Social Media is Not a Silver Bullet

AdliteratebrandideasI almost always read Richard’s Adliterate blog, but with the drama in the lead-up to Christmas last year, I must have missed this post on building better brands. The diagram here came out of another discussion that Richard was hosting, and it distills a whole range of thinking around whether or not you have a brand idea. What Richard was driving at was the difference between a brand idea and an advertising/creative idea.

In that I have been thinking about the nature of brands in some depth recently, it is quite fortuitous that I have stumbled upon this. I love its simplicity. And I think this is well timed considering the resignation of Cramer-Krasselt, Chicago over CareerBuilder’s Super Bowl ads (via JaffeJuice):

Cramer-Krasselt, Chicago, has resigned as CareerBuilder’s agency of record after a five-year run. In an internal memo issued today, the agency’s president, Peter Krivkovich, said CareerBuilder put its account up for review after the agency’s Super Bowl ads failed to rank in the top 10 in USA Today’s viewer poll.

It seems unbelievable that the measurement of the success of a Super Bowl ad could hinge on a viewer poll. But it is even more unbelievable that the marketing team over at CareerBuilder could have such a narrow view of a brand — or at best, a confusion over the nature of a brand idea.

But it seems that this is not as crazy as first thought. Reading through the comments over at Adliterate, I found this interesting comment by Robert:

When planning, I try to find a truth people can embrace. I guess ‘beauty’ is about attraction. They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I think that is right. When someone feels attracted to a conceptual thought, proposition, message, story – whatever you want to call it – it is because they recognize something important from themselves in it. People don’t see the world as it is; they see it the way they are. And if they feel attracted to an idea, that is because they see their truth. A truth that ties in well to their beliefs.

Marketers are also attracted to ideas. The CareerBuilder team were focusing on user polling. They must have expecting buzz. Or YouTube viewing statistics. Or … Or … And while their expectations were obviously not met, it is clear that the "idea" of social media was top of mind. Whether this was communicated to the agency or not … I don’t know. But just because social media is growing in influence, it doesn’t mean that its measurements can be used to judge all media/creative. Sometimes social media is NOT the answer …

It is just a shame that ideas can sometimes overtake commonsense. It is why I prefer lots of small, momentum building ideas than one BIG one … when your big idea misses the mark, it can take you out.

3 comments

  1. Thanks for that mention Gavin, really chuffed.
    I have to say that the approach is really working hard for me. As a tool for articulating a strategy it helps in creating the idea in the first place and then in sharing it with the client first and then as a way of taking new business prospects through the Agency’s case studies.
    Of course it is based on a cluetrain provocation – but its a real application of that thinking.
    The Promise is absolutely essential – even if it is the less interesting bit. It helps the consumer understand with what credibility the brand can hold that point of view.
    It works for me anyway.

  2. I LOVE this.
    We’ve been dragging along a dinosaur of branding strategies behind us. Heaving and pushing as we attempt to adapt it to our shifting focus.
    Love the simplicity in this approach.
    Our latest struggle is applying it to creating a story for the brand. I think this is a brilliant tactical approach to brand work (ie: the idea) but it assumes there is a strong brand foundation/awareness that one is working from.
    I’d like this foundation to be a story. Only because stories are what we know, what we relate to, how we identify ourselves and those around us… but I’m still working on the execution.
    I’ll stop rambling on someone elses blog now. 😉 😉

  3. Sean … you after the holy grail! We can do strategy until the cows come home. But execution is where it really starts to hurt your brain!
    How do we build our foundation stories? Hmmm … I think that may require its own post (or ten).
    Richard … I am loving the provocative posts you are doing at the moment — and the way that they are building on each other. You have already seen Katie’s additions to the bubbles, and you have followed it up with another … what’s next?

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