Brandworks University® 2009
In this third installment of summaries from Brandworks 2009 presentations, Scott Cook of Intuit takes on the value of what he calls “user contribution systems” (UCS) and how successful companies are leveraging UCS to jumpstart their brands performance.
For more on Brandworks 2009, view previous entries from this blog or check out the whitepaper.
How to Tap Into and Leverage Conversations Your Employees and Customers are Already Having
Scott Cook, Founder, Intuit
At Brandworks University 2009, Scott Cook, Founder of Intuit, helped us learn why volunteerism is not just for charity. Cook introduced us to the phenomenon of what he calls “User Contribution Systems” (UCS) and how they are “fueling some of the world’s fastest growing and most competitively advantaged organizations,” according to Cook’s Harvard Business Review article.
As defined by Cook, contribution systems are, “Software, social systems and conversations that directly solve problems for other people by collecting and leveraging people’s contributions, behaviors or data.”
Admittedly, Cook was initially incredibly skeptical that people would volunteer their own time or knowledge to contribute to this type of model, and even if they did, he wondered who would trust the advice of a stranger over that of a documented expert.
The answer is: a lot of people. Cook went on to study the success of sites like Amazon, Wikipedia, and Skype that have experienced unprecedented success by leveraging user contributions to create value for the companies. It turns out that people are more than willing to offer up their own goods, services, or advice in order to help solve problems for other people.
It is this willingness that makes User Contribution Systems a wise choice for companies who want to present value to consumers at a low cost. The key take-away of Cook’s speech was that it’s OK to fail, to experiment, and to try again to find a way to integrate user contributions and conversations into your business model. Of course, not everyone will be the next Amazon, but utilizing user contributions can help reduce costs, entertain consumers, forge relationships, provide personal recommendations and, “create a community around an important topic that will help promote engagement with the brand,” said Cook.
Cook urged all in attendance to begin experimenting with a UCS model, because “if you’re not conducting an exercise like that at your organization, you risk missing the boat on a sea of change that’s transforming business.”