Archive for December, 2010

December 29th, 2010

Digital influence: 2011 as a full step towards Brand Storytelling

by Laurent François

Ages ago (5 years!) we suddenly discovered that online conversations were absolutely changing the influential deal: anyone in the street could potentially threaten a brand, some people might organize themselves to accuse, attack another group. Times said that “You” were the person of the year in 2006.

Some months later: viral campaigns, influential projects. The financial & economic downturn and the rise of online strong communities: BlogHer, the Ford come-back led by John Bell and his team. A whole creativity boom and the hope that thanks to Social Media, a new era for citizenship could happen. Also because of the amazing Barack Obama campaign in the US: we’ve also hoped in Europe that such a movement could rise.

2010: a kind of strange climate for Social Media observers; the feeling that many things have been done and that Social Media can be disappointing. Look at the Wikileaks affair: does it really change the deal, at the end for the final citizen? Diplomacy will be more & more secret. So as rare information will be always more walled.

My point is that Social Media is not disappointing at all: it’s the story you tell which can be.

And that’s the good news: we’ve probably been a bit lazy these years, as marketers, focusing on leverages instead of what a brand has to say or cannot say. Before using the “social pace” in which we as citizen-consumers live, we need to work again on the story we want to affirm. And a story means 3 or 4 stakeholders or means:

  1. a pitch: all the brands cannot sell “happiness” and I think that it’s a bit over-rated to think that a brand can sell the absolute love among people. Brands can therefore sell realitic ideas or projects, simplicity could be better than non-pragmatic concepts (think about the 1960s ads which were full of pragmatism and entertainment)
  2. Actors: and here comes your organisation: you need to make people endorse a kind of “deep acting”. Read on this perticular point this study on “surface acting and deep acting as determinants of emotional exhaustion & peer-rated service delivery” and this article in French. Your story starts with your people: social media can be a useful tool to create hubs & bridges around a core set of values that your people vote or help
  3. Audiences & / or publics: you share your reputation and the good news is that your story can fit with very diverse groups of people with diverse objectives. Big brands haven’t really imagined enough manners to make these people contribute: it’s not about a blog, about a social network, about a campaign. It’s about how your brand as a process could talk, grow, at different stages, with these groups of people. Think R&D: couldn’t you make more people enter your labs? Think about CSR: don’t you think that your consumers could enter the definition of your mission earlier, instead of just being exposed to your messages? Think about “backstage”: how many times did you invite some students in your office?

In this big story-manufactury, digital influence can rapidly become a kind of big GPS for your organization; because it’s transmedia, because it’s about the internet which is the global communication platform; because with digital influence, you don’t have the right to be blind because “it’s not your job”. People with hands on your brand. People with brands on your story. People with digital real needs on the services you deliver.

What a challenge.

December 14th, 2010

Sometimes, I have nothing to tell you. The marketing of silence in Social Media

by Laurent François


Billions of online conversations, rising there and on my tweetdeck. Huge delay to read them all. Impossible mission.

And suddenly a friend or a contact pops up in a more private window. Telling me that an article must be read, that a talent is rising. That a project has a just been launched.

That’s the strong come back of the OFF in our digital world. What is rare is costly: bringing the perfect information to an individual is the top service.

Sometimes, I have nothing to tell you online. Nothing as it’s too demanding in terme of available time. It’s not only a question of brain availability, but brodcasting capability. It’s the big difference with Le Lay principle some years ago: in our attention economy, it’s not only about being fed by incredible amounts of signals; it’s about being able to filter, synthetize, send, forward.

In this silent world, this dumb conversation, the one that does not leave a digital footprint in search engines, is very worth.

At the end, the true influence could be in measuring the ability for someone to be invisible. A little bit like luxury brands, that cultivate distance, whereas they’re omnipresent in the form of conversations .

One worry: if monitoring online conversations is at the end not so complicated, entering this silent world is going to be a big challenge. Even with Wikileaks-agents. It’s obviously on. It’s obviously off.

December 6th, 2010

Do advertisers need mobile marketing agencies in a digital world?

by Laurent François


When Patrick Lord, Founder of mobile advertising company Adremixer, came to me with this question:

Do advertisers need mobile marketing agencies in a digital world?

I was of course very happy to spend some times, discussing about my Ogilvy experience and what I felt would be the next big move.

You can read the whole report right here; the definition of Mobile Marketing that is used in the report is the MMA one:

“a set of practices that enables organizations to communicate and engage with their audience in an interactive and relevant manner through any mobile device or network.”

My point of view (briefly): mobile marketing is just a leverage at this stage (even in less than a decade, our digital self will be fully mobile, so as Mobile marketing will also be … marketing at all). It’s not yet mainstream.

Agencies need to think first in terms of the story to tell, not about the technology. Mobile technology is simply another leverage that may or may not be used to help tell that story. Sometimes it’s the central hub of the campaign, because it’s the most interesting place to play in with consumers. Sometimes it’s not justified at all.

But anyhow, go and read it. And I’d be glad to share some points of views around it!