This week a site I've been working on, Hey! Nielsen, just launched to public beta. It's 100% about CGM, and has echoes of the first "consumer expression" business I started out of P&G, PlanetFeedback. In a nutshell, Hey! Nielsen provides a platform for consumers to rate, review, rant, react, and respond to all manner of content related to entertainment: TV, movies, music, personalities, websites (e.g Facebook, MySpace,), and more. In the coming months, a Spanish language version of the site, Oye! Nielsen, will roll-out. Nielsen essentially wants consumers to be heard, and its not being shy in suggesting the consumer opinions and non-personally identifiable data will be shared with big decision makers in the entertainment industry. What's clear in this new age of control is that the "power to be heard" has unique and important "social currency," and certain brands (Nielsen believes it's one of them) have unique credibility, as well as years of expertise in panel management for research purposes, to be the conduit. This is a big reason why I keep pounding away in this blog at the importance of business functions like consumer affairs in the new marketing mix; importantly, brands need to "mind their influencers," and the vast majority of them are right under their noses, eager to talk to them, with or without advertising stimuli.
Consumer Megaphone as Corporate Matchmaker: Anyway, I just returned from a couple launch events and meetings in New York, and it's all pretty exciting -- and for many reasons beyond the obvious. This was an unusual project for Nielsen, and certainly the subject of lots of very healthy "conversation." Although my division Nielsen BuzzMetrics played an important role in the launch (strategic consulting, BlogPulse integration, marketing tactics), the initiative was coordinated and led right smack in the center by Nielsen Communications, a group which successfully (and quickly) brought together dozens of key stakeholders throughout the company to get us to this first phase (we have much more to do). There's an "Exportable AHA" (my new term for "takeaway") here. Consumer expression is serving as a powerful stimulus and catalyst to unite key stakeholders in large, sometimes siloed, organizations. I see this in every "CGM 101" training session I lead at major corporations. Everyone, it seems, has a stake (perhaps even some degree of fear and apprehension) in the "new rules of consumer expression," from communications and public relations to marketing and operations. The "vocal" consumer is what brings them together. On more than a few occasions, workshop attendees have approached me and said my presentation represented the first time they had ever met or interacted with some of their own colleagues. As I see it, that's both a breakthrough, and a huge opportunity.
Anyway, give the site a test run! It's not out to become another Facebook or MySpace, but rather a very focused "open" platform on the very topics Nielsen is already tracking. I like to think of it as the place where the "black box meets the soap box." Also, if you know of folks who'd like to play a leadership role in this new venture, shoot me or Jennifer Geissel a message.