There’s a big controversy these days in Social Media Marketing between the huge business opportunities and the fact that the more consumers are digitally empowered, the less they want to release their personal data and privacy to third parties.
TNS Digital confirms this trend, demonstrating that not so many Social Networks users are open to brands.
In this attention economy, the competition has never been that strong. A competition that not only happens in a virtual world but truly in real life: local stores are progessively implementing Social Media tactics; mash-ups are now in-store (see H&M + Lanvin former collection).
Marc Menesguen, Managing Director of Strategic Marketing for L’Oréal has recently declared for Cap Gemini that “The difference between the traditional model and the new one that is emerging, is a difference between positioning and movement.Today it’s not enough to think about brand positioning (…) the consumer
is even more central to our strategy. Whereas in the mass media model, typically centered on television, everyone received the same message, with digital media we can design much more targeted marketing”.
Consistency, tiny groups, dynamic story instead of static positioning, fusion of online + “offline” contact areas…there are inferred new practices that also reveal a new marketing paradigm. The goal is no longer to make a consumer enter a classic marketing funnel. The idea is first to be relevant enough to shape a weak link, a real “hyphen” between the brand and the consumer.
Because the consumer is the real shareholder of a company’s reputation, live-growing or live-dismantling it, there’s a need to analyze and develop an hyphenated approach of marketing.
This is the aim of this white-paper called “The H-Word: towards a new social marketing approach”. It’s not a final doctrine nor a comprehensive methodology. It’s more a call to conversation, sharing-knowledge, debate. Feel free to engage the debate.
A pressure to build “stories” as digital re-shaped our economy of attention; once you’re done with a coupon, you need to maintain a link with diverse publics. You need to be able to activate them. The “story” would be an asset to keep an interest going, moreoever in a digital journey: you share your daily bread with your relatives, with your buddies, and in the meantime you pick and chose your next holidays. It amplifies our beings, and brands want to interfere within this tree of choices. As a comparison, you never really leave a book after you’ve read the 3 first chapters.
But if the marketing statement is simple at first sight, it’s utterly complicated -and to date disappointing- to implement and orchestrate
A reader as a shareholder of the story’s success
A story is paradoxically based on unsaid. It’s a principle developped by Umberto Eco in 1979 in Lector in Fabula.
In order to make a story work, the reader must be brought to a whole universe (as in an encyclopedia) and to feel like if he had a responsibility in the curse of the story.
“générer un texte signifie mettre en oeuvre une stratégie dont font partie les prévisions des mouvements de l’autre – comme dans toute stratégie“.
Interpretative & autonomous mechanism are intrinsic to the story. Non-existing characters become so “existing” in our minds that we can anticipate their next steps or don’t be surprised by an attitude in the following episodes. More interesting: these characters keep living in our brains out of the written text! Digital world increases this statement: the reader is a shareholder or the story’s reputation. If he feels engaged, he’ll talk about it and will recruit, will debate, will bring the story’s universe to new borders.
It’s pretty rare to consider new ads to be great stories. Nike came and said “I have a story” but don’t give any real clue that it’s true (and the amount of RT to an ad on YouTube is just crap to explain it). We’re on a static ad, that’s all.
The reader as an intimate actor of a public creation
When we read a story, we’re alone, even if you live it with other people. That’s the reason why it’s so important to ask to your friends if they’ve liked a movie or a book. We perceive on our own a story.
Brands dare to directly outreach our intimacy, in order to force us to give our feelings. It’s the case with Nivea, in the US, with their “Cupid’s Challenge“; a category at the same level than coupons in the diverse social spaces of the brand.
“Kiss” platform, with the help of 2 US TV middle stars, Nick Lachey & Vanessa Minnillo wants to coach our love life (so telling what is good or bad on this purpose); wants to viralize people’s love (vs money or gifts); wants to promote Nivea massage’s products, which are supposed to endeavour libido.
A tricky mechanism which has some limits: once you’re done with your 3 RT of celebrity, you remember that Nivea is first & foremost a soap. And that Cupid’s Challenge’s chapter 2 is an empty bottle. Because as in real TV, the script is so not real.
Consumer: a hierarchy of values?
So here’s the deal: isn’t there a way between brands which only talk about themselves and brands which only try to reach our intimacies?
Maybe to go back to basics, as New Scientist reminds us:it’s not about manipulation but aspirations and fullfillments. For instance, 20 years ago, Snickers, a brand owned by Mars in France, decided to build some sports playgrounds in under-privileged cities. A means to bring a concrete chapter to the brand’s story. To help buddies who want to practice some sports in the evenings; and for some of them, to be spotted by major basketball temps. It was 20 years ago. It was alreay pervasive creativity.
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
“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.
An interesting case study which is happening in France. As you may know, the French government decided to reinforce its expulsion policy. Last Wednesday, about 150 people were thrown away from “barre Balzac” @ La Courneuve. The first press releases mention that everything went ok. But associations started seeding videos on dailymotion to show what really happens, which is now broadcast on TV.
Interesting to see that in this image war, stakeholders can directly influence mass media. Therefore opinion.
It’s also highly interesting to check that “La Courneuve” is a topic pretty followed, and that anytime a mix of “expulsion / nation / suburb” topic emerge, La Courneuve can be an amplifier.