Here are all of the posts tagged ‘conversation’.
Hands up if you’ve already broken your New Year’s resolution? If you’re anything like me, you probably gave up on your vow to stop eating cake/drinking cocktails/taking unnecessary taxis (delete where applicable) by the time the first day back at work came around.
New Year’s resolutions really can be a bore. Luckily for us, evian has recognised this and instead of focussing on the depressing side of having to give up your favourite things in gloomy January, they’re here to put a smile on our faces. And, as you may have read in Ad Age, we’ve been working with evian to bring their ‘Live young January’ campaign to life by creating a live social hub on Facebook which pulls together all the latest online and offline activity surrounding the campaign.
At the centre of the activity are 31 different ways to help you Live young this month. These range from playing rock, paper, scissors for helping make decisions, to making a den in your living room – for evian, Living young isn’t about age, it’s a mindset. Every day throughout January, we’ve been posting a new way to Live young on the evian UK Facebook wall and, so far, engagement rates have been soaring, showing that the campaign is having great traction amongst the fans. And whilst we’re talking fans, in just 1 week, the Facebook fan base has increased by a whopping 21,000 likes.
To drive further engagement around the campaign on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, we’re also running a competition giving fans the opportunity to win the ultimate Live young experience – a trip to Lapland to see the Northern Lights. Entrants simply need to submit a photo showing themselves Living young this month for their chance to win.
What’s really great about the Live young January activity, is that it’s truly integrated. We’ve been working as part of a cross-agency team with Havas Worldwide, Mediaedge CIA, Shine Communications and Live and Breathe to bring the campaign to life across all channels. In case you haven’t seen or heard about it, evian brought a giant pink snow-making ‘Live young playground‘ to London last week with the aim of encouraging commuters to find their inner Live young spirit by taking time out to play. There were digital panels on the underground to cheer up the commute and promote the playground, plus, there’s been lots of conversation on Twitter from people enjoying the magic of snow falling around them as they swing.
Of course, we wanted to maximise the reach and conversational buzz around the offline activity online and, with this in mind, we hooked up with a couple of influential bloggers in London and took them on a ‘Live young January’ day to remember. We started at the evian swings in Canary Wharf and gave them goodie bags containing envelopes which enclosed some of the 31 ways to Live young as clues to where we would be taking them throughout the day. From exploring the wonders of Hamley’s toy shop and indulging in a Mad Hatter’s themed afternoon tea, to a karaoke session and a street art graffiti lesson to unlock their creativity; the day was tailored to ensure the bloggers had plenty of Live young content to capture and blog about.
It’s going to be an exciting couple of weeks building on the early results we’ve seen so far. The evian UK ‘Live young January’ campaign is live until, well…er, the end of January (!), so if, like me, you’re not always the best at sticking to those month long New Year resolutions, why not forget about taking yourself too seriously and aim to do a daily Live young challenge instead?
Happy New Year!
Why do we talk? We look for information, we develop social bonds, we offer our help and we try to influence the way we’re perceived. Maslow theorised on the hierarchy of needs more than 50 years ago and they were revisited a few months ago by Adams in a study of the way we use social media.
What’s extraordinary about social media? One of the most unique elements is that it has offered brands the opportunity to suddenly use modes of communication that have been restricted to people for thousands of years. It’s not about an interaction based on interruption any more: we’re not talking about providing an experience, blocking it with a message and hoping for attention from the audience. We’re talking about building value together with people, through conversation.
At We Are Social we’re glad to work with one of the brands that relishes this change: BNL BNP Paribas. Today, in the august setting of Ara Pacis in Rome, an event took place titled “People, Projects, Technologies: from conversation to trust”. Italian journalist Luca De Biase was the moderator for a discussion about how brands can generate value with people. And to mark the occasion, BNL announced the project we’ve been working on with them, a new way to think about the relationship between brands and people – BNL People.
“People” means “clients”, but also the people who work for the bank and in its ecosystem: through discussion, exchange and dialogue, BNL will show its humanity. The employees’ involvement is open, honest and transparent: they will take part in this project telling their own stories, both professional and personal. Their passions, interests and their values will be under the spotlight.
One of the elements that struck us the most while working on this initiative is how the bank chose to tell people’s stories, to give visibility to whom represent the brand everyday, who make BNL a real “enabler”, a “human” institution to support people’s projects.
Toghether with BNL, we’ve created a series of initiatives to showcase this approach. One of the first is an application that allows everyone to create an infographic to understand their own way to be social, with the objective to introduce the “human” element that characterizes the use of social channels.
You can find BNL People on several channels: Facebook, Twitter and the website. Thanks to everyone who made this possible, we’re looking forward to see more and more brands adopt this approach to conversation as a way to build value with people.
The way people shift from awareness to loyalty, through consideration, intention and purchase has radically changed in short, the purchase funnel is no more. The customer journey has become ‘dynamic’, and Altimeter are investigating this as one of their research themes. Here at We Are Social, we’re lucky to be experiencing this evolution up close, from all over the world, and we can see the huge impact that conversations and social media are having.
Laptops, Smartphones, Tablets – connected devices of all flavours are now part of everyday life: being able to connect from everywhere and at any time means a continuous exchange with the people (and brands) we care about. Content has become a part of conversations, a spark to ignite them. To adapt to this age of conversation, content needs to be broken down into small pieces, suitable for continuous micro-interactions. The multiple channels that people use means you can take advantage of specific device characteristics: e.g. location based social networks (GPS), photo sharing (mobile camera and connectivity) or social TV applications (TV syncing technologies).
As Shiv Singh points out, social media is becoming more like “air”: part of everything we touch, see and interact with. While people interact with multiple channels, different types of content, people and brands in different parts of their social graph, social platforms like Facebook and Twitter understand the importance of aggregating various conversations and signals into a unified stream. Think about Facebook integrating external platforms (like Pinterest or Foursquare) into your news feed, or Twitter showing images and videos from external platforms in your Twitter stream. People choose to use social platforms based on what parts of their social graph are also using the platform and because of platform’s functionality. When they want to know what’s going on amongst their social graph, it’s important they have one (or a few) point of reference: which is why social networks often try to act as a personal “dashboard” for your social life.
With over 500m people active on Facebook each day, the amount of content, information, interactions and call to actions that touch people’s lives has grown exponentially. Attention has become the scarcest resource people have: it’s very important to leverage technology to surface only what really matters to them, selecting what should be in the foreground. But while technology is an enabler in this process, the real element that decides what gets people’s scarce attention is trust. With so many devices, platforms, connections and brands converging into a continuous user experience, people prioritise only the relevant and trustworthy interactions. Brands therefore must learn to participate in conversations to which they can add value, in order to build trust and develop a continuous relationship.
Research on brand side
In order to develop trust, it’s fundamental brands understand their audiences from a demographic, psychographic as well as sociographic point of view. It’s not enough any more for brands to know just the typical profile of the people they’re interacting with: it’s crucial to understand the people themselves and the dynamics of influence inside their groups. To do this, both listening to the conversations they are having and having a hands-on feel for the community dynamics are essential to generate relevant and actionable insights. And you must do this in real-time, in order to be able to participate in those conversations and develop effective relationships: brands must structure their offerings and internal processes in order to follow peoples’ paths dynamically.
Conversation is the product
All the changes related to this new dynamic customer journey are evolving the way brands think about their business models. Conversational elements need to become part of their products and services: a reason to consider when making a purchase (or deciding to spread the word about a product) is how integrated it needs to be with channels people use everyday. Since social media is so embedded in people’s everyday lives, offering a service through these channels can be a strong point of difference.
The evolution towards a dynamic customer journey also redefines the way people think about brands and products, putting a strong emphasis on the role of conversation. Companies have a huge opportunity to analyse and evolve their models gradually, allowing conversation to be a visible, differentiating and relevant element of their offering.
Imagine a futuristic farmers’ market getting hit by a science lab and a truck full of the sexiest booze and food on Earth.
It’s presented by The Tasting Sessions, who’ve been creating unique and immersive experiences that are unconventionally radical compared to a traditional ‘tasting’. It’s an approach that generates plenty of conversation: not only about the events, but also the products that they showcase.
We’re big fans of the concept, especially as many of the principles apply to our work at We Are Social. Getting a group of interesting, influential people to learn about something firsthand in a memorable and immersive environment is a great way to get people enthusiastically talking.
A few weeks ago, a press and blogger briefing previewed some of the food and drink to be featured at the festival, with their trademark “slightly surreal, informative and lots of fun” attitude.
Some of the more ‘guerilla art’ marketing activity has been amplified into social media via Twitter, Facebook, and Flickr, whilst the festival blog serves as a hub for the online activity, and a platform to present the various food, drink (including whisky, gin, cognac, sake, beer and wine), art and performance that are part of the multi-sensory and interactive journey into the Fluid State.
If you head to Dalston for the event (and we recommend that you do!) you’ll be better off getting your ticket online beforehand. As the Londonist puts it, this “upstart extravaganza” is “an especially tasty opportunity to have some fun”.
Our friend Nick Burcher, Head of Products / Partnerships EMEA at Publicis’ VivaKi, drew me a diagram last time we caught up for coffee outlining his social media world view, which he’s since written up. I think it’s a valuable perspective (although there is something missing, which I’ll come to below):
Traditionally marketing efforts have focussed around ‘The Destination.’ Ad space is bought to push people to a main site / microsite and this could be anything from Paid Search to TV to Print. It’s all about ‘go here now!’ There is a direct correlation between ad spend and ‘Destination’ traffic. Generally increase in ad spend = increase in traffic and decreasing ad spend results in decreasing traffic.
This is changing though. New ‘Destinations’ are being created, it’s no longer just a main site or a microsite. Facebook Fan Pages are being used as an activity hub with paid ads driving traffic. Alternatively the Destination could be a YouTube channel or other social platform.
The social web is also providing new traffic driving opportunities eg Facebook Engagement ads, sponsored Diggs or socialmedia.com social banners but the biggest change to the internet landscape though is the emergence of ‘The Conversation.’
Web 1.0 was a one way street. Users went to a site and consumed information and advertisers served messages somewhere along the way. The publisher published, the consumer consumed, the advertiser advertised . On the social web the distinctions between these three areas have all blurred and changed marketing forever.
If advertisers can successfully participate in the Conversation then it becomes less about paid pushing. The Conversation is about engaging rather than broadcasting, and if done successfully it changes the equation. Instead of having to pay to recruit every visit, consumers can be co-opted as brand ambassadors who then will freely relay the advertiser message with consequent Destination traffic the result.
Activity targeting the Conversation needs this ‘kickstart’ to give it initial momentum. This is where new disciplines like blogger outreach and video seeding come in. This is where marketers need to think of taking content to the consumer, rather than expecting consumers to come to them – and make it easy to share using ‘Blog This’ buttons, Facebook Connect and more.
Nick is right to point that it’s no longer just about ad spend, that Destinations no longer need to be microsites (if they ever did), that the Conversation is about engaging rather than broadcasting, and that traffic can flow from the Destination to the Conversation. But what the model doesn’t take account of, is the fact that it’s the Conversation, not the Destination, that’s important, and that in some cases there doesn’t need to be a Destination.
The Conversation itself sometimes can fulfill your business or marketing objectives without reference to a Destination, creating demand by driving awareness, consideration and/or engagement through far-reaching word of mouth – whether that be through simply getting the product into the hands of bloggers and generating reviews, through viral seeding where the vast majority of the video views happen out there in the conversation cloud or through a myriad of other ways.
More progressively (and effectively), you still have a Destination, but it’s designed to facilitate, support and amplify the Conversation, and success is measured not in traffic to the Destination, but in the reach, sentiment and engagement with the Conversation itself.
So I’ve been banging on about the death of the microsite for quite a while, but I’d never spent the time to fully articulate my position.
When Contagious magazine offered me the opportunity to articulate it to the world at large, I jumped at the chance. Although only normally available to their subscribers, they’ve kindly made my article available as a PDF (the article itself is on page 5).
The rise of the real time web
What have you done online in the past week? How many microsites did you visit? How many branded Flash animations did you watch? Calculate the mean answer for the entire country and you’ll probably arrive at a figure close to zero. Read on
Twitter is on every lips at the moment: tales of towering growth battle with news of celebs twittering the night away while the rest of the world learns about worldwide events on their Tweetdeck.
So it’s not a very big surprise that the latest marketing campaigns all use Twitter: yesterday Andrew McCormick of Revolution Magazine mentioned the creative WB Harry Potter Twitter campaign, while US TV show Dollhouse has decided to promote the release of the series on DVD with “Twitter-enriched banners”.
It’s no wonder that entertainment brands are particularly active (and successful) on this front. Entertainment is by essence a very social activity, a powerful way to identify and connect with your peers. So when your key-target happens to be Gen Y or early-adopters who are more than likely to be thirsty for any kind of additional experience then the path is wide open to experiment with all sorts of social media tools and engage with followers. Interestingly enough they’re called fans and not customers.
TV shows and bands have been very active on that front, leading the community activation with Twitter character profiles, blogs, forums, online and offline games including ARGs (only last week fans of Muse managed to get the band’s ARG to the sixth most popular trends on Twitter). And when expectations are not met, the backlash can be pretty strong, with rumours claiming that Brüno is facing a box-office drowning due to calamitous Twitter reviews (Update: also see what effect Twitter had on Inglourious Basterds).
Social media activation by the entertainment industry acts as a magnifying glass of what’s happening elsewhere: there are lots of other brands out there, they don’t necessarily connect with their customers by creating a convoluted ARG but they engage daily with their customers, just as we do for Skype.
Charlene Li has just released her ENGAGEMENTdb report which analyses the engagement of company in social media and correlates it to financial performance. Some of the findings are very interesting, especially when analysing the scores by industry. Of course there are some justified reservations (Patricio Robles has voiced most of them). However what I would like to keep from this report is that no matter what solution is chosen, companies have to find the mix of social media that works for them.
Best pratices and reports can give an idea of what’s happening out there, set benchmarks and reassure shareholders, but in the end customers are out there, waiting to be talked to in a human way which will both improve their customer experience and with which they can identify (and not simply for financial reasons). So go out there and try it, you’ll see social media is not that scary