A colleague sent me a link to brand tags (http://www.brandtags.net/) a project by a guy called Noah Brier. You can read about Noah at his website www.noahbrier.com and he has some really interesting ideas. The idea behind Brand Tags is that you are presented with a brand logo and asked to record a single word or short phrase that first comes to mind. You are then presented with further brands and asked to do the same. Noah uses a tag cloud to present the summary information and it is a perfect use of technology. He has also created a similar model using celebrity photos (http://celebtags.com/).
I recommend you visit Noah’s site and read his findings from the research. Although it is still in progress there are already interesting things coming out of it not least the take up. Noah reports that since putting it up under a week ago he has had 77,000 tags and the interest is incredible.
Noah has taken the decision to cut out the spam but there is still a potential for fraud. Even though this is a project with no commercial interest (well little) he has already experienced people tagging the same term multiple times. Were this a brand tracking system used by millions what else might happen? Could brand perception be seeded? Clearly the idea is you input before you find out what others think and so it should not make a difference other than in conversations (off or online) outside of the project.
Noah has enabled a function that allows you to search for brands that are referred to by a specific tag. For example putting in “good” you get Google at the top of the list. Put in Evil and Wal Mart appears first (Google interestingly come third). I have theory that Google are at the beginning of a decline and will monitor the tag cloud to see whether there is any correlation. I have a similar theory about Facebook and they appear 5 under the Evil tag. They come second for the tag “annoying”. Watch this space (well that space).