An interesting book about the present and future times is Tomi Ahonen and Alan Moore’s Communities Dominate Brands: Business and Marketing Challenges for the 21st Century.
From the book description: [It] is a book about how the new phenomenon of digitally connected and empowered customer-communities, such as blogging, videogaming and mobile phone smart mobs are emerging as a force to counterbalance the power of the business and marketing. The book discusses how disruptive effects of digitalisation and connectedness introduce threats to business opportunities. The authors compellingly illustrate how modern consumers are forming communities and peer-groups to pool their power resulting in a dramatic revolution of how businesses interact with their customers. The book explores the problems faced by branding, marketing and advertising in this decade.
Here is an excerpt from the foreword by Stephen Jones:
It is difficult to put a lens on a developing social trend moving as fast as connected communities but Alan and Tomi have done that. Together they have made a rare and important breakthrough insight, have developed a credible hypothesis and backed it up with validated supporting points. This is not radical misinformed extremist hype. This work is an accurate description of the issue, the opportunity and the crisis confronting marketers if they dont cut loose the shackles of the traditional advertising agency and TV network model and explore the world of possibilities recommended by this book.
Move quickly but act thoughtfully, even slowly. You want to implement this without sending your organization into a tail spin. The traditional marketing company that wastes its investments solely on TV advertising is underpinned by bureaucratic values of safety, efficiency and control. The marketing group that embraces these insights and moves forward to implement them is underpinned by interdependent values of sharing, listening, equity rights, global harmony and synergy. Thats a big leap.
One of the chapters in the book is about Generation-C: Generation-C stands for the Community Generation. The defining and distinguishing characteristic for Gen-C is the continuous connection to and responding to digital communities. This is very different from any other communities. Even a die-hard 40 year old football fan of Chelsea may wear his colours every day and spend most of his free time with friends who are also fans. Yes, he is obviously a member of the Chelsea fan community. But when that Chelsea fan goes to visit his parents and suddenly gets into an argument, he is no longer a Chelsea community member. He probably will tell his Chelsea mates what happened, afterwards, next day at the pub. The difference is that a Gen-C member carries his/her community in the pocket and accesses that community at all times. Thus the young Gen-C member would share the anger and frustration of the argument with parents, within the next few minutes, via a text message to close friends…Members of Generation-C will regularly, on a daily basis, consult with friends and colleagues from their various communities. To do so, they have to have continous access to their network. They must be ‘always-on’ and only the mobile phone allows this.
Tomorrow: On Dialogue
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