Agency: Wunderman Network
Why we chose it: Sometimes, simple ideas are the best. Such is the case with Feeds, an application of RSS technology that has delivered more than 10,000 sales leads to Microsoft Corp. while providing a valuable informational resource for customers and prospects. It is a striking example of how a company is letting open access to the conversations surrounding its market drive sales, even if those conversations aren't unanimously positive. The concept behind Feeds is simply to tap into the existing stream of user commentary about Microsoft products and to organize that information in a way that delivers structured insight to readers. The interface is innovative, but doesn't sacrifice ease of use for the sake of being cool. Users can easily join the conversation as well as monitor what's being said. They can also instantly share insights with each other. We were impressed by the openness that Microsoft exhibited in deploying Feeds. All kinds of comments are there, including some that are less than complimentary about the company's products. No matter. True to its slogan of “Because it's everybody's business,” Microsoft has made no effort to censor or sugar-coat the content in Feeds. Instead, it delivers an honest and current account of what people are saying. This demonstrates confidence in its content and direction as well as openness to hearing feedback from its markets. The fact that Feeds has driven $11 million in revenue is a byproduct—and a very encouraging one—of an impressive experiment in corporate transparency.