“The Herd Will Be Heard”

From THE CHAOS SCENARIO: Amid the Ruins of Mass Media, The Choice for Business Is Stark—Listen or Perish, by Bob Garfield:

Bob Garfield

Bob Garfield

Can you hear it? In the distance? It’s a crowd forming — a crowd of what you used to call the “audience.” They’re still an audience, but they aren’t necessarily listening to you. They’re listening to each other talk about you. And they’re using your products, your brand names, your iconography, your slogans, your trademarks, your designs, your goodwill, all of it as if it belonged to them — which, in a way, it all does, because, after all, haven’t you spent decades, and trillions, to convince them of just that?

Congratulations. It worked. The Great Consumer Society believes deeply that it has a proprietary stake in you. …

chaosscenariocover[T]he information society is reversing flow. We are increasingly inhabiting an open-source world. What began as an experiment among a few software nerds has, thanks to the internet, expanded into other disciplines, notably media and law. But it won’t stop there. Advertising. Branding. Distribution. Consumer research. Product development. Manufacturing. They will all be turned upside down as the despotism of the executive suite gives way to the will and wisdom of the masses in a new commercial and cultural epoch.

As the people at Lego have figured out, and Sir Martin Sorrell evidently has not, is that the post-advertising age is The Listenomics Age. Its defining characteristic: the herd will be heard. If you do not listen carefully, you are a fool. Not because the crowd is a threat (although, of course, it is) but because it is your greatest resource. What if its wisdom were harnessed and its power unleashed, unfettered by outmoded intellectual-property laws and uninhibited by the dictates of Management? Here’s what: payday.

Bob’s 30 Days of Chaos begins today.

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