Point of View: The future of advocacy

Molly Flatt

What on earth is a prosumer? It sounds like it might refer to someone following the latest Neanderthal diet or positive psychology programme, but it may well describe you. The term was coined by Alvin Toffer in his 1980 book The Third Wave to describe someone who is both a 'consumer' and a 'professional' or 'producer': essentially, 'consumers unusually interested in [certain] products'. Essentially, people who are evangelical about, and valuable to, their chosen brands.

It's not hard to see why the term is gaining new resonance. It has cropped up in blogs from the likes of Sparked, it is the subject of a recent American Behavioural Scientist paper, 'The Coming of Age of the Prosumer', and it has been fuelled by recent studies suggesting that social media fans not only talk more about brands, but buy more from them too. Consider Forrester's findings that Facebook fans are 79% more likely to purchase and 36% more likely to recommend brands than non-fans.