Reported by Christine Oneto, PR Chair
On October 29, 2013, sfAMA once again hosted one of our favorite social media gurus, Brian Solis. Not one to disappoint, Brian gave a great talk on his new book: What’s the Future of Business (WTF) and, specifically, the topic of: “Building Brands in the Digital Era.”He started out by saying that what is changing, largely, is the change in technology.There is a “mini-revolution” going on in social, mobility and telecom, as evidenced by the many start-ups and new companies of all types in this space.
Additionally, Mr. Solis went on to say that there is also a generational divide which is not about age, it’s about arrogance and lifestyle. The way he explained it: Ignorance + Arrogance = Irrelevance. So, to remain relevant, brands must learn to avoid these two common pitfalls.
The future of marketing is always trying to be valuable. He cited leading executives at companies like Kodak and Nokia, who are still going to walk away with millions even though, generally, “they (stink) at their current approach to marketing.” The future of marketing for business, as Solis explained, has everything to do with understanding who you’re trying to reach and who they connect with. He noted that experience is everything surrounding your product or service. But, one also must look at: What’s the emotional value?
Another concept Brian brought up is that there is a difference between listening and hearing. (As anyone who has also done sales in the past knows, that “active listening” skill is what brings things home.) Additionally, when looking at the overall social media and marketing mix for your company choose and fight little battles. — Small, individual department wins help larger companies make progress in the long run. Therefore, always try to keep in mind that marketing is part psychology, part politics, and part sociology. The future of marketing needs an architect, one who takes all of this into consideration, and that everyone is responsible for a positive customer experience.
Tied into this notion, brands need to get their happy consumers to write about their positive experiences with the brand. When attracting customers through all of the above methods, the next step is to engage those customers, getting them involved as customer advocates. This will allow for his next tenet: Contagious influence = Cause&Effect. Once these customer advocates start tweeting, Facebook posting and otherwise sharing your and their positive message about you, the real magic begins to happen…and all because the effect of your marketing caused your customers to want to advocate for you.
Overall, marketing campaigns are turning into conversations – storytelling and back-and-forth interaction. It is important to consider how you want these conversations to be carried out. So, you’ll also need to consider platform. Consider: What is the experience you want to deliver; and then choose the device. Is your website mobile ready and/or optimized? This is so important in this age of mobile marketing, tablets and smartphone use.
Finally, make sure to take into consideration cultural differences. In doing so, you can “go through local to go global.” For example, Solis mentioned, this is one area in which Coca Cola is doing it right. (Perhaps, until the changes purportedly coming out in Mexican Coke were announced today.) Another example of how, as a marketer, we must be constantly aware of our surroundings in the community. So, while having a global reach, your brand must consider expanding on what you’ve done successfully at home, to get where you need to be in the global marketplace, as well. Once again, such empowering gems of wisdom from our consummate partner — a self-professed “student of social media” himself — our subject matter expert, Brian Solis.
Also on the panel were Scott Anderson from Bazaarvoice and Dan Pinkham from the Kenwood Group.
There were some great questions from the audience and each attendee received Brian’s new book as a gift from the sfAMA.