Social media as applied to business was the focus of my attention for the past few months on Twitter. I know that social media to promote “Brand You” is a no brainer, but from the perspective of business benefits much is being written.
Here are some things to ponder:
People use more than Facebook. In Europe, people join on average 1,9 social networks. In USA it’s 2,1; Brazil 3,1 and India 3,9. (source)
Consumers want to be in the boardroom. 44% is asking to take part in co-creation of products & advertising.(source)
The genius of online social networks is not just connecting people to new people, but connecting people to new insights.(source)
The primary investment in social media marketing is time, not money. (source)
The landing page for Pinterest is an endless visual stream of subtle product recommendations from the very people who influence your purchasing decisions — friends and strangers with good taste. (source)
When the winds of change blow, some people build walls, some people build windmills. Anon. (this has got nothing to do with social media)
So what does this tell us?
C level and board level managers may not be up on all this ‘internet stuff’ but the fact remains that everyone else in the world is heavily engaged with social media and this doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Every segment of society is interconnected socially, economically, politically, spiritually, sexually…so every need is being met out there. It is for this reason one can claim that “Brand experience has not only become more important than the product itself, in many cases it’s become the product.”
Creating brand experiences is what social media is all about for business. Brand experience is an ability to connect people to new insights and to provide a value add in peoples lives. The question that needs to be asked is, ‘how can we make our customer’s life easier or more experience rich?’ Dominos is an industry leader in this respect and here is one example of an interactive game offering for mobile devices;
“As a branding exercise, the app not only gets the consumer into the process of making the better pie, but reinforces Domino’s legacy. Between levels, the game drops trivia about the company’s history and innovations. The judgmental store “manager” in the game is always reinforcing quality and uniformity.” (source)
At the other extreme is Johnson & Johnson. They have created an invaluable source of health information via their YouTube channel which is complemented by all the other social media tools. They have been wise enough to understand that telling stories, being authentic and keeping their content fresh and enaging is is at the crux of social media. This is a very telling article and video interview of ‘How Johnson & Johnson Uses YouTube to Create Awareness‘.
One of the biggest dangers for business is that middle aged managers leave all this to the relatively inexperienced Generation Y which will result in ad hoc attempts at being ‘cool’ and at worst a public relations nightmare and loss of brand reputation like that experienced by Qantas recently.
The fact is, the pace of change is too fast for any one individual within an organisation to have any control over the nascent technologies and business models. This is the age of collaboration and the trend setting Gen Y in corporate offices need to find voice in the boardrooms because consumers are increasingly wanting to co-create products and advertising with companies they ‘follow’. Seasoned business leaders need to be able to integrate these trends into their business models by collaborating with the torch bearers. The business case is there, we just have to be creative in how we integrate the new technologies into the business model. On the right is a simple but poignant infographic that illustrates the benefits of customisation via digital media – whether Facebook, Twitter or something else.
I had commented in an earlier article:
We are at a period in history where creativity is becoming a historically relevant paradigm on par with agriculture,industry and information. This is the age of creative collaboration and it needs to find life within the corporate milieu.
To take it up another notch, watch how serious Coca-Cola are about the new corporate paradigm in the age of social business:
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