From mythmaker to gardener
Understanding the world of participatory brands

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Author(s): Anita Black, Mitra Martin, Keith Navratil
Collection: Qualitative 2007
Keywords: In-Depth Interviews, Online Focus Groups

ESOMAR Best Paper Award 2007/2008
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We conceived a study in which we explored what makes people act, at the most fundamental level – and, further, what makes people act on behalf of brands. In this paper, we’ll explain what’s behind an openness to act on behalf of brands, what needs this fulfills, what brands need to do and be in order to inspire action, what they get out of it, and finally what all this means for us as qualitative researchers.

Our participation journey led us to a clear understanding that successful brands today focus less on the external project of how to create participation, and more on the internal project of how to create useful, engaging and distinctive brands. This internal brand focus results in a magnetism that makes people instinctively want to participate. Compelling and irresistible brands attract organic participation that builds the brand story and advances consumers’ relationship with the brand. On the other hand, participative communications risk remaining outside of the brand context and thus lack meaning and power.

Our learnings clearly demonstrate to us that the role of researchers must evolve in order to help clients take advantage of the current world and become more worthy of the participative energy of the people we speak with in our professional lives.

Date of publication: 12.11.2007
ISBN: 92-831-0212-6
Order Code: S324_16
Number of pages: 24

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