Not a day passes by without us being reminded that new media - blogs, wikis, podcasting, etc. - have obliterated the information asymmetry that advertising and brands have traditionally exploited. We are told that the new blogosphere-enabled consumer is armed to the teeth with information and that in the new world, brands and its consumers are equal.
But every passing day, I am convinced of the opposite. It's true that the gap is decreasing dramatically. But the gap remains and probably will never be wiped out. I am even beginning to believe that the best brands not just exploit information asymmetries but actively create them.
Take this regular feature from the BBC Editors blog for example. It's a guide to pronounciation from the Pronounication Unit of BBC. It smartly exploits expertise that exists within the BBC to create a need in people that they didn't know existed.
Until yesterday I had no idea what the correct way to say Clydach (a Welsh town) was. And nor did I care. But by actively making me aware of my ignorance and then addressing that shortcoming, this wonderful regular feature has me hooked. No matter how far away I wander in my daily life, I return faithfully every day to this oasis like a wandering bedouin.
And isn't that what the best bloggers do? Actively create bubbles of information asymmetries - an expectation of finding out/ experiencing/ replenishing something in their readers - and then fulfil that promise. Just like the best brands.