Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thoughts on Social Media

This week I took part with a colleague from my organization at a local conference sponsored by a bank. The subject of the conference was Brand and Social Media. A representative from a large advertising agency conglomerate based in Toronto Canada took the floor for three hours to offer insight on brand. He also included for the audience in the Real Estate Development business a primer on social media.

The presentation also validated for me that many of the strategies and related brand tactics we’ve been offering our clients by extension their various stake holders, internal and external audiences are not unlike or different from what is being professed from the multinationals out of the big centres of commerce globally. The speaker validated to the letter in some cases much of what we’ve been sharing in our efforts with clients for the last decade. His talk was a parallel conversation to gordongroup's ideology and brand leadership models. This made the event worthwhile for me. 

My quest for learning continues, I was interested in hearing about the social media model being offered from the Toronto large agency perspective. It's exciting times on the internet after all and the potential for organizations to embrace, leverage and grow their online market share seems to me remains an uncharted phenomena. Again the speakers’ ability to introduce and engage the audience was intriguing and prompted some very relevant questions. Core ideas introduced contributed to my appreciation of ways to take advantage of this new opportunity.

Letting the ideas flow from followers either good or bad turns out contributes to an upside for the organization that remains transparent and responds in a humane and intelligent way rather then censoring or filtering negative commentary out. This is open to jury review on case by case from my perspective.

The opportunity has emerged today to gain competitive insight from young people who bring convictions and sensibilities about how their success and winning outcomes using different social media platforms have proven effective. This "staffing" trend offers organizations and management opportunity to introduce multi generational collaboration. 

  1. Content remains king
Your investment in content, that is content constructs specifically to do with your unique personality within the vast sea of noise called social media. Content that “cuts through” the tremendous amount of information online is required today for social media campaigns. This is truly what separates the leaders from all the masses online. Good content like a good photograph, illustration, house or aircraft is not derived from testing things out. You will be judged on your weakest link, a fact of the design business. Once you launch your campaign ensure you can keep feeding the beast with the best possible content. This points to how you plan to sustain your brand online.
Great content comes from years of experience refining, measuring and continual improvement. For some, this may come naturally yet, with resources limited in most organizations specifically for market outreach, “content” is often the weak link. Management will have to invest in great content.

  1. ABC company now does publishing
Social Media bottom line, to do this you have to operate a publishing unit. You may build homes, aircraft or buses but a function of the company has to begin publishing. In fact rather than social media, the name may be more representative if it were known as publishing media. Organizations small or medium sized may not have design units or writers on staff, yet “cut through” online will require a minimum level of craft and discipline to effectively compete with those who leverage these skills to drive their business. Keeping a vital and steady brand building program starts with management's commitment to ensure regular, smart, and meaningful communications remains constant for months and years ahead. A publishing unit that creates smart narrative that is sent to followers and others who have influence. Influencers or customers who will make a difference on your organizations bottom line.
Identify who within the administration will effectively run the publishing unit.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A brand conversation and forum with MBAs

One hour to define the complex world of brand is hardly adequate but that's what I was allotted yesterday evening among a group of University of Ottawa MBA students. 

Providing insight within a learning institution is a great way to assert and crystallize your thoughts while contributing to knowledge and understanding. 

University of Ottawa has invited us on numerous occasions to share our professional views and practical theories with their students. In each occasion we've benefitted from meeting very engaging and thoughtful individuals. 

Unfortunately I could not get to all those who raised their hands for questions but the students enthusiasm to ask questions provided me comfort that another hour could easily have been spent.  

The time together with the students was used to present our model for brand leadership. This is useful because the thinking is applied to many circumstances relating to an organizations market position and their tactics in support of building brand.  Deconstructing brand and understanding the component parts perhaps for some is a defensive strategy in our present age of information overload and brand democracy for the, Twitter. For those wanting to understand more about the techniques and methods used on audiences to persuade or "convert" people to action, having a primer about how this is mapped out is useful. Those looking at brand structure will be informed about how to process the strategies corporate organizations implement to disseminate content and sell product or other things. The model discussed may apply to an individual, organization or nation. Breaking brand down into clear and accessible parts removes much of the mystery inherent in this loaded subject area.