Sunday, August 3, 2008

brands in social media

Brands in social media? Some reports are gloomy: not much success. It must be crushing emotionally for a brand to be ignored, shunned, even despised, in the hip new arena of social networks.

Ad agencies want to think of social networks as media. If something is media, then they think people will tolerate slapping ads and sales commands all over it.

They see online community members sharing and displaying content: text, photo, video, audio, digital art, live streaming video, videoconferencing. Ad executives consider: "If it contains all these forms of content, it must be media. We also have content: advertising messages, PR announcements, and sales pitches."

So, the word "network", that sloppy human connectivity, is replaced by the more convenient, manageable term "media".

Social media.

Now that the marketing and management people are perceiving social networks as a special new "media", social media, it's ripe for invasion. They have great exploits to conduct, terrific feats of commerce to perform.

To their minds, the social network members are sitting ducks, easy marks, happy people chatting away, when they could be shopping. These social network members are talking and sharing, why can't we interrupt their conversations, change the subject, and start talking about some products?

In defense of the chilly reception online community members give to "brands", self-promotions, and ads:

How would you like it if a salesman walked up to your intimate backyard BBQ and tried to sell products to your guests?


But.

If that salesman saw a group or individual need, and the salesman had the expertise or product that could fulfill that need, and the salesman was calm, friendly, and not pushy or cheesey...perhaps he could find an audience for his message, which at least has some relevance now.

2 comments:

Gavin Heaton said...

Even better if that salesperson was an active participant in that community first!
Part of what makes Harley Davidson interesting ...

Ken said...

Or what if folks are complaining about a product...or service... or lack of service... or openly wishing for someone to explain why, say, Comcast can't give you better than a 4-hour service window or Tide made my undershirts pink... or where I could get that cool ringtone that Janey has...

The answer to the "what if" is usually"... "it's OK, as long as it's cool." The trick, of course, is to know what cool is...and successfully be cool...