Advertisements

FlipBoard: Just a tipping point or a real game changer?

22 07 2010

The writing is on the wall…We’re moving closer to Social what? and we took a huge step yesterday with the release of FlipBoard, as part of the iPad store. A few years ago, given new powers, we flocked to new media. Clay Shirky called it the “largest increase in expressive capability in human history“.

Content production has soared to levels never reached before and ever since, we’ve been trying to find ways to sift through and find relevant content. This week, the iPad which almost outsold Mac sales during the last quarter, was equipped with what Scoble calls the first iPad “killer app”. FlipBoard, as an online powerful mechanism to deliver us relevant information, promises to transform our social networks experience (imagine a onion). We could throw Google search, Bing, and Twitter search out of the window as technology progressively makes our extended networks smarter and less noisy (i hope they remove the unnecessary FourSquare updates for example)… You can view the 20mn video released for more details on how it works.

Last week I really liked a post by Mahendra Palsule describing the different ways we now have to find information. It used to be media + Google. It’s now a tad more complex. Read more here about different form of information filtering: Algorithmic, Human, Crowdsourced, Shared Sources (Meta), Influence, Social Search. Even if Google has made massive progress and now the average number of keywords is 3 in a google search, algorithms alone can’t keep up. Our online networks can be tremendously powerful if we can organize them. Case in point: Facebook sucks big time in delivering me relevant social media information. Twitter is full of noise; even lists can be. FriendFeed (RIP) was still the best thing we had before Facebook swallowed it whole. Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could combine these networks and use a better scanning and selection system for our social graph for all this information? FlipBoard promises that (even Marshall Kirkpatrick says he doesn’t want to work anymore but just flip away, and Flipboard got so successful yesterday that they servers couldn’t keep up). In summary, it promises social information and filtering at a whole new level.

Business/enterprise consequences? If you’re not in your constituents’ stream, GET IN it or GET IGNORED. Your cost of marketing will only rise as less and less people pay attention (ask print media if they are feeling it). In a world of information overload, brands are being asked to become increasingly experiential and less transactional. It starts by serving the brand’s constituency with relevant information. So get out there and start shaking hands/making friends!

@YannR @Extanz

EAVB_BBAPCSVFSB

Advertisements




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





Where is our industry going? #SocialMedia

13 07 2010

When Michael Fruchter left for Pierson Grant in mid 09′, I thought “wow…. great opportunity good for him.” When a bit later late 09′, Wayne Sutton joined Twine Interactive (and may have left since), I started to think that things where changing and thought I’d better write a blog about this. I didn’t. Now Valeria Maltoni is moving to Powered and I’m thinking “geez, we’re morphing.” But into what? Remember the golden goose who laid the golden eggs? Are they migrating? Or is our industry slowly dying as companies ‘buy up’ the golden geese for the golden eggs?

In 3 years, our own practice Extanz, has evolved tremendously based on a core principle of the Higher Purpose (Got A Higher Purpose?, Trust 2.0 … Get Used To It, Twitter did it again, it’s about the people). Our industry has come to value ROI way more than it used to. At the heart of it, a culture of control has taken over. Companies had never encountered such a powerful force from such a small part of their customer base. They were used to sending one message, making one thing. Build it and of course, the people will come. But then the people started talking amongst themselves. Started dreaming, writing, building things themselves. They unleashed their own creativity and collectivity. Suddenly, we have a conversation being demanded. The market expect conversational brands. Agencies, once the meaning makers, now seek conversational expertise. They sense the talkative ones and just like the old days, the seek to control them. If you can just get hold of the speaker……then everyone will listen right?

Or will they?

And in the meantime, what of their conversational partners. What of the nature of conversation? What of the higher purpose of social media? Are we just media now?

@YannR @Extanz





Ideas for managing personal VS corporate brands online

29 05 2009

Does seeing a picture of your boss at a party on Facebook weird you out? Is your son or daughter not accepting to friend you on their social networks? We’ve definitely moved to a world where the lines are blurry. Online identities have definitely moved from anonymous to the “real me”.  Interconnectedness makes identities (personal or  corporate) and digital footprints have to live up to their actions.  I barely delete anything these days because my fears of big brother are a thing of the past.  But how best to manage the future? Be it your employees, friends, customers, brand afficionados or detractors… they participate in the “real you” too.

A bigger phenomenon though has to be taken into account by businesses when considering social media:  Individuals are building their digital footprints larger and faster than companies. What to do?

  1. Inside: Creating a guide book for your employees would be a good start. Nothing fancy… just get it right. Everyone is an ambassador whether you want it or not. It’s your employee’s choice to join LinkedIn or add their professional credentials on other networks like Facebook or Twitter. Just coach them with the basics. Suggestions could include:
    1. Optimize their profile on different networks.
    2. Simplify your employees’ research and teach them where to be active if they wish to be so.
    3. Organize an internal Tweetup — that could be a great idea… see what, who is active, leverage their existing activity.  Remember the groundswell technographics. Not everyone will want to play.
    4. [ah yeah, keep them focused on their job].
  2. Outside:  The real ambassadors are the people. You are a public being whether you want it or not.  “Here come everybody” from Clay Shirky is certainly right — “reading customers are among us”. They are creating a wealth of information out there which you should take advantage of. You may not have the ability to identify and energize the best of your customer base and brand aficionados.
  3. Listen and learn: Measure and monitor conversations about your brand and competitors’ brands – Use Google Alerts, FiltrBox, OneRiot, Topsy, Radian6, CollectiveIntellect and the other millions of search tools inside each network… You’ll learn to intercept conversations and participate (the new ‘respond’) more efficiently.
  4. Engaging: Social media is not (yet) for everyone but Gen Y is making it pervasive. You’ve probably been in a meeting or with friends where someone pulled the buzz joke: “are you tweeting this?” …then every body laughs. It has the same feel as when people started to have cell phones and answer in public places. Everyone got weirded out but this is long gone and new methods of communication are coming fast e.g. Google Wave – Here I suggest that you test the waters as long as you’re are open and clear with your intents and the community. Follow the passion trail to build creative social media programs. It’s clear that old methods won’t work and may even step outside the law: Trying to get an influential blogger promote your brand is rightfully getting looked at by the FTC.

Here is everybody. You (brand) are not alone. Your constituents are your best assets.

How do you deal with those identities? What does make sense for you and your business?

We’re all connected now.


@yannr FFyannr





Social Media Interview With Walker Thompson [client]

30 03 2009
“I can find out more about you through the web than I can by spending an hour with you […]” Walker Thompson, VP of Sales and Marketing for Syndicom, Inc.

Last week we had the pleasure of interviewing Walker Thompson, VP of Sales & Marketing at
Syndicom Inc. Syndicom is a provider of a collaborative suite of products targeted at surgeons and medical device companies to work more efficiently.

Syndicom was definitely using traditional marketing and PR but felt they were lacking ways to engage with their wider market and influential blogosphere.
Walker felt that using RSS marketing could help Syndicom engage on their own terms and be able to distribute their own messages and content. As he puts it,  “I could suddenly present my message through many different networks (Facebook, Twitter etc….).” However, while Walker has been very active in the blogosphere for some time it was hard to know how to navigate through it in relation to the medical world. He struggled with how to spend time effectively using social media when he had other things to focus on and it’s moving so quickly —  a social media service provider was the only way go. Enter Extanz.

The results speak for themselves. Syndicom’s monthly website traffic has almost tripled in less than a year. This is significant given that Syndicom is a b2b niche focused business. Page views have doubled in the same 6 months and Syndicom’s Alexa ranking went from 7,000,000th place to 500,000th place in only a few months. The bottom line says Walker, “is that we’re relevant and part of the discussion.” People know what their product is, have a better idea of what they do and, by the way,  have read their blog!
Blogging is difficult by yourself, time consuming and sometimes frustrating, but the mothership of good social media programming. Syndicom used Extanz blogging as part of their sales education cycle with both business customers and core users. Combined with podcasts and comments on influential blogs, Syndicom’s content is more objective, professional and ethical. Return comments are a real indication of relational success. As Walker says, “Extanz clearly amplified reaching out to influential bloggers with a high level of vertical expertise. Other influential bloggers would inevitably come back and leave comments on our blog; this is real, influential, two way conversation.”
So what’s Walker’s conclusion on social media and online tools? “If you don’t embrace it, you’ll become irrelevant”. 90% of companies don’t have a blog and he thinks it’s critical to create trust. The way people work and interconnect has changed, if you don’t have a presence on these new media, you’re becoming harder to reach. Syndicom’s business is online and it’s pretty clear that online methods and tools are dramatically changing how medicine is practiced, research, discovered and taught.”
To hear more of Walker’s thoughts, listen to the podcast here:
To learn more about Extanz and how we can help you, click here.




What’s the old Napster got to do with the new PR?

6 01 2009

As 2009 dawns here at Extanz we have been reflecting on  some of the simultaneously insightful and frustrating conversations we have had with folks recently around the notion of PR 2.0 and what counts as “success” in such a field. Now, we know we say we do PR 2.0 and the term sits heavily with us. We use the term because it is something that people can “hold onto” and has some meaning, but like all language, it traps us in a game (as Nietzsche would argue) and it is this game that has become increasingly frustrating to us. You could argue that our view on PR is colored by our politics. You could argue it is colored by our international backgrounds. Even our language differences. But it really comes down to some very simple terms — “public” and “relations”. These terms beg the questions, we would argue, of 1)  “who is your public?” and 2) what kind of “relations” do you want to have with them? We’ve implicitly discussed these philosophical underpinnings of Extanz’ work before in our posts on Trust 2.0 and The Medium is the Message, but we thought we try and spell it out here. See what you think.

First of all, hands up all those who remember Napster? How about KaZaa? Come on now, you don’t have to be nervous…. how many of you participated in P2P activities way before it was gentrified and still considered a somewhat edgy act akin to, dare we say it, hacking? How many of us believed ‘information just wants to be free’? How many of us still do?

Back in the radical early days of Napster, I was lucky enough to be around some super smart media  and cultural studies people and we wrote a paper on just what it was about Napster that made authorities’ blood boil and music lovers rejoice. Napster and its P2P friends, peers and offspring reminded us that systems of enclosure such as copyright, patents, and property deeds are artificial creations, the tools of the powerful to become more powerful; weapons of exclusivity, designed to keep their users in “in their place” in an artificial order of things; instruments of selfish wealth creation for some individuals. Now, one of the reasons Napster and KaZaa and the like were so popular was because we all knew we were being sold 2 good tracks on a CD for the price of 10 and there was nothing we thought we could do about it until we realized that if we just set those tracks we liked free, or if our friends had them and we traded them for others, then everyone could win. And win we did. Heck, even the bands cut out the middle people which made them, well you know, discontent. And then vengeful.

Around the same time, I was torturing myself over my ‘original contribution’ to academic knowledge as I toiled through my PhD program (with those smart types I was mentioning earlier). Frozen like a deer in the headlights, I was whining to one of my mentors one day about my desperation of not finding my unique contribution when she reminded me that, “there is no such thing as an original idea. There are only original combinations and articulations.” That’s academic speak for what we know now as, ‘the mashup rules; and the more creative the mash, the better it is’.

What’s the old Napster got to do with the new PR? Everything. Napster then and now serves us a reminder of the true power of the Web (it is called a web for a reason, folks). It reminded us of its original conception, its unique brilliance– its power to connect and create mutually beneficial relationships with others. At the same time that Napster ruled as a radical force and disruptive technology, we both had the honor of working for a data storage company. While sadly unaware of what would come to pass in its industry, the company had a slogan at the time —  “information made powerful”.  Napster was information made powerful. Facebook is information made powerful. Web 2.0 is information made powerful. Napster ushered in the age of the bricoleur; the artist who weaves different forms, different objects and different ideas together to create something new and useful to share with others. PR 2.0 is about the bricoleur; the individual who creates relationships between people, objects and ideas.

The new PR is not the PR of our parents’ generation. It is the PR of the Napster Generation. The Millenials. Gen Y. Gen disrupting the workforce. Gen ADHD. In the eyes of Extanz, PR 2.0, the new PR, is conversations made powerful. People made powerful. Participation made powerful. Relationships made powerful. As the Zen Buddhist Teacher Shunryu Suzuki, in Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind states, “when you forget all your dualistic ideas, everything becomes your teacher, and everything can be the object of worship.” (p.44). PR 2.0 Extanz-style.

With thanks to Today is a good day  ,  jm3and of course Napster, for their inspiration!

Welcome to the brave new world — ready to share?

Kirsti





Trust 2.0 … Get Used To It

12 12 2008

I am more and more convinced that 2.0 is a mindset.  I was on Twitter (like always) last weekend between attending to the urgent lives of my 5 and 3 year olds… (Tonka trucks and other logistical movements) and struck up a conversation with @bakespace (bake who you may say? … twitter name/id). Much of our conversation was based on the rise of Digital Divide 2.0 which I see happening as Social Media reaches out to more human beings. You could argue that social networking sites in general are a generational thing and ultimately we will all be on there . You could also argue that it’s an early adopter phenomenon.  I tend to think that 2.0 is a mindset.

Newspapers, magazines and traditional sources have been ‘seen’ as the trusted source of information over time. “Who are we going to trust”? They say. Well YOU, your brand, your digital footprint. Web 2.0 is an organic world where new tools (software for the most of it), new behaviors and new ethical codes swarm. We are the media. We are re-creating trust mechanisms. I believe we can see through, look at each other in the eyes, shake hands, smile at each other and respect each other online. Businesses as well. Get used to it. It’s here.

Forums in the 90’s and early 2000’s have really given a bad reputation to online presence… they were one big stream and everyone could actually be as primal as possible. We now live in a more open world, if you vote for a 2.0 Mindset.  More and more consumers are judging how they are being treated and how their peers are as well.  BS on Twitter, blogging, facebook and so on just doesn’t fly and people quickly vote with their feet when BS shows up.

This week, amongst other things, I ran into 2 great pieces of content that talk about TRUST. The first was by Rodger Doodley blog on Trust with Rodger quoting Paul J Zak: The key to a con is not that you trust the conman, but that he shows he trusts you. Conmen ply their trade by appearing fragile or needing help, by seeming vulnerable… the human brain makes us feel good when we help others–this is the basis for attachment to family and friends and cooperation with strangers. “I need your help” is a potent stimulus for action. [From The Moral MoleculeHow to Run a Con.]

Selling is about creating a trustable and repeatable experience. If you are a marketer, you are here to build or consolidate the brand trust capital. Social Media (blogging, facebook, twitter, flickr, youtube….etc) when used in concert are here to “empower users” as Chris Brogan says – Those users are your prospects or your customers… Instead of being in their face and being another ‘Interruption Day Marketing’ brand, be part of their lives, be part of their search and their social graph.

Forrester Research just published a new study that has made bloggers and micro-bloggers rage this week… Corporate Blogs are at the bottom of the scale when it comes to “trusted information sources”.  It is very debatable and obviously linear thinkers (let’s apply traditional marketing to social media) are mostly doing it wrong. If you try to sell hard, you’ll just have ZERO effectiveness.

Cloggers (corporate bloggers) it’s time to stop – Companies and corporations have the bad reputation of just republishing their press releases on their blogs, talking about inward content…etc. RISE UP I say… Start by creating value, content that ’empowers your users’. If you can’t think of your higher purpose… have someone else handle your social media services. If you think you know but can’t get traction and your blog traffic sucks…. you’re also in need of help.

Now go on, get out there and build your company digital trustworthiness…

Onwards and upwards,


Cheers
Yann

Thanks to jasoneppink and will lion for their cool pix