Yesterday night, KREM and Seats2meet hosted an evening on the relationship between brands and consumers. Purpose? To create a Round Table Friends Manifesto, a successor of the well-known Cluetrain Manifesto. To challenge some brands’ focus on ‘likes’ instead of getting the basics right and to explore what ‘consumer centricity’ really is. Great intention.

Together with Roos van Vugt (Deloitte), Marco Derksen (Upstream/Marketingfacts) and Martin Kloos (SocialEmbassy) I was invited to man ‘the hub’ (the central table in the event setting that would approve or veto statements for the manifesto) and to do a pecha-kucha-ish presentation.

The evening was very interesting. For many reasons. First of all, there was an impressive amount of smart brains in the room. Great to meet so many bright people.
The discussions were pretty interesting as well: what is the real value of a like? Do we need to make a difference between brand you want to connect with on a daily basis and brands you don’t want to connect with at all?
However, these kinds of evenings are bound to end up in social media guru expert evangelist bullshitbingo shoot-outs; consultants pushing their mantras to end up in the manifesto.
And so it did.
It was also telling that more than half of the people attending were social media consultants. For the next time, it might be better to ban the consultants and only have true consumers and corporates in the room.
Finally, manifestos are awesome, but do they really change the way companies and consumers interact?

That is pretty much what my presentation was about. Let’s stop writing manifestos, let’s start changing companies from within. The way to go? Use the language of the people who are in control now, appeal to the excel-fetishists, the ROI-seekers, the technology-sceptics and the others that define the way that business are run now. Writing visions or ideologies won’t get us any further.

But at least writing manifestos is a great way to spend the evening with friends ­čÖé
So, thanks Anneli, Bram, Kim and the others for hosting an pretty remarkable evening.

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