Welcome to the bloggy home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Percolate and general internet tinkerer. This site is about media, culture, technology, and randomness. It's been around since 2004 (I'm pretty sure). Feel free to get in touch. Get in touch.

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Talking About CGM

I feel like I’ve been going to a lot of conferences lately. I don’t know whether it’s true or not, but after going to Influx Ideas last week, I actually spoke at Nielsen Buzzmetrics’ CGM Summit 2007. My panel was called “Are Brands Prepared for 2010?” and was moderated by none other than Max Kalehoff. Here’s the description:

What are the leading brands doing to rewire their DNA for a world increasingly impacted by CGM? How are they changing the way their companies listen, the way they communicate, and the way they manage customer relationships? How have past CGM experiments and lessons informed marketing innovation and planning for the future? Where are we certain, where are our vulnerabilities?

Anyway, I had lots of thoughts about the future of CGM (consumer generated media), but didn’t necessarily get them all out during the panel. So, I figured I would throw up some of my notes here:

In three years, CGM will be:

  • Integrated into more and more major sites. This is already beginning to happen with Washington Post showing blogs that link to an article or to a lesser extent, Yahoo! including Flickr photos or the New York Times showing which articles are most blogged. Obviously this will lend it an air of credibility and further expose CGM.
  • Much more about testing. I’ve had this theory floating around my head for a while that the future of CGM (especially from an advertising/marketing perspective) is going to be about making a whole bunch of really small investments, seeing which stick and then iterating/investing more on the fly.
  • Accepted as a long-term relationship play rather than a short-term burst strategy. Clients are still focused on ‘viral’, however, CGM is best used as a longer term strategy for developing relationships with customers. (Also on the panel was Bruce Ertmann from Toyota who seems to get this.)

Also mentioned throughout my presentation: Brand as curator, big seed marketing and horizontal media. Although I didn’t get to talk about it, I meant to mention the idea that I am ready to move past just looking at influencers and instead at the gauge of the community you want to influence. I haven’t fully formed this idea, but after reading The Strength of Weak Ties (PDF via Bokardo), it’s something you can expect to read about in the near future.

Finally, back in September I spoke at the Promo Live conference on a panel moderated by Herb Sawyer with the always brilliant Rohit Bhargava and David Armano.

Sorry if the presentation isn’t self explanatory, I am happy to add some voiceover if necessary. Just let me know. Okay, that’s it for now. Sorry for the slow posting lately.

October 25, 2007


  • Charles Frith says:

    I believe that Indigenous Content is being used in Shoreditch these days. I like it instead of the dreaded C word.

  • Noah Brier says:

    Indigenous content . . . I think I like that . . . gotta percolate on it for a bit. Thanks Charles.

  • Myszka says:

    I didn’t need a voiceover to get your presentation. It relayed a simple and important message clearly and succinctly. Hey, thanks for alerting me to Slideshare, too.

  • michael galpert says:

    hey noah,
    i was reading your post and the same time came across this post The User-Generated Content Myth
    and i think cgm or ugc whatever acronym you want to use are really just giving more credit to the amateur market. The rise of the semiprofessional artist/creative has increased with the help of the internets. over at worth1000 hq we are trying to facilitate that creative demographic with http://a.viary.com if you are back in nyc i would love to grab some coffee and hear more of your thoughts on the future of cgm.


  • Noah Brier says:

    Michael, I’m with you mostly. I don’t think there’s an important distinction between amateur and professional anymore. This isn’t an overly new thing and I think it’s mostly a semantic issue. When I refer to UGC or CGM I think am talking about communication that comes from individuals rather than corporations/brands. I think the name is far less important than the impact.

  • Herb says:

    I’ve been toying around with the ‘brand as curator” idea for awhile. I had called it ‘branded choice’ as if you identify with a brand you would more than likely also identify with and content the brand identifies with. Kind of become editors for all the wonderful content out there. For example, lets say I really dig Charles Schwab. I watch their spots and agree with their attitude/voice/brand whatever. I go to their website. On their website they have linked to their recommended/favorite financial information….but all pulled and organized. Now I know they kind of do this already, but it feels more tacked on.

    What branded choice gets at is that there is so much choice out there for content, a brand has a personality and can help choose/find content for you. That way you keep coming back to the brand not just for the product but for its content as well…brand becomes a content portal on the web. Or something like that is rolling around in my head.

  • Noah Brier says:

    Thanks for the comment Herb. I think this is a very interesting idea and something we’ll see more and more of . . . There’s some insurance brand that shows you competitive rates, right? And it seems like a no brainer for a luxury car company to offer additional luxury goods with it.

  • Herb says:

    one more quick note – I read the strong/weak ties as well. Along with the book Herd, been thinking about stuff on similar lines of thoughts. Really like your thought of ‘getting past the influencers’. I’ve been thinking about it in context of recommendations and how do recommendations work, which part of the network influence will influence/recommendations travel to other networks, how. But you’ve added a new wrinkle to think about…more on this later.

  • PieterM. says:

    Check out this article (or if youre French is up to speed go here

    Pretty interesting. eBay takes it one step further even, from brand as a curator to almost brand as a medium! (providing their customers with a platform to communicate)

    I’ll adress my brain on this…should make for some interesting scenarios…

  • Charles Frith says:

    I was in meeting yesterday and I informed that Lynette Webb of Google Future Trends in London is responsible for the term Indigenous Content.

    I like it a lot.

  • Tangerine Toad says:

    Not sure if I buy into this Noah.

    There just aren’t that many people who can create content anyone else wants to see. Even before CGM there was precious little worth reading or viewing.

    Then there’s the appeal of experts.

    NBA.com just launched a feature where readers can post their recap of a game. Now some lunkhead’s recap of the Nets-Celtics game is probably the last thing I want to read. I want to hear about it from a professional sports writer, someone who understands the game and gives me a knowledgeable recap. If I want chatter from other fans, there are plenty of places to get that.

    There’s a limit to how many opinionated morons we’re willing to listen to. Or how many amateurish attempts at humor we’ll download. To me it’s all part of the “Everyone Is Special” strain in our culture and the more people jump onto this, the more obvious it becomes.

    When amateur voices take on more value than expert voices, it’s because the experts aren’t connecting with the audience, aren’t telling them what they really want to know about. But that just means it’s time for a new expert. Not a chorus of them.

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