Dan Wieden on the future of TV and social

Really interesting interview:

What I find particularly smart is the view on broadcast media as a conversation starter. The message here is simple really: Integrated marketing works. 

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Manchester City vs QPR was a microcosm of all that is great and terrible about the Premiership

The 13th of May 2012 will go down as one of the most exciting days in Premiership history, if not footballing history. It had so many sub-plots I could barely keep up…

Man City with no top flight title since 1968 lead their greatest rivals Man U with a massive goal difference in their favour, all they have to do is not slip up against relegation fodder QPR, that is QPR managed by ex-Man U legend Steve Bruce, unceremoniously dumped from a management job at Man City after the money came in and he failed to deliver. Several of his key purchases from City starting against him.

But on the other end of the table there is the fight for survival between QPR and Bolton. QPR struggling to retain their premiership status after promotion last year and Bolton suffering from insane injury troubles this season including the shocking collapse of Muamba on the pitch against Tottenham earlier this year.

That is to say nothing of the fights for European places between Tottenham, Arsenal, Newcastle and Chelsea.

But that’s all by the by. Let’s focus on the Man City vs QPR game:

First off what was great about today at Man City:

Games like this always have the potential for poetry, matters of relegation and the championship are decided on the final day of the season in battles between those fighting to avoid the drop and those fighting for long-eluded glory. That is great. Today lived up to the hype, it was a great game of football, both sides fought to the end, both gave their all, as did the fans, there was real passion and that’s exciting.

There are not many sporting events in the world that can, organically, produce such amazing tension and so many BIG personalities (ahem, Tevez) and throw them all together with such skill to produce something awesome that also means so much to so many people (whatever else you can’t take anything away from the fans of Man City, they wanted it!)

But…

And it’s a big but. This match up should never have been the title decider, whatever we say about the passion of Man City, the players and the management no one can argue with the fact that the title really belongs to Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. He paid for it.

That makes me sad, teams get good, they make money out of being good, but that money and that success comes from developing young talent, from great management, coaching and everything else that goes with it. They are built over time. Look at Manchester Utd and Arsenal, even Tottenham (2,3 and 4 respectively this season) all have been built, long term. Yes Man U’s team is “worth” more than Man City’s (169m to 162m, I think) but it doesn’t matter, they didn’t have a single investor come in and buy all that in the last 3 years like City did.

The problem here is it’s unsustainable, teams owned by oligarchs and monarchs don’t put down roots, they pick off the best talent, pay obsene money and further the insane levels of unsustainable economics that exist in modern football, they drive smaller clubs salaries up, they drive the expectations of young players up, they create a vacuum that uses large amounts of money to substitute everything else, it sucks… (excuse the pun)

And then there is Mr Barton.

A troubled young man to say the least, probably to be subject to one of the longest violent conduct bans ever seen, but he will probably play again, somewhere. This is the kind of person being created by the modern game, we’re taking people with well co-ordinated feet, who love a sport, we’e throwing literally £100,ooo’s a week at them, then putting them up on a huge pedestal and scrutinising their every move as they are mollycoddled by a team of people who take care of everything for them. We then wonder why some of them are nuts.

Today was a great day

Full of drama, passion and goals, but I wonder how, in the long term, football will continue to produce such spectacles.

Is community management a bad idea?

I had an interesting conversation on Friday with a marketing agency called Qube from Brighton, we sat on the roof terrace at Nokia’s Soho office and began by discussing the state of the industry, a point I made in that meeting and a point I fully planned to carry through into a blog post was that community management is, to an extent, becoming a commoditized offer, as the scale of online communities grow managing the 100’s, 1,000’s or even 100,000’s of engagements every day with large brands social accounts, on key networks, Twitter, Facebook and blogs to name a few becomes a huge scaling challenge. So how do brands solve that challenge? They look at technologies and outsourced or in-house solutions (people) to solve the scale issue, to deal with these queries efficiently.

The problem we have at the moment are that most of those solutions are driven from comms and marketing, but these are not comms or marketing problems, many brands still look to marketing or comms agencies (be they social media specialists of not) to run their social presences and engage on their behalf. Agree or disagree with this approach scale makes doing this for much longer untenable, in the same way that you don’t pay marketing agencies to staff your inbound call centres you don’t pay them  to engage with customer service queries in social.

So we begin to look to the same technological and outsourcing solutions we looked at for our customer care (read: call centres), we implement systems to find, batch, and present these Facebook or Twitter queries to lower-skilled and (crucially) lower priced customer care representatives who duly answer from their digital call centre, or “social media hub”, “war room”, “control centre” or whatever you want to call it. Even back in my days at 6Consulting (Now Radian6 UK) selling monitoring software I pitched, and sold, to call centre operations looking to get in on this game…

So that’s it, as these brand social presences evolve then the CS teams come in and take on the reactive elements, leaving marketing to get on with using the “reach” and “engagement” to generate “buzz” and sell stuff while CS clean up the mess, everyone is back in their box and we all move on.

No way! The problem is that as we look to engage at real scale we industrialise the process and it loses the point. Sure you can tick your hypothetical “social business” box and tell your CMO or CEO “we’re engaging X people per day” but you’re missing the point. Why did customers come to bitch on your Facebook page (for example) in the first place? They lacked a voice, they felt like a number stuck on hold to a call centre to talk to someone who didn’t care, didn’t understand and read a script, so they found a new place to go. If you turn this new place into a microcosm of the old place (marketing broadcasting messages and a cost-managed “social call centre” team dealing with complaints) then you have failed and missed the point: Customers are complaining for a reason.

Instead of thinking about how best to segment or manage your customers, promoters and detractors between different silos, cost centres and processes, why not put your customers at the heart of your business? I mean right in the middle, forget trying to “manage the community” and instead listen to them. No that doesn’t mean listen as in “I got me a monitoring tool and an analyst / agency to give me a monthly PowerPoint” I mean active listening, horizontally across the business. Democratise within the organisation and give your employees the power to listen, engage, learn and act, give them tools to help, tie bonuses to it, make it part of the contract that they have to spend 1 day a month responding on facebook or whatever it might be!

But what about managing the community? Is it really a bad idea? Well, as usual there is no easy answer, but my response would be to think about this differently: Manage your community by showing them you care, really care, not by @replying them and saying so, but by fixing the problems, by making better products and by making sure they get a first class experience at all touch points with social as a key feedback loop. 

In short, Community management is only a bad idea if it’s done badly. Find the problems and inefficiencies that lead to people coming onto your social properties and bitching, fix them. I have said this before and I will say it again:

Forget trying to be a social business, be a good business!

There won’t be a Facebook killer…

When Mark Zukerberg first started thinking big about Facebook he wasn’t thinking about the company as “cool” or about how to maximise revenue (he actively opposed advertising on the site) he was thinking about how to create a utility, something that became part of the collective routine of the internet generation. Not an easy thing to do, but now Facebook sits alongside Google as a true internet utility, it is THE social network.

And that’s the thing, the ubiquity of the site, particularly in the sub 30 demographics, have led to investment among its users, by that I mean investments of time… People have invested a lot of time learning Facebook, adding friends, uploading photos, building networks and it has entered our lexicon, “Facebook me” or “I facebooked them” is universally recognised.

So when you think about “the next facebook” or “a facebook killer” you are thinking in the wrong way, the development cycle in social networking has gone beyond that now, just as the search engine wars ended and are now dominated by Google the social networking wars are now ending with Facebook and twitter dominating the mainstream. That does not mean there is not room for innovation and new ideas, sites like Pinterest show that all too clearly, but these sites need to think about how they work with the big boys, not how they usurp them.

Let me put it really simply: Who wants to spend a load of time setting up and maintaining ANOTHER site like Facebook. The next big innovation will integrate it, not replace it!

Branding is dead, long live equity.

Today I read this, from Banksy:

I am not linking to it as I saw it on Facebook but am not sure of the source.

The point Banksy makes is a good one, and one that advertisers and brand managers need to think long and hard about… A few weeks ago I was speaking at social media week and pulled out an old quote from Radian6: “Your brand is just the sum of its conversations”. The 2 things are very closely linked, think about it… Brands have always been the sum of conversations, we have always made purchase decisions based on word of mouth, peer reviews and peer purchases, advertising has also helped to drive those decisions, drive our awareness and drive word of mouth, good advertising gets people talking.

But now we live in a world where people can edit, people can satire, people can distort, create and co-create in ways that even 10 years ago seem crazy and cost so little. What does that mean for our brands? It means that we all need to embrace the creativity of our customers and advocates, they create our brand, not brand managers, or agencies…

So we don’t build brands anymore, we can’t throw a tonne of money at creating a logo, creating an identity, a DNA and slick expressions of that in ATL that ensure success, particularly not in the ever more cynical western world. So what should we do? We should build equity! 

What do I mean?

I mean that we take the time and energy into diving into the communities that we want to appeal to and sell product to, we create content with them (not for them, with them) we build relationships with the community leaders and influencers, over time we learn about them and turn them into brand supporters and advocates, we let them define the brand with us, the products and everything!

This is not crowdsourcing it’s defining your brand and your identity with your communities.

I am not saying don’t buy ATL and don’t think about your brand, I am just saying do it differently.

Agora: Doing, not talking

I am very proud to have worked on this project (even if my role was not huge), along with a number of very talented colleagues, both at 1000heads and at Nokia:

It’s just a start, but making things visual really helps the internal community at Nokia (and there are a lot of us, so it is really a community) to understand the impact of the actions and decisions taken, so this was a big step and a good one.

Nokia are not the first to do this, but this isn’t about being first, and this isn’t about hiding all this away in a command centre or “war room” it’s an open space, it’s for sharing and for discussing, it’s social.

 

The Facebook myth…

One in every seven minutes on the web are spent on Facebook, it is taking up 2.6m minutes each day. The reasoning then goes that because all our “consumers” are on Facebook we as brands have to be there too, OK, makes sense. Now, since our customers are there then why don’t we let them shop there? Why not put up a storefront inside Facebook!

This idea isn’t new, Pampers did it in 2010 and We Are Social did it with Heinz in 2011, and (according to the linked articles) this has had some great results.

But here is the thing: Just because people spend a lot of time on Facebook doesn’t mean it matters as an E-commerce or “F-commerce” channel… Think about how most of those 2.6m minutes each day are spent: Facebook will sit open in a tabbed browser, toward the back, with the user occasionally bringing it up to see what their mates just did or what they plan to do for lunch etc. Then think about mobile, according to that same Mashable article almost 40% of Facebook user time is now on smartphones, that is sure to rise, and Facebook mobile / Facebook apps do not have inbuilt adverts for your fans or target market to see and they cannot view those lovely iframed tabs your agency build for you on a smartphone! Bugger.

I like Facebook because I use it to connect with my friends, some people use it to connect with brands they’re passionate about, others like brands to get cheap stuff, free stuff, exclusive stuff (more on that in another post). Yes, some of these people are core consumers, they are often more likely to buy your stuff than random “man on the street” but your main goal should to be to enable and encourage this audience to become full on advocates creating buzz and recommendations for your products (the above Heinz and Pampers campaigns achieve that goal) through clever and targeted uses of F-commerce tools.

So the facebook myth is this: “We have to be looking at F-commerce selling stuff on Facebook because all our consumers are spending more and more time there so we have to come to them” – that’s rubbish. People use Facebook in a different way, see the wood from the trees, this all comes back to leveraging the loyalty and passion of genuine fans not building more storefronts.

I remember when I used to work at GAP when I was a teenager, we had friends and family days: We all got 30 tokens to give to our friends and it entitled them to 30% off at GAP over a given weekend… What about friends of fans days? – Same idea, different medium. – People who are passionate about a brand will want to share it, “introduce a friend schemes” have been around for years, isn’t facebook the most natural medium to supercharge this?

Some really simple thoughts but the message is: Don’t think about where to stick a storefront, think about how to empower your fans to sell your product for you, think about loyalty rewards, friends of fans discounts etc. – That, to me, is the future of “F-commerce”.