.

Don’t fear the inability to control what creative ideas become once barriers have been torn down. Instead, allow self-expression and provide an even more powerful form of storytelling, whose value lies not in creativity but crowd-meaningfulness.

Planning that enablement strategy is now part of a great advertising campaign and its associated communication experiences. It’s about building relationships and enabling audiences to build momentum in their own ways.

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