Social Symphony

THE FOUR DISCIPLINES OF SOCIAL MARKETING Social Conversation, Social Activity, Social Media and Social Commerce

Gunther Koo - Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Social marketing has to many definitions.  We need to clearly define it. Lock it down to easily understandable concepts and processes. This post is intended to start the conversation. Read it. Speak up. Let us know how you see it and where you fit. The purpose of social marketing is to create repeated value exchanges and commercial moments between brands and people in social settings. To do this requires playing together these multiple areas of social focus, I believe brands should engage all four disciplines of Social Marketing:  Social Conversation, Social Activity, Social Media and Social Commerce to successfully reach their audiences in the social facets people now utilize most often.  And while many brands have figured out one or more of these disciplines brilliantly, as they take more social control of their products, it will be important to engage all four disciplines. Below is a brief description of each  discipline along with  a sampling of the players involved in each area. I hope the noted players and others not mentioned take the opportunity to chime in and clarify where they believe they belong. 


1. Social Conversation - Brands talking directly with people. The start to finish of brands setting up and running a facebook page, twitter streams multiple blogs message boards, IM, mobile and other social spaces where people and brands have direct communication. Conversation is the discipline that figures out all the pieces needed to make them successful. This work is performed by companies that help brands enable and optimize direct conversation, strategy, social identity, execution, listening, curation and optimization. Companies helping brands with social conversation include Buddy Media, Vitrue, Social Symphony, Context Optional and Radian6 and a host of others. 

2. Social Activity - all activity performed by people in apps, web and mobile.  Brands influence people in social spaces that play games, give gifts, go on missions, chat, enter contests, share pictures, challenge friends, check in and update status. These are Social Activities where brands can creatively sponsor and support the social activity to positively influence people. Some of the companies in the activity space are Zynga, AppSavvy, Meebo, Pandora, Foursquare, and SCVNGR. These companies are all based on creating relevant ways that brands can align with people inside and during social activity. 

3. Social media- The display ads in social spaces. This is the most traditional form of advertising of the group. Display ads float around activity and conversation. The companies succeeding here today attract large numbers of people engaged in social activities and include facebook, Pandora, Linked In and Twitter to name a few. These ads should be targeted, social in nature and match the people in the social spaces where they are displayed.  Third party ad networks, ad exchanges, specialty social media buyers and traditional media buyers are helping to evolve this area. 

4. Social Commerce – People organized for the purpose of shared commerce Multiple forms are emerging from the simple to the complex. The common theme is that these brands are using social tools to get people to buy and/or to become an integrated part of the social commerce platform. This includes companies focused on reviews, recommendations, platforms, storefronts, group buying, daily deals, sharing coupons, private sales and memberships.  Some of these companies are Yelp, BzzAgent, Bazaarvoice, GroupOn, Living Social, Shopkick and Gilt. 

ALL THIS NEEDS TO WORK TOGETHER AND SO DO WE There are many companies claiming they execute all four disciplines successfully however, I believe that because Social has such clear divisions that no one company has been able to successfully coalesce all four disciplines.  Imagine how well conversation can amplify the activity, how activity can heighten media and how they all can stimulate commerce. Working together, the four disciplines will become welcome and people will embrace them. So speak up. Where do you fit? What strikes the right chord for you?

SOCIAL BRAND IDENTITY IS FRACTURING – Creating Socially Friendly Brands

Gunther Koo - Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wendy Clark SVP Marketing - Coca Cola unveiled statistics at the Ad Age Digital Conference in NYC last week with profound consequences. She revealed that last year Coke tracked 146 million downloads of Coke related content on YouTube. Only 26 million of those were of Coke created content. Over 120 million views were of content created by people not related to Coke. These are big numbers with big meaning for all of us.  So many people creating and experiencing content about Coke not created by Coke. What is Coke to do… what are we to do for our brands? It is interesting that this did not get much attention but not surprising as it upsets the applecart’s of those who think they are in charge. According to Wendy… “We must meet people at their truth, on what is important to them and work back to ours. If I can't connect on their truth we don't get through.”  Wendy is learning the lessons of this shift. 

IF CONTENT IS KING WHO ARE THE KINGMAKERS? We the People… has a catchy ring don’t you think? With that many people voting with their hearts to watch and create what they want, what they trust, the dye is being cast for the rest of us. Wendy has a great story of how people had aligned with Coke’s messaging over time and produced more meaningful content that Coke could ever do because it came from their heart and people sense that. Coke has been at this awhile… 125 Years actually. They get the importance of social. They are the biggest brand in facebook, have executed multiple social efforts and are spending considerably more in 2011 for Social Marketing. They know the people are the king and they are working to create a brand experience where people reflect themselves into the brand itself. We all should be doing this.

  BRAND IDENTITY ITSELF IS FRACTURING As Wendy alludes to, truth is what people believe it to be. Perception is reality. Social only accelerates this. We want to meet people at their truth, what the brand means to them and help connect that perception with where the brand wants to be. We flex the brand, be open to possibilities that give more credibility to the people. It is what people create about the brand that will have future influence that speaks the truth as it comes from them. The brands align by being imaginative, open, helpful and centered on people. Brands continuing down a path of one off campaign ”targeting consumers” with “roadblocks” that “micro-target” with a “call to action” is a dead end.  This strategy drives brand behavior not aligned with social connection. 

CREATE YOUR SOCIAL IDENTITY OR IT WILL BE CREATED FOR YOU This disparity between the viewing of brand produced content and people produced goes to the heart of social identity. If you don’t create a strong and true social identity for yourself, people will create it for you and you might not like the results. Evolve your social identity by flexing the brand, imagining the brand from the peoples POV. Envision the brand at an emotional level of openness, concern and availability. Ground it in who you are as a brand. If done right, it allows you to be larger, to be flexible and a key part of the social swirl happening all around you. It is the first thing you should do. It drives everything else. To do this, we use a reverse archetype model that taps into collective human truths and conversation. Whatever your method, make sure you look beyond a campaign approach and connect at a deeper, more meaningful level. Your social identity then animates your social behavior stimulating people’s creativity and passion. 

HOW SHOULD YOU SPEND YOUR SOCIAL DOLLARS? An overwhelming number of marketers consider social media to be integral to their strategies this year, and 70% plan to increase their social media budget by more than 10% this year, according to a recent poll from Effie Worldwide and Mashable. 87% said social media was “important” or “very important” to achieving their biggest marketing goal this year. According to the poll, brands want more friends. How you get those friends will be remembered. The content they create about you will peak volumes. Make this meaningful and connect in ways that help people want to join you, to give part of themselves to the brand, to add their narrative to a shared story so that their friends will friend you. Start there.