In the latest issue of Wired UK, a favourite read at freestak HQ, there is an extensive interview with William Adams – also known as Will.I.Am from the Black Eyed Peas. For those who don’t know, this man is not only a hugely successful musician, but now fills his time as Intel’s Director of Creative Innovation, works with Coca-Cola on their Ekocycle recycling strategy, owns a stake in Twitter and Tesla, appears on the BBCs talent show, the Voice and runs his own technology hardware business i.am+. The man is certainly busy.

And whether or not you like his style or wonder at the credibility of a pop-singer-turned-entrepreneur and technology expert, he does have some interesting things so say. Take this nugget from the Wired interview:

‘Consumer’ is a bad name to call people. tomorrow the word looks more like ‘champion’. people have to champion your brand, not just consume. they add value, making you relevant. calling them consumers undermines their power.

That is something we at freestak firmly believe: in the brave new world in which we exist – certainly in the part of it where everyone is connected all the time – the people who believe in and buy your products or services are also the way that you will grow your business. By connecting with them, they will buy the new ‘stuff’ that you produce or offer because they believe in you. And they will encourage others to try your products, bringing your products to an ever-larger market.

How will this happen? Through social media for one thing. People who are passionate about your products or services will sing your company’s praises on social media, telling anyone who asks – and often people who haven’t asked – why they think that what you make or do, is better than anything else available.

And when it comes to running, that is amplified further when the thing that you sell – whether that is shoes or mapping technology or physiotherapy treatments or coaching advice – has a material impact on what they are training for and striving to achieve: a new personal best or a first time over a certain distance for example. If you help people achieve that, they are highly likely to tell the story and promote your product/service

We think that advertising – using static messages to broadcast a message to people that you hope are interested in what you have to say or are going to take what you claim at face value – is losing its appeal in the light of the opportunity to talk directly to the people who are already buying what you make/do and then allowing them to tell everyone they know why they should be using your products or services too.

And for those who don’t already buy what you make or do, social media gives you the opportunity to allow your fans, your advocates, to sell your products for you – give them a platform and they will create genuine endorsements which will have many times the credibility and value that paid advertising has.

Your customers, your fans, are your emissaries: they will go to extraordinary lengths to promote your products provided you interact with them, recognise their importance and give them excuses to talk about your company. And you can do all this without the extortionate cost of advertising. The main thing is to get started (and if you want help, we’re here to do that).


Leave a Comment