Looks like the agency’s are starting to explore social networking and community relations. Tara points us to a new online review site developed by Blast Radius (a Canadian agency) called Sutori. It’s a good concept and one that I’m sure I’m not the only one who has talked about ways to implement in recent months… community reviews and feedback on companies.
What’s really interesting about this, aside from the idea of direct and meaningful feedback to begin with, is that an ad agency is building it. Good on Blast for taking this chance. I get how, from their perspective, this can provide a wealth of information on what consumers think about a particular company, or product, which Blast can monetize and use in their client campaigns (sorry, I’m never one to think anyone does anything for altruistic reasons… not in the agency world at least…)…(I could see it as two levels of packages: free summary and aggregate data which the brand can then try and disseminate and manage themselves and the “premium” package, available free of charge to current Blast customers, and for a fee to non-Blast customers… the premium package will most likely provide metrics and analysis of the data for the company). But it’s still taking a chance nonetheless; you never know what people will tell you if you give them an easy way to do so.
I like that the “three j’s” are thinking in terms of how to maintain civility in the reviews, and the plea to “contain a certain level of goodwill towards the brand, product or company you‚Äôre writing about” is a noble one, but, like I said, people are people and if they’re pissed off they’ll say so… and that could make a Blast client cranky. So it’s a chance, but a good one.
Of course, as with anything social networking related that is initiated by a company, it will need to remain authentic and transparent. Consumers are getting wise to PR, marketing and ad agency folk jumping into message boards and saying positive things about a brand without disclosure… I hope Blast has a strategy for combating this inevitable trend.
[Update] John from Blast clarifies the issue surrounding their intent to monetize in the comments. And, I apologize for the muddy title… the “are you ready” refers to brands hearing from consumers, not Sutori from me ;)
Technorati Tags: Sutori, consumer feedback, reviews