The explosion of digital and social media is having a hugely disruptive impact on how brands market and communicte. Up until just a couple of months ago Russell Stevens was a partner at SS+K an agency that specializes in "creative social engagement" and has some fascinating ideas as to what it takes to leverage this new media for effective engagement of your networked and newly emowered audience. Continue reading for some of the key take aways from Russell's presentation at the recent World Marketing Forum in Mexico City.
Stevens began by setting the stage for the social media environment in which we are currently living - what he calls “the social world”. There are now billions of social profiles in the world, and speaking directly to his Mexican audience he noted that Latin America is the most socially engaged region in the world, with people spending on average 7 ½ hours a day on social networking sites, and with a 30% growth in Facebook users in the past year.
However, this exponential growth has resulted in a lag in marketers' understanding of the implications for their craft. As Stevens put it “less than 1 in 3 marketers understand what is going on about their brand in social media.”
So, how to begin to understand how your brand functions within social media and be a relevant, digitally competent marketer? Stevens suggests that the key lies in creating conversations that matter with people who matter, online as well as offline. He outlined the following four key components to engaging clients:
Provoke- find their audience, say something meaningful, take a point of view, capture attention and imagination and listen for the response
Connect- drive relevance by fueling discussion, be a vehicle for self expression, connect online and offline experiences; you can’t just acquire adimiration, you must engage
Share-consider people your best media, empower them as spokespeople, reward them for sharing
Own-give up some of your own ownership; be confident in what you’ve done; make it easy for them to participte, choreograph the spontaneity
Using examples from SS+K such as the Lance Armstrong yellow wristband campaign and the Obama 2008 Presidential election, Stevens illuminated the changing arena of marketing. Stevens ended his speech on the following note: “Think engagement, and then product. Provoke: don’t lose the opportunities to fuel those conversations and create more; listen, analyze and adjust.”