Crowd sourcing may not be the wisest thing to do

by Tony Fannin, president, BE Branded

It’s been said that crowd sourcing is the new way to find the best information, products and services. In fact, the business of Search is based on this. For example, Google’s algorithms is built on the premise that the more links a site gets, the better the information it must have regardless of who writes it or creates it. In the early years of search, that may be true. Now, it’s becoming apparent that this is a major flaw. Even Google has admitted to this “hole” and is trying to find a fix. (read “Googled” by Ken Auletta for excellent insights).

Here’s the problem. The “crowd”, more often than not, doesn’t know what is good information and what isn’t. That’s how rumors and misinformation gets traction. Too often people believe, “If it’s on the the internet, it must be true.” or “All these people can’t be wrong.” I do believe the concept of 2 heads are better than 1, but it depends on the two heads. If they are idiots or don’t know what they are doing, I’d rather go with the one head that does know what they are doing. Here are some other interesting information that is coming to light:

• Based on a research report by Edleman in Chicago, there is a significant drop in trust in social media referrals. In 2008 over 45% of people trusted what social media said about a company. By the end of 2009, it dropped to 25%. Almost half!

• The trust in opinions of “average Joe’s” has been steadily decreasing year after year, experts have been gaining trust each year to the tune of 64%, gaining 2 more percentage points over 2009.

So what does all of this mean in terms of marketing, branding, and advertising? For one, though social media is hear to stay, the weight it carries is beginning to diminish. Even Twitter, the current social media darling, is still trying to gain wide acceptance. According to a Business Week survey, the media and advertisers have jumped on the bandwagon, but consumers have not. If a vast majority of consumers don’t buy in, it won’t be a platform for marketers. Second, people are beginning to realize there is a real difference in sources of information. The web has started to become a place where there is too much information that is just chatter with no substance or value. In fact, there’s more useless information online than there is on TV. I go back to the concept of “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.” Voices of real expertise and authority are becoming more valuable and trust-worthy even though they don’t get the largest amounts of links and don’t rank in Google’s top 10 in search. Finally, this opens a window of opportunity to set your brand apart. By being a valuable resource, demonstrating that your brand is truly an expert and educating what are the hallmarks of excellence in your category, you’ll be able to establish a real credibility with your core customer.

If marketers can set themselves apart as experts in what they offer, whether it’s removing stains or delivering the perfect cheesecake experience, they will stand a better chance at making their brands THE voice of authority in their arena. Though the wisdom of crowds, in theory, work at times, most of the innovations and advances come from those who buck the trend, ignore the crowds, and establish themselves as unique. Not a follower.


About Be Branded

Tony Fannin is of President of BE Branded, an integrated marketing firm who helps clients BE Somebody to their customers. If you aren't somebody, then you are commodity.

7 Responses to “Crowd sourcing may not be the wisest thing to do”

  1. I am so glad I discovered your post. Thanks for this. I believe it’s superb that there are still folk in existence who hand out fantastic advice and awesome writing totally free without expecting something inturn. Just consider your self bookmarked and I look forward to reading through your next update.

    • Kelly– Thank you so much for your kind words and for your valuable time. I’m glad you feel there is no pressure to give something in return to me. That’s what I wanted. I’m here to offer help. If you feel my company has to offer what you need, I hope you would consider working with us too. I appreciate the honor of being bookedmarked because I know I don’t do that just for anybody, either. It’s got to add value to my daily life and I’m glad you view our blog that way. I hope we continue to offer advice and insights that meet your needs. Tony

  2. Good information in your blogpost, I watched a report on tv last week about this same thing and since I am going to be married in two weeks and the timing couldn’t have been better! thanks for the ideas!, I have bookmarked, thanks Cari Henandez

    • Cari- Thank you for investing time in reading our blog. I’m glad the information was worth your while. I hope you will continue to find our blog valuable and I invite you to participate as well. I appreciate well-thought out viewpoints, especially if they are different than my own. Also, congratulations on your wedding. –Tony

  3. I think your blog is good. I found it on Yahoo.

  4. i was beginning to think i would probably be the sole guy who thought about this, at least now i learn i’m not nutty 🙂 i will be sure to have a look at a handful of several other blogposts right after i get a tad of caffeine in me, it is actually hard to read without my coffee, adios for now 🙂

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