Archive for ‘change management’

April 28th, 2011

Why Social Media ideas are still complicated to widespread in Europe

by Laurent François

We had a great conversation 2 days ago @ ESCP Europe with some students, who wanted to know if it was more relevant to implement their start-ups in France, or more generally in Europe, or to directly move to the US.

Some constraints are obvious in Europe, and the main difficulty is…leveraging critical mass:

  • you have more than 20 languages in the European Union stricto sensu
    – it means that if there’s one EU citizenship, you have hundreds of local cultures you need to handle as an entrepreneur
    – you not only need to translate your solution but also understand the local expectations
    – people can’t easily share ideas and games through conversations, as they don’t speak all English, for instance
  • there’s already a wide diversity of start-ups: how to be original?
  • there are legal constraints, thus

But hey, socializers, come on! 3 arguments to answer:

  • if it was all about getting enough people to be reached, just go in advertising, not marketing: many products are good for very few people: the critical mass to achieve can be a very low number, depending on your business
  • think “business”, not “social”: what do you want to sell, and to whom?
  • the local differences are also business opportunities: not many people know how to manage different groups of people, even in plain English: it’s time to grow it

Remember: Social Media is a practice; what are your core competences? who are the public you want to reach? What’s the value proposition?

 

Once you’ve solved that, you don’t care where you are: there are still people talking to other people. Be pervasive; and creative

 

March 3rd, 2011

Mad Men are back in Social Media: “sell or else”

by Laurent François

During the last 5 years, everybody claimed the end of “traditional advertising”: print, TV, billboards. Because of new practices: social marketing, digital influence, experience marketing.

Let’s face it: if these new practices exploded, they haven’t killed advertising at all; they’ve helped it become stronger and reinvent its impact

Stats of the art: advertising growth everywhere

Carat has recently released an update of its 2011 forecasts: there’s a big US come-back while Asia keeps rocking. European markets are stabilizing and still generate revenue. A phenomenon not that surprizing as there’s an upcoming industrial revolution, supported by US government: Green R&D, new sustainable technologies. So as it’s necessary to explain to the general public why new offers, products & services matter.

Online advertizing keeps increasing too: efficiency debates arise here and there, so as campaigns must be more qualitative, relevant; “contacts strategy” are at stake, leaving GRP issues to the old world. That’s the reasong why media agencies are trying to leverage social offers, as they consider them as amplifications of their media plans!

Knowledge: inheritance of advertising and implementation of new digital methodologies

in an economy of attention, it’s not only about sending a message to make it generate consent towards relevant targets and publics. We’ve criticized a lot (me first…) advertising, and we forgot 2 important practices: planning & knowledge

Strategic planning has been developing for a century some methodologies, some patterns, some “science”, using skills where they are: labs, universities, trendsetters. While finding path to make all these insights work together. Social Media Marketing has probably led to new tools (online monitoring etc.). But when it comes to opinion, you need stats, habits, measurement process which help you refine the restults.  Planners, as in the 80s, are back to top management in agencies: because they’re the only one to get this step forward to create proper pervasive creativity process and value chain.

Brands’ organizations are changing to absorb the “social” rise

Jon Iwata, IBM’s CMO said that he was experiencing a major change:

“What is very clear is that for marketing to continue to be a meaningful contributor to business performance it not only has to enable delivery of short-term growth objectives but also needs to tackle the strategic issues of leveraging and aligning the culture in a way that maximizes the success of the organization”

To sum up: corporate culture and creative process on the same level. A re-engineering between insights (planning, marketing studies, monitoring etc.) as input to the communicative process (brand content, experience marketing…) to deliverable for the final clients: (client survey, CRM…)

It’s kinda good news for entreprises: it’s not about organizing a fight “communication department (or soft practices like PR)” vs “marketing departments” (hard practices like push marketing or CRM or couponing) but to come back to a principle: SELL OR ELSE (David Ogilvy).

From 4P to 4E :mad men & advertising people more prepared for the next challenges

In this environement, linked to a new industrialization era, making an idea go public for a product has never been as important. 4 P are not dead they’ve just changed to 4 E:

It leads me to the conclusion that advertising agencies may be more prepared to the new brands’ global challenges. Social media has been made on business territories and not on “citizens happy face world”; pure players are challenging these logics but only traditional content providers can generate…this content. For instance: to curate, you need producers. Real one. And it costs something.

It doesn’t mean that young & small structures will collapse. But that there are new cycles: a new leverage will always be interesting to integrate in a global communication purpose, in the long-term.

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.

November 14th, 2010

Brand inexperience: a true Social Media Marketing goal?

by Laurent François

Citizens!

We’ve been talking a lot about brand experience these days. In an economy of attention more & more complicated, brands aim to focus again on consumers’ journey, starting from research, buying behavior & finally ending on the diverse usages / consumption of the product or service over time.

A necessary long-time approach as in our liquid & “liquifying” economy, new usages or needs postpone the death of a product life cycle. Movie industry is good example: you go to the theater, you watch a DVD or VOD, you sell & buy goodies. Or you can even implement products’ placement (thanks Thien for sharing the link). A Disney experience has proved for a long time the multiplying possibilities of a single idea. Mobile phones are now social browers, and that’s also interesting: any OS update is a new opportunity to get new services or start again certain usages; things you could not imagine while you were in the conception phase.

In a SWOT approach (strengths, weaknesses, oppportunities, threats), we most of time go too fast on opportunities, letting them dependent on brand assets, instead of focusing on the real context. Good consultants generally do a deep work in order to understand what the core competences are. But they obviously leave interns & juniors working on PESTEL (or environment) analysis. They normally keep too little time to go back to these insights. The problem is that if you remain too focused on brand experience, so to say on the product at the early stage, you destroy huge potentialities, prospectives, which can occur or just appear thanks to a new context.

In our pervasive environment, we should therefore invest time in a new practice: brand inexperience.

The devil is in the details; we could challenge ourselves:

  • in which ecosystem the brand should be present but seems invisible?
  • in which tribes can we find the brand that is used in very original ways, that were not anticipated by the “brand experience administrator”, so to say the brand value chain?
  • to which level do the user understand and use the brand? Is there a pool of users who drive the brand down or at perfectly immature stage? (think about Palm 10 years ago and compare it to iPhone today: we’re still smartphones’ teenagers. All.)



September 10th, 2010

Is Social Media changing the world or is the world generating Social Media?

by Laurent François

Citizens!

According to eMarketer, “40% of brand representatives around the world felt social media posed new challenges to the integrity of their brand. More than a third said that social networking sites affected brands significantly enough to bring about changes in marketing strategy” . Interesting statements; but I guess that the following conclusions are not enough: “But with 500 million consumers reachable on Facebook, and a host of other networking sites, services like Twitter and the rest of the social web, the challenges may be worth it. More than half of brand representatives told MiresBall and KRC that social media gave them an opportunity to reach new customers

It’s like if marketers were missing a level: it’s not Twitter nor Facebook that are at stake, it’s more generally the way people lead their daily life, the way they talk to one another, the way they priorize things. At the end, we don’t really care Facebook nor Twitter (for instance, in South Korean, NO ONE cares).

Focusing on 2 trending networks cannot be a good attitude: it lacks strategic implications. For instance, if I were Uniqlo, I would probably try to see which channels can be interesting, true. But I’d start with a simple objective: why do I communicate? Once I’ve found my reasons, what’s the value proposition? And only then I’m gonna ask which supports can propagate this value proposition. Supports and not channels: because for instance, supports can also be a limited edition, a flashcode, a media partnership.

Focusing too much on Social Media is the same mistake than focusing too much on advertising or retail: all these practices are part of a same effort. It’s because the world’s changing than Social Media is changing the world.