My colleague, Josh Bernoff, wrote a very relevant and entertaining research piece called Social Technology Strategies For “Boring” Consumer Brands. The premise of his research is that firms don’t have to be popular consumer brands (e.g. Coca-Cola) in order to create an effective social technology strategy. Focus on your customers and tap into what Bernoff calls “borrowed relevance”—creating an application that's about your customers' problems, and then leveraging that within your social application.

Bernoff highlighted insurance, which “is inarguably the dullest possible category.” Apparently, others agree that insurance does not rate high on the fun-o-meter of consumer brands. For example, John Swigart, chief marketing officer of Esurance, which invests heavily in social networking, summed it up best by stating, "We sell the most boring product in the world."

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