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Marketing in the Participation Age: A Guide to Motivating People to Join, Share, Take Part, Connect, and Engage by Daina Middleton

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Chapter 7

D + E + C = P2

Empower

Empower is one of those words that is often overused and sometimes misinterpreted, so bear with me for a bit as I explain the choice to use this as the active verb for the Participation Way that correlates with autonomy. Like engage, empower is a word for which everyone has a different definition—and therefore a word that’s easily misunderstood.

However, empower is a good choice because of the strong correlation to power. As discussed previously, there is no question about the undeniable power participants wield in today’s marketplace. Consequently, this ingredient of the Participation Way formula is particularly potent since it also ties to the emotional component of competence, which, as we already discussed, directly enhances intrinsic motivation overall. Sociologists have suggested that this “autonomy or empowerment drive”—that is, individuals’ desire to manage their environment and outcomes—has always been present, with or without technology. However, I believe that now more than ever, people have far-reaching expectations about what their relationships should be like with the brands that provide the products and services they use. Marketers have always acknowledged the contribution of word of mouth in how individuals learn from others’ positive and negative experiences with a product or brand. Now, technology has armed these participants with communication tools and connection to networks that enable them to broadcast this information far ...

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