October 13, 2007
How do you view your customers?

Sometimes innovative, creative thinking -- in the ultimate service of increasing your business -- is simply about taking a step back to get perspective.

A recent post in the Endless Innovation blog, commenting on an entry in another, Futuristic Play, pointed to an observation that the latter's Andrew Chen made from his participation in a Web-oriented ad conference in New York. As the former put it, Chen found a "huge cultural gap between the East Coast and West Coast" when it comes to thinking about business. (Surprise!)

In New York, Chen reports, "people don't call things User Generated Content (aka UGC)," they call it Consumer Generated Media (CGM)." (The bolds there are mine.) He puts it down to your Silicon Valley types focused on attracting "users" to their sites, whereas, since the New Yorkers "are typically on the advertising side, they see these people as 'consumers.'"

(There are the similarities, too, of course: players on both coasts appear to suffer from the epidemic of acute "Acronymonia," the uncontrollable urge to reduce every human effort to three letters.)
openmouthfish.jpgAs Chen says, it's "an interesting and subtle distinction." Endless Innovation remarks -- talking about the Web, but equally applicable to any business -- "The difference is a big one for any business hoping to expand its Web presence: Do you think of your customers as 'consumers' or as 'users'?"

To me (not to make too much of these particular terms), seeing people just as consumers is to think of them in a passive role; as mouths to be stuffed, you might say. "Users" casts them in an active role: mouths that also have something to say, to contribute. As a consummate user myself, I'm far more receptive to a company that addresses me as a person with something to offer, rather than as a receptacle they wish to pour products into.

It's just one more example of how we have to continually re-examine our basic assumptions and ways of thinking about our business, whatever it is. Naturally, a shorthand develops within any enterprise. Just make sure you continually remind yourself to listen to what you're saying to the people outside, your customers and prospects, and what it sounds like to them.

Photo on Flickr by fiskadoro


"Californians say 'UGC,' New Yorkers say 'CGM'" - in Endless Innovation,
referring to:
"5 differences between a NY ad conference and a SF web 2.0 conference" - in Futuristic Play by Andrew Chen

Posted by at October 13, 2007 06:56 PM

Comments

Bill,

Thanks for the link back to Endless Innovation. For some reason, I found the difference between "UGC" and "CGM" to be particularly jarring. Companies need to think in terms of "users" not "consumers." As you point out, I certainly hope that my favorite businesses don't think of me as simply another "mouth to be stuffed"!

Posted by: Dominic at October 17, 2007 11:48 AM

Post a comment

Thanks for signing in, . Now you can comment. (sign out)

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)


Remember me?


Who Are We?

Idea Champions is a consulting and training company dedicated to awakening and nurturing the spirit of innovation. We help individuals, teams and entire organizations tap into their innate ability to create, develop and implement ideas that make a difference.

MitchDitkoff.com
Click here for the simplest, most direct way, to learn more about Idea Champions' semi-fearless leader, Mitch Ditkoff. Info on his keynotes, workshops, conferences, and more.
Storytelling at Work
Storytelling at Work is Mitch Ditkoff's newly published book about the power of personal storytelling in business – why it matters and what you and your organization can do to leverage the impact of storytelling in the workplace.
Top 5 Speaker
Mitch Ditkoff, the Co-Founder and President of Idea Champions, has recently been voted a top 5 speaker in the field of innovation and creativity by Speakers Platform, a leading speaker's bureau.
Authorized Reseller Logo – GoLeanSixSigma.com
Workshops & Trainings
Highly engaging learning experiences that increase each participant's ability to become a creative force for positive change
Brainstorm Facilitation
High impact certification training that teaches committed change agents how to lead groundbreaking ideation sessions
Cultivating Innovation
Your "best and brightest" are the future leaders of your company, but unless they know how to foster a culture of innovation, their impact will be limited. A one-day workshop with us is all they need to begin this journey.
Our Blog Cabin
Our Heart of Innovation blog is a daily destination for movers and shakers everywhere — gleefully produced by our President, Mitch Ditkoff, voted "best innovation blogger in the world" two years running.
Team Innovation
Innovation is a team sport. Brilliant ideas go nowhere unless your people are aligned, collaborative, and team-oriented. That doesn't happen automatically, however. It takes intention, clarity, selflessness, and a new way of operating.
Webinars Powered by
Idea Champions University
Webinars for online training If you enjoy our blog, you will love our newly launched webinars! Our training is now accessible online to the whole world.
Awake at the Wheel, Book about big ideas If you're looking for a powerful way to jump start innovation and get your creative juices flowing, Awake at the Wheel is for you. Written by Mitch Ditkoff, Co-Founder and President of Idea Champions.
Featured in Alltop Guy Kawasaki's Alltop "online magazine rack" has recognized Idea Champions' blog as one of the leading innovation blogs on the web. Check out The Heart of Innovation, and subscribe!
Face the Music Blues Band The world's first interactive business blues band. A great way to help your workforce go beyond complaint.

"In tune with corporate America." — CNN
© IDEA CHAMPIONS