Two years ago when I embarked on the journey to help advertisers and agencies understand how the consumer messaging paradigm shift plays a critical role in their world, the average response was; well, a chuckle.

It wasn’t a ‘ha-ha, you’re funny’ kind of chuckle, it was more of a ‘are you kidding me? Consumers taking over creative?’ kind of chuckle. I’m going to go there and say, they’re not chuckling anymore. As a matter of fact, they haven’t been for about a year now as industry wide it’s crystal clear that they need you, Ms, Mr and Mrs consumer.

Regardless of the myriad collection of industry terms (consumer generated messaging, consumer generated advertising, social media, crowdsourcing, etc., most of which are still in debate), one message reveals itself as the essence of the shift. Consumers are THE most critical element in any campaign strategy and execution.

Seems obvious, right? Clearly, if you want to communicate the most relevant message to your buyer, you need to know what resonates with them as a collective. That message needs to be so compelling, that sharing is the natural next step. After all, people share what they care about. I call this being one with the people.

And there you have it;  Ask, and ye shall receive.

Most Winning Creative Work Involves Consumer Participation

The result? 9 out of the top 10 worldwide ‘best of’ campaigns involved consumer input and only 1 was a traditional campaign. Now that’s pretty cool.