Friday Folly: September 19, 2008

How many times have you been in a meeting and you have heard "let’s make a viral video"? You know what happens next — a bunch of half-conceived ideas are thrown onto the table and a hasty decision is made in an effort to "get something out there".

But what happens of some real planning happens with a "viral video"? What happens if the corporate marketing machine gets behind an idea and puts some effort into it? What happens when we take the "social" part of "social media" just a little too far? Watch this … do you think it could happen?

Via Emily Wearmouth

Social Media Saturation Sees the Rise of the Business Designer

While we continue to see cycle after cycle of new applications and services arrive in the Web 2.0 space, it seems for the most part that we are seeing incremental innovation. This type of innovation builds a new step on top of an existing innovation.

yea, i look good in a suitWe are also reaching a certain maturity in the way that marketers work with social media. There are now case studies on the effectiveness of social media, there are tools that help us measure and react to conversations and there are an increasing number of corporate roles for "community managers" or even "directors of social media".

So where does innovation go?

In this environment, the focus is no longer on learning the tools, but on refining the way that we interact with them. It is about bringing social media into our businesses, integrating it with our other marketing efforts and focusing efforts in a way that deliver business results. This will see ongoing debates about "where" social media belongs — PR, corporate communications, marketing, customer support, innovation etc — as well as a scramble amongst agencies to deliver "social media services" to clients.

It will also see a rise in the importance of the "Business Designer".

The MillionaireThe Business Designer does not sit in a creative studio. Rather, she operates across business units — touching marketing, customer service and new product design. The BD has a finger on the pulse of finance and lives cheek-by-jowl with the legal team. There is the touch of the management consultant in the way that the BD navigates the org chart — but also the fervour of the evangelist. She may be T-shaped. She may be a green egg. But above all, she is an experienced business professional. That’s right — she knows how to get things done.

standing outSocial media saturation is not going to kill innovation in the Web 2.0 world. It is simply going to commence the heavy lifting required to move social media with all its benefits, some of its quirks and much of its energy into the "enterprise space". The BD will perform the important role of "change manager" or perhaps "transformation manager" — for the domino-like changes that will occur in every facet of a business will change the nature of the enterprise. What has been rough and ready in the consumer space will become refined and repeatable in the business world for the BD will select and orchestrate the practices, tools and approaches that correspond with a company’s business strategy. Of course, this will breed a whole new round of innovation in the technology space — we have already begun to see this with Yammer, the business version of Twitter.

And there will be a corresponding transformation in the process of business, and the goals and approaches of groups charged with managing brand touch points. This goes without saying.

But by far, the most radical transformation will be the one thrust upon us by the generational change that is now under way. With 60 million baby boomers about to be replaced by 60 million Millennials, the workplace will never be the same again. Managing the "knowledge transfer" that needs to take place over the next 5-10 years will be a fundamental responsibility of the Business Designer.

Social Media Jobs Australia

smj-logo There are some great social media thinkers here in Australia. More importantly, there are some great social media “doers”. And over the next few years I expect there to be a real demand for agencies who have real experience in this space and a NEED for professional and corporate marketers to understand how exactly you can integrate social media into your planning while delivering solid returns.

One thing that I do know, is that social media is about “connectors” … those people who are able to join the dots across different types of messaging, communication style and media. They are storytellers for a new age.

But how do you find these folks? Sure, you could look at Twitter. Or you could reach out to a blogger or two … but what if you are new to social media? What if you have a job that you need filled but don’t know where to look?

I may just have the answer for you. is a new site that I have setup to “connect the connectors”. The aim is to provide a meeting space for those with roles, with those looking for work. It will continue to evolve and grow … with specialised content on the blog site designed especially for job seekers.

Both posting a job and applying for a job are FREE.

So what are you waiting for? Post your social media job now!

The Ryder Cup of Word of Mouth, Buzz and Viral

see the flag back there??  (left)The Ryder Cup is a fascinating contest. Based on prestige rather than prize money, it pits the best golfers in the USA against the best from other parts of the world. And while there was a time some years ago when I could not see the value in "hitting a ball and walking after it", I have now developed a much greater appreciation and interest in golf — both as a player and an observer. Interestingly, there are quite a few parallels between golf and social media:

  • Participation — from the outside looking in, golf can appear boring. When you start to participate you realise there is much more to it than meets the eye.
  • Frustration — like golf, not everything you "try" in social media works. Often your best efforts will still end up "in the pond".
  • Competition — while it is easy to get caught up in all different rankings and measurements, like social media, you only ever play golf against yourself. The quality of your work comes down to the nuance, effort and creativity you inject into it — and the results follow accordingly.

In the spirit of the Ryder Cup, Sean Moffitt has compiled a list of what he considers to be the top 36 US blogs on word of mouth, viral, buzz, influence and the engaging brand. Against this he lists 36 international blogs. I am particularly pleased to be listed after reading Sean’s reasoning:

Unlike some of the social media- and tech dedicated marketing and media bloggers, these broad-minded bloggers and company heads (below) have distinguished themselves by helping visitors understand how ideas spread, online and offline, through a range of different strategies and tactics and each recognizes the importance of having brands getting noticed, talked about and advocated in a 2.0 world.

In my opinion, they are much closer to explaining the purpose and benefits of a range of new media, web 2.0, co-creation, social networks and other web, cultural and social phenomenon.

And in the best interest of co-creation, Sean has left a number of open slots on each team. So tell me, who would you include? Here is the list so far:

The USA Team

1. Jackie Huba/Ben McConnell – Church of the Customer (Austin, Texas)
2. Andy Sernovitz – Damn! I Wish I Thought of That! (Chicago, Illinois)
3. Pete Blackshaw – CGM (Cincinnati, Ohio)
4. Jim Nail – Influence 2.0 (Boston, Massachusetts)
5. Idil Cakim – dot WOM (New York, New York)
6. Jeremiah Owyang – Web Strategist (San Francisco, Calfornia)
7. Rohit Bhargava – Influential Marketing (Washington, D.C.)
8. Owen Mack – CoBrandIt (Boston, Massechussetts)
9. Walter Karl – WOM Study (Boston, Massachusetts)
10. Fred Reichheld – Net Promoter – (Boston, Massachusetts)
11. Max Kalehoff – Attention Max (New York, New York)
12. Olivier Blanchard – The Brand Builder (Greenville, South Carolina)
13. Charlene Li – Charlene Li (San Francisco, California)
14. Sam Decker – Bazaar Blog and Decker Marketing (Austin, Texas)
15. Joseph Jaffe – Jaffe Juice (New York, New York)
16. John Moore – Brand Autopsy (Austin, Texas)
17. Peter Kim – Being Peter Kim (Austin, Texas)
18. Mack Collier – The Viral Garden (Florence, Alabama)
19. Spike Jones – Brains on Fire (Greenville, South Carolina)
20. Ron McDaniel – Buzzoodle (Cleveland, Ohio)
21.John Jantsch – Duct Tape Marketing (Kansas City, Missouri)
22. Kim Proctor – How to Create Powerful Customer Experiences (Los Angeles, California)
23. Rob Walker – Murketing (Savannah, Georgia)
24. Lois Kelly – Foghound (Providence, Rhode Island)
25. Ann Handley – MarketingProfs (Boston, Massachusetts)
26. Shiv Singh – Going Social Now (New York, New York)
27. Laurent Flores – Customer Listening Blog (New York, New York)
28. Tom Asacker – A Clear Eye (Manchester, New Hampshire)
29. Francois Gossieaux – Emergence Marketing (Boston, Massachusetts)
30. Geoff Livingston – The Buzz Bin (Washington, B.C.)
31. Dave Balter – BzzAgent (Boston, Massachussetts)
32. John Bell – Digital Influence Mapping Project (Washington, D.C.)
33. Todd Tweedy – Word Spreads Quickly (Charlottesville, Virginia)
34. Marta Kagan – the Secret Diary of a Bonafide Marketing Genius (Boston, Massachusetts)
35. Greg Stielstra – Pyromarketing (Nashville, Tennessee)
36. Willow Baum Lundgren – Small Planet (Kansas City, Missouri)
37. Amber Naslund – The Brand Box (Chicago, Illinois)
38. Greg Verdino – (New York, New York)
39. Paul Chaney – Conversational Media Marketing (Lafayette, Louisiana)
40. August Ray – Experience – The Blog (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)
41-42??? Your Turn

Europeanflag The International Team

1. Frederick Herrman – Netszkobold (Germany)
2. Emmanuel Vivier – Culture-Buzz (Luxembourg)
3. Sean Moffitt – Buzz Canuck (Canada)
4. Rachel Clarke – Behind the Buzz (England)
5. Gavin Heaton – Servant of Chaos (Australia)
6. Sam Flemming – (China)
7. Ian McKee – The Power of Influence (Singapore) 
8. Mirko Pollera/Alex Giordano – Ninja Marketing (Italy)
9. Russell Davies – Russell Davies (England)
10. Simon McDermott – Attentio (Belgium)
11. Andy Lark – Andy Lark  (New Zealand)
12. Max Lenderman – Experience the Message (Canada)
13. Paul Marsden – Viral Culture (England)
14. Laurent Valembert –  Marketing Alternatif (France)
15. Mike Rowe – 1000 heads (UK)
16. Par Thunstrom – Buzzador (Sweden)
17. CLeber Martins – Blog de Guerrilha (Brazil)
18  Willem Sodderland – Buzzer (Netherlands)
19. Jean Nasr – Alt-Buzz (France)
20. Igor Beuker – Viral Tracker (Netherlands)
21. Grant McCracken – This Blog Sits At...(Canada)
22. Mitch Joel – Six Pixels of Separation (Canada)
23. Justin Kirby – DMC (U.K.)
24. Sebastian Provencher – Praized  (Canada)
25. Alan Moore/Tomi Ahonen – Communities Dominate Brands (England/Hong Kong)
26. Anna Farmery – The Engaging Brand (UK)
27. Neil Perkin – Only Dead Fish (UK)
28. Johnnie Moore – Johnny Moore’s Werblog (UK)
29. Joanna Kocieba – BuzzReporter (Poland)
30. Hjortur Smarason – Marketing Safari (Iceland)
31. Krishna De – Biz Growth News (Ireland)
32. Fred Cavazza – (France)
33. Bart van Der Aa – Icemedia (Netherlands)
34. Gianluca Artesano – Frozen Frogs (Italy)
35. Ivo Laurin – Outbreak (Czech)
36. Chris Abraham – Chris Abraham (Germany)
37. Mark Earls – Herd (U.K.)
38. David Eicher – Brainwash (Germany)
39. Pepe Wietholz – Buzz People(Germany)
40 Christian Wilfer/Carolina Schulz – (Germany)
41. Dean Hunt – – (UK)
41-42??? Your Turn

Is the Population Ready for The Population?

If you are a marketer, and you are thinking, talking and working in “social media”, it is easy to forget that your work is anything but mainstream. Over the last couple of years, a strong, global community has evolved — bringing a great deal of experience, discipline and creativity into what WAS an emerging medium. In the US, in particular, social media has moved from a peripheral activity to a much more influential position — thanks in part to the pure-play social media agencies and their focus on cross-disciplinary approaches to business.

And while there have been some successes, there is still some way to go before we can seriously consider “social media” to be an accepted and acceptable (or even leading) element within the overall marketing mix. For while it is clear that the general population has shifted its media consumption away from “traditional” channels in favour of the Internet and the plethora of socially-oriented networks — there is still work to be done in codifying the metrics in a way that is easily digestable for business.

Here in Australia last week, the Photon Group opened the doors on The Populationbilled as the first pure play social media agency in Australia. Steven Noble stepped in to clarify the claim — but clearly with the backing of the Photon Group, the first steps of The Population will be watched by many.

It should be an interesting time.

What’s Your Strategy?

On a collision course.One of the most effective methods of getting an answer is to ask a question. Makes sense … but what happens when you receive an answer? Do you hear what you are hoping for? Do you hear something else? Or more importantly, is your question ANSWERED? And when it comes to strategy, not only do you need to ask the right questions, you need to listen for the real answers.

What do I mean?

No matter whether you work for a large or a small company, or whether you work on the agency side, any strategy work that you do will require input from various stakeholders. That means creativity, innovation, collaboration … and of course, compromise. But, perhaps more than anything else, you will get STRATEGIC FOG.

The strategic fog creeps up slowly, spreading uncertainty and confusion. It looks harmless, but consumes all insight, process and creativity in its path. Unfortunately, we can all fall prey to this fog. It seduces us with its questions. It suggests that responsibility can be passed. The role of the strategist, however, is to hold your line of questioning and to pursue a path of inquiry.

A strategic fog normally takes two shapes:

  • Tactics masquerading as strategy
  • Unfounded solutions answering non-strategic problems

You know when you are dealing with strategic fog when you ask a simple question — "what’s your strategy?". This one, single question is like a grenade. You throw it and wait. In the wake of its detonation you will get one of two things — the clarity of a bell or the steady onslaught of fog.

Things to remember. A strategy …

  • Is not a solution — you leave that to execution
  • Can be supported by multiple tactics
  • Should not be set in stone, but respond to your changing business conditions
  • Will serve as a basis for action and decision-making
  • Sounds simple, raw even, but resonates with the energy of your brand
  • Is nothing without insight

Have you ever experienced the strategic fog? Did you find your way out?

The Effectiveness of Digital Branding

Chris Schaumann has put together this excellent presentation on digital branding, with a particular focus on the Asia region. There are some great statistics peppered throughout, including the fact that there is only an average 5% spend on Internet advertising in Asia Pacific (Australia maxing out at 12.2%). But when you consider that 65% of all marketing spend in 2007 had NO effect on consumers and that 86% of consumers don’t believe what brands say about THEMSELVES, then it starts to make sense.

Clearly, brands can no longer EFFECTIVELY represent themselves. And with 78% of consumers believing what "other consumers" say about brands, the rise of consumer generated content/comment/analysis will have an impact on the Future of Your Brand. I particularly like the way that Chris breaks down the "new marketing model" into:

  • Transactional marketing
  • Relationship marketing
  • Experiential marketing

But I would add a fourth element — conversational marketing. This is the marketing that is done ON YOUR BEHALF by consumers to other consumers. And while it is much less controllable, it is certainly "authentic". Will it bring the love back? Only time will tell.

Tip of the hat to Geert Desager.

A Uniform Used to Mean Something

When I first saw this I loved it. The execution, incorporating cartoon animation and full motion video was excellent; the scripting, as you would expect, was fantastic; and quirky? Oh yes. But I remember it disappeared … and I found it tonight while looking for the Seinfeld/Gates/Microsoft piece. Gold.