Archive for ‘creativity’

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.

September 30th, 2010

The value of an idea in the era of Social Media (ESCP Europe / mmk2)

by Laurent François

Citizens!

I had the chance last night to meet the brilliant people from Master in Marketing & Creativity (ESCP Europe) in order to talk about the value of an idea in the era of Social Media. Wide & wild question, when we face the millions of initiatives that are launched every week all over the world. At the end, what makes an idea succeed whereas others collapse?

We dived into new paradigms, like liquid modernity or attention economy. We discussed about methodology to transform ideas into IdeAlS (Ogilvy’s Big Ideal). We raised some issues about change management or measuring success…The students are now working on 2 case studies: Architurn & Arteest, 2 fantastic projects that have been recently launched. Here’s the deck:

September 17th, 2010

Why Diaspora project could work

by Laurent François

Citizens! I had a conversation this week around net neutrality and some French entrepreneurs around the table did not believe at all that Diaspora could defeat the “big” Facebook. Well, big, if you think twice, you can easily remember it’s a younger network than my own studies period, so as “evidences of relevance” are not so…evident.

Moreoever, I like the MySpace example and the Facebook one. In the early ages of Facebook, no one could think there’d be a massive translation from a network to another. It was in a sense pretty easy in the MySpace to Facebook in France, as MySpace was mostly perceived as an entertainment platform for us against a “friend management system” for Facebook. Different usages, so as a market gap that was filled. Something absolutely different in the US where MySpace was an interpersonal network, a true Social Network on your whole life. And it finally happened: people moved to Facebook, or added Facebook to their digital identity. And Facebook & MySpace can now be synchronized.

For Diaspora, the challenge is big: be able to mobilize general public to move to is platform, against the Facebook one. Something complicated as every mobile device providers pre-install Facebook or Twitter.

But.

There’s been a wide PR coverage about new Facebook competitor. Every single news magazine diffused interviews, opinions, articles, about this new player. There’s been a great mobilization online, from diverse communities: the founders are not just “geek” people, they’re also like us: citizens, fed up with Facebook Califorinia laws. Fed up with this Teddy Boy called Mark Zuckerberg who wants to control our social graph.

There’s obviously an explicit expectation. And when it comes to social networks, explicit networks play a great role. For instance, if Viadeo, the French professional network, worked so well, it’s because during the summer of its launch, the salesmen & founders called their C+ friends to join the platform. For explicit reasons. They transferred their whole address books. Then they added or made implicit networks play the prescription mechanism on its own. On a daily basis, anytime I meet an interesting professional contact, based on my experience, I can decide to explicitely add someone.

On Diaspora, there’s both an explicit reason to join, and an implicit mechanism which can lead to a massive interest from the general public.

  • there’s been an engagement program towards the traditional Key opinion leaders & towards disruptive ones like bloggers
  • there’s a clear value proposition: a Facebook without Facebook Manichean attitude
  • there’s a tricky tactics: not directly opposing Facebook to Diaspora (either join us either leave us) but progressively demonstrating why it’d be better

There are strong business opportunities for developers to join Diaspora model, as Diaspora released today its source:

  • you can be freed from Apple or Facebook constraints
  • you can also get enough audience to make your great service worth
  • you can go directly to your relevant public
  • you can avoid legal issues therefore money waste on privacy questions

For me, as a citizen-consumer, I see many interests:

  • I don’t lose my social capital if I move to Diaspora
  • I can probably get great applications & services, and to be fair, I don’t give a shit if it’s on Facebook or else, if it works on my smartphone and if I can get access to all the resources I need
  • It’s a manifesto for a more fair market. And I like fair & true view principles

Maybe I’m too Android-minded. Maybe.

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.

August 12th, 2010

The new girl: the oppos-IT Girl

by Laurent François

Citizens! According to l’Officiel de la Mode, It girls are dead: viva oppos-It girls!

“Bye-bye les filles vides, les oppos-“It girls” sont féminines mais pas féministes. Elles sont mamans, pas mamas. Elles travaillent dur, ne travaillottent pas. ” Constance Chaillet

To go fast: new girls are feminine, not feminist, they’re mummies, not mamas.

Is it a come-back to conservative styles? The new flavor for Nicolas Sarkozy female’s supporters? No.

“Dès que les choses vont mal, on se tourne vers les fondamentaux. C’est une réaction classique. A cela vient se joindre le rejet de l’anorexie et une attitude générale qui devient antimannequin jetable. Ces filles ont quelque chose en plus dans le regard et dans la tête, et on s’en rend particulièrement compte en ce moment” Alexandre Schwab, de Viva

For Alexandre Schwab, it’s just that after a crisis and a depression, we need to go back to basics and to very down the Earth messages.

Good news: in the era of Social Media, this quest of true meaning happens more and more online. Talent discovering, niche markets are the new hype. In Japan, there’s a fantastic trend around Beautiful Girls” : when stars seem to far away, we need to get some inspiration from the street. Easy, uh!?

French Connection understood it quiet well;  they wanted to destroy the image of the Parisian bitches who first look at the wallets before the eyes:

The thing is that only few brands really play with “true beauty”, the one that is invisible for eyes (lol). So to say, talent.

For instance, Garance Doré signed a limited edition for Gap. But we can obviously wonder if the brand bought a competence, an audience, or both:

A friend of mine talked about the coming mash-up between creativity, networks and stories. We should keep posted until September, 9th:

Otherwise, like French Connection, you can probably go to Married to the Mob if you like this wandering Runaway Faye, in a running movie:

RUNAWAY FAYE from The Town Pump on Vimeo.

Thanks Samy T. for the tip.