Activism

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Summary. This document is about the importance of grass-roots consumer action to help support and promote products, services, and companies that make the world a better place. One of the best ways consumers can get involved and have an impact is through unpaid product, service, and company endorsements and reviews.

History. It’s long been a component of the marketplace that word-of-mouth advertising is the best kind of advertising. Companies encourage their customers to tell others about their product and sometimes even use incentives. Some banks and cellular phone companies will give credit for referral business, and it’s common for organizations to broadcast to their members, “Vote for us” when competing for funding from sources like the RefreshEverything.com project by Pepsi.

New Era, New Challenges. In the age of the Internet, word-of-mouse has replaced word-of-mouth advertising and the physical democratic checks-and-balances of public face-to-face contact are removed. Rather than one vote per person, an individual can have a huge impact. Serious problems arise from anonymity on the web, and this creates an erosion of information integrity on the Internet. Companies can inflate their perceived popularity in the marketplace by paying employees to generate positive votes or reviews with anonymous user accounts. Companies can pay for people to place negative reviews about competing products, services, and companies. Rumor campaigns can be launched.

Negativity Versus Positivity. Combined with the above factors, we live in a society of greater negativity. At least, those who bark the loudest seem to be those who are most negative.

Surviving and Thriving. The book, What Would Google Do? offers some excellent guidelines for businesses to survive and thrive when faced with the above challenges.

The Demise of the Exceptional. Have you ever discovered a wonderful product, service, or company that seemed truly exceptional and above average and then been mystified why the product was discontinued or the company went out of business. Sometimes a smear campaign or simply misinformation in the press can result in the demise of a very good product, service, or company.

Cast Your Vote. If you currently know of services, products, companies, or organizations that you really value and you think they offer great value to people and society, it’s important that you consider giving those products greater positive exposure through whatever channels you have available. That’s your ability to vote in the marketplace. Unpaid genuine endorsements carry much more weight than positive or negative advertisements. As a consumer, you have great power to influence the success of a resource you value. By giving a product, service, company, or organization an unpaid positive product endorsement or review, you give them something of real value. If your endorsement is paid, you are governed by the Federal Trade Commission by various laws restricting what you can say, and somewhat limiting your freedom of speech. However, if you are not a paid advertiser, you have greater freedom.

“There are quite a few services, products, companies, and organizations that I really like because of their quality, value, innovation, and/or company practices. Some of the companies that I provide free advertising, endorsements, and product placement for include Apple, Skechers, The Red Avocado (a local vegan organic restaurant that uses mostly local foods). When a company and its products or services are so exceptional, and impact our world in a positive way, I want to make sure they flourish in the future for me and others to enjoy.” ~ Gregory Johnson

Future Equity. You have a future equity in the products, services, companies, and organizations you promote. It’s almost like owning a stock. You want the stock to have greater value in the future. In the same way, you want products to improve in the future. Companies benefit from customer efforts to promote and establish their products and services. It’s almost like sending in a financial donation to that company — pure profit with no expense. Something the company would have otherwise paid for in the form of advertising, is now free. That leaves more money left for product development. The primary beneficiary will be you when the next, new and improved model is released.

Video. Below is a video by Gregory Johnson describing this phenomenon.

Creative Marketing and Promotion. In the video below, Gregory Johnson describes a creative and effective product promotion technique.

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