Working with your fans
by Josh Bernoff
Since we've been talking about Groundswell we've developed a base of fans and followers. Just like the fans of your brand they are a creative and powerful force. And also just like the fans of your brand, they make you ask yourself what you really stand for.
Our first reaction was delight. But your fans don't always do things the way you expect. I have to say, this quiz is terrific -- Chris really does seem to have gotten inside the different categories that make up Social Technographics in a very clever way. But of course, it's not identical to the way we do things. In particular, we have a precise set of questions that define Social Technographics -- his are more whimsical. And we determined, after scrutinizing masses of global data, that this is not a segmentation -- people fit into more than one category. Chris, in contrast, gives you a badge for the category you fit into best (although he shows your other tendencies on his charts, too).
Chris is doing a great thing by spreading the word about Social Technographics with these badges – but he’s also building on and modifying our intellectual property. That’s the challenge: how comfortable are we at Forrester with this? There is always the possibility that Chris' quiz will confuse people who may think he's affiliated with us. But after some thought, we realized that we need to embrace Chris and his ideas, since that is, after all, what we say in the book. Your brand belongs to your customers. He and the rest of our fans are a lot more likely to generate interest for us than to create confusion.
There are limits. Technographics is a trademark of Forrester Research and the content of Groundswell is our intellectual property. We are not giving blanket permission for people to take our intellectual property and do whatever they want with it. Yet ultimately we want to respect and celebrate instances when our fans are energized to make our brands their own.
We’re going through the same tough soul-searching that all companies will need to do. It’s a journey that will take time and experience, and we expect to make mistakes along the way. But we’ll get there, with the help and patience of our fans. And if we can take this journey, you can, too.
In the meantime, take his quiz. It will make you think.