Brain Vibe

marketing muses to stay engaged

Subtle or Bold

What is more effective for social media, subtle or bold?  Is it determined by a brand’s overall personality?  Or, is the opposite use of social media to brand personality just as effective?

Here are several examples of social media use comparing approach to brand personality.

Social Media Guru 1:

ellenlogoEllen DeGeneres has gotten a lot of press on her use of social media marketing and relationship tactics to connect with her audience.  Her personality is far from quiet and this is what really makes her show.  Her audience is just as vibrant and responds extremely well.  Looking at her Facebook page it is active, dynamic, and this morning she had 728,859 fans.  Her Twitter profile has 480,722 followers. There is nothing subtle in her use of social media or the promotion of it to drive engagement.

Social Media Guru 2:

appleIn contrast, another social media powerhouse is Apple.  Not only are they at the center of enabling social media through their products and services, but they are experts in its use.  However, instead of directly connecting on a massive scale, they heavily rely on the mouth’s and loyalty of their fans.  They’ve created a cult that waits on every word they release and it goes viral in nanoseconds.  Yet, no one can dispute that Steve Jobs is charismatic or quiet in his position as both the business leader and evangelist.

Social Media Guru 3:

emcEMC took a bold step in social media with the hiring of personal branding expert Dan Schawble.  Their community consists of blogs, forums, and social media links within their websites.  Their strategy plays into all interested parties: customers, partners, industry analysts, press, and investors.  Their social media vehicles are pervasive across various delivery venues from blogging, micro blogging, video, and photos.  While different from the Ellen show and Apple in the fact that it is a business-to-business marketing effort, the fact is they are more subtle in their brand as a company, and their integration of social media into the marketing mix is mature and seamless reflecting this more understated marketing strategy, though no less effective.

As you begin to shift your marketing mix from traditional to social media, how are you thinking about the connection of your brand personality to your use of social media?


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Step Back and Take A Look Around

Dave Winer said:

Ask a mammal to describe air or ask someone who is living through a transformation of journalism to explain, they can’t. This is no one’s fault, it’s just human nature. The closer you are to something, the harder it is to see.

via The reboot of journalism (Scripting News).

In our passion, we tend to get as close as we can to our interest and focus.  We zoom in on the niche finding out every hidden detail.

What would happen if we stepped back?  Would we get a different view?

I get ultra focused.  I’m deeply passionate about marketing strategy and intelligence.  I’ll pour over what industry leaders and gurus are doing.  I analyze the business to pick the best plan of attack.  Yet, about every two to three years I just let go and see what happens.

Letting go has lead me from market research, to database administration, to management consulting, to product management, to marketing strategy, to data management, to business intelligence.  One the surface you would think I am all over the place.  But, my passion is in every aspect of these career moves – strategy with insight.  Business success through intelligence.

If I didn’t make these shifts I couldn’t grow my experience and knowledge.  I like to step back.  I like to take a seemingly illogical step.  The journey is so much better when you step back and take a look around.

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What Could Happen With A Google and Twitter MashUp

Here’s a short post – literally a brain vibe.

googlelogo1 twitter_logo_125x29

Everyone talks about Twitter as the next disruptive technology.  It is the window into the soul of society.  Is that profound enough?  The real value in it is the ability to search and gather information keeping your pulse on the market and your friends.  Some, like DigitalBuzz, and TechCrunch suggest that it is the new search engine.

TechCrunch:  People searching for news. Brands searching for feedback. That’s valuable stuff.

N0w that’s pretty powerful.

On the other spectrum or search, you have Google.  The mac-daddy of all search engines.  It crawls through our websites, blogs, and social networks catalogueing our thoughts, interactions, purchases, and work habits.  The all-time best past time is Googling yourself.

Here’s the thing.  Twitter is great if people follow a structured approach to how they voice their thoughts in 140 characters.  Simply stating they are awake and brushing their teeth isn’t really all that valuable.  It’s when a brand or topic is mentioned in itself or with a link that things become interesting.  In addition, conversations are not the easiest to follow.  Google, is great for providing the synopsis but, they don’t have the ability to get into the conversation.

What if you could take Google’s crawling, catalogueing, and summerizing capability and mash that up with Twitter conversation streams?  Tweets could contain added context to their submitters, the urls sent, and the topic of conversation.

Now that would be cool.

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It’s Social Marketing and You Don’t Even Know It

If you are trying to figure out how to integrate social media into your marketing mix, there are some great media properties to turn to for inspiration.

pbs1Traditional media has owned social marketing before we even coined the term social media.  If you think about it, PBS started it all.  They have shows like This Old House which engaged and educated you in home renovations and showcased products and services you could buy.

hgtv2Take this to current day and you have entire television networks dedicated to this like HGTV that have interactive sites, reality TV shows, and shows dedicated to blatant advertising in walking you through home shows or enticing you with items you must have.

oprah1Oprah through HARPO is another media outlet that has such a following through the TV program, website, and magazine that it can shape political opinion.  Audiences are active participants in the show through Skype, contributions through website outreach, and book clubs.  As Oprah brings information for women to better their lives, books are promoted, favorite things are showcased, movies are recommended, and personalities and experts are brought to rockstar status.

espn1The best example by far is the sports industry and ESPN.  Leveraging fantasy sports they have increased viewership and expanded their audience profile by engaging women through an interactive relationship that drives ad sales.

What I think other industries can learn from television networks is the primary rule of social media, relevance and engagement.  In each instance, PBS, ESPN, HGTV, and HARPO provides value to the audience then aligns advertising to the interest.  While traditional disruptive advertising still exists through commercials, the 40 or so minutes of programming per hour is still advertising and customers are engaged.  The advertising is so tightly woven with the experience, the audience is ignoring it at a conscious level but internalizing it so that what they’ve learned about products and services has shaped their purchasing patterns.

Even if specific brands aren’t provided, certain products get a huge lift in sales like commercial appliances and granite countertops did for kitchens. Secondary outlets like websites and magazines support the brand further, encouraging more participation and engagement, and provide additional avenues for advertising.  The networks are sustained through word of mouth of favorite programs and personalities.  In addition, they create word of mouth for products.  Audiences gain entertainment, advertisers gain exposure and sales.

The key for other industries that tend to leverage media outlets as opposed to owning them, is to create a similar experience for the customer.  Today, this is owned by bloggers and personal networks.  But, there is no reason why an industry like consumer packaged goods couldn’t provide micro networks.  I think the issue at times with many forays into social media of these brands is that they still approach them as ad placement tactics.  In addition, the goal of social media is not always a business objective but is, “get people to come to my fan page or follow me on Twitter”.  Also, non-related gimmics are used like points or sweepstakes to get promotional items.  Let’s take an example of a sports drink.  Instead of working on driving people to a fan page on facebook which either provides you with drink bottles, baseball caps, poor quality games, or worse, just a wall of promotion and fan one-liners, the page could help visitors to explore and discuss sports nutrition and fitness methods.  Sports groups could be available.  One for runners could have tools provided to share routes and events.

In the end, if you want people to interact with your brand, you need to give them a reason why.  On top of that, the reason to interact should also align to the reason why they are or should be interested in the brand in the first place.  Provide value in the experience, allow collaboration and personalization, relevance in the interaction, and you have a mechanism that will tighten brand affinity and add to the bottom line.

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Hijacking Social – The Clique Is Holding Us Back

Let’s be honest, if the geeks had their way, no one would be allowed on the web and we would still be passing notes through ftp.

Today, the internet has been taken over by the average person. MySpace and Facebook defined the social network. It is about the party. Are you invited? Are you part of the group? Are you popular? So, how many friends do you have following you anyway?

You know what is the same? The discussion of etiquette and the proper way to engage. Social media has rules. Social media is about fitting in to how it was “intended”. I think this notion of what social media is is holding us back. It might be about the conversation, but it can be so much more than that.

Here are some examples of social media being beyond a personal conversation.

yawnloglogoReadWriteWeb provided a review on a new social app called Yawnlog. People log their sleeping patterns and dreams and then can share them with their friends.  Maybe a nice widget addition to Facebook.  But, a real product?  Here’s the thing.  The value isn’t that you can track this and share with you friends.  It’s the potential for trials and longitudinal studies.  The application has more value for science than a gadget that I’ll use with my friends and discuss what my dream meant. talked about what Twitter is really about (see article), listening, not friend following.

“Even if you are a rabid information junkie, the constant updates from Twitter can be too much for anybody to absorb, even with a few hundred connections. To believe that I am seeing all of a friend’s updates with 6,000 connections, or that Scoble can see the updates from ten times that many, is clearly impossible. So while a small population of Twitter is using the service to follow individual’s updates, a huge number are instead using it to broadcast updates, monitor keywords, and occasionally, send direct messages to people or reply in public. Twitter is simply too much to handle as conversations are lost, people’s updates can be of any type, and the limitations of the service, including the much-discussed 140 character boundary, make it a poor foundation for exchanging ideas in a crowd.”

So, when we talk about Twitter as a social network, how can you say that when you can’t really exchange ideas through conversation.  It is bill-boarding.

I think there ia also something to the fact that in the end, 99% of people out there are watchers, not participants.  Maybe they participate in their micro networks in Facebook with real friends, but there are only a handful of people out there that are part of the social.  That leaves open a huge opportunity for social media to fill beyond “Whoever Has the Most Friends Wins” theme.  Increasingly, and you see this particularly with Twitter, that social is pushing past the confines of personal conversation.  As with the web, the value is in the topics of conversations – the information.

Let’s start considering that maybe the power of social media isn’t that it is social but that it is about linking people, experience, and ideas to move forward in a non-cyber world.  Since when did a clique do anything but hold someone back?

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