Ford’s Social Business Model, Seeks Multi-Directional Expressive Capability!

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Scott Monty, the Head of Social Media at Ford Motor Company must be very happy with how the company embraced the Social Business Strategy he and his digital team introduced. Along with Coca-Cola, Ford are blazing a trail for others to follow, in the online marketing space. Ford have launched a new Reality TV programme which is being broadcast on NBC TV, they have moved from car maker to original content producer, to Reality TV programme producers, why?

This is another progression in the Social Business Model.

We are currently living in the Digital Age, we are still only exploring the surface of where Social can take us. Never in the history of mankind have we had such access to publication, instant self-publication.


  • Clay Shirky said in a Ted talk some years ago the digital age creates the “largest increase in expressive capability in human history”.
  • Mankind has made some dramatic leaps in expressive capability in the past, the Printing Press being the first, Radio, TV and blogging on the world wide web. Social platforms change this expressive capability totally as the expression on Social is not just one way, it’s multi-directional.
  • In human history multi-directional expressive capability has only being able to take place when a number of people gathered physically in one place. Now all you have to do is log-on to Facebook, Google+ or Twitter.

Multi-Directional Expressive Capability

This Multi-Directional Expression Capability (MDEC) is spooking business and traditional marketers, they feel they have no control over the conversations direction after they put their message out onto to the web.

It is this very MDEC feature that gives Social it’s power. Originally the marketing message direction was one way, what is referred to as broadcasting, ie. a TV adverts tells you about a companies product/service, ie. a one way conversation. Now, thanks to Social Platforms the messages are:

  1. Business 2 Consumer(B2C),
  2. Consumer 2 Business(C2B)
  3. and now most worryingly for companies, Consumer 2 Consumer about Business(C2CaB).

They feel they can not control the C2CaB aspect of the conversation. In the C2CaB aspect of the conversation, consumers can and will discuss/review your product/service, in an honest open discussion.

MDEC is what Coca-Cola, Ford and Burberry have figured out and they realise that MDEC is intrinsic to the Social Business Model. In my post, “Expressions not Impressions” I explain how Coca-Cola measure these expressions to gauge the success of their online campaigns.

Related: Starbucks: An Inspired Use Of Modern Technology

Why Fords move into Reality TV is the next step in MDEC development.

Ford have being using Social successfully for a while now.

  • Their first serious campaign was their Fiesta Movement in 2009, where they gave 100 new Fiestas to people who had an online community.
  • They allowed participants to drive the cars and comment on social platforms, discuss the merits or de-merits of the Fiesta with-out trying to control the conversation.
  • They did however gather all the feedback (Coca-Cola refer to this type of data as the new fertile soil), both to refine the Fiesta but also used it for the future design of new models and developing strategies for online engagement with consumers.

This led to the creation of last years Focus Rally America Campaign which revolved around six teams of two taking part in a rally in Ford Focus cars competing to win $100,000. Monty brought in co-creators, The Amazing Race team and this was broadcast by Hulu.com as a 5 part reality TV show. The parings had to complete various challenges along the way. The rally started on 1st Feb 2011, consumers could take part via Facebook and help their chosen teams complete their given tasks. The tasks always revolved around the new technology fitted as standard in the new Focus model.

Related: The Multi-Device Digital Omnivore: The Online Future In Focus

Escape Routes

On Saturday 2nd April 2012 Ford launched it’s new reality TV programme on NBC called “Escape Routes. Complete with a bunch of really good looking “Millennials” and Ford products. What are Millennials? They are good looking members the Y generation.

  • The show is generating impressive figures on Twitter, 16 million impressions for the first episode.
  • The filming takes place weekly to make sure that the social engagement is current, this is vital for the  show. The participating Millennials are in the studio, watching the show live as it goes out on air, this is carried on escaperoutes.com website.
  • So our multi-device digital omnivore can view the show on TV, engage on twitter via mobile technology and observe the contestants reaction on the web, while the show is airing.

Add to this the rich data the command post that Ford will have set up to harvest it and you have Multi-Directional Expressive Capability in operation. Mind blowing really.

Related: Five Potential Digital Futures

Social Business and MDEC

As I stated earlier MDEC is the magic gold dust that makes Social Business work. The collaboration, internal and external between people in a MDEC conversation is what allows the consumer to build the TRUST which is necessary for the consumer to become an advocate and eventually an evangelist.

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Fear Of Embarrassment Or Mistakes, Are Not Business Reasons To Postpone An Online Marketing Strategy

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It is quite amazing in 2012 that any company would ignore the online market. Billions of people are online interacting every day. It is well established that business is widely carried out online, harnessing the social platforms. Billions of  Dollars, Euros, Yen changing hands daily online.

Popular Reasons for not Engaging

Why would a large section of business ignore this?

  1. Fear.
  2. Embarrassment.
  3. Mistakes.
  4. Negative comment.
  5. Lack of understanding of the channel.
  6. Not having completed research into their own customers online behaviour.

All of the above, are BAD reasons not to investigate a Social Business model for your business/organisation. Is this incompetence?

I agree that is a very strong word, but to answer my own question, I am unsure.

Related: Transform Your Online Presence – From Woeful To Wonderful

What will standing still achieve?

How many among us still drive home to turn on our VCR tonight, use a non-digital camera, make a call on a Brick mobile phone. Listen to music from a vinyl record on a turntable. What office has an old cartridge type writer or receives telegrams. What office environment communicates by paper memo . How many golfers will pull timber shafted clubs out of their golf bags this weekend. My point is, innovation is all around us in every day life. Items like the old VCR were revolutionary thirty years ago, now it is obsolete.

Related: The Holy Grail of Online Engagement (In 15 Steps)

It is impossible to stand still

Some of the examples I use above were iconic inventions and thought to be the cutting edge of their technology. Try and give your new sales rep a Motorola Brick and watch the reaction, not going to happen. Darwin’s survival of the fittest theory is played out in life and business every day, particularly in the technology sector.Items such as the old film camera were in every house. Now they are obsolete, twenty years ago, who’d of thought.

Fear of Embarrassment or Mistakes

These are not best practice solutions for any business development strategy. Fear is something we have to over come every day. In a survey of the Top 500 CEO’s in the US last year, two interesting stats emerged.

  • The first was that CEO’s were worried they would be found out i.e. not capable of doing the job they were employed for!
  • The second was the overwhelming feeling of helplessness in the face of the digital technology tsunami.

This does not excuse them from postponing their decision to engage online and on Social Platforms. Most of these companies have the resources to engage consultants to educate and help them strategise their entry into the Social space. These CEO’s defense can not be, I did not realise or understand…..well if you don’t, FIND OUT.

Related: The High Street Needs To Go Online

For the Play it Safe Management, time is running out.

Last week I asked, will business lose interest in Social if it doesn’t start delivering to the bottom line?. This week I am asking, when are the C-Suite executives and management going to start losing their jobs for their failure to innovate? Those playing it safe due to fear of change, will run out of time and the new smart bright kid will come and take their jobs. As shareholders and company owners ask, why are we not following the lead of all these other companies and developing and online social business strategy.

As part of that development, companies management are expected by the online community to engage personally online. Social Business does ask for new skills from management but equally the basic business model still applies. Most companies need to take their offline business model, refine it and bring it online. The online engagement is an extension of the offline conversations, companies are already having with their customers. Add is a sharing mentality and the only difference is that the world can see those conversations. All business’s should learn how to make new mistakes.

So is it incompetence?

Well kinda yes and kinda no. It is more about human behavioral problems. Bury the head in the sand or ignore it, it will go away, which can be viewed as incompetence. Time is running out for business and organisations that continue to ignore Social as a business opportunity.

Fear of change will kill companies, Kodak springs to mind, they didn’t embrace digital cameras despite one of their employees inventing them. Innovation will side line companies, like RIM, the Blackberry just got shafted by the iPhone and apps. That’s what innovation does but fear atrophies and kills companies.

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Are Social Media In Danger Of Becoming Irrelevant To Business?

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Unless online business advocates and marketers begin to deliver profit to the corporate sector, the main reason for business participation online – social media are in danger of becoming irrelevant, a meaningless trend.

Why Irrelevant?

If social media marketers fail to prove the cash question, business will become cynical and take the view that social is unproductive.

  • Terms such as social capital, social authority and social ranking do not lead directly to monetization. Business is not interested in meaningless phrases, which are becoming  jaded and over used.
  • Business needs people to take action, by parting with their cash.

The internet provides a powerful link between business, prospects, customers and employees. A large international community are now using social media on a daily basis. The development of mobile technology means this is going to explode over the coming 2/3 years, as the 4.8 billion “dumb” mobile phones are replaced with “smart” phones.

The next step is to leverage all of these ingredience, to produce PROFIT.

Related: How To Build A Social Media Business Strategy That Delivers Traditional Business Returns

The Social Business Model;

We are witnessing a business model emerge that can leverage all online services and platforms, it is called Social Business and relates to all online activities, not just Social Media.

Social Media as a term, is in itself, far too limiting. It fails to acknowledge all the developments that are coming at us at a speed which will make our heads spin.

This is my own understanding of the emerging model. Taking all the components listed below and developing a strategy to leverage them, is the result that social business strategy is trying to achieve.

  • It is about authenticity, values and transparency.
  • It is about dynamic content and story telling.
  • It is about internal and external collaboration between people.
  • It is about harnessing all online technology/platforms and all mobile developments.

This is a formula which I have developed to help me better understand the business model:

People ( Prospects, Customers, Employees ) Online x Intrinsic Motivation = ( Advocates > Evangelists ) = Engaged Social Communities > Social Business

You will notice that in the formula there is no mention of technology, that is not a mistake on my part.

  • The strategy has to be developed taking into consideration the companies business model and goals.
  • The method of delivery of the strategy is not automatic, it has to be researched and the correct method of delivery optimised. This may lead to the use of online marketing or not.

Related: Does Your Company Take A Social Approach?

Intrinsically Motivated, to do what? Take action, that’s what.

Companies are beginning to embrace social business.

Coca-Cola and Burberry are among those leading the charge, helping to define the social business model. I have written about both companies recently.

Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola are now two years into their Event 2020 online marketing strategy to double their sales world wide.

  • That strategy in itself is defining the model but recently they have up-dated their method of measuring online success.
  • Coca-Cola are now measuring expressions not impressions.
  • They now believe that if their dynamic content leads to a member of their online community taking action, commenting, expressing an interest, that is a measurement of success.

Anyone can like your Facebook page or follow your Twitter account, even look at your website and never interact with you again. Coca-Cola are saying that it is not an effective online marketing result, as the person has not expressed an opinion either way about your product or organisation.

Burberry

Burberry recently took part in the London Fashion Week, where they ran a total immersion online fashion show.

  • They Live Streamed the catwalk show on Facebook allowing their 8 million friends share a link of the show.
  • They added 500,000 new likes. They had Twitter involved, they posted the new fashion range on Pinterest.
  • They loaded pictures of the fashion show on Instragram, the music from the show was available for download on iTunes.

This was an introduction to the future of online retailing.

Here the expression of interest was the purchase of the new collection, their online community has exclusive rights to purchase for a week, after registering for the Live Streamed fashion show, from Burberry’s own website.

The data and analytics provided by all the online activity surrounding the show will prove invaluable to Burberry’s marketing department. This in turn will allow them to move onto their next creative online “community centric” campaign.

Related: Starbucks: An Inspired Use Of Modern Technology

Conclusion

To avoid Social becoming irrelevant this is what it will take: Online marketers doing what is expected of them, developing strategies that allow their business clients make a profit from their engagement. A demonstrable result will be the key to keeping the corporate sector interested. Social Business Strategy is here to stay, as long as it produces profit for business clients.

Thanks to CIO.com for their white paper . I referenced some info in the opening 2 chapters of the report,  in the first 4 paragraphs in this post.

Image: “Question marks and dollar bills/Shutterstock

The Multi-Device Digital Omnivore: The Online Future In Focus

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As a child television was for me, 1 then 2 channels and I can even remember black and white programmes. We did not have computers at all, they were introduced into my school in 1978. We most certainly did not have mobile phones. Hold on, it’s not that long ago, I am only 46. The speed of change is startling and difficult to stay ahead of.

Future in Focus white paper

Today I was reading a white paper from comScore called US Digital, Future in Focus 2012 and the stats are amazing. They cover all aspects of online behaviour, some of which I have listed below:

  • Social
  • Portals
  • Video
  • Mobile
  • e-Commerce

Multi-Device Digital Omnivore

This is a new term for me but it describes the fact that people are now viewing online through smart phones, tablets, note books, lap-tops and in some cases simultaneously. 8% of all online viewing was via mobile in the US last year. The “Multi-Device Digital Omnivore” is going to drive that figure higher.

# Social

Facebook is still the number one, most viewed Social Platform with Twitter now second, this is as a result of Twitters hook-up with Apple’s iPhone. Facebook’s membership is still growing but the more interesting stats include:

  • the average time people engage is up by 32%,
  • and Facebook now accounts for 15% of all views online.

Google is the most used Portal but again this is on the back of it’s purchase of YouTube, video is helping to cover the problems Portals are having. Surprisingly Google’s figure is only at 10.80% of all online views.

The traditional portals are the big losers, Yahoo, MSN and AOl all losing out to the shift to Social via Mobile.

The two big winners in Social are Pinterest and Tumblr, both registered huge growth during 2011, with Pinterest not registering at all in July of the year.

Related: How Pinterest Can Increase Your Website Traffic

# Long-form Video Content

Over 100 million Americans viewed online video in 2011 up 43% on 2010, these videos are also getting longer.

  • With the average viewing up 1 minute from 5 to 6 minutes.
  • This may not sound a lot but is largely down to Netflicks and Hulu’s on demand service for movies and TV series.
  • The number of streams viewed also jumped dramatically up 44%.

Marketers are again being challenged to come up with the correct way to leverage all the online traffic.

Related: Simple tips to produce online video

# Mobile

The Omnivores are actually surfing during the adverts on TV, the switch to mobile is allowing this behaviour to flourish. As the dumb phones are replaced over the coming years the viewing figures from smart phones is going to drive this trend.

There are close to 4.8 billion dumb phones and 1.2 billion smart phones world wide

  • the majority of dumb phones are going to be replaced shortly with smart phones.
  • In lower socioeconomic countries the smart phone may represent the only “computer” that people are going to own.

What will they use it for? To buy goods via the net, engage with Social Platforms and in a world where pictures paint a thousand words, video will boom.

Related: Five Key Elements Of A Successful Mobile Marketing Campaign

# e-Commerce

Our retailers have huge competition from the web but all we ever hear about is rent, rates, wages and recession, recession and recession. Well, WAKE-UP it’s more to do with the e-commerce on the web.

  • Cyber Monday 28th Nov last year in the US, citizens spent $1.251 billion
  • and another 10 days around the holiday period broke the $1 billion barrier online.

We are still waiting for the figures here in Ireland but the anecdotal evidence is that the figures were up. Some delivery companies had difficulty making all their deliveries pre-Christmas. Santa was late in some cases.

Related: Retailers: How To Sell Online In 60 Seconds

Conclusion

The “Multi-Device Digital Omnivores” are going to continue the trends set over the last couple of years. As the mobile market grows so will the online viewing habits of the world population. What ever about TV and traditional media, e-commerce will grow into the future. If the offline retailers do not grasp this quickly they are dead.

The retail company Game closed it’s Irish retail outlets this week, more will follow. Angela Ahrendts the CEO of Burberry believes that the ROI of online Social Business is, any company that does not embrace the changes will not exist in 5 years.

Why has Game closed it doors, online………

Thanks to comScore for the white paper it is enlightening and required reading for all business with or without an online presences. It may be the US market but it follows here in Ireland and the UK.


Tiger in GUR, Munster Rugby on the up and up?

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Tiger is clearly not himself, the reference to GUR in the title for you none golfers, GUR means, ground under repair, that to me sums up Tiger. Over the weekend past I have witnessed a Tiger very much in need of repair.

The bookies had made Tiger joint favorite with Rory McIlroy to win the Masters after his win at Bay Hill, I am still not sure why. It must be his past reputation because a win at Bay Hill is not the same as the Masters in Springtime at Augusta.

His performance at Bay Hill was encouraging but on the final day nobody laid a hand on Tiger, it became a procession. His nearest opponent Graeme McDowell double bogeyed the opening hole and never could regain the ground lost. So Tiger entered the Masters untested, the white hot pressure that August imposes on players on every shot, on every hole proved to be his undoing.

Sky Sports were at their usual rubbish, trumpeting Tigers return. Colin Montgomery leading the charge, really these guys should know better. Golf is a game played between the ears as much as on the course. Monty suffered more than most, never winning a Major, but they were willing to look past the obvious and claim Tiger was back. Back to his best. Wrong, wrong wrong.

Tiger folded like a deck of cards early on in Fridays round. He got to 3 under on the 3rd hole, missed a par putt on the 4th, leaving a ten foot par putt well short and never looked like regaining his composure, he dropped 6 shots coming home. He finished the weekend with his reputation scarred by his on course antics, cursing, throwing clubs, digging up the immaculate Augusta golf course. This is a guy in crisis. Does Tiger see this, nope. He is in denial and has being since he set himself on fire by reversing into a fire hydrant.

Tiger in his better days.

Will Tiger win more majors, maybe. The difficulty is that now under-pressure he makes mistakes which he can’t fix. In the past he could always recover as he always held the par putts from the extraordinary locations, that no longer happens. Tiger is now normal, he has scar tissue, something he never suffered from before. I wish him well and hope that he can get back to his brilliant best, as golf will be the winner.

Munster on the other hand, it was not easy to stomach the last two weeks. They have not lost two consecutive matches in Thomond for a long time. Leinster then Ulster came and plundered two good wins. As a Munster fan this transition period is wrecking my head. We are blooding new players but still hate to lose to any team.

The minus’s are we are losing our coach, we got beaten in the quarter final of the H/Cup on our own ground, we have an in-experienced team, plus it is now unlikely we will win the Rabo Direct. The plus’s are we are losing our head coach, we blooded 10 new players during this seasons H/Cup, we won 6 out of 6 qualifying from our H/Cup group and qualified for a home quarter final in the same competition.

Munster on their way to a comfortable win over Northampton earlier this season:)

Other good news is that we have signed two very good centers in Downey from Northampton and Casey-Lala from the Cardiff Blues, the latter described last week by Brian O’Driscoll as one of the best outside centers in European rugby right now. For all our possession against Ulster we are not creative behind the scrum consistently enough. Ulster had to run up a tackle count of around 150 tackles. With that much ball we could only score one try.

Our scrum is now stable and in some cases a weapon, BJ Botha has to be given serious credit as does the Munster scrum coach. Munsters academy has produced a lot of good players, 10 of which made their debuts in the H/Cup. O’Mahony, O’Donnell, Sherry, Murray, Zebo and Archer all players that have played or will play for Ireland. Munsters B team won the B & I cup beating a packed Leinster team in the final last week. Add to that Axel Foley could become our new coach.

Hence my headline Munster on the up and up.

Why should CEO’s and Management engage on Social Media?

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Where are the CEO’s and C-Suite Executives? Why are they hiding? Why are they paying lip service to Social Business and online marketing. If they are so convinced that Social Media Platforms are the correct channels to reach their online customers. If these channels are good enough for their companies sales growth strategy. Why are they not engaging on Social, personally?

The Status-Quo

Companies are wrestling with the workings and marketing possibilities of online social platforms. At the behest of the C-Suite executives, CEO, CMO, COO, marketing departments are using Twitter for CRM, Facebook for direct community engagement, LinkedIn to recruit staff, Pinterest to display their products…..

Over 60% of Fortune 500 Companies now have a Twitter account. While only 2.5% of CEO’s are tweeting using an personal or company Twitter account.

Most CEO’s and other C-Suite executives age profile means that they are not comfortable engaging online nor are they convinced, it seams, of the benefits. This would explain why they are they not engaging personally on Twitter or Facebook? If Social is good enough for their products and customers, why are they not embracing the medium themselves or more to the point, why should they?

Survey Results, the Case for Change.

BRANDfog has released a survey titled 2012 CEO, Social Media & Leadership Survey. It makes for serious consideration for all CEO’s and C-Suite executives. They need to review their personal engagement strategy on social platforms. The results of the survey show clearly the online community believe companies with socially savvy leadership would benefit in today’s Web 2.0 world.

The percentage of respondents that believe CEO’s should engage on Social Media was high @81%. Respondents explained that they were happy to observe a company or brands Twitter account with 50% saying this would influence their decision to recommend the company or purchase goods.

Respondents believe that companies whose C-Suite executives engage online, benefit from improved brand image. The online community also believe that if the CEO engages, this will better communicate the companies values, which further helps to shape it’s reputation. The stats for this question were also high, running @71%.

Actions for the C-Suite

The results of the Survey indicate that changes in behaviour will be necessary for  high-level executives. The comprehensive results contained in this poll, should lead to changes in the online behaviour of senior management in large corporations.

Social Business Strategy as a model is still developing, collaboration, values, authenticity and sharing are all key pillars to the successful adoption and implementation of the strategy. In this survey from BRANDfog, we see confirmation that all senior management must reconsider their lack of engagement.

The Outcomes

CEO’s and C-Suite executives need to “walk the walk, as well as talk the talk”. They need to adopt a positive attitude to Social as it is clear that their companies will benefit from the Social credibility this engagement will bring. This increased credibility will lead to added brand awareness and sales from the online community.

Thanks to BRANDfog for this survey, below is a link to the PDF.

http://www.brandfog.com/CEOSocialMediaSurvey/BRANDfog_2012_CEO_Survey.pdf

The Mutli-Device Digital Omnivore; T.V. viewing will never be the same.

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As a child television was for me, 1 then 2 channels and I can even remember black and white programmes. We did not have computers at all, they were introduced into my school in 1978. We most certainly did not have mobile phones. Hold on, it’s not that long ago, I am only 46. The speed of change is startling and difficult to stay ahead of.

White Paper

Today I was reading a white paper from comScore called US Digital, Future in Focus 2012 and the stats are amazing. They cover all aspects of online behaviour, some of which I have listed below.

  • Social
  • Portals
  • Video
  • Mobile
  • e-Commerce

Multi-Device Digital Omnivore

This is a new term for me but it describes the fact that people are now viewing online through smart phones, tablets, note books, lap-tops and in some cases simultaneously. 8% of all online viewing was via mobile in the US last year. The “Multi-Device Digital Omnivore” is going to drive that figure higher.

Social

Facebook is still the number one, most viewed Social Platform with Twitter now second, this is as a result of Twitters hook-up with Apple’s iPhone. Facebook’s membership is still growing but the more interesting stat is that the average time people engage is up by 32%, and Facebook now accounts for 15% of all views online.

Google is the most used Portal but again this is on the back of it’s purchase of YouTube, video is helping to cover the problems Portals are having. Surprisingly Google’s figure is only at 10.80% of all online views. The traditional portals are the big losers, Yahoo, MSN and AOl all losing out to the shift to Social via Mobile.

The two big winners in Social are Pinterest and Tumblr, both registered huge growth during 2011, with Pinterest not registering at all in July of the year.

Long-form Video Content

Over 100 million Americans viewed online video in 2011 up 43% on 2010, these videos are also getting longer. With the average viewing up 1 minute from 5 to 6 minutes. This may not sound a lot but is largely down to Netflicks and Hulu’s on demand service for movies and TV series. The number of streams viewed also jumped dramatically up 44%. Marketers are again being challenged to come up with the correct way to leverage all the online traffic.

Mobile

The Omnivores are actually surfing during the adverts on TV, the switch to mobile is allowing this behaviour to flourish. As the dumb phones are replaced over the coming years the viewing figures from smart phones is going to drive this trend.

There are close to 4.8 billion dumb phones and only 1.2 billion smart phones world wide,(http://mobithinking.com/mobile-marketing-tools/latest-mobile-stats) the majority of dumb phones are going to be replaced shortly with smart phones. In lower socioeconomic countries the smart phone may represent the only “computer” that people are going to own. What will they use it for? To buy goods via the net, engage with Social Platforms and in a world where pictures paint a thousand words, video will boom.

e-Commerce

Our retailers have huge competition from the web but all we ever hear about is rent, rates, wages and recession, recession and recession. Well, WAKE-UP it’s more to do with the e-commerce on the web. Cyber Monday 28th Nov last year in the US, citizens spent $1.251 billion and another 10 days around the holiday period broke the $1 billion barrier online.

We are still waiting for the figures here in Ireland but the anecdotal evidence is that the figures were up. Some delivery companies had difficulty making all their deliveries pre-Christmas. Santa was late in some cases.

Conclusion

The “Multi-Device Digital Omnivores” are going to continue the trends set over the last couple of years. As the mobile market grows so will the online viewing habits of the world population. What ever about TV and traditional media, e-commerce will grow into the future. If the offline retailers do not grasp this quickly they are dead.

The retail company Game closed it’s Irish retail outlets this week, more will follow. Angela Ahrendts the CEO of Burberry believes that the ROI of online Social Business is, any company that does not embrace the changes will not exist in 5 years.

Why has Game closed it doors, online………

Thanks to comScore for the white paper it is enlightening and required reading for all business with or without an online presences. It may be the US market but it follows here in Ireland and the UK.

http://www.comscore.com/Press_Events/Presentations_Whitepapers/2012/2012_US_Digital_Future_in_Focus

Expressions not Impressions: The Best Social Metric.

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Old Model

Broadcasting your marketing message is not the correct model for online marketing. Content has to motivate the online community to express why they are happy or unhappy with your business/organisation. Coca-Cola are now measuring their success by the total amount of “Expressions” rather then the old metric of “Impressions”.

What are Impressions

Impressions are created when somebody clicks on a page containing an advertisement. The numbers of clicks/impressions the advert receives indicates the level of success of the advert and the ability of the company to drive traffic to that advert. The problem is I could really like an advert and not take action, in fact I could like the advert so much that I click on that page numerous times and never buy the product.

Expressions

Expressions are different, and the best way to measure your online success. If you take action and express an opinion in the bus/org, you are contributing to that their online community and online profile.

  • Commenting on their blog
  • Posting on their Facebook wall
  • Commenting on their posts on Facebook
  • Sharing their content with your community
  • RTing Tweets which you find interesting
  • Sharing your content with their community

Above are just six of the ways you can take action, this expression of interest in a bus/org is the metric that Coca-Cola are now using to measure their online marketing success. There are many more methods of expression but the list above contains some of the most popular.

Liking and Following are not Expressions

This is a contentious area but in my opinion is based on the following logic. I could go on any Facebook page or any Twitter account and “Like or Follow” but never interact with either location again, where is the benefit in that?

Really there is none, what needs to happen for your bus/org to benefit, to gain a value from the interaction?

If I decide to interact with any online community it should be because I am motivated to take action by the content being shared by the bus/org or service provided.This motivation can be as a result of a good or bad experience.

Example

We had a really great meal on Thursday last week in the @Market_Lane Restaurant in Cork City. They are socially aware so I “liked and followed” them after leaving and commented on the service and quality of the food.

Hi Guys, had a great meal with friends on Thursday evening, the service, food and atmosphere were all great. We took advantage of the “Early Bird Menu”, the choice was super and the quality of the food superb. Thanks to all.

That is an expression

The Benefit

Beyond the obvious why is this important? “Social Proof” and “Peer to Peer” recommendations are the magic gold dust to online marketing. That may seem an over the top statement on my part, it is not, read the figures below. These expressions are what all bus/org should be pursuing to grow their turnover.

I have now become a member of their community and by posting on my wall have become an “Advocate” for @Market_Lane. The stats for online peer to peer recommendations are amazing. 90% of people will accept recommendations from people they know, 70% will accept them from strangers and about the same figure will also accept them from Brands but less than 33% will accept them from banner adverts.

The Nielsen Report quoted on the link provided should provide some food for thought.

http://bit.ly/GQ8zXM

Take Action Now

Taking these figures into account shows why your bus/org should be building an online community full of advocates. This can only be achieved with Dynamic content based around the service your bus/org provides.

Burberry understands Social Business is not Broadcasting, that is why they Share.

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Broken Model

The broadcast marketing model that operated since Newspapers, Radio and TV started advertising, is broken. Broadcasting your message, pushing your products on the public is no longer a viable marketing strategy. It is now about online content marketing and online social business.

The new model for marketing is to build a dynamic interactive community online. The new two way interaction goes against the model we all grew up with. With Social Business not only are you attracting interaction, but the dynamic aspect is that your community will engage and contribute data/content for market research and future campaigns. This is the Coca-Cola experience, I have written about previously.

The Problem

People from the age 15 to 35 are not watching television, they are now looking at the programmes they want via the net. Companies are looking for alternative ways to market themselves to their customers. They are aware of these advances in technology. TV has created problems for it’s self too, Sky’s, Sky Plus Box allows you to record your favorite programmes, which you watch fast forwarding the ad breaks.

An example of the New Model

Burberry launched its latest fashion show, called TweetWalk, in partnership with Twitter. They placed the Live Stream footage on their Facebook page using HD technology. A link was placed on their Facebook page allowing it’s 8 million fans to log on, follow the show and share with friends and family.  They added content on Pinterest, Instragram and the music was specially selected and released on iTunes. They included their Chinese community by carrying the TweetWalk on social platforms Sina & Youku, this was total immersion.

More on how the New Model Works

Burberry have embraced Social Business and chosen to Live Stream their fashion shows. Members of their community can pick the items they want to buy during the show via Twitter, or afterwards for a week on their website. They also show items in special colours which can only be bought on the day, via the Twitter stream. This is the quid-pro-quo, the community member is rewarded for participating by being able to buy exclusively.

http://www.slideshare.net/eddgold/lfw-social-media-case-study

Risk Taking

Burberry are willing to take risks. Their new fragrance will be launched on YouTube rather than traditional marketing channels. For one day they will take over the home page on YouTube in 13 countries, this will give them an estimated 50 million plus viewers.

The risk is mitigated by the fact that the metrics from the YouTube advertising will be so detailed and accurate. Burberry will know immediately if the experiment is worth repeating or not.

The Rewards

How is this style of selling different? The community can chose if they want to engage or not, they are now in charge of how they use their time. In the fashion show case, the community did participate. Burberry’s sales benefited because it was an  exciting and interesting fashion show concept. Burberry’s online advocates did share this interesting information with friends and family. Their facebook fans figures jumped 500,000 as a result.

As Burberry are sharing with their community in such a creative dynamic way their community grows. The number of Brand Advocates and Evangelists within the community grows. This leads to increased sales and Brand exposure.

Companies are looking at how to drive sales online through engagement. The new model is being lead by companies like Coca-Cola and Burberry. The results are interesting, Coca-Cola are looking to double their sales in the period 2010 to 2020. These initiatives are social business in action, they share value, these examples are totally community centric and they are driven by dynamic creative content.

If Munster Rugby did embrace Social Business, here is how it might look.

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For Munster Rugby to embrace Social Business online as it has done offline it would need to build a clear strategy. I wrote a few weeks ago about how Munster is the best example of offline social business in Irish sport, this is how I would see it develop online.

In my formula for a social business I express the opinion that people, have to take action because they are intrinsically motivated. This is the hardest and biggest challenge any business/organisation has to overcome to achieve sustained social interaction.

Munster Rugby do not have this issue, they have an on and offline community already in place, their supporters and online chat rooms discussions where fans are craving any piece of news about players and team development. If Munster embraced the online space and decide that all the action was to take place on their terms, it would come down to one thing, CONTENT, CONTENT and CONTENT.

There would be some technical issues and indeed some internal development work needed, but these are small issues. The main component for any online social business is creative content which fuels conversations, Munster already have this in abundance. Add to this an adoring intrinsically motivated fan base and the options are potentially limitless.

Social is about story telling and creative excellence, taking the Munster story, past, present and future and creating content excellence. This has to be in the form of dynamic story telling which has to provoke conversations and even some controversy, tension. Like the story of ROG slagging off English players days before playing a big match in England against Leicester.

The Munster Haka from the 2008 match against the All Blacks, another seminal moment in building the folklore which surrounds Munster Rugby.

Why would Munster adopt a social business strategy, what is the case for change?

  • Increased turnover
  • Increased brand awareness in new markets
  • Increasing their control of the online conversation around their brand that already exists

The creative content and the dynamic stories already exist at Munster Rugby, the existence of the clubs values and principles, of which I spoke in my last Munster blog, has again lightened the work load for the creation of an online social business model.

How Munster would strategise to leverage all these positives is the key. How to set your technology to listen to all the conversations, across all the social platforms, that your creative content generates, how you respond to those conversations is key. Today’s on demand generation need stimulation 24/7 and interaction .

Another key finding for companies as they embrace social is the amount of content that comes from the community, Coca-Cola believe that their online community have far more dynamic stories than the company themselves. By gathering this data thru their online listening tools, they have a rich and diverse distribution of creativity.

To prove this in the Munster case all you have to do is watch the DVD of Alone it Stands, the play which takes place against the back drop of the 1978 Munster win over the All Blacks in Thomond Park. This demonstrates the richness of the dynamic story telling and the type of content which is able to provoke conversation and currently earn Munster a disproportionate following in Ireland and abroad.

Through the advent of social media online platforms people are getting use to an “on demand culture”. We can now access information and entertainment 24/7 as “the new normal” takes a firm grasp of your lives. Business’s have to make the decision to embrace this or ignore it at it’s peril.

As a strong advocate for the social business model, this looks a perfect fit for Munster Rugby. The benefits to the club is long term sustainability. This would mean they could continue to compete at the highest level. Attract the top players and continue to develop great young players.

You might ask where is that different to now for Munster? The shift to the online economy is underway with large numbers of the Y generation now using online in preference to offline. This growth will continue over the coming ten years. Online transactions are already valued in billions of euros, business in Ireland has being slow to embrace this.

Munster can take advantage by being the early adopters in the Irish and UK sports world. Increased income is the life blood of any successful team or brand, Munster Rugby needs to innovate to stay ahead in a changing world.