Embrace Your Brand’s Tinkerers
Not too long ago, in high school, I was obsessed with Blink-182. I bought their albums at midnight, listened to them all the time and was even inspired by them to create my own band with some of my best friends called Over-Bored (yeah… we were cool).
Well, Blink-182 is back with their first single in eight years called Up All Night. Instead of promoting it with the standard music video, they’ve worked with AT&T to scour YouTube for every copyright violation with fans playing and posting their music without permission. They took those videos to create a video montage to the tune of their new single.
Rules are Sometimes Meant to Be Broken.
Brands have a lot of rules like how to use the logo, where to purchase the product, what to do with the product and so on, but sometimes rules inhibit innovation on behalf of consumers.
Blink-182 doesn’t look at the individuals taking their music and posting it online as violators. They see them as promoters! They’re Blink-182’s tinkerers, individuals who tweak the brand and its products (its music) to use in new ways.
Tinkerers Own Your Brand...and Band.
As difficult as it can be to let go of your brand, it’s better to accept it than try to fight it because it will happen with or without your permission. The good news is that you don’t have to be silent and can exercise limited control on what’s put out there by the brand, how it's distributed and how the brand presents itself.
The other owners of your brand are your consumers, those who buy and try your products and services and interpret what you stand for.
Tinkerers are the faction of consumers that don’t just consume the brand. They mold it, spread it and modify it to their needs and the needs of others. This may be doing a voiceover on one of your commercials or writing a blog post on a new way to use your product. Tinkerers don’t take your brand and what you offer at face value. They see it as an opportunity.
Embrace Your Brands Tinkerers
It’s easy to misinterpret tinkerers as a nuisance. They don’t play by the rules, act without permission and spread their behavior (faster than ever these days).
Don’t make the mistake of trying to shut them down. Tinkerers are likely your brand's biggest advocates. After all, look at the amount of time they devote to your products and services. They represent opportunities to uncover insights, embrace as influencers and make what you offer better.
The opportunity isn’t to shut the tinkerers down. Identify them, embrace them and bring them into the brand fold to see how you can help each other.