Thursday, June 25, 2009

Is Your Strategic Lens Clear?

I saw an article yesterday in MediaPost by David Berkowitz that led me to the 360i Social Marketing Playbook. I was attracted by the strategic approach David described and immediately downloaded it.

The chapter on the “strategic lens” alone was worth it. The 56-page report (download from this page) is well worth reading. It covers the strategic waterfront from preparing to engage in social media marketing to metrics for measuring success and includes an introduction by Randall Rothenberg and another interesting perspective on the future of marketing by Jeremiah Owyang.

The strategic lens is especially relevant because it focuses the organization on its strategic needs and abilities. That’s important, because I believe many firms are still in the early “we’ve got to have a Facebook page” absence of objectives and overarching strategy. In his article David points out that 360i already had considerable expertise in the social arena and used the Social Marketing Playbook to advance their corporate strategy. That’s walking the walk! That would also mean that they had learned the particular etiquette of the social media. And finally, the importance of providing value to customers can’t be overstated, given the number of choices customers have today.
This publication should be required reading for all social marketers. Their ending checklist is good, and gives a sense of the topics covered, but the entire publication should be a “read and heed” for all of us!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Parsing Generational Differences in Social Media Use

I was as surprised as everyone else I know to find that older demographic segments were adopting Facebook and Twitter until I began to think about the reasons. They include keeping up with our younger family, friends and colleagues and having time to learn to use new social media platforms. That assumes the platforms offer relevant benefits—and they do, to all generations. However, the pattern of differences in motives and usage between generations is fascinating.
It’s well summarized by this graphic from the Pew Internet and American Life Project. The slideshow, below, focuses on teenagers. That’s a group we know to be Internet-savvy and social, but they have their own pattern of uses.

The slideshow is worth paging through, but here are a few of the key findings:

• 93% of US teens use the Internet. No surprise there.
o 87% of parents of teens go online (slide 4). Hopefully some of that time is spent monitoring what their teens are doing.
• 64% of teens are content creators and they solicit feedback on their content (slides 10,11). While the content may not have lasting literary or artistic merit, what does it mean that they are creating and sharing?
• 91% use social networks to keep in touch with offline friends. Here’s a quote worth considering, “Rather than replace offline relationships with online ones, social media tools work best when they augment relationships that have other dimensions.” I’m not about to downplay the dangers to teens of people they meet online, but that’s not the reason most of them go online. Have social networks largely replaced the telephone for my generation and email for more recent ones? I think so.

The report recommends (slide 20):

o Connect with teens using the tools they already know. That’s essential advice for all the generations. It’s the essential message of the pyramid.
o Make your resources infinitely sharable. Teens (and Gens X and Y) are prone to share information. Older generations, including Boomers, are active online but much less likely to share content.
o Create opportunities to collaborate. Give them opportunities to do things they like to do!

I keep coming back to my classroom mantra—developing social media strategy is really hard! The differences in usage patterns are a major reason. The Pew Internet and American Life Project is the best source I’ve found for a lot of wonderful data. Search the generational monikers on their site to find important data about your target audience. And don’t make the mistake of assuming that groups only a few years apart in age use the Internet and the social media platforms in the same way. They don’t!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Rock the Outdoors!

Some of my best post ideas come from friends as is the case with the Nature Rocks campaign from The Nature Conservancy. Thanks!

This is a complex, highly-integrated campaign that’s rather difficult to pick apart on two levels. The first is The Nature Conservancy program itself. The second is its relationship to a program sponsored by another national environmental organization.

TNC itself is sending the welcome page (left below) to its own email list. I didn’t get the original email, so I don’t know whether they sent the page itself or a text link to it. The welcome page is the home page of a campaign microsite. The objective of this campaign is explicit; empower parents to enjoy the outdoors this summer with their children by giving them necessary tools. The page has a user-submitted image that changes daily and the opportunity to submit your own nature pictures. When you click through you find a robust content page (right below).
The main campaign page lists outdoor activities in the left bar and more in-depth planning resources on the right bar. I looked at some, not all, of the Nature Activities. There’s lots of information and some interactivity (a carbon footprint calculator). Their newsletter is described as the Great Places Network; interesting but a bit confusing.

In terms of integration, look at the nav bar at the top of the Nature Rocks page and the TNC home page, right. The TNC nav bar graces the top of both pages. (No icon for Nature Rocks; the My Nature Page takes you to the campaign page).

In one sense, the duplication of the nav bar is good integration. It, however, makes it rather difficult to navigate around the Nature Rocks site. From most of the activities page you can use the back button (once you discover that Home takes you to the TNC home page!) to get back to the Nature Rocks main page. On the newsletter signup page I couldn’t get back at all. I had to close out and that closed me out of the entire site. This could easily have been fixed by a Back to the Nature Rocks Home Page text link at the top of each page. Simple usability testing! But overall, a great site with a succinct mission statement at the top of each page.

I didn’t set up a My Nature Page, although I’m a huge fan of personal pages and content feeds. What it reminded me of, though, is a classic question from CRM. When groups get too enthused about the concept I ask, “Do you want to have a relationship with your ketchup?” In the traditional context, most people answer “No.” Web 2.0 has changed that; think back to the Heinz promotions. But it hasn’t changed the basic premise. Each of us, individual or family, has the time and energy to manage only a few relationships. When we set up a personal page and invest time and effort in it, will we want to change? Think first mover advantage here, although better ideas can always trump.

When I searched to find out what kind of PR they were getting I discovered a whole other aspect of the campaign. Briefly, it’s a national campaign sponsored by The Children and Nature Network. The objective of the campaign is to provide local grassroots organizations with tools to help children experience the outdoors. It links to a Nature Rocks main page, which lists TNC, REI as well as C&NN as the partners in the endeavor.

By now, are you confused? Probably! Unless you follow the links, you don’t see how it all fits together. That’s the marketer perspective—and when you take the trouble to tease it out, both the C&NN and TNC programs have clear objectives, my signal that there’s a significant underlying strategy. Each is one piece of the puzzle, and there obviously are others.

The visitor doesn’t care. There’s great information on each site. The sites link together to provide more good content; they provide a pretty good user experience, and they really do offer tools to parents who are challenged in terms of outdoor experience for their children.

A word about REI. I saw their partnership in the first press release I found. I couldn’t find anything else that touted their involvement—including anywhere on their web site. REI does a lot of good things. Why fail to promote one of them? I’ve written a lot lately about cause-related marketing because I think it's a great way to create positive brand associations while doing real good.

This is a great program and any parent can find tools for successful outdoor experience. A lot of parents will find it valuable. Kudoos to TNC and other organizations who are getting the word out about these tools!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Compensating Mommy Bloggers--The Virtue of Transparency

This post was originally published in the ReachingWomenDaily blog.

As I recounted in the first post in this series, I originally became fascinated with mommy blogs by watching my daughter, a new mother at the time. I gradually became aware of their potential as marketing media, although in those early days, I was thinking mostly about their value for targeted online advertising.

I was also intrigued by the number of blogs that were busily distributing coupons.I should have realized sooner that there was more to the coupon activity than meets the eye. It began to dawn on me when I saw this press release and visited the Jessica Knows blog. Her right nav bar has clear indications that she is affiliated with various brands. She also has a clear disclosure statement.

This blog is a personal blog written and edited by me. This blog does accept forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, or paid topic insertions. We will and do accept and keep free products, services, travel, event tickets, and other forms of compensation from companies and organizations. The compensation received will never influence the content, topics or posts made in this blog. The owner(s) of this blog is sometimes compensated to provide opinion on products, services, websites and various other topics. Even though the owner(s) of this blog receives compensation for some of our posts or advertisements, we always give our honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experiences on those topics or products. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the bloggers’ own. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question. This blog may contain content which might present a conflict of interest. This content may not always be identified. To get your own policy, go to

For several months there has been a lot of buzz about compensating bloggers (WSJ, subscription required) but most of it hasn’t focused specifically on the mommy blogosphere. Here’s a good example; this post explains the controversy surrounding Chris Brogan’s Kmart posts and links to Chris’s reply. The controversy raged for awhile even though Chris’ posts were clearly labeled as being sponsored. The mommy blogosphere is so active there are now various lists of top ten mom blogs. This one focuses on the coupon blogs. I took a look at all 10 and found the following:

• Only one had a disclosure statement and it seems word-for-word the same as the one above. It probably came from the same place. Good for these 2 bloggers!
• Most of the others give clear evidence of monetization. I’m basing that on the blogs being hosted and design and navigation suggesting the use of a professional programmer.

My sample size of 11 blogs wouldn’t pass the “representative” test, but I think the results are compelling. Mommy bloggers are being compensated in various ways and they aren’t bothering to disclose it.What should marketers do? I think it’s obvious that they should require a reasonable level of disclosure. The disclosure statement in use seems to cover the waterfront and it would make sense to require it of affiliates. Perhaps what the business is supplying to bloggers makes a difference, so I’d further suggest:

• Coupons. The mere distribution of coupons through blogs doesn’t seem to create a huge issue. Do users care where coupons come from? I don’t think so! Is there sometimes paid travel or other compensation for the couponing affiliates? It appears so, and disclosure of that would be desirable.
Product descriptions and ratings. Full disclosure is required when products are being discussed. Consumers have come to rely heavily on peer ratings, and they want to know if the recommenders are truly peers or whether they are compensated endorsers.
Content. Be sure to brand any content that is made available for use in the blogosphere. That protects both sides.

Wal-Mart seems to have gotten it right with their Elevenmoms blog. It’s linked to the Wal-Mart site and the bloggers and nature of their activities are disclosed. From there, it’s a matter of how well done and useful the blog is. If consumers find value, they will use it. And Wal-Mart, apparently having learned its lesson a couple of years ago, isn’t letting itself in for brand-damaging disclosures.

Transparency Rules!

Author Notes: The second post in this series can be found on RWD. Soon after this post was written the FTC began an investigation of compensated blogging.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Cisco Engages B2B Customers in Idea Generation

In my early days writing about the web, I remember my editor saying that I just had to read a book entitled Net Ready that focused on Cisco Systems’ thoughtful use of the web, especially connecting its customers to provide support to one another. That was easily a decade ago but the title well describes Cisco’s continuing innovation of Internet marketing programs.

Cisco recently launched a promotion for its WebEx conferencing system that makes good use of both social media and cause-related marketing. Called Pass the Ball, it asks people to submit ideas that can help change the world and to rate the ideas of others. Each time an idea is submitted or rated, Cisco makes a donation to Teachers without Borders.

I count 10 categories of ideas ranging from Education/Innovation with 117 ideas currently to Sports/Entertainment with 26. (What does it say about their target audience that Arts/Culture has more ideas than Sports at 36? Some of the other categories have a predictably high level of activity, but that comparison is fascinating!)

They are working the promo aggressively with activity on Facebook and Twitter, especially. The Twitter “ad” on this page appears to be a live feed instead of a “safe” static capture as is sometimes done.

In looking for information, I ran across their recent Connected Life campaign. It had a different scope (it didn’t seem to focus on a specific brand, but instead on their corporate theme) and it attracted over 600 entries from a selected set of countries. I don’t know what their success metrics are, but 600 entries looks pretty good to me. The implication is that Cisco knows how to involve and engage their totally B2B audience, and it seems reasonable to assume this benefits their brands like WebEx.

It also suggests another issue. I read somewhere recently that one social media practitioner disputed the idea that there are social media programs/campaigns (I use the 2 terms interchangeably). The argument was that social media involvement is an ongoing process, not a campaign with a beginning and end. The Cisco programs seem to illustrate the issue.

Corporate social media involvement has to be an ongoing process; you just can’t turn it on and off, you have to stay involved. Equally important, corporate marketing departments have to learn from each social media foray and practice continuous improvement. At the same time, there can be individual programs like these two from Cisco that have distinct beginnings and endings. The skill then becomes integrating these promotions into an overall, long-term social media strategy.

Another important integration issue—interesting, isn’t it?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Engagement--The New PR Paradigm?

This one I picked up on Twitter from @mattrhodes of Fresh Networks in London. It’s an instructive look at PR in the age of social media. The concept of public engagement is an interesting one. The emphasis on search as central to PR—and to social media in general, I would add—is important. Their summary of the tools of public engagement (slide 25) is worth study. I’d encourage you to page through the presentation. The media data in “chapter 1” is the same refrain, but it sets the stage for PR having to work differently, especially in the light of a faltering newspaper industry.

In following Matt’s Tweet to this presentation I also discovered a new site, Issuu. It offers online publishing services, free to the public with a paid platform for business and is headquartered in Copenhagen. I was particularly interested in its stated ability to create online magazines; you can see that from the way the slideshow plays on their viewer. It looks like a site worth trying out.

Consider the trail of influence here—a presentation by a global PR firm, brought to the attention of a US blogger by a British social marketer, published on a Danish site. Is this not an example of the “New Influencers?”

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Importance of Community Monitoring

Marshall Kirkpatrick of ReadWriteWeb sent me a copy of his recent Guide to Online Community Management. It’s a comprehensive, well-done guide that is recommended for anyone serious about the new position of community manager—either hiring one or being one.

I was on their distribution list because they picked up on a post of several months ago about monitoring community. In it I said that even with the help of a consultant it would take 3 to 6 months of serious effort to build a meaningful community. The report says that’s actually a short time, even with help, and in retrospect I couldn’t agree more. I also find interesting the comment that the more cost-effective long-term solution is an internal community manager.

It’s a 75-page guide, and I can’t cover all the issues they discuss, but I’d like to hit a few high points. Social media is not advertising, is it even marketing? Maybe. Is it more public relations and customer service? Quite possibly.

They do touch on the universal questions, “Should we have/do. . .?” In terms of corporate blogs, they see them as valuable for all except the businesses that refuse to devote sufficient time to them, especially in the midst of a crisis. I think that’s right on. Twitter they also see as invaluable. I’m a Twitter convert and absolutely see its uses. I follow a number of marketers who consistently provide good info in their Tweets and I greatly appreciate them. I also brutally unfollow people who are self-serving or fatuous (that’s a nice old-fashioned word that fits a lot of what I see). I don’t see Twitter as very useful for personal communication, but it’s a great professional asset and “value” is the point. The guide suggests being cautious about spending a lot of time on a corporate Facebook page because returns are hard to achieve. I’d also agree with that.

There’s a lot of focus on the importance of community managers in start-ups. They argue that a CM can be one of the early hires and one of the most cost effective. If you believe in the power of community , that makes sense. The alternative is traditional marketing with a sizeable budget. Community may make more sense for the start-up, but what about the established business? Deborah Ng provides a perspective from an established web business:

Do all businesses need a CM? I’m not sure. I think any company with a heavy Web presence would do well to have someone to spread the word and find out what makes its audience or client base happy. CM’s establish personal relationships and are more invested in the product or service than your usual publicist for hire. Plus, we know the social networks, we know the Web, and we know the bloggers. BlogTalkRadio wouldn’t have hired me if I was just Joe off the street. Being a pro blogger and being able to speak with other bloggers put me ahead of the other candidates. p. 21

What does it take to make a community successful? In a nutshell, a lot of hard work! But it has to be hard work that understands the nature of community. According to Justin Thorp from ClearSpring:

Your users are the lifeblood of your community. You want to treat them like you’d treat guests in your house. Otherwise, like me, they’re going to make their way to the exits and not come back. One of the benefits of the Web 2.0 era we live in is that there are lots of places I could spend my time.” That’s the kind of plain-spoken, utility-based approach that all parties could probably agree with. That’s language that other people in a company could likely hear from a community manager and agree with (emphasis mine). p. 43

It’s an important part of the job of community manager to do the internal marketing that supports the community effort. That includes, but is not limited to, the importance of good metrics. Isn’t it interesting that efforts like lead generation are easily measured in social media and others like brand development are hard to track—just like in traditional marketing media! They also point to the 90/9/1 rule—it can be hard for a new community manager to remember that only 1% are likely to become “hardcore contributors.”

There’s a lot more, but I’d like to end with Heidi Miller’s tounge-in-cheek warings about using social media:

Treat people in your new social networks as prospects, not friends. Make sure that you constantly bombard them with one-way messages about how great your product is.

Be in a hurry to show “results.” Forget that “Connections over time equal trust” (--Tara Hunt); insist on showing immediate sales, hits, and click-throughs from your blog, podcast, Twitter, or Facebook page with no concern for building relationships with your friends and participants.

Keep it impersonal; sounds like a corporation. Avoid speaking in a human voice; always “regret any inconvenience we may have caused you,” instead of saying “sorry we messed up.” People love to interact with stale, sterile impersonal corporations, right?

Be the same. Never change. Keep on doing what you’re doing. Don’t bother to differentiate yourself from your competition; just stick with what you know. Never reach out.

Be afraid. Let your fear of loss of control of the conversation cause you to treat social media like traditional media. p. 45

As I said, there’s a lot more. The report is probably a bit pricey for a casual read, but for community managers—or those who need to have one—it’s must reading!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Social Media Experts On the Client and Agency Side

Thanks to Tom Martin’s Tweet, I read this morning's article in Ad Age and his comment, along with the writer’s response and another interesting comment. I found something to agree with in all of them. I was also reminded of the buzz a couple of weeks ago about the NYT hiring a “social media expert.” Finally, what seems like an eon ago, I wrote about looking within your own organization for (young) people who understood social media.

I found the most compelling commentary on the NYT issue to be from Hubspot. They said the NYT needed to do 3 things. I’m paraphrasing, because I think their three recommendations apply to all organizations:

1. Train all marketers on the basics of SEO. Sites need to be designed for optimization and all content needs to be written for search. Marketers must demand that, even if they are not designing sites and creating content themselves. Hubspot is entirely correct that going back and reworking for search is costly and often less effective.
2. Train all marketers on social media. Rather than having one person alone responsible for social media, train the entire company on it, and get everyone involved. . .
3. Provide an ongoing inbound marketing training program for everyone. This will allow for continued learning and development as the tools and technologies change, and it can be a forum for sharing best practices and case studies of things that have worked well.

Amen to all of that! Social media is not the technology. It’s an attitude of transparency and inclusion that has to permeate the entire organization. (Does that remind anyone of the marketing concept as studied in Marketing 101?)

The agency issue is even more challenging. For me also, it brings back earlier attempts to bring, first direct marketing and later, digital marketing into the agency skill set. Both proved problematic.

Agency people who have specific media expertise are essential to carrying out campaigns. Whether media experts are in the best position to integrate social media into strategies and convince clients of their (long term) usefulness is questionable. It’s for sure that most businesses don’t understand how to integrate social media into marketing. Are account managers well enough versed in the new media to explain and persuade? I wonder.

On the client side, I’m convinced that making effective use of social media requires a careful process of organizational change management. The Hubspot recommendations pick up on some of that. They don’t highlight the need for a champion at a senior organizational level.

Social media personnel in agencies (I can’t say that without assuming some dedicated expertise!) have to redouble their efforts to demonstrate the value of their work, as I suggested in the metrics post last week. In time, they have to show a clear ROI. That’s relatively easy to do in areas like lead generation and hard to do in brand development. We should not let the difficulty of measuring brand efforts skew our efforts toward tactical uses at the expense of long-term brand building.

There are major challenges and roadblocks on both the agency and the client side. There’s a lot of internal marketing needed in both environments! Change management again!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Social Media Metrics Worth Noting

I’ve writer before about the pressing need for integrated metrics systems for social media. All the platforms provide metrics, but tracking them individually quickly becomes an impossibly large and complex task. Last week I was interested to receive an email announcing that Andiamo Systems, a provider of social media metrics, had been acquired by Techrigy. I took a quick look and was interested enough to set up a free account and take it for a trial run. I entered my five free keywords--the local wildlife sanctuary with which I work and keywords related to one of our current projects and created my trial account.

I first ran a search for roughly the last ten months, expecting to see results of more active blogging during that time. What I found was a tremendous amount of conversation on Trip Advisor and other local and travel sites. The general tenor was “great place to visit,” but I gleaned one useful nugget on Trip Advisor. There’s free local bus service that goes right by the sanctuary. It was recommended as much better than riding a bicycle on a busy two-lane highway. That’s a useful piece of information to add to our web page! Since then I’ve been getting daily reports by email. That’s not desirable for any high volume use; focusing on the dashboard that gives the most pertinent reports would be much better.

A word about the service. Techrigy has a huge database compiled by daily monitoring of social media including blogs, wikis, discussion forums, video and photo sites, mainstream media sites, microblogs and social networks. Searches are run on this database, not on the web itself.

Their demos page gives the best overview of the kinds of reports available. As you can see, the categories are numerous and each provides multiple reports and opportunities to drill down. Their professional plans page lists programs beginning at $600 a month.

There are lots of interesting ways to filter search data, but I found two to be of particular interest. One is a rating of the popularity of the source. I’ve searched the website for a definition but can’t find it. However, I also find the word “authority” used in the same context, and it seems to me that the meaning is the same. Wikipedia gets a 10. What I see when I look at a report for the same post is a popularity rating of 0 for our member-oriented blog (few links is my guess) and a 7 for Cape Cod Today, a major online local medium. That makes sense, so the popularity rating would be useful if you want to reach out to authors.

Another thing I found particularly interesting was the sentiment analysis. According to their fact sheet, “Using natural-language processing and Bayesian analysis, SM2 discovers the sentiments around each discussion and aggregates these to provide a top-level view of social media.” The products of that analysis are brand references (on a positive/negative scale), content tone, and content emotions. Here’s a content tone chart and a snapshot of the items included in the analysis. A lot of these mentions are from our own material, so of course they’re positive! I didn’t take time to filter out our own posts, but it looks pretty easy. Then we’d know what others are saying about us. That’s key. The sentiment analysis also catalogs 16 emotions expressed in the items. Not surprisingly the wildlife sanctuary scored highest on “social” followed by “bio,” “achieve,”and “leisure.” I looked at some of the highest “achieve” scores: the sanctuary had received a grant, rescued three dolphins, and recounted the story of children finding an intact whale skeleton during a long-ago summer camp. Makes sense to me!
That’s the key to good metrics—once you learn to use the platforms. A good dashboard with graphic reports and the opportunity to drill down to the numbers and the data behind them. Oh, yes—and integrated!

The need is great. Expect social media metrics to be an active space. This morning Bob Collins Tweeted a post on ReadWriteWeb about Sysmos. The post has a lot of good information and already one good comment. This startup doesn’t yet have a free version, but that’s said to be coming and will be worth watching for.

Marketers have been asking for integrated social media metrics—followed by integration of all Internet metrics—followed by integration of all metrics. Clearly the request has been heard!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

GM--Cautious Use of Social Media in Brand Reinvention

My early morning multitasking included listening to an interview with the GM CEO on CNBC and reading the article about their new campaign in Ad Age, so I’m not sure where I heard it first. I’m reasonably sure that I heard Fritz Henderson say they had already posted the ad on YouTube although it will not be aired until tomorrow.

I was curious to see how many people had viewed it in advance of the TV campaign. I found more than I anticipated. As I thought, only 314 people had viewed it since it was posted yesterday. More interesting is the fact that there are two PPC ads on the YouTube page when you search “general motors.” One leads to the GM Reinvention site.

The site is slick and professional and hits all the right notes. It links to their Flickr, Twitter and Facebook pages. I also note that Bob Lutz’s groundbreaking Fast Lane blog now includes posts by many other GM executives in advance of Lutz’s retirement at the end of this year. Point is that the site is totally devoted to GM’s message, but it offers social media opportunities for people who want to talk.
And I’m always interested in the conversation. The first comments I looked at were on the YouTube page. There were 7 comments at the time I looked. Two were from the same foul-mouthed lout, two were clearly cheering GM on, 1 was about the ad itself, and 2 were commenting on the comments. About what you’d expect—or did you expect worse?

The (9, at the time I looked) comments on the Ad Age article were also predictable. They discuss the ad itself, the historical vision and strategy (or lack thereof) of GM—all about the message, not about cars.

The Facebook page is the most interesting of all. (Note: there’s a careful/good disclaimer that the viewer is leaving the GM site for an open site.) There are lots of “likes” of the GM material and many comments. There are many positive comments about the cars and about the importance of “buy American.” What’s even more interesting is the people who are heatedly refuting negative comments about the cars and about the importance of buying cars manufactured in North America.

It’s interesting to watch and to recognize the level of support for GM that exists among the consuming public. It’s even more interesting to wonder if GM will find a way to mobilize this support to its advantage over the coming months.

Right now it’s slick and professional and relatively controlled. Will GM find a way to put consumers in the driver’s seat—something like Ford did, perhaps? Since we’re all now shareholders, we should hope so!