Breaking out in hives Harness your brand buzz by creating a BzzScape brand community

Posted by maggie.hunsucker June 30, 2009

BzzAgent logoSome marketers are hesitant to embrace brand communities as user generated content can be both powerful and unpredictable.

Still, if the buzz is good, you want to be participating in the conversation, not watching from the wings.

That’s the idea behind BzzScapes.   BzzScapes is a collection of member-generated brand communities, where people (BzzAgents) talk about products they like.  This can be blog posts, videos, coupons, etc.  Once a BzzScape is created, other members can contribute content, rate your content, or add comments. There are also BzzCampaigns,  where eligible BzzAgents weigh in on new products and influence how companies market them.

As a brand, there are several ways to participate on the site.   First, you can register your company with BzzScape.   There is a subscription service, but the payoff is direct access to BzzAgents and their insights.  You can run a BzzCampaign, hold a promotion through the site, or get intel on the performance of two competitors.   The other option (which we admit is somewhat dubious) is to create your very own brand BzzScape.   The idea being, you kickstart the conversation and let other BzzAgents participate.

bzzspace screenshot

BzzScapes operates as an influence community, rewarding members that contribute heavily with coupons, dibs on certain BzzCampaigns, and prominence within the site.  No money exchanges hands; BzzAgents are paid in honeycombs and ascend in bee ranking.  We enjoy a hard working pun, but we’ll let you discover the intricacies of the BzzScapes system (and what that means) on your own.  The gist is the more you contribute, the more good stuff you get.

There are lots of of active BzzScapes on the site and no shortage of big brand participation (including Ford and Proctor & Gamble).  Most of what we see is positive feedback.  Unfortunately, we are a lowly worker bee at the time of writing this article and cannot demo most of the site’s features (like BzzCampaigns) until we participate more.  This is by design, so casual ranters don’t abuse the forum.

There are a lot of extras with this site, so many we couldn't fit them all in the article. First, there is a BzzScapes bookmarklet, so you can grab brand content as you are surfing the web and publish directly to the site. There is also a FrogPond, which focuses on popular and buzz-worthy websites that the community likes.

BzzAgents has been around for awhile as an online research tool for companies. BzzScapes is just a new offering, giving more control to site particpants over what brands are discussed (no one wants to talk about dryer sheets if the new iPhone is really the hot topic). Other communities try to force conversations about their products. Perhaps BzzScapes is striking a happy medium, where users get to speak freely, and brands get to listen in closely.

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