Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Self Defense

Ok confession time - I'm sitting here watching Miss Congeniality, the reason I mention this - "Gracie Lou Freebush" (stage and cover name for Sandra Bullock), her final talent in the Miss United States Pageant is self defense...

Self defense of your brand online is one of the major concerns for companies and organisations in your resistance to an adopted open social media policy. So if this is you and you've read all the success stories, the scare mongering of deviants on social networks, the cautionary tales of those that tried it and all it did was cost money with little or very little return on investment - at least nothing tangible; then read on.

Defending a brand online is of course the wrong starting point. Everything you do has to be from a positive view point - if you know sports, you know that an attacking game breeds more success than a defending game. To ensure a stable online profile you can not launch with a couple of posts and spend a fortune putting them in a very high profile environment. You have to slowly build (long tail) support so that a few persistent followers, fans, interested people keep coming back, taking an interest and adding to the conversation as a community member. You will start to build trust in your brand, building its personality, its traits and focus - all elements your social media consultant or team have prepared.

As with the UK newspaper culture of building a celeb' and then crucifying them when they have reached prolific popularity the same will inevitably happen to your brand. The difference you possess is the community culture you have created who are able to speak on your behalf.

This is as pertinent to a relatively unknown brand like The Podfather to someone like Honda. Take the time to build profile, your supporters will be there to bail you out - however it is this point that we start to talk about CRM. Looking after your customers is absolutely key to a continued successful social media campaign and maintaining a positive brand profile. Your customers (suppliers and contractors included) are the ones that will bail you out, back you up and provide case studies of where you have succeeded.

Part of your social media campaign has to include a blog (or more and more a Facebook profile) your consultant or team must approach your suppliers and contractors to provide participation - if you look after each other your community will grow stronger and more successfully.

This is the beginning for defending your brand. If you have examples that you are worried about or situations where competitors have suffered get in touch and we'll see where you can avoid or challenge the situation.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Scottish Government 2.0?

"Our current government is like a vending machine. We put in taxes and out comes roads, schools, police protection, schools and armies, health care and retirement. And when we don't get the services we want, or the prices are too high, all we can do is shake the vending machine.

Meanwhile our leaders debate whether to raise prices and put more goods and services into the vending machine, or to slash prices by reducing the number of offerings.

What if there were another choice?

The secret learned by technology providers is to spend less time providing services for citizens and to spend more time providing services to developers. Every successful technology platform, from the personal computer and the Internet to the iPhone has been profoundly generative: a small investment in open infrastructure that others can build on turns into a vast cornucopia of services.

This is the right way to frame the question "Government 2.0." How does government become an open platform that allows people inside and outside government to provide better services to each other? In this model government is a convener and an enabler rather than the first mover of civic action." by Tim O'Reilly, CEO of O'Reilly Media who was working to bring together technology and government through his Government 2.0 Summit and Government 2.0 Expo

"When the best leader leads, the people say "We did it ourselves" - Lao Tzu

I am very interested in developing a better more inclusive Scottish Government that recognises that the bills they promote, services they offer are to benefit the very people they are there to represent. And as such should consider using this revolution in communication as a way of better including those people they represent = you and I.

I want to offer my support and guidance in its adoption: 07968 847 210 or colingilchrist@gmail.com

This excerpt is taken from Seth Godin


Posted via email from colingilchrist's posterous

Friday, 11 December 2009

What does the future hold?

Image credits
Having attended a premier dinner organised by Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce the other night I had the good fortune to chat with the keynote speaker Simon Francis (CEO of Saatchi and Saatchi) - his presentation was based round their idea of "Lovemarks" - I have long since used their analogy in describing the creation and requirement of social objects and their place in a social network.

My perception has always been that social networks exist because of social objects - that which is discussed - social objects that take a social network, blog, forum to a viral state of impassioned euphoria have been sprinkled in "Lovemark" dust.

A social object is better explained by my old school friend Hugh Macleod

The Saatchi definition of a "Lovemark" is a product, service or entity that inspires loyalty beyond reason - so yes it can be a brand, cup of coffee but equally a video of someone dancing or a great musical track.

Therefore if you as a marketing bod want to create a social network or a large following think carefully about what the lovemark or social object is that will make it a success. It is all to do with emotion - creating that link to your audience that will make them get very excited at the prospect of getting involved, joining the conversation or buying the product (beyond reason).



Hugh Macleod

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Fancy a coffee?

Image = CentOtre, Friday 8:00am

My latest post for The Drum Marketing and Advertising magazine.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Michelle at Zappos #followfriday

I just want to make a personal recommendation for someone I met almost a year ago:

Michelle Thomas, the Brand Marketing Manager for 6pm at Zappos.com.

Michelle used to work at the MGM Mirage in Las Vegas and moved to Zappos in 2007 her role includes:
* Improve integration of all marketing functions to include offline advertising, online direct response, promotions, PR, event marketing, and co-op marketing to ensure we are sending consistent messages across all consumer touch points.
* Drive marketing processes towards continually more challenging and innovative creative outputs that align with the Zappos corporate culture and engagement with customers.
* Interpret and analyse available marketing research data to apply pertinent information and insights in the formulation of branding strategies and plans.
* Assist with the development of creative briefs to guide the design and production of customer communications with internal design team and third party agencies.
* Identify and cultivate new business or marketing opportunities that align with corporate objectives.
* Manage financial budgets, brand plans, and team of marketing professionals.

In my opinion they're lucky to have her - but then they're a great company to work for.

Seminar feedback

I recently got some feedback from a conference for Edinburgh City Council where I was providing a presentation on using social media for Neighbourhood Partnerships - deep breath:

Your workshop contributed to the day as it clearly gave people an idea about a concrete / real area in which we can improve the way we share information with and engage local communities. A very short selection of pledges from participants seems to reflect the influence that the 'Get Connected' session had on our delegates.

Their pledges included:

Þ I will support my peers to use digital methods of including people – using these methods will reduce the cost of promotion and increase community discussion and participation.

Þ Build our Facebook page / web presence (Community Councillor)

Þ ‘I will create a blog to engage with more of the community’

Þ ‘Learn to use twitter or social networking site’

Þ ‘Look again / improve community engagement tools and techniques – more imaginative ways.’

Þ Sharing information

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

The wonder of Podcasts

On a curiosity bender - that's the strapline to WNYC's Radio Lab.

I've been a fan of the RadioLab podcast ever since Seth Godin recommended it a couple of months back - it's a real education and fascinating to listen to. A recent post looks at our way of thinking and why we might think in a particular way - a recent experiment looked at a group of people who were told that they would be given a number to memorise in one room and recite it in another. Simple. Ok, but get this, some are given a 2 digit number others a 7 digit number. Whilst walking from one room to the other they are individually interrupted by a pleasant lady offering both a huge slice of chocolate cake or a bowl of fruit salad, they could have one or the other. The 7 digit people went for the cake - the 2 digit the fruit salad (not all but vast majority) - no clear reason, it's an evolutionary response.

Our social emotional responses are geared towards life in which our ancestors evolved - we have a moral button that gets pushed by the kind of things that they might have encountered. However there are new phenomenon that our emotions are not prepared for and we struggle depending on our education with that thought process.

This new revolution of Internet and social media is pouring a massive dump of information on our brains and depending on our socio economic conditioning we struggle to come to terms with it. We know from previous experience that those early adopters often either get shot and fail abysmally or become hugely successful - which will you be?