Concepts - Written by The CTs on Friday, February 12, 2010 10:23 - 3 Comments
The 2010 Brand <–Become a Fan? Like? Tag? Recommend?
2009 provided the “test” phase for integrating brands into social media (SM). It has been widely discussed that there have been no real metrics, rules, or boundaries for marketers within SM. This provided an open book to create opportunities for brands on there both effective, and then the opposite… But the arena is now an official heavyweight channel within the digital media mix. This has developed previous testing or learning into formula, strategy, and real insight around the globe. The goal is to now “establish long-term strategies, budgets, and measurement practices” according to analysts at Forrester Research. As the medium and its users mature, brands need to ensure they are creating relevant conversations that avoid creating clutter or new type of spam.
Brian Solis is world renowned for being a thought leader in the emerging media space. On his blog, Solis recently wrote an overview of the Top Social Predictions for 2010 report put together by Forrester Research. It made for interesting reading! Without being able to access the full report, Solis provided some key excerpts that align with much of the current industry discussion.
Solis notes that the role of the new marketer in 2010 will:
- Build relationships and not campaigns
- Create experiences not impressions
- Earn media and not buy it
- Consult with sales, customer service, and human resources on how the brand must be communicated in every consumer interaction, every tweet, and every touch point.
- Fashion programs that are seamless with the actual product and service experience beyond the imagination of creative messages
- Respond to and be part of the ever-changing dialog with consumers, not plan bursts of communication on a yearlong calendar
- Look beyond the quantity of friends, page visits, eyeballs, readers, and viewers to measure changes in consumer attitude and intent
- Listen to and engage customers one to one
Reading this, it shows why SM is so important. These points all continue the topics Kevin Roberts frequently discusses around the development from the Attraction Economy to the Participation Economy. “Participation is how a brand engages and behaves with consumers across channels and over time, to earn their attention through motivating experiences.” The rise of social media is changing the way create, consume and share information and digital creates the ideal platform to create the most important part of participation, interaction.
The 2010 predictions above also add new challenges, as creating the conversation provides the consumer with a voice. As we have seen with the simple Waiwera example, it needs to be considered fragile as your brand advocates can suddenly turn on you. What is vital now is ensuring contact points and website destinations are functional, relevant and engaging. They are the new front of house, sales rep and customer service all performing active conversations that also provide key information to gather and develop from.
Companies will need to restructure customer service departments internally to manage this process in the new decade. For the new open dialogue with consumers, companies will need to build and retain trust to ensure their advocates stay onside. We’re moving into a time where being transparent and honest is critical, so brands that employ this theme will improve credibility, service, and ultimately loyalty. It will be interesting to see what happens to those that don’t follow suit.
Brian Solis notes that in 2010, Marketers will now be held accountable for social marketing planning and apply business cases to obtain the resources necessary to execute effectively. Solis refers to The Conversation Prism which is a tool he created to help brands “discover and weigh relevant online interaction and their potential for formal response and programming.”
As you can see in the prism, it’s an interesting playground!
Solis also touches on measurement going beyond the number of friends, followers, views, and clickthroughs. He suggests concentrating on the actual business objective to be in that space initially, why are you actually there?? He urges brand managers and digital marketers to create their own metrics rather than looking at case studies which realistically come from a period that had no formulas. Basically he suggests that “sentiment analysis, would-be referrals, and increases in share of voice” are still standard techniques but instead of tracking the recommendation of your product, look to track what happened with that recommendation. Confused??? Check out what Dell has done here for a great example on how it can work really well.
When we say social media, Twitter and Facebook are the leading inventories that brands are playing within today when keeping it simple. It is going to remain interesting to see how Facebook shapes their product and how potential privacy issues participate with marketers in there. Twitter growth is slowing but the company is now making a profit and developing new inventory to retain high interest, will the buzz continue? Google is looking to become a player with the integration of multiple services into Google Buzz, the latest option for all Gmail users. Google always aim to lead the charge so watch this space. Brand integration within sites like MySpace may not as popular today however innovative features targeting music and entertainment are keeping the site fashionable.
As always, consumer expectations will determine how things develop and marketers will need to adjust. Content will still be king but creativity will share the seat! Already immediacy, accessibility, simplicity and the ability to share are demanded by consumers, digital and particularly portable devices fulfil this need. Creating specific content for mobile is already extremely high on the agenda for brands, so creating features and applications will become mandatory for target audiences to access.
Traditional strategies will definitely retain their value in the media mix from our perspective. Digital embellishes the way people consume information rather than discounts or replaces the value of traditional media. Digital/SM are however taking charge and enable the important link for all the touch points to come together. This opens enormous possibility for media consumption, consumer behavior, and therefore marketing in 2010. The ability for innovative creativity is going to be mind blowing, it’s super exciting!
The next year will provide developments that other decades couldn’t even have comprehended.
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