Social Symphony


Gunther Koo - Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Last week at Digiday Social in NYC we had two of our best thinkers express powerful ideas that are worth connecting. Rishad Tobaccowala Chief Strategy & Innovation Officer, VivaKi talked about “marketing to the gods” and Shiv Singh, Global Head of Digital, PepsiCo extolled “real time marketing”. They both prefaced their ideas as a little crazy but also right, true and urgent.  I agree. Rishad explained that we are “Marketing to the Gods.” (Paraphrased below, which you can also watch at

  Brands and markets are built because people choose with their hearts and use numbers to justify what they just did. Our biggest challenges, opportunities and issues will be connected to realizing people have emotions and feelings and companies that empower people, make people feel real good… like gods… will win. Shiv talked in detail about Pepsi and offered a strategy that he is “betting his career on”… “Real Time Marketing”. There is a new imperative driven by fact that Pepsi has to compete with the people’s 30 billion status updates every month on facebook for attention. What we need is real time marketing that goes from strategy to execution in 9 minutes or 9 seconds, not 9 months. It is our responsibility as brands to push this through, real time interaction centered in social. 

THE HEART OF OUR CHALLENGE When you put these two ideas together, we get to the heart of our challenge. How do you market to gods… effectively interact with people that want to be treated like gods, who expect and demand more for their attention, in real time, hour by hour, day by day? It starts with answering the question, who are you? Or more specifically, what gods are you? You must be as interesting as they are, as their friends are, to compete with 30 billion updates.  You need to think like gods to market to gods. The gods I’m referring to here are those of mythology. Joseph Campbell talked about the power of myth and the universal stories of god like heroes, explorers and rulers that are innate in people’s DNA, born inside of us.  He spoke of these gods as archetypes that everyone relates with and gives their attention to.

  ARCHETYPES REPRESENT GODS FOR BRANDS These are the gods, revealed through archetypes, that brands use in real time marketing. We have been developing this approach called Social Archetyping™ and writing about this, most recently with Archetypes are the Magic Bullet for Brand Social Identity - Tom Troja.  Archetypal marketing™ provides what people envision, feel, sense and want, told in human voices on this new social stage Without these archetypes, what are your sources, your foundations for real time marketing?  What gods are you based on, what is your identity? How do you help your people effectively inspire and move others in the moment, day after day, hour after hour? Shiv’s example of real time marketing is seeing Lady Gaga walking with a Pepsi, he takes a picture, emails it to Pepsi real time production team and has it pushed out in 9 seconds across all social platforms.  Nice… but who can wait for Lady Gaga? Who of us can just count on things happening that we can only react to? 

PEOPLE ARE THE GODS OF THEIR OWN ATTENTION Gods don’t wait. Gods rule. Gods create. You will need to behave like a god if you expect gods to listen to you. People are the gods of their own attention and they are giving less of that attention to marketers everyday. This is the battle brands need to gear up to fight in this new social world to sell their goods and services. Real time god work isn’t easy. You have to be sure of your sources, your inspirations and your archetypes. You must have well trained, creative people who know this intuitively, can react in the moment based on a flexible and fully formed social identity that tickles the gods out there.


Gunther Koo - Thursday, July 28, 2011

Archetypes are bridges that connects people and brands. From Nike as the hero, Harley as the outlaw, Ivory as the Innocent… Archetypes work and work well. They are based on the wisdom of the ages; provide depth and resonance around human character, which we all relate with. “What we sell is the ability of a 43 year old accountant to dress in black leather, ride through small towns and have people be afraid of him”                                                                                 

Harley Davidson Marketing Executive Archetypes provide the missing link between customer motivation… why they might care about you… and your product sales. Archetypes are what people envision, what they feel, sense and want. They act as the draw between products and customer motivations by providing our cultural storylines and signal the fulfillment of our desires. 

ARCHETYPES EXPRESS THE INNER HUMAN DRAMA Archetypal meaning is what makes brands come alive from an inanimate object. They are the heartbeat of the brand as they convey a meaning that makes people feel the brand is alive, a part of us somehow. Archetypes are what we relate with emotionally, how we feel when we have the urge to buy. Plato called these patterns and imprints “elemental forms”, imprints hardwired into our psyche that influence the characters we like in art, movies, and music. Psychiatrist Carl Jung coined the term archetype and noted “these are forms and images of a collective nature which occur practically all over the earth.” Joseph Campbell expanding upon the idea that archetypes are “basically the expressions of an inner human drama.” Campbell sat with George Lucas and helped him write the Star Wars Saga loosely based on Campbell’s thinking and his book, The Hero With A Thousand faces. 

ARCHETYPES ARE THE EMOTIONAL LUBRICANT THAT MOVE PEOPLE Using archetypes in social conversation speaks to our intuitive, emotional side allowing the more rational arguments to be heard. Archetypal marketing assumes that people’s unfulfilled yearnings might lead them to respond on a deeper level to what is missing in them. What is missing from that 43-year-old accountant? Harley is playing to that outlaw in us. Nike is appealing to our own hero’s journey as we struggle to stay in shape, Ivory to our hope to stay clean and pure. These brands are doing something more, they have a relationship with us. They make us care about them by making us feel like they care about us.  This is what archetypes do. A friend, Michelle Lapierre, Senior Director, Customer Relationship Marketing for Marriott Rewards states the industries current challenge well,  “We are very good at solving problems, taking care of complaints using social, but… at making a good relationship better… we haven’t really figured that out yet”.

HOW DO WE MAKE A GOOD RELATIONSHIP BETTER? The best social marketers today are using listening tools, trying to stay relevant in what people are asking for and talking about. Some of them are using social search key words to highlight the conversation based on what is trending to the top in conversations. With others the calendar drives brand conversation with a “big happy 4th of July” and “don’t forget fathers day.” Many are mixing in contests, coupons, sweepstakes and polls that dominate the discourse. By themselves, nothing is wrong with any of these tactics.  By themselves they represent nothing different than what your competitor is doing. The challenge is to pull them all together with a strong social identity that is naturally yours, that speaks with an authentic voice people will embrace. These tactics combine with a powerful archetypal voice across all social conversations, social activities and social media to play a harmonic theme based on your core as a brand. That speaks with an authentic voice everyone will recognize. 

WE INTERGARTE SOCIAL ARCHETYPING™ ACROSS SOCIAL MARKETING My company, the Social Symphony, has pioneered a process that pulls all the social tactics together through social archetyping™, giving the brand a powerful voice based on your archetypal core, that stands out and resonates as real.  This is not your fathers’ archetyping but one that reflects this new social age of participation and conversation… the people dominated reality of social marketing. People now expect more. What we want to happen is combine all these tactics with archetypal voicing that excites people to tell their story aligned with your brand. We position you so people feel motivated… by their archetypal connection with you…  so they share their story. We inspire people to add their narrative, to share with friends.

 Archetypal conversations energize people to create that story. How do you connect with the inner magician, the hero, and the explorer in all of us? Is your core the sage, the jester or the lover that connects to the soul of your fans? My guess is your 43-year-old accountant…  or someone like them… is waiting for you.