I really enjoy Matt Bai’s coverage of the campaigns for the New York Times. In the Magazine section from December 9, 2007 he makes a compelling argument for why candidates no longer control their candidacies.
The essential lesson of Dean’s 2004 campaign and the online movement it is credited, rightly or wrongly, with inspiring was that these things cannot be orchestrated. "…the greatest momentum goes not to the candidate with the most detailed plan for conquering the Web but to the candidate who surrenders his own image to the clicking masses, the same way a rock guitarist might fall backwards off the stage into the hands of an adoring crowd."
The smartest companies have reached the same conclusion: since it is no longer possible to dictate the rules of the game as it pertains to marketing, product development and branding, you may as well as give up some of that control to your audience or consumers and, in so doing, foster greater loyalty.
Gain more by giving more. Hmmm….interesting concept.