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Blue or Red pill? Brush strokes of a Resonance Marketing Framework.

14 07 2010

Remember the blue vs red pill conversation?

I’m here to talk about the red pill. The one that would bring uncertain truth. Truth is, the internet will continue to break down the walls of the information monopoly. Social influence of all sorts will speed up this disruption of old business models. A business will need its communit{ies} to survive, and that will require a more open partnership with them. There are still less of us who believe in “InBound Marketing” than in the overused “Social Media Marketing”, hence me crying ‘wolf’ a few weeks ago. Don’t we always wonder how something becomes viral and wish we had thought of it? I do. But let’s be honest, how many Apples are around and how can anyone pump enough koolaid into a community without being ignored or worse, forgotten. Should a brand be popular or influential? Beyond cool, it’s a question of innovation, and creating a sustainable culture of innovation requires all parts of the [organization + its constituents] to stay competitive.

That’s where Resonance Marketing comes in. Resonance marketing is about widening the lead generation funnel using new & social influence. Marketing is an ‘old branded’ term about influence we are subject to… except we are now more internet-smarter than before. Social media has empowered the masses to share more and faster than any time before. From Toyota to Nestle via Pizza Hut and to many other cases, the business blue-pill won’t work anymore. Businesses, leaders, brands are having to open up to being supported if they want to thrive in the new ‘social economy’.

How do we get communit{ies} to resonate with a company’s purpose (and vice versa)?

1- Deep motivations: Marketing as spoon feeding features and benefits that will attract customers, OVER. Comprehend, discuss what’s on the mind of your constituents and turn them into aficionados, HERE. Who are you after? If you believe in resonance, you’ll need aficionados. Clearly not everyone is equal in the community game. Your core constituents are the ones you’re seeking. Scoble called them the ‘passionate‘. At the Enthusiast Group, we called them … enthusiasts. They could be customers, employees, partners, journalists, bloggers, prospects, providers. They could be silent but preferably vocal. The tools are available for free but engaging with most networks and people to discover those who matter the most is the {red pill}. If a brand is sincere and seeks to empower its constituents, it’ll open itself up to what motivates the core constituents.

2- Nods to communities: Is social media the right strategy for you? Your Twitter account and Facebook page are great for light engagement but unless you’re the cool-brand in town and your constituents have too much time on their hand, you’ll likely get quickly fatigued and the boss will ask why are we doing this. The acid test of community commitment is to get ready to bring everyone to the party from the CEO to your competitors…. geez, that’s a lot. Our job is to bring everyone to the party. Trust me, it’ll take more than a Facebook page. Even better, in the open world, everyone in your company has an opinion about your last tweet. That’s right, it’s quickly going to feel like a democracy or even anarchy. Your constituents could care less about the internal politics. They want to feel part of the journey. When trying to evaluate how to participate, 50% of the work will actually happen outside of anything you control. In most scenarios, sub-segment of communities will already exist and engaging on those already existing can quickly fill up any social media manager’s plate. They can hang out on a Linkedin group, a passionate blog, in a group of super motivated moms or simply be someone who wants to boycott you {800,000 VS 6,900}. The possibilities are endless.

3- Social organisms: Yep there are many networks and we certainly can expect more to come as each of them serves different compartments of our lives. Foursquare founded in early ’09 has now passed 2 million signed up users… would we have guessed this 12 months ago? Brightkite had been here since 2007 and only reached the same milestone in February 2010. As Paul Adams puts it, “Social networks are a mean to an end, you need to understand what the end is.” To resonate, get used to change and go where your audience may be. As mentioned earlier, it often starts with a map. If you’re big, it’ll be tedious, but you certainly will be able to discern patterns quicker.

4- Resonance: The sum of all. It wasn’t about {the brand} to start with and {the brand} should be totally appreciative of being part of its constituents’ online matrix. We may have thought it was cool to have a ton of followers and likes/fans and fold back to the dunbar number. It’s the same for all your constituents. Let’s be clear, {the brand} is still seeking to generate leads from this entire new ecosystem, except that someone else is driving now. The way to ‘get the word out’ is through a new chain of events that will create resonance between and beyond constituents. It will be based on understanding the deep motivations of constituents, dynamics of communities (loose term) and lastly, social organisms and tools. Email gave us ‘permission marketing’, we seriously got tired of that. We now have social networks and blogs. Brands should make it about them, all the constituents, what ever the brand does – {the brand} entered their world and there is no return. Inbound will be red.

Thanks to Paul Adams for the graphics and for going back to the basics.

@YannR @Extanz

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Study: Top 50 of the most influential cycling blogs + Facebook and Twitter friends…

28 04 2010

——> 2011 Updated list –> here ——

—— Contact us for in-depth studies and programs —–

Influence is a complex subject. It may come from many different angles and platforms and changes constantly. As you probably know, one of my big passions is mountain biking (Photos, 4:50 Club). The Frenchness in me has little to do with it since I was only playing golf back when I was living in France… I know, living in Colorado has turned things upside down and probably for the better 🙂

Anyhow, we are always and increasingly measuring influence for our clients and I thought I’d give a run down of what the cycling industry looks like from an influence point of view. I extracted 50 of the most influential sources of information from a larger pool. Ranking method: in-links between each other in the pool only. While they have influence, I removed pro-mags (e.g. VeloNews or CycloCross Mag) and stores like (CompetitiveCyclist or UltraRob). I also looked at Facebook and Twitter for corresponding influence there. To my point earlier, influence is not a one way street but a complex system of resonance which may lead readers and consumers to think and act accordingly. Influencers not only influence the masses but also influence each other throughout the social media sphere. Have I missed any of the top 50 you think should be on this list? Please let me know in the comment section below.

You know, 5 years ago, just looking at a blog list may have been enough. It’s not anymore. I could have spent many more hours on other networks such as YouTube, Flickr…. but looking at Facebook and Twitter gives an additional spin on the original ranking.

Here are a few observations:

  • Obviously some very influential bloggers are still ignoring the 400 million Facebook user pool. Only 20 out of 50 have a Facebook Page. It makes somewhat sense as many for those blogs are run by individuals and it poses some personal vs business brand questions.
  • Twitter is a lot more commonly used (37 out of 50) by bloggers as a method of discussion or republishing of their news rather than Facebook.
  • Clearly most big bloggers don’t follow back much e.g Bike Snob NYC’s ratio of 5k followers for 35 following. I can only assume that they find their news through other methods.
  • As much as there is a vast quantity of cycling blogs, these are clearly of a professional grade (I removed pro mags).
  • ~10% of ladies in the top 50. But that 10 percent clearly have a lot more esthetically pleasing sites 🙂

I also want to thank Andreas from London Cyclist Blog which I discovered through this research. Even though I seem to have come up with different results it was most helpful to learn from him and discover twitter handles.

And now for the drum-roll…the list moving from most influential to least (inlinks only)

Blog(inlinks in the pool) Facebook Fans / “Likes” Twitter Followers & links TwitterFollowing
1 Bike Snob NYC 60 5,819 35
2 Fat Cyclist ? 9,238 33
3 Urban Velo 1991 1,152 75
4 Cyclelicious 207 2,786 1,633
5 BikePortland.org 402 (friends) 4,603 331
6 League of American Bicyclists 1,398 2,872 1,694
7 EcoVelo 709 689 115
8 Copenhagenize.com 84 (mbers) 1,332 22
9 Cycle Chic™ 84 (mbers) 582 399
10 Bike Hugger 1,219 5,041 2,090
11 Up in Alaska ? ? ?
12 Belgium Knee Warmers 347 441 377
13 Bike Commuters 236 (group) ? ?
14 Commute by Bike ? 2,009 2,012
15 Kent’s Bike Blog ? 297 209
16 London Cyclist Blog ? 1,747 250
17 Bike Blog NYC ? 1,276 1,044
18 Bicycle Design 1,215 1,484 523
19 RidingPretty 123 22 7
20 Bikerumor ………………………….2,700 2,670 121
21 Bikes and The City 340 31 1
22 Drunkcyclist.com ? 339 201
23 All Hail the Black Market ? 959 918
24 Chic Cyclists ? ? ?
25 Streetsblog New York City 498 3,820 513
26 Amsterdamize 33 731 347
27 Prolly Is Not Probably ? 2,083 384
28 A view from the cycle path ? ? ?
29 Let’s Go Ride a Bike ? 620 356
30 Cycling Tips 1,074 (FB app, nice!) 2,179 438
31 Epic Riding 2 513 378
32 Vélo Vogue 91 234 151
33 RocBike.com ? ? ?
34 Red Kite Prayer 211 472 189
35 Bike Commute Tips Blog 902 298 140
36 Bad Idea Racing ? ? ?
37 Cozy Beehive 214 426 252
38 Lovely Bicycle! ? ? ?
39 Jeff Kerkove 1251 friends 781 161
40 Gwadzilla 666 ? ?
41 Trackosaurus rex ? ? ?
42 Guitar Ted Productions ? ? ?
43 MnBicycleCommuter ? ? ?
44 VeloDramatic – A Pedal Turner ? 345 28
45 Embrocation Cycling Journal 857 1,234 202
46 Dave Moulton’s Blog ? 2,257 1,548
47 Quickrelease.tv ? 3,133 788
48 Girls and Bicycles ? 278 44
49 Cycling Inquisition ? ? ?
50 Fixed Gear Blog 26 2,790 2,079

Now as we can see, if we look through the Facebook “Like” lenses, Bikerumor would have been ahead of the, Urban Velo, League of American Bicyclist (an org, not a individual) and Bike Hugger when it comes to influence on this network. In a similar fashion, on Twitter, Fat Cyclist would have been ahead of Bike Snob NYC and BikeHugger if we only looked at the number of followers (debatable again).

What doesn’t this study talk about? It’s a ranking and therefore it fails to understand the 3 dimensions of influence: Trust per topic, Real-Time vs Long Tail, Resonance across mediums.
But it’s a start. I’ll certainly study more of this amazing world of influence in cycling over the upcoming season and would love your feedback and thoughts.

Cheers,

READ the follow up blog: Influence & Industry, the many axes about building a community

Follow the cycling list on twitter: http://twitter.com/list/yannr/cycling

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@YannR





5 Big Fat Social Media Trends

9 11 2009

Social Media is like the new West. 3 or 4 years ago we were barely calling it “new media”. Last year, I couldn’t use the word “social media” or people would look at me like I was talking French. It was a new frontier, but today, everyone has arrived. Now there are way too many people here. We need to aggregate or suffocate. Here are 5 clear trends I see developing in social media:

The Return of the King: ROI
Growth in usage is just not enough to let budgets increase without a return. Every one of our clients asks one single, but not so simple, thing. Track, measure, improve. Buzz is good, traffic is good. Conversion lies in the conversation (with the client). Brands can understand that social media is the rising star of their investment center. A rising star (social media that is) needs to become a cash cow though time or it will be come a dog.

Billboards have new highways:
Recently, Techcrunch blasted the practices of application developers on Facebook and how people are victims of a new form of infomercials, or even starting to use their own influence to advertise. Let’s go back to square one –move some eye balls and convert them into $. If you were not aware, you can advertise on Twitter. There are many services like it and if you sign up for those services, you can get paid. Joel Comm who wrote Twitter Power was just last week making clear that he is okay with it here, here and here.
All in all, billboards have new highways. Get used to it and be(a)ware.

Communities are the new News-Outlets:
Like my physics teacher in high-school said, “nothing is lost, everything transforms”. We’re losing news Twitter-Listsoutlets by the 100s but we’re also creating fan pages, online niche networks and now Twitter lists at a never recorded speed. These are the new influencers; these are the new trusted-agents. Communities, organized or informal, will dictate trends like old media used to. The Fort Hood disaster today is proving that New-Outlets can be recreated instantly. If your company doesn’t have or belong to a community, your influence is vanishing.

Quality and creativity have never been so important:
Forrester / Josh Bernoff have just released their ‘Groundswell Awards‘ – whether it is Nascar, YarnCraft, Norton or the others, I am fascinated by one thing: each of these creative programs is leveraging the power of the Common Unit of Experience (CUE) as I call it, of those ready to activate communities. Quality of intent and creativity of a social media program can only work if the CUE exists.

Personal branding and corporate brands have to work together:
Jeremiah Owyang last week blogged about social media accounts (e.g. Twitter account) and ownership quoting the Cisco CTO twitter account. It is her account, if she leaves, that digital footprint goes with her. This is a magnified case of Jeremiah’s own case when he recently left Forrester for the Altimeter Group with his own digital footprint. When working on social media project, we advocate the brand’s constituency should be a center of the engagement strategy. A brand has to look at its employees and partners as much as it looks at its customers. Grow them and they’ll grow you.

Follow me @YannR