One of the more useful and interesting regular reports is the Edelman Trust Barometer. Each year, thousands of people are surveyed – and the global and national results for 2014 have now been published. It’s well worth a deep dive into the information, statistics and analysis. But one of the standout observations is that “Trust in every institution is at its highest point”.
This is particularly interesting for a number of reasons:
Locally we have emerged from a particularly tumultuous election cycle. While trust in government has improved – the growth in trust in the NGO sector has accelerated. We increasingly place our trust in independent organisations NOT governments
Business leaders and CEOs remain at the bottom of the trust heap. This may not be an issue for many organisations but for businesses that operate in high-touch environments, CEO profile can have a significant impact on a range of indicators from share price to employee morale, net promoter score etc
Experts are back on the favoured list – with the public increasingly supportive of experts and academics.
If – as we expect – the connection between social media / business / life becomes much more nuanced and integrated through 2014, then trust will become a much more important factor in our business, professional, personal and social lives. And for organisations wanting to remain relevant in the lives of connected consumers, that trust counts.
The question for marketers is – have you built trust into business DNA? Because now more than ever, marketing = business and business = marketing.
I have been complaining about a lack of retail innovation – especially digital-oriented innovation – for some time. So it’s nice to see Australian jeweller / retailer, Michael Hill, taking on the challenge in the lead-up to Valentine’s Day.
Using Brightcove’s video cloud, Michael Hill combine video content – in this case, behind the scenes footage – to allow customers to purchase items depicted in the video. As the video progresses, “shoppable” items are highlighted in the scrolling product list. Sure it’s a little clunky in terms of experience, but it works, looks good and it’s an experiment that Michael Hill and their agency will learn from. And that puts them streets ahead of most other Australian retailers who struggle with the web basics.
Social media has a powerful ability to stimulate and create conversation. But when you are planning your communications, it’s essential to know your audience. And these days, “knowing” your audience isn’t just about mapping, analysing and researching. It’s about understanding their “pungent granularity”.
Pungent granularity and the social audience
To survive in a world where consumers expect one-to-one marketing and real time business responsiveness, we need to move beyond the simple targeting of our consumers. This means responding to:
The three forces of self-segmentation: Before we take an action, make a decision or puts our hand into our pocket to actually transact, we make a quick personal assessment. We self-segment according to our needs (does this “thing” solve a need state that I have), behaviours (does this “thing” reinforce, challenge or shift my behaviour) and attitudes (how does this “thing” make me feel?). Marketers must understand the nuances of this self-segmentation and bring this understanding to their efforts
What we already know about our consumers: Whether we capture “big data” or just quickly trawl the social web, we can quickly amass a detailed knowledge of our consumers. The challenge with this becomes not one of data collection but of frameworks for making decisions and taking actions. This is where I quite love Sam Gosling’s OCEAN framework. Moving away from the MBTI mappings, he suggests that Openness, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism can be easily assessed via our digital footprints. And in doing so, we can plan our communications accordingly
When we pull together all this information, we get a deep sense of our consumers. We know not just what they say they “like” but how this influences their actions and decisions. We understand their connections, social graph and the way that they operate in a digitally-connected world. And deeply buried amongst all this is the “trigger” – what motivates.
The “trigger” is the kicker
Take a look at this fantastic video featuring “illusionists and entertainers”, Penn and Teller. It’s on the subject of vaccinations. It’s forceful and NSFW (with a few F-bombs scattered throughout). The language is direct, the message clear and in your face.
But will it achieve what it is intended to do?
Unfortunately, I don’t believe it will. The motivation here – not of the creator – but of the viewer is triggered by the same level of frustration shown by Penn. Those who are pro-vaccination will be keen to share and validate their own position. Those who are anti-vaccination will reject the facts, figures and approach outright. The frame is out of focus for the second group – and the argument will be based on the framing of the data as a way of disputing what is “true”.
This is why wheeling out big data will also be challenging. While the Mayo Clinic clearly states:
“Vaccines do not cause autism. Despite much controversy on the topic, researchers haven’t found a connection between autism and childhood vaccines. In fact, the original study that ignited the debate years ago has been retracted.”Mayo Clinic – Childhood Vaccines: Tough questions, straight answers (here)
… many still view this sceptically.
But if there really is a desire to change the point of view (or point of belief), behaviours and attitudes of anti-vaccination folks, there is a need to more deeply understand them.
After three years of hibernation, the probe which is on a mission to intercept a comet (yes, in real life, not fantasy), was awoken and signalled its readiness with the classic Hello World message. If only all our efforts and communications were as simple and successful as this.
When I first joined the ADMA expert group for social media, there was a separate expert group for search. But as we met and discussions flowed, it seemed obvious that the two should merge. After all, when it comes to all things digital, search and social were – in most cases – essential collaborators. Or should be.
In many cases, however, search and social are kept at arm’s length – each claiming digital marketing top spot.
There is no doubt, however, that combining search and social has a much more powerful impact on almost any of your metrics. And with Google’s recent announcement around shared endorsements, this impact will become more formally entwined. Those who continue to resist social media’s siren call, or who keep the artificial silos in place across their marketing teams, will start to see performance of both search and social flounder.
The only way ahead for digital is integrated. And for 2014, you can expect this to accelerate and broaden. It’s time for the walls in your marketing silos to come down – and this is the year to do it as this infographic from Prestige Marketing shows.
I have been a fan of Instagram for some time. Not just because of the filters … but because it has developed an interesting and engaged community of users. Instagram has become the Flickr that the internet didn’t forget.
But there is a vast difference between using Instagram as an individual and using it as part of your business marketing toolkit. But many of the things that you love about Instagram personally, can be usefully applied professionally – with a couple of caveats:
Think with your brand hat on: Consider the content, composition and colour of the photos you are taking. Try to provide some form of visual consistency
Let your personal creativity and personality shine: Just because you are working on a professional presence doesn’t mean that it is a personality free zone. You got your job due to your unique talents. Apply these to your Instagram efforts
Connect in and connect out: Make sure that your Instagram efforts are connected with your broader marketing and business strategy. Remember, likes are not revenues, so don’t get carried away with a flurry of interest. But do take advantage of the high levels of community engagement available through Instagram – it’s a great way to connect out to your community.
This great presentation on Instagram by Ross Simmonds provides some fantastic guidelines for doing more with Instagram together with samples of brands that are doing the right things.
Employee giving programs are a powerful way of maximising your personal charitable giving. Charities gain reliable, regular funds and by making pre-tax donations to charities through workplace giving, the impact of your donations can go much further. In fact, with employer matching in place – where every dollar that you donate is matched by your employer – the economic impact of every dollar can be be multiplied by up to a factor of FOUR.
So, for every dollar you donate, your favourite charities can be four times better off.
Employer matching doubles your contribution
Charities traditionally spend up to 25% of their income on fundraising, so you are saving them acquisition, retention and marketing funds
Regular, bulk payroll donations reduce administration costs and allow for more effective planning
But despite continuing growth in workplace giving, many organisations have yet to put a formal program in place. The Australian Charities Fund explains that these programs have massive impact – not just on charities who receive the philanthropic funds – but also on employers and individuals. For example:
Individual worker philanthropy: People are more confident that their donations make a difference, feel more involved with their community and benefit from the tax effectiveness of their donations
Corporates: Employers can build effective and useful community partnerships and boost employee morale. Workplace giving programs are low on cost and administration and simultaneously help attract and retain quality talent
But how do you have a genuine, engaging discussion about staff giving?
The Queensland University of Technology took an innovative approach and tapped their own school of performing arts to create a flashmob during staff Christmas celebrations. The aim was to get people to think about the future – the future of students and of the university. Not only were students involved, so were lecturers, tutors, professors and heads of schools. There was wide engagement across all stakeholder groups.
This is important to note, because if you want a lasting impact, you need to move beyond talking, to doing. Your ideas have to have a life and an impetus to drive participation. And while we all love the idea of conversation, we also know that talk is cheap, and at the beginning of a new year, perhaps we should all be looking towards a new future.
Remember that old saying that “when the product is FREE, the product is YOU”? Well Google are putting their advertiser’s money where your mouth is – with shared endorsements now being incorporated into search results. This brings together two powerful web transformation engines – search and social – in the one interface.
That means that those online reviews etc that you have contributed over the years are being aggregated behind the scenes and will begin to appear in the search results that you and your friends see when using Google Search. Your friends will know it is you, because the results will show your name and photo along with the review, +1, follows or shares that you have published on the web.
As Google explains, it will look like the image below …
Over the last 12 months or so, Google has been requiring Gmail users to sign up to Google+. So even if you are not a dedicated G+ user, so long as you are signed into Gmail, your browsing habits, interests etc are being collected, analysed and tagged in preparation for this style of endorsement.
But if you are not keen to lend your personal brand, reputation or face to these businesses (and to Google), you can opt-out of Shared Endorsements here.
No matter whether we are at home, work, attending a social event or even in the car, social media is increasingly an integrated part of our lives. And while social media is being used by brands to engage their customers, the vast majority of people use social media outside of their professional lives – it seems that social media still has some way to go in the lives of Australian business professionals. This infographic created by innovative survey app AskU reveals some of the emerging behaviours of Australian social media users.
72% of people use social media daily
Over 80% of regular social media users use social media for pleasure (not work)
And 88% of people know someone who “overshares” on social media.