Here are all of the posts tagged ‘Mark Earls’.

The Intention Economy

by Robin Grant in News Google+

David Gillespie has been burning the midnight oil producing this epic 260 slide presentation, which covers a lot of ground, including his thoughts about the ‘Intention Economy’, in an incredibly compelling way. As you’ll see from the opening slides, it has a particular resonance for us here at We Are Social. Over to him:

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IPA Social: 10 conversation starters

by Robin Grant in News Google+

Social Media is a conversation. That seems to be one thing that we all agree on

Last week, Nathan, Sandrine, Leila, Simon, Seb and I went along to the launch of IPA Social, where Neil Perkin presented their 10 conversation starters:

You can read all 10 in full here (which I highly recommend doing):

  1. Mark EarlsPeople not consumers
  2. Le’Nise BrothersSocial agenda not business agenda
  3. John WillshireContinuous conversation not campaigning
  4. Faris YakobLong term impacts not quick fixes
  5. Katy LindemannMarketing with people not to people
  6. Neil PerkinBeing authentic not persuasive
  7. Jamie CoomberPerpetual beta
  8. Amelia TorodeTechnology changes, people don’t
  9. Graeme WoodChange will never be this slow again
  10. Asi SharabiMeasure and evaluate

As the IPA’s President, Rory Sutherland says:

At a time when the population of Facebook is now greater than all but three countries in the world, and when BT is delivering customer service via twitter, this is an area which forces us to question many of our ingrained assumptions about advertising, brands and intangible value.

and from Mark Earls’ scene setting essay:

For all the excitement today around the Twitters and Facebooks, the tougher problems for the advertising industry to get to grips with are all rooted in the way social media – the stuff that connects humans with other humans – changes the game for our clients and society at large.

IPA Social is an admirable initiative, one which we’ll continue to participate in, and their 10 principles are an excellent overview of how brands need to come to terms with social media, representing the thinking of some the greatest minds in modern advertising (all of whom are good friends of ours). The launch event was also a great evening, focused on starting conversations rather than presenting a revealed truth.

However, it still was very focused on traditional ‘advertising’, with a large proportion of time spent hearing about VCCP’s Compare the Meerkat campaign. We split out into groups towards the end of the event and in the group I led, we discussed whether campaigns like Compare the Meerkat are really social media campaigns. Although the campaign has rich presences in social media, we’re weren’t sure that was a factor in it’s success. We felt it was the strength of the creative idea and the media spend at work here – and the fact that Oasis’ Rubberduckzilla has substantially more fans than Aleksandr the Meerkat on Facebook, despite no attempts to engage with social media helps re-enforce this point. It was felt that real social media campaigns are ones where the conversation itself drives the success of the campaign (like our This is Now campaign for Ford).

I also couldn’t miss joining in the discussion about which types of agency were best suited for social media. The point I made was as follows. Over the last ten years digital agencies stole a march on above the line agencies by building bigger, better and more motivated specialist teams. This let them innovate faster and develop a critical mass of best practise that accelerated the skills gap between them and their above-the-line competitors. Specialist social media agencies will do the same to digital and other agencies. To use We Are Social as an example, who else has a team of twenty experienced practitioners, entirely focused on innovative, creative and effective social media marketing and communications? Each day and each new hire widens the gap between us and those in pursuit.

Overall, I left feeling comforted that the specialist agencies’ lead in social media was safe for some time to come…

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Innovation and Networks of Influence

by Chris Applegate in News Google+

This morning, four of us went down to the Innovation and Networks of Influence event held at NESTA in central London for what turned out to be a refreshingly different experience from many of the usual discussions of what influence is.

The most common ways of describing influence in social networks is to draw diagrams with blobs on them – typically there are some very large blobs with lines radiating outward to smaller blobs, which in turn radiate to even smaller blobs. While this concept is useful for specific purposes – and can be mapped algorithmically – it should not be taken as a complete model of a social process. It doesn’t account for two-way conversation (or the lack of it), nor can it help explain where and when a message gets altered, or any other form of change that a lack of centralised control can bring about. There is also context to deal with – while one person may be influential on, say, technology, they may hold very little sway when recommending a florist.

Refreshingly this wasn’t the way influence was treated here – instead looking at it from above and instead of a mathematical modelling perspective, it focused on interactions and behaviours. A lot of games were played – the kind which you get on managerial courses and you make a bit of a fool of yourself. It’s easy to be sceptical of a game’s effectiveness – but as it turns out fun is a pretty good heuristic for getting a bunch of strangers to quickly bond and share ideas.

Out of it we got some pretty interesting observations out of these little mini-experiments. Activities where the rules were incomplete quickly lead to mutation, with people agreeing on extra ad hoc rules such as deciding tiebreakers, without falling out in open conflict. Even in moderately complex tasks, spontaneity can be more productive than organisation. Messages are prone to mutation and reinterpretation much more quickly than we think, and that it’s very hard to keep even the simplest ones the same. And verbal cues only form a small part of this continual process of cross-influencing when face-to-face.

That last part is perhaps the most interesting one, as social media is dominated by verbal, without the non-verbal cues nor the synchronicity of face-to-face conversation. This is gradually being broken down (think about how synchronous and seamless Twitter is becoming, as well as the growth of mobile and video & audio on the go), and there are the blurring of boundaries between and online and offline – just look at the amazing take-up of the Twestival worldwide (including Twestival Paris, which we are organising). But still, there are gaps, as evidenced by workarounds such as smileys and endless text acronyms and abbreviations, and people working in social media need to be mindful of the limitations they face.

On the same subject, there was very little talk of online, marketing or even ‘social media’ at the event. Not that I’m tiring of the term like Bobbie Johnson is – it’s just a word, after all – but it’s a mere means, and it’s far more interesting to look into the people behind the media and what interests them.

The play element of the day was just as important – reminding us that what we do in our profession should be fun, useful or preferably both, if we’re to do work that we can be proud of. Our thanks go to Mark Earls, James Cherkoff and Johnnie Moore for a highly stimulating morning, and if you get a chance to see them lead a discussion any time soon, we strongly recommend it. How about that for influence?

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Social media is not media, it’s social

by Robin Grant in News Google+

A controversial titbit from our friend and firestarter, Mark Earls, author of Herd: How to Change Mass Behaviour by Harnessing Our True Nature:

Social Media – blogging, tweeting, facebooking and so on – is not (primarily) about information (what we write, say or read – just as advertising and all those things we criticise are not either); real communication is gestural in nature – it’s about what you do and what you see others doing.

Of course, it seems like the crafting the information bit is important and of course we’d all like to believe that the information processing bit shapes those big and well-considered opinions we carry around. Sad thing is the info bit comes second in terms of shaping our behaviour: most of our thinking is after the fact (as Eliot Aronson puts it, we are more rationalizing than rational); most of our opinions attempts to make sense of what we’ve done not the wise and considered precursor to action.

So, this new landscape can’t be about information and broadcasting, albeit in a way that’s less wasteful or more credible; it’s not about advocacy and brand advocates making the case on behalf of your brand; it’s not about the 1-in-10 or any other minority group who will tell the rest of us what to do; it’s not about “talk” or WOM or any of these poor substitutes for the old TV transmission model – sending messages out to change minds in order to (somehow, eventually) change behaviour. It’s not media at all (as in a medium down which we can send information to folk).

It’s about people. People watching and listening and interacting with other people (that’s why Hugh’s championing of the Social Object is spot on).

It is at heart profoundly human.

We’re not ready to throw away awareness, consideration and recommendation as objectives and measures just yet, but we do agree with his main message – we are inherently social, and social media just lets us be social in new and different ways (even if we’re still restricted by Dunbar’s number).

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