Brands as Living Systems

Johnny Moore is discussing Brands as Living Systems.

He talks about companies wishing for word of mouth, but not really word of mouth:

They distrust spontaneity because it threatens the perfection of their formula for how things should be. It’s one example of the reverence for the abstract and the material, over the relationship and the people (more on this soon). It leads to the deadening formulaic “have a nice day” customer service instead of allowing human beings the possibility of creating some fun together in a way that works for them in the moment.

Developing software products has similar problems: do you really really want user involvement, or do you only want to develop the product in a formulaic way?

If you follow the first road, you could get some living software, that lasts a long time, because the users get to live in the software, and become inhabitants, rather than just users. If the inhabitants really feel they have an influence of where the software is going, you might get viral marketing. This approach is scary, since it forces the product developer to relinquish some control over the product to the inhabitants.

The second approach doesn’t prevent success: the pre-defined vision doesn’t change much, so it is probably easier to create pre-defined marketing material for it. If the formula doesn’t stick, you’re in trouble though. You also risk continuing friction between your vision and that of the users.

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