Listening. Communispace now has hundreds of private communities that its client companies are using to learn about their customers (.....). The other class of listening companies are the brand monitoring companies, and the track record here is great. Research giant Nielsen bought BuzzMetrics (...)
Talking. Talking with the Groundswell is tricky, but there are plenty of agencies ready to help you with it. After building dozens of campaigns and sites, Blast Radius was bought by mega-agency Wunderman. Brains on Fire ignited the spectacular success of Fiskateers (...)
Energizing. Ratings and reviews are the easiest way to energize customers to sell others, and the companies that provide them are taking off. On behalf of its clients, Bazaarvoice's
clients have generated over 10 billion customer reviews has served over 10 billion reviews to consumers. PowerReviews works with over 200 retailers (...)
Supporting. Support forums work -- they please customers and they reduce costs.(...) The community space is crowded, but other companies with growing client lists include Jive Software, Awareness, and Mzinga/Prospero.
Embracing. Startups that enable clients to source ideas from their customers have a bright future, because customer-generated innovation is hot right now. Salesforce.com bought Crispy News and turned it into Salesforce Ideas, which powers idea sites for Dell and Starbucks (...)*****************
So, there will basically 2 ways for startups to get into the branding 2.0 game. First is to be a tool provider like these guys above. The list, however is getting crowded. The opportunity is in the aggregation area. Sort of like a Reuters equivalent to help marketing people track the conversations in all these different places in a single dashboard, using graphs and charts to highlight trends.
Another opportunity I can see in the tool space is in the virtual worlds. Many of the current startups in the virtual space are helping businesses build virtual representations of their real products. In other words, same old way of pushing marketing messages. What we need are tools to help companies 'listen' in the virtual space. I have stated the reasons why this can yield more benefits here.
The second area for startup to play is to use these tools and change the structure of the industry, rather than helping somebody else to do it. Build a new value, based on listening and enabling collaboration. Threadless has done it for t-shirts. Lego factory has done it for lego. What other industries need to listen more and is begging for startups to create new value chains?
See the first post here.