Chad Stoller on user-generated content
Chad Stoller, executive director of emerging platforms at Organic Inc., says the most rewarding component of user-generated content may be the simplest -- letting users comment on existing products.
Transcript: Chad Stoller on user-generated content
I think what's happening now is that with the evolution of the Web with user technology, it's been easier than ever for users to contribute to online experience. I think if you look at recent deployment by Yahoo and Google to allow users to start contributing in the whole mash-up mania, I think that's something that's very interesting. Where users who might be more novice, novices to technology, can now start enabling their own applications and creating their own applications or they can take content from one place and leveraging various APIs together and make something special for themselves. But at the same time I think every time you look at this new phenomenon and second line can certainly be something everyone likes to talk about, where I look at that as generated media. I look at every time someone plays a multi-player game and makes their own map and distributes it among their friends, I think that is user generated media. I think someone taking a picture and posting it on Flickr, that's certainly user generated media. So I think it comes from all over the place. Unfortunately, I think the media likes to label user generated media as video, anything that comes from a cell phone, photographs, things like that, or blogs. I think they are user generated media, but I think it's coming from a variety of sources. It's pretty exciting.
I think the people that are most successful are the ones who know that users want to comment, that users want to contribute to ideas that people put out there. I remember seeing some work that Delta did, after they're back from bankruptcy, to certainly promote themselves, that they have clean planes and can get wireless alerts, certainly things that other people have been doing for quite a while, but I think
what I like about their Website is that you can go there now and primarily learn about what they're doing. But I also like the fact that they know that the airline industry, everybody has opinions about airlines. Everyone thinks they can run an airline. What they're doing is that they get people to comment and say, "this is what I would do differently," and then people can vote on it. I think it's kind of interesting. I like it. I like what people are talking about, I like the ideas. And what's interesting about it is people share the same opinions about airline travel. I think it's really important that brands realize that people are going to contribute whether or not they like it. I think it's important to embrace it. It's just a question as to how to manage it. It's very easy to allow people to flame you online easily to try to curve the conversation a little bit and make it more constructive.
I love how everyone likes to talk about the Doritos model as the future of advertising. There are a lot of great ideas that come from outside of agencies. I think one thing that agencies are very good at is that agencies understand the marketing framework. They understand what's involved to take an idea, create a marketing message, and then bring it to market and then measure it. I don't see consumers starting to do that, but I don't think it's very interesting for consumers to do. I think consumers need to have ideas. It's great that brands want to work with consumers, and bring those ideas to market. I think that's what agencies can also help do. Agencies can help bring their own ideas to the table, while also harnessing the community for coming up with the ideas and bringing it to market. Never before have there been as many cameras in people's pockets as there are today. And in a year from now, they'll be just as many video cameras in our pockets today. At the same time they'll all be GPS enabled and then it gets really exciting. With those kinds of tools available in the marketplace, we're talking about a media revolution that's out there. And agencies as well as clients need to understand that's what's on the horizon. It's a question about understanding, about how you're going to change it all.