It seems to be a fairly solid trend, that companies are continually finding ways to encourage people to participate in their business and share the emotional or monetary rewards.
Encouraging people to participate also ties into the adult-to-adult theme our agency identified a few months back. Companies are now re-thinking about how they used to speak down to consumers by playing an advert on TV with catchy jingles and call to actions. Now they are thinking about how they can engage in two way dialogue with their customers in an adult-to-adult way (e.g. Queensland Tourism and Kraft have both done this successfully and reaped the rewards)
So what does this mean for research if the gap between the customer and the company continues to get smaller and smaller?