On June 28th, I had the pleasure of joining colleagues, clients and friends in Berlin for Ketchum Pleon Germany’s “Inspiration Day” (#idberlin2012) a conference to explore how technology and the social mobile web are changing the way people and brands communicate. The event fittingly took place at the EUREF campus, a hip, post-industrial complex in the middle of Berlin where researchers and entrepreneurs are innovating to develop sustainable solutions, such as Urban-e’s rechargeable electric bikes, for more intelligent urban living.
Dirk Popp, the CEO of Ketchum Pleon Germany and the vision behind Inspiration Day, invited me to kick things off with the opening keynote presentation. He asked me to frame the day by talking about today’s “digital challenges” and the “next big things” we might expect to emerge from Silicon Valley and other global innovation hubs.
The speakers that followed included Bastian Unterberg, founder of Jovoto, a creative crowdsourcing platform that, in many ways, resembles Ketchum’s own Mindfire; Jens Garberding, from Microsoft’s Windows Mobile; Sven Scheffler, the former editor of Handelsblatt.com, Germany’s largest financial newspaper; Thomas Ross, from IBM Global Business Services; and Steve Nitzschner, co-founder of Hugleberry, a new startup in the sustainability space.
I had a great time mixing it up with the Inspiration Day crowd. The event lived up to its name: I came away inspired — by the crowd, the great lineup of interesting speakers, the exciting and lightening fast changes that are taking place in technology and communications, and by the bright future that lies ahead.
For more inspiration about technology and communications, watch this space for videos of Inspiration Day, coming soon!
TAGS: ketchum pleon, inspiration, digital, social, mobile, berlin, germany, innovation, marketing, communication, solomo, ambient, local, augmented, reality
Following its successful debut last year, PR+MKTG Camp East will return to New York on October 28, 2010 with a full line up of senior level speakers and marketing and PR experts. Representatives from some of the largest brands and agencies will lead a day of lively discussions on igniting the power of collaboration and integration to maximize your marketing and PR engagement strategies.
PR+MKTG Camp East is a highly interactive one day conference designed for senior marketing and PR professionals who want to increase their impact in today’s socially-driven media landscape. In addition to the New York conference in 2009, PR+MKTG Camp has also been held in Atlanta, Seattle and Chicago.
Dan Greenfield, event producer for PR+MKTG Camp East, says, “It’s a full day of immersion for participants wanting to get some added perspective and explore with peers engagement strategies that more effectively reach target audiences and key influencers.”
Greenfield also suggests that though integration is more critical than ever and is at the top of the priority list for many companies, many really don’t know how to do it. PR+MKTG Camp East goes beyond methods and tools to focus on engagement strategies that integrate marketing, PR, customer service, sales and community moderation.
Attendees will have the opportunity to engage with speakers who are driving marketing, social media and PR efforts at some of the world’s largest corporations and best-known brands and agencies. Topics include assessing the current communications landscape, building a vision for integrated strategic engagement, executing a strategy for integrated engagement and establishing business impact metrics and analytics.
PR+MKTG Camp East will feature several speakers, including keynote speaker Ellen Stone, senior vice president of marketing at Bravo Media and an early adopter of social media.
The following are some of the speakers scheduled to lead discussions at PR+MKTG Camp East:
PR+MKTG Camp East will be held at the Lighthouse Executive Conference Center, 111 East 59th Street, New York, NY 10022. Register at http://www.prmktgcampEast.eventbrite.com.
During his interview, Kopp said that social media in China is rooted in social forums like BBS. Computers no long restricts internet access and mobile is causing a spike in internet penetration in the Chinese market.
He said two thirds of the Chinese internet population now rests on mobile connection. 11 per cent of the online population accesses the web only through mobile which is driving the web beyond cities, provinces and stereotypes like affluent, white collar educated users.
Using McDonald’s in China as an example, Chan said that online activities triggered by social media can easily translate to offline activities. Studies have also shown that the Chinese have a greater willingness to trust companies that engage in social media (like micro-blogging) than other parts of the world.
Marketers cannot expect social media to take off just because it reaches the targeted audience more directly and quickly. “Ketchum’s approach to digital is from an ‘earn’ media perspective. What typically happens is that digital developers try to have people come to their sites through social media,” Kopp said.
He continues, “It’s in the DNA of the PR people to find a storyline that is relevant to the audience and slip into the conversation that people have on social media.”Commenting on China’s positive take on branded content, Chan said, “Chinese internet users are not concerned about commercial branding in social media platforms, as long as the portals provide them with fun.” She adds that marketers in Hong Kong and the West however need to be more subtle.
Kopp goes on to say that the impact of social media in the luxury, pharmaceutical and financial industries is more sensitive but still feasible. “What we are seeing from our clients is that there is an enterprise approach for any business unit that has any reason to communicate to stakeholders.”
“Because today’s consumers are not distinquishing between that which is tradition or new media. To them, it’s all media,” he said.
Speaking on monetisation and ROI on social media, Kopp said, “If the question is how do you measure the value that you are getting out of social media, companies should flip the question and consider what value they are providing for their stakeholders if we want them to engage with us in social media,” he said.
Companies are more likely to achieve success in the social space if they approach it as constructive participants, offering something of value.
This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk
I was privileged to attend both BlogHer Business ’10 and BlogHer ’10 this year, and this series of articles summarizes the sessions I felt would be most relevant to brands that I represent. To read all the articles in the series, click here.
At BlogHer Business ’10, Ketchum hosted a session devoted to understanding consumers’ interactions with brands, specifically in social media. Speakers were Kelley Skoloda, Director of Ketchum’s Global Brand Marketing Practice and author of Too Busy to Shop; Kristin Suppelsa, Vice President and Manager Communications Support, Liberty Mutual; Jonathan Kopp, Partner & Global Director, Ketchum Digital and Beth LaPierre, Chief Listening Officer at Kodak.
First point in understanding women as consumers? Forget words like “busy” or “multi-tasking”. Women today are so busy that you can probably call it “multi-minding”. While we, as women, control 85% of consumer purchases, we are also powerful, tech-savvy and we have a voice. And, we aren’t afraid to use it. Connecting with us isn’t as simple as adding a makeup mirror in a new car model.
Quick. What’s your best guess for the first thing a female consumer is most likely to do when we perceive a company isn’t listening to us? Will we make a complaint, not buy the product, take some time to research the company or do nothing? If you guessed “not buy the product” you’re right. The most likely response to a consumer’s perception that a company isn’t listening is to simply not buy the product. As a brand, you don’t even have the chance to respond to a complaint, instead that money just walked away. This response is probably in large part due to the busy lives women lead and their lack of extra time to make a complaint and resolve it.
Skoloda’s advice is to realize that if you’re not communicating you won’t even have the chance to fix the relationship. Building a community and brand strategy have to be consistent, and permeate throughout the brand, not just be something that “social media handles”. Many campaigns fail to stay consistent on this message.
Kopp suggests that the customer has always been armed. Social media is just giving them rocket fuel. The average number of friends on Facebook? 130! Suddenly your words matter a whole lot more. 23% of women’s time online is spent in social media. You have to connect. Social media is becoming a dominant force in marketing but customer service and catering to the customer are still king. Listening to your customer is king. It always has been. You’re just doing it a bit differently.
Kopp (and many other marketing experts at the other sessions I attended) believe that social media and mobile are in their infancy. He believes that with 150 million users of mobile technology, you should be thinking now about how your brand is going to work in the mobile space.
LaPierre has a really telling job title. “Chief Listening Officer.” If a company the size of Kodak is realizing the importance of listening to customers in social media, your brand might also pay attention. She explains that Kodak has always had company representatives out in the field, traveling with photographers to listen to what could be improved, what features were needed and what the company could do differently. So, having a Chief Listening Officer is just the natural extension of listening to customers wherever they want to talk.
Who is Your Customer?
Kodak names their target customer. Her name is Katie and she’s got a story. What’s your customer’s name and story? Recognizing that not everyone uses social media, Kodak has also come up with customer stories for Katie’s mom and daughter, both of whom want different products and want to interact differently with the company. LaPierre explained that not only is it a lot easier to talk about real people (hence the customer names) but it’s easier to think about trending when you have a customer’s story and life in this detail.
She also added that customer service is only going to become more important in the social space. Right now Kodak has one Chief Listening Officer, but in the future there will probably be 10 listening officers as demand warrants.
What Does Social Media Dictate?
Suppelsa talked about the Responsibility Project as a way to engage consumers who were reluctant or just not interested in discussing insurance. As the project grew, so did the branding from the Liberty Mutual side, but not without a lot of impact from social media. Obviously, if someone has a unique policy or claims question or issue, that is taken off line, but by dialoging on responsibility in general, the brand has drawn consumers to the conversation.
Monitoring brand sentiment on Twitter told Liberty Mutual that their television ads were too depressing (the economy has been a Debbie Downer lately!) and so they developed new ads that portrayed the characters less in crisis with bleak outlooks but rather taking steps to make everything work out in a more positive way. When monitoring the community, Liberty Mutual takes the feedback seriously, and Suppelsa reports that consumers love seeing that their feedback counts.
When Bad Things Happen
However, what do you do when too much feedback is bogging down the process? Or, your company is subject to a recall or other PR disaster? All the experts urge brands to step back and look at the bigger picture when your brand takes social media hits. Balance the feedback without yielding to the pressure. Stay focused and put things in context. And, get perspective outside of your building. Whatever you do, don’t make giant decisions based on a few bad feedbacks or one nasty complaint. Look at what the majority of people are saying or feeling. Here’s where sentiment really counts. LaPierre said that she is often asked to talk about online sentiment after a rash of public complaints and it’s important to remember that no one really looks for the good when they’re focused on the bad. Before you overreact, look at all the sentiment, not just the jarring or overly negative.
Get Everyone Involved
While no one was advocating putting your new hires on Twitter to talk to customers, all the experts were unanimous in their opinion that your entire company needs to be involved in monitoring and engaging on social media. Social media can’t be a stand alone department. It needs legs in sales, marketing, customer service, claims and manufacturing. Kopp said several times that the companies who succeed are those that commit their plans to writing with the input of all the departments and really communicate about all aspects of social.
He used Best Buy’s Twelpforce as an example of using crowd sourcing to help with answering customer questions, and reported that it had been a success with sales up and returns down. (Read one case study here, there are several more online if you want to read more.)
From a smaller brand’s perspective, having a broader social media outreach can be as simple as asking several employees to share the load and work together as opposed to putting the responsibility on one or two people.
Best Piece of Advice
The speakers were asked for the number one best piece of advice. LaPierre said that her best advice was not to go it alone, and to instead work with employees to best help your customers. She also reminded brands to ask for input and opinions. Too many times, she said, brands forget to just ask. “Reach out to 10 customers on Twitter and just talk to them and see what they’re thinking.”
Kopp agreed. “You’ve got to listen,” he said. “It’s marketing malpractice if you don’t.” He added that enterprise social media is serious big business. Brands have to coordinate and organize, not just wing it. He also implored brands to get into relationship mode, not sell mode and finally to listen but don’t cede control to the crowd.
My favorite piece of social media advice? From LaPierre. “Don’t be a jerk!” How would you want someone to treat your mom? Be transparent and don’t sell.
Sounds like a Brian Solis post, doesn’t it? Actually, on Friday afternoon, I had a chance to preside over one of the last panels of the two-day PRSA Digital Impact Conference (#prsa_di) in NYC.
We gathered a fab group of industry practitioners and prognosticators who convened under a session titled “PR 3.0.” (Please forgive.)
In an advance prep call with our presenters, Kami Huyse (@kamichat) smartly suggested that we take a more forward-looking perspective on the industry given that conference attendees, at this late hour, would be totally Twittered and FourSquared out. She was right.
I thus asked the panelists who included Ms. Huyse, Jonathan Kopp (@jonathankopp), lead digital communications strategist for Ketchum, and Clay Hebert (@clayhebert), founder and Chief Engagement Officer of Tribes Win (and a Seth Godin disciple), to top-line the major trends they see affecting our space in the coming years.
Kami set up a shared wiki page to which the four of us posted our thoughts, bios and some useful links. In addition, Eric Schwartzman who, along with Elizabeth Albrycht, helped program the conference’s many panels and keynotes, video-captured our session and posted it: here (RT approx 58 minutes). (Eric infiorms me the link died.)
Here are the more salient points I culled from Friday’s conversation on the trends potentially impacting the conduct of public relations:
Facebook recently showed off some ingenious new features that promise to transform the entire Web into one vast social network.
The new social plug-ins (known as “Open Graph”) will seamlessly integrate Facebook into other websites and blogs, giving it unheralded insights to consumer interests and behaviors across the Internet.
Yet controversy rages on — is it a boon for customization or a bust for privacy?
The truth lies somewhere in between. The benefits of instant personalization and hyper-connectivity come as a tradeoff for letting Facebook and its marketing partners in on our lives — who we are, where we surf, what we read, what we buy. And as goes Facebook, so go Twitter, Foursquare, Yelp and all the other social and location-based startups that are also feverishly racing to extend their reach.
The connectivity debate will undoubtedly continue for some time. But no matter how the discussion is ultimately resolved, the unintended consequence of the all-social Web will be the dramatic rise in influence of digital public relations, word-of-mouth and “buzz” marketing at the expense of more traditional forms of paid advertising. (Full disclosure: I’m a digital and social media strategist at a big PR firm.)
A new McKinsey report confirms what public relations pros have staked their claims on since Edward Bernays established the practice of PR – that a personal recommendation from a friend, relative or other trusted source is one of the most powerful influences over purchase decisions, especially as overwhelmed consumers “tune out the ever-growing barrage of traditional marketing.”
In fact, McKinsey found that peer recommendations are the top factor driving up to half of all buying decisions.
Nowhere is this trend truer than online – from blogs to social networks to e-commerce storefronts – where sales pitches are scrutinized for accuracy, then rated and commented upon by an army of self-appointed consumer watchdogs, critics and fans. People even feel compelled to express their feelings about a product or company by creating their own web sites, videos or social media campaigns to share their user experience with other would-be purchasers. Big brands, including Dell [DELL 15.70 -0.10 (-0.63%) ] (“Dell Hell”) and Wal-mart [WMT 58.09 -0.52 (-0.89%) ] (“Walmart Sucks”), have scars on their backs to show for it and are now actively working to engage consumers on their terms. While other brands with passionate followings, like Apple [AAPL 389.70 1.77 (+0.46%) ] and Zappos, have benefited from fans’ positivity.
At either extreme, the social Web is empowering consumers.
Before, the high cost of mass media put advertising out of reach for all but corporations. But now, social networking hands us a modern-day megaphone to shout our opinions and extend our influence far and wide.
As people watch less TV, fast-forward through commercials and get more news and information online, marketers are abandoning old media in droves. Budgets at leading companies, like P&G [PG 64.66 0.58 (+0.91%) ] and Unilever [UN 32.99 -0.55 (-1.64%) ], are shifting to effective digital advertising, including search, behavioral and contextual ads as well as pre-roll and inline ads around Web videos.
But even as some forms of online advertising deliver undeniably strong returns, smart marketers are seeking more creative and subtle ways to insert their brands into conversations with individuals in order to earn their attention, rather than trying to buy it.
Because today’s connected consumers want personal communication that’s authentic, transparent, respectful and responsive. They want the ability to interact, share and contribute to the conversation. And they want to know that their personal information won’t be misused. In other words, the social Web is about relationships. Companies entering the social space should spend more of their time listening to, and engaging with consumers, not advertising at them. This is how brands earn trust.
In 2008, the Obama campaign demonstrated the power of driving opinions through online social connections as its grass-roots movement helped swing a U.S. presidential election for the first time in history. Since then, more and more marketers have sought to emulate Obama’s online campaign, but harness it for profit, not politics. They’ve woken up to the importance of engaging consumers and, in turn, generating awareness, favorability, loyalty and sales for their companies, products and services.
Facebook showed us the future at a conference they ironically dubbed “f8” and branded it with an image of a fortunetelling magic eight ball. Marketers must now embrace the all-social world. The stakes are too high to leave it to fate.
ALIGNING INTERACTIVE MARKETING and PUBLIC RELATIONS
The Next Wave
As I written before, the boundaries between PR and interactive marketing continue to blur — even though they still often operate as separate functions in many organizations.
I suspect in time, social media will push companies to the margins that focus exclusively on web applications and media relations. Money will still be made courting reporters and overseeing web development, but the real action will be where PR and interactive marketing overlap. In that digital/social media space, the focus will be on balancing relationships, storytelling, placement, search, applications and a means to measure success.
Right now, the real challenge is managing the transition and determining an effective alignment strategy. Consider what Rachelle Spero, Executive Vice President, Digital Media, Cohn & Wolfe wrote me:
I was recently discussing the alignment of PR and interactive with a peer from one of our sister companies at WPP. She told me that during an all agency call the client asked about search optimization. The interactive agency contact said she had a whitepaper on search. Then the ad agency manager piped in and said he had a whitepaper on search. Then the PR guy added that his agency had a whitepaper on search. Aligning PR with interactive is important to the client. Do we need any other reason?
Rachelle will be addressing this changing dynamic as part of a session at my upcoming PR Camp New York. Rachelle and other PR executives will be paired off with interactive agency executives to discuss how to better align their practices.
The goal of the discussion is not blood on the floor or to pick a winner. Rather, it’s collaboration. It’s time to directly address such issues as messages vs key words, placement vs search, impressions vs click-throughs, and story telling vs application building.
So in addition to Rachelle, here’s a preview of what some of the moderators are thinking about in terms of the alignment issue.
David Berkovitz, Senior Director of Emerging Media & Innovation, 360i emphasized the need to learn from each other:
“Especially when engaging in social marketing, interactive marketers increasingly need to think more like PR practitioners in terms of building and cultivating relationships with the key influencers in their fields. Meanwhile, PR professionals need to better understand what online influencers want – namely targeted, personal communications and often some assets to share, rather than press releases and corporate updates. There is plenty both kinds of practitioners can learn from each other.”
Andrea Harrison, Strategy Director, Razorfish wrote me that the need for cross agency collaboration is critical in managing resources and delivering results.
More and more our clients are asking us to work cross-agency on social marketing programs, highlighting the need for better collaboration with our counter-parts in PR. While in the past all earned media or WOM was earmarked as the domain of the PR shop, the growth of the social web and the role of digital marketing has changed that dynamic. Now we see PR and Interactive working together to craft and deliver the messages through platform applications and other interactive campaigns.
Joe Ciarallo, Editor, PRNewser.com and Manager, PR Initiatives, mediabistro.com believes that their won’t competition to own social media because everyone will own it.
Brian Solis said to me recently, who ‘owns’ social media within an organization is going to be like who ‘owns’ email. Yes, maybe IT sets up email, but it is used by everyone in the company. The same will apply - if it is not already - to content creation and interactive marketing.
But even as social/digital media becomes more central to the way we do business, Jonathan Kopp - Global Director, Ketchum Digital still recognizes the non digital world.
“Even the most digital citizen lives with one foot firmly planted in the analog world. Each of us is living in our own “digalogue” — the word I use to refer to conversations that span seamlessly across digital and analog channels.”
So if collaboration is the end game, how do we get there? Visit the discussion tab on the PR Camp New York Facebook page and share your thoughts. I am interested to get your perspective on how intense the rivalry is now, whether the alignment PR/interactive marketing is really an issue, whether PR and interactive marketing will evolve into one business and if so, what role will social media play in making it happen?
Let me get back to you.via bernaisesource.com