In a country known for being difficult when it comes to obtaining music through legal channels, Motorola’s music download site has proved an unexpected success story.
In less than a year, motomusic.com.cn has become China’s largest legal music download site, while the company’s mobile phone sales have rocketed.
"Their market share really doubled in the last couple of years," said Chris Reitermann, China president of advertising company OgilvyOne, which specializes in customer relationship management and interactive marketing.
Motorola’s achievement has been put down to an effective online presence – the music download site is both an obvious and functional advertisement for the brand – and constant research into what is being said about its products in internet forums.
Such strategies create opportunities to engage consumers that television, for all its reach, doesn’t provide.
Another strong example of this is Pepsi, which persuaded consumers to make personal contributions to the soft drink’s branding efforts by holding an ad competition.
The Pepsi Creative Challenge attracted 28,000 entries and over 600,000 people talked about it online, said Sam Flemming of CIC, a company that tracks online responses to products.
"It’s what’s called open source marketing. If [consumers] are excited about your brand, about the product that you have, some of them will create buzz. They will create marketing."
The problem with open source marketing is that there are a lot of companies doing it now.
"I think consumers may be getting tired of having to do so much work for companies," said Flemming.
He believes that open source marketing will have to offer something new if it is to survive.
"The first two campaigns you are asking consumers to be creative around your brand, it’s like ‘Oh, that’s cool.’ Now there’s probably 100 different campaigns that we have identified. It’s a ‘me too’ proposition."