Most of the work we do here at MotiveLab focuses on understanding the attitudes, interest and motivations of the people using a product or service. Understanding an audience enables us to design programs for engagement that create trusting relationships.
Occasionally we are asked to design social media programs that alter behavior so that a new service or product becomes desirable. Creating new product categories is not new but it is very difficult because you have to get analysts and the media to agree that we need a new category.
In social media the analysts and traditional media are less important. Changing behavior is about getting a large community of people to agree that a change is necessary or desirable. If you want to see this process unfolding, check out the PickensPlan. It’s a five minute idea for moving away from our dependence on foreign oil and toward natural gas and wind. Energy solution aside, this is one of the most well-integrated and thought through social media sites I’ve seen lately. There are no Hollywood-style movies, t-shirts to make or games to play just solid community building. Click around the web site and you’ll notice two things straight away. The content is just under five minutes – that’s it. I hope more substance will follow but at this point participation is much more important than pushing content. The second thing you’ll see is a host of opportunities to participate. From Twitter to forums they make it easy to link T. Boon into your community.
Granted, T. Boon is not creating a new product category but at the end of the day there is not much difference between convincing people they need to drive natural gas cars and convincing them they need a walkman.