Brands, You Had Your Chance

The smartest brands are building communities around their products and services. They’re bringing together friends, neighbors, and customers to generate buzz, source feedback, and hedge against bad publicity. But how many of them really care about the people in those communities?

10, 15 years ago, the web was verdant with online communities—discussion forums—funded and managed by the most vocal and passionate customers. That’s right. Customers spent their own money to build communities around brands.

What’s more, small businesses sprung up in support of these communities. There was such a tremendous opportunity, people actually went into business supporting other companies’ products and services. And yet, the brands at the center seldom made an appearance.

That’s really sad.

In 2015, there was a 20% increase in online ad-spend. US$17.6Bn spent on digital advertising. 99% of that additional 20% went to just two companies—Facebook and Google. Otherwise, they hoover up about 65% of all online ad spending. (source: )

Just think if those brands had actually cared about community 10 years ago and invested a tenth of that amount into real, actual owners who loved their products. The web was once a garden of net promoters. Today, it’s becoming a walled garden.

Brands, you had your chance. Drop the bullshit and actually engage with your customers. Educate them on the realities of the market. Empower them to empower you.

Or keep renting attention. I don’t care

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