TagCrowd is a web application for visualizing word frequencies in any user-supplied text by creating what is popularly known as a tag cloud or text cloud.Saw the same at Pete Blackshaw's blog and thought I should give it a try.
A lot of discussion has already gone into social media's contribution to building brand/customer equity and as a tool to build networks of relationships/friendships- social capital as it is termed.
However, in this era of knowledge management and elearning, two more dimensions of social media’s contribution cannot be ignored-
1.A tool for building a company’s knowledge capital and
2.A tool for learning.
Organisations have started harnessing collaborative intelligence for learning leading to cognitive involvement of the community members. Research has already proven the positive correlation between interactivity and learning outcomes. Interactivity interfaced with technology not only increases learning effectiveness, but also enhances the knowledge base of the community which includes organizational employees, customers and partners.
Be it the Microsoft Developer Network which hosts a series of employee blogs to share tips on software, programming tips and solutions to programming issues or the GE research blogs, or the Sun Microsystem employee Blogs, the volume of company specific knowledge available on these is huge. Sun Microsystem CEO Jonathan Schwartz uses his blog for product announcements and discussion of new knowledge issues as part of his bid to interact with the community. Think of a layman’s ability to gain access to Sun’s whitepaper on multiplatform virtualisation through his online blog!!!!
The accumulation of this company specific information have also made these blogs/online communities virtual repositories to be tapped whenever required. For that matter, think of the quantum of knowledge that can be retrieved regarding a person’s work in an organisation once he leaves, through his contributions to his blogs etc. The human capital may be dynamic, but the knowledge capital stays with the organisation…
In an era where companies talk about the new form of value creation-Co-creation, where companies are moving away from a company and product centred value creation to an experience centred value creation (Prahlad,Ramaswamy), participation is becoming a desired ingredient. Objectives of co-creation include identifying the right customer set to interact and after identifying the requirements of this customer set, alter product offerings as per requirement of the same.
Some interesting observations from research (Prahlad,Ramaswamy) on Co-creation.
1.In the emerging economic model of value cocreation, consumers and companies routinely collaborate to create personalized value.
2. Cocreation, is not the transfer or outsourcing of activities to customers or a marginal customization of products and services. It isn't scripting or staging of customer events around the company's offerings. Those kinds of company-customer interactions no longer satisfy most consumers today.
IT IS THE CO-CREATION EXPERIENCE(NOT THE OFFERING) THAT IS THE BASIS OF VALUE FOR EACH INDIVIDUAL.
It is hence, this procedure of participation which is important.
Co-creation may require a dedicated approach from the management to allow consumers to not exactly take over the brand, but definitely have a larger voice share. However the high involvement opportunity it offers with substantial value growth drives commitment from organizational leadership.
Kraft's use of co-creation
Consumers co-create 48 products they want to buyis a case in point.
Use of social media to build online communities for consumer engagement to leverage the collective intelligence and experience of the community emerges as a strong option for organisations interested in securing consumer participation...they may also need to focus on the experience they provide through these communities to the participating population.
There are consumers interested in getting involved in every stage of the Product life cycle from concept, through post launch and beyond. The bottomline is-there are passionate groups of involved customers willing to PARTICIPATE. It is upto the organizations to identify them, build relationships with them and leverage the immense power of the participating community for organizational growth.