Harnessing 'people power': Can participation-led approaches impact beyond a brand's current fanbase?

Roger McKerr

Participation has been a buzz-word for a long time in the world of marketing and brand communications. It seems as though clients and agencies have been constantly experimenting with participative brand communication approaches since the arrival of the internet on the mainstream consumer scene some 15 years ago.

And over the past couple of years the extent of usage and experimentation has gathered pace as participative, interactive channels of communication have exploded and become so much more capable and user-friendly, whilst 'traditional' media such as TV and print are increasingly consumed 'on demand' or in other user-driven formats across an array of digital devices.

In fact, it's possible to feel that we're going through a 'tipping point' that is seeing a decisive shift from the dominance of interruptive, self-contained communications towards the emergence of participative, interactive relationships as the dominant force in the brand communication landscape.