Brands are always trying to get people to share positive stories about brands. Social networks have made it easier for people to share these thoughts with a wide audience. As a result, brands are always trying to nudge a consumer to share her thoughts with her network. These requests usually grab the edges of the consumer bell curve – the few really really happy consumers or the, hopefully rare, really really unhappy consumers. People on the extremes will take to the social networks to boast or complain. What about the ‘Silent Majority’ who quietly consumer your product? How about getting them involved?
Quirky has done a great job of doing just that- getting the consumer involved. Quirky is a social product development company. Visitors to Quirky.com can suggest product ideas, help comment on the development, pre-purchase ideas that might go to market and even purchase ideas that have already been developed. Consumers can even benefit monetarily from involvement. Quirky gets the consumer into the business.
As a result, Quirky has a ton of consumers turned story-tellers. People who suggested an idea want to tell the world can do just that. Quirky.com has dozens of stories from everyday consumers who have seen ideas come to life on Quirky.
Quirky also leverages our social networks to get products created. After products are conceptualized, consumers can show interest in a product by making a pre-purchase commitment. Quirky sets a bar the minimum units needed to be pre-purchased prior to manufacturing the product. This value is visible, along with the gap. One way to show your interest is to pre-purchase it. One way to make sure it gets made is to share the product with your friends and get them to also pre-purchase it.
Consumers are more than just purchasers for Quirky. Consumers are creators, designers, influencers and spokespeople. Consumers aren’t just purchasing a product, A consumer is purchasing a product that she had a hand in creating. She purchased her product and is going to share that fact with the world.
Does this mean that you have to get consumers into your product development process to get them involved? Not necessarily. Ask them to share their stories and publish them to your site. Let them name a version of your product, or suggest a product package mix. Give them opportunities to turn an everyday experience with your brand into their stories. While they might not want to shill for your brand, they will want to share their stories that just happen to include your brand.