Interview with Geoff Livingston Author of Marketing In The Round

06/11/2012

Geoff Livingston 2012It is my pleasure to introduce you to the co-author of Marketing In The Round .. my friend Geoff Livingston

One line in Geoff''s bio tells all you need to know to understand the man behind this newly release book. "He brings people together, virtually and physically to affect change and achieve higher knowledge."

In his third book, co-authored with Gini Dietrich, the focus is on  integrating traditional and new media marketing elements and breaking down those stifling internal silos.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  Let’s start this off with “Why this book?” Seriously, why does the world of  marketing need this book now?

Geoff Livingston:  When Gini Dietrich and I focused on multichannel integration, our logic centered on delivering ROI and outcomes for social media. So much of today’s conversation is about how marketers can get results from social. To us, that lack of results has more to do with siloed communications and a failure to integrate all marketing disciplines together.  Integration also includes adding hard lead generation-oriented metrics from direct and advertising to the mix. 

 Even though that was a year, ago the problem persists. Two recent studies from the CMO Council and the CMO Survey showed that less than 10% of lead marketers are running well integrated digital campaigns [Geoff's post - What CEOs Want: Better Social Integration & Anaylics]. Integrating marketing and general understanding of diverse disciplines has become a lost art.

Diva Marketing/Toby: So many options. So little time, money and people. From your perspective, what is the most significant challenge facing the 21st century marketer?

Geoff Livingston: Without question, it’s understanding the modern stakeholder’s media experience. 

Marketers think like media tools, literally.  It’s as if we were media hammers. How can I get people to use my nail? How can I drive the nail home?  But in reality, people walk around an entire media structure in which there are many nails, dry wall, support beams, screws, hex nuts, roofing, lights, tiles, etc. etc. 

  • Until we stop marketing from our perspective, but from the perspective of the true media landscape as seen by our customers, including mobile, 21st century marketers will struggle.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  The visual model  of Marketing In The Round is built with “marketing” as the center and let’s call them  marketing functional areas (advertising, web/digital, content, direct mail, etc.) as spokes from the center.  Based on your model, how do you define “marketing” that makes marketing unique from the functional tenants.

Geoff Livingston:  The ability to build, maintain and administrate holistic communications and interaction strategy for an organization and its stakeholders.

Toby Bloomberg/Diva Marketing: Wondering... where do customer care, research and sales fit into the model?

Geoff Livingston:  They definitely fit in frequently. When we present the Round concept live you’d see them brought into meetings frequently.  They don’t usually end up at weekly meetings of the marketing group, but are an integral part of the larger customer experience, and as such, they end up attending CMO meetings almost every month if not more frequently.  Ideally, everyone is closely seated together to help foster further integration.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  Sounds like you’re restructuring the marketing department. Who leads the charge of  Marketing In The Round if not the CMO? What skills/talents should that person have to make it work?

Geoff Livingston: It is the CMO.

That person should have a couple of skill sets.  First, they are an administrator and a manager. Their job is to facilitate the marketing function from a resource and operational perspective, incentivize what had been here-to-fore silos to work together, and lead the department in its interface with other departments so that marketing acts as a networked component of the larger enterprise (as opposed to its own silo).  Secondly, that person is usually a marketer themselves, and as such they need to have graduated from tactician to a strategist who can understand the value of branding, strategic approaches and tactics.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  One of my favorite lines in the book is –“.. you lend that content to and
community to outlying networks ..”
(p 24) The question then becomes is what’s the source of the Geoff Livingston Marketing in the round_max content and community?

Geoff Livingston: Usually, it’s the company. If the company is successful in its groundswell and top down approaches you’re seeing true customer word of mouth take place and they start developing content.  Stakeholder generated content creates brand and product advocacy, as well as (hopefully) inspiring media stories, speaking engagements, analyst reports and other types of traditional professional content produced independently of the company.

Diva Marketing/Toby: Coming from a research background, I appreciate the time you dedicated to consumer insights .. both traditional and social media. It seems as though the concepts of “listening” and “monitoring” had different meanings in the book. How are you defining  concept of “listening” and that of “monitoring?”

Geoff Livingston: It may be an issue of semantics on our part.  They are closely related.

Listening occurs before, during and after a marketing effort. But in many ways it’s the harnessing of data – big data if you would. I think hearing is the ability to decipher that data into meaningful and regular intelligence. Monitoring to me is the practice of hearing that data intelligence formally and regularly as a company.  Now, that’s my opinion based on the question. Gini may have a different take on that.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  I really liked the charts, worksheets and resources that you and Gini integrated throughout the book.  One of the Pros under social media (p27) indicated “inexpensive form of sponsoring messages on the social platforms.”  Does this refer to “blogger relations” and are you advocating paying bloggers for their posts?

Geoff Livingston: I don’t advocate paying bloggers to blog on their site. I do advocate paying people to intelligently interact with bloggers to provide useful content ideas and guest posts wherever possible.

I pay bloggers for their posts on Inspiring Generosity. Getting great content for your site requires paying talent, in my opinion.  I hate people that ask me to blog for free consistently without any clear value for my effort. It’s the primary reason why I stopped blogging for Mashable. The effort outweighed the value.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  Several different dashboards ideas are presented. While I think dashboards are a great way to track and analyze do it right is a time resource/commitment. If a company can only manage One dashboard what would be your suggestion?

Geoff Livingston: There is no silver bullet, unfortunately. Whatever a company selects they will end up customizing it if they want meaningful analytics for their monitoring program.  Google Analytics, Radian6, Hubspot, Marketo, and Eloqua is where I’d start depending on budget, from free to full enterprise.

Diva Marketing/Toby: In your travels Geoff, what organizations did you find that were doing it well?

Geoff Livingston: Dell, the American Red Cross are the obvious ones.

Procter & Gamble does a lot better than people give them credit for.  They are a brand management organization in the CMO sense, using agencies to execute tactics. I think they get social in the sense of when an agency or partner is doing a good job for them, and when they are not.

Google is doing really well, even the + network isn’t (or maybe it’s just bad press).  Google clearly listens to feedback, and it seems to me they are becoming a social enterprise. 

Etsy and Five Guys are brilliant at word of mouth marketing.  Chrysler has proven itself to be a savvy advertising company in its current incarnation. And Apple is probably the best all around integrated multichannel marketing organization out there.

Diva Marketing/Toby: As is the tradition on Diva Marketing the last questions is yours to take and run with as you would like. What would you tell our community about integrated marketing in the round?

Geoff Livingston: This isn’t rocket science. Our book is not going to teach you black belt jujitsu. It is about the basic fundamentals of marketing together as an integrated multichannel organization. No matter how fancy your marketing strategy and tactical execution is, if you aren’t blocking and tackling, you will likely lose.

It’s a reminder about what worked before social, and what still works in the current digital marketing era, teamwork, and thinking together as collective communications team.  That’s integrated strategies.

Continue the conversation with Geoff!

Geoff Livingstons Blog Twitter Flickr G+ Marketing In The Round SlideShare Pinterest

 Bloggy Disclaimer: I was provided with a complementary copy of Marketing In The Round. All opinions are 100% mine.

Pinterest For Business To Business: Interview With Joel Windels of Brandwatch

05/23/2012

Last week I attended my first Pinterest meetup. Max pinterest tshirt

It was great fun and I even won a Pinterest T-shirt. Seems appropriate that Max should model it since he has his own Pinterest board. Don't you think he makes a cute model?

Anyway, needless to say, I was excited to meet fellow pinners and talk about strategy, cool tools, what works, what doesn't.

"Were you on the PinChat when host & founder Kelly LIeberman brought in Lizze from McDonalds?" I asked a few people. My question was met with puzzled looks. "Oh big corporations are pinning?"  Now I was surprised. Ah..yes. 

Granted, I only spoke with a handful of people, but it seemed most were pinning for fun or using Pinterest in a very limited way for business e.g. one board among many personal boards.

My big take aways: Pinterest, as a business tool, is still in the beginning stages of adoption .. even for the pioneer pinners. Even more than the idea of pinning for business, is the concept of putting a focus on pinning for business by creating and maintaining a variety of boards that support a brand.

When it comes to social media, we learn most from the people who have stepped out before us and generously share their experiences. In this Pinterest Pinning For Business Learning Series post we take a look how a business-to-business company, Brandwatch, is using Pinterest as an inbound marketing tactic.

About Brandswatch: Launched in August 2007, Brandwatch  develops tools for monitoring and analysing social media conversations. The company is experiencing huge growth in the young sector.

 Joel Windels_Brandwatch

Our interview is with Joel Windels. Joel is the Community Manager at Brandwatch where he is responsible for all of Brandwatch’s presences online, including social networks like Pinterest.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  In a world that began as a social network to share images of food and fashion Brandwatch is one of the early business-to-business brands on Pinterest. What did you see about the platform that caused you to actively participate?

Joel Windels: The key thing to remember with social media is that it is not only incredibly new, but it is also changing at a rate that is almost impossible to stay totally on top of. At Brandwatch, we’re obviously very interested in making sure we’re keeping track of all of the most popular social sites, so once Pinterest began to show itself as a rising star, we had to take notice. The meteoric rise of the network and simplicity of the image-sharing idea struck a chord with me, so I decided to test the waters.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  From a high level, what is Brandwatch’s  Pinterest strategy?

Joel Windels: We generally see Pinterest as a traffic-boosting network, with site referrals from Pinterest forming a small part of our wider lead generation strategy. As an inbound marketing tool, it’s an excellent place to house links to lots of our content in a visually appealing and clever way, in a way that’s not centered around our own website.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  Understanding that Pinterest is still in its infancy, especially in terms of b2b, what are your measures for success?

Joel Windels: As I mentioned before, we’re just testing the waters and, for the moment at least, we’re measuring its value in referral rates. There’s something to be said for the qualitative worth in having a presence, such as using it as a resource for curious prospects and simply for broadening the visibility of Brandwatch, though the primary measurement is through number of visits to our own site from Pinterest for the time being.

Diva Marketing/Toby: With any social network initiative there are risks associated with active participating. What were Brandwatch’s challenges and how did you overcome them?

Joel Windels: One of the more interesting ways we’ve been using Pinterest is through the use of our ‘social media monitoring’ board. We’ve created it to house a board of our main competitors, as we regularly get asked about the other options in the market, so it gives us somewhere to point people to. Using our own tool, we also search the web for individuals and companies that are enquiring about SMM tools and the industry, so we often step in to offer advice, sometimes via our Pinterest boards.

While it may be a cliché, we think that our tool is the best around and that people will come to that conclusion by themselves, so in pointing our prospects to our competitors we’re not approaching marketing in an orthodox way. The risk is that we’re not as good as we think we are (very low, of course)!

Diva Marketing/Toby:  If you’re not a visual thinker it might be a “content challenge” for a services business to sustain pinning over time. What is your content strategy .. In other words what are you pinning?  

Joel Windels: Pinterest is a supplementary channel for us, so we don’t have a content strategy for the platform. We’ve created one-off boards, such as the monitoring one and a set of pins to support our Superbowl project back in February, though we are now using the site as a seeding channel for our main content – namely our eBooks, our case studies and our blog posts. Essentially our Pinterest content plan mirrors our general one.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  In social networks there are two paths we can take:  passively providing content and actively engaging within others. At this point, most people seem to be sharing content/pins but there is not a lot of conversation happening. How active is Brandwatch in terms of engagement e.g. commenting, repining, likes?

Joel Windels: This is a very good point you’ve made, as they are indeed two very different approaches. There are 1001 different social networks propping up and lots of guesswork involved in determining how to spend your ‘community time’. Therefore I decided that, for now, we’ve tried to keep our primary focus for engagement on tried and tested platforms like Twitter, whilst using Pinterest for its own strengths.

For the moment, we’ve walked the first type of path in passively providing content, though as the site progresses and we hire more community staff in the coming months, we may well take a look at the second approach. Brandwatch

Diva Marketing/Toby:  One of the big questions that I’m asked is how do you find time to include another social network into your communication outreach? Would you give us an idea of the resource structure (people) and approximate time you’re investing?

Joel Windels: Our team is split across the UK, Germany and the USA. Understandably we’re still putting together the processes that divide the community spread, but at the moment it’s just me on Pinterest. We’ve pulled a bit of focus away from the likes of Google plus and other networks for the time being, as we’re seeing more referrals through Pinterest. We’ve had other monitoring companies repin some of our pins, and plenty of staff members contribute to the content that our pins link to, but as far as actually maintaining our profile and our uploads, that task currently sits at my desk.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  In any new social media endeavor, they will not come unless you tell them. How is Brandwatch creating awareness for its Pinterest boards?

Joel Windels: Well, you know what? They have been coming anyway. Like I mentioned before, we often link people through Twitter and other sites to our collections – good articles, our eBooks, competitors when someone wants an overview. We haven’t really pushed our Pinterest presence very strongly; it seems to have grown organically, with users sharing it amongst themselves because they like our boards/content rather than us trying to draw attention to it.

Diva Marketing/Toby: Pinterest provides interesting consumer insights. From the point of view of a research company, I’d love to hear your views of what marketers can gain from analysis of pins and boards.

Joel Windels: Well, Pinterest is a bit of a pain with its API so it’s very hard to work out exactly how much coverage we offer. Obviously it’s the best possible, but we are aware of some pins slipping through the net. Useful features like sentiment analysis and author metrics can help analysts work out how companies are faring on Pinterest, and how they might be doing that.

 As with all of the data we track, searching the web for social media mentions of your brand, your industry or your competitors will allow you to get a much greater understanding of what your customers are saying. Even if people are pinning and engaging positively on your brand page, doesn’t mean people aren’t indicating otherwise elsewhere. The only way of truly gleaning insight from the social web is through monitoring tools and the features they provide. Exactly what each company will discover from an analytical point of view will differ in each case.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  To wrap this up. what lessons learned can you share with us about business-to-business companies coming jumping onto the Pinterest train?

Joel Windels: As with any new and untested platform, it’s quite fun to test the waters with what works and what doesn’t; it’s certainly good advice to poke your toes in before diving in at the deep end. Furthermore, we’ve found that through being open, interesting and experimental we’ve managed to get a good ROI from being on the network.

Note: #PinChat is held Wednesday at 9p Eastern Time.

Pinterest Pinning For Business Learning Series 

Pinterest Sweepstakes Microsoft Mouse Design: Case Study With BJ O'Hare

04/23/2012

Microsoft Pin It To Win It SweepsakePinterest, the darling of food and fashion pinners, is on a hyper growth slope with brands that at first glance have nothing to do with "life style" e.g. business-to-business, technlogy, software, finance, miliatry, staffing companies and more. Hop over to my Pinterest brand board .. Brands Beyond The Expected to see 101 (and counting!) examples.

As we've seen with Kotex (Diva Marketing interview with the brand manager and agency) brands are exploring ways to engage with customers that go beyond a pin and comment.

Contests are hot hot hot on Pinterest. When I came across an interesting sweepstakes from Micrsoft I wondered if Pinterest contests could really work for tech companies. BJ O'Hare, social media lead for Microsoft Hardware Team, graciously agreed to tell us the back-story in a Diva Marketing Mini Case Interview. Thanks to Kristina Libby for the intro.

BJ OHare_MircoSoft_DM interviewAbout BJ O'Hare - BJ O’Hare is the Social Media Lead for the Microsoft Hardware Team. Over the course of her career, BJ has combined her passion for interpersonal engagement with her enthusiasm for technology to develop expertise in the realm of social media and marketing.

In her current role, BJ is responsible for the management of all Microsoft Hardware social channels including its Blog, Twitter Handle and Facebook page, which she worked to launch in late 2011. She also collaborates closely with Windows and its social channels, particularly its Pinterest page. 

Diva Marketing/Toby:  Of all the tactics Microsoft could have chosen to create awareness for its new mouse designs, which by the way are very cool and fun, why Pinterest?

BJ O’Hare/Microsoft: Pinterest is a great way to virtually express yourself and be creative. The new mouse designs are very expressive and appeal to people looking for ways to personalize their everyday life, so Pinterest was a good fit for this Microsoft Hardware campaign.  

Diva Marketing/Toby: Were there other social networks/social media and/or marketing initiatives included in the campaign? 

BJ O’Hare/Microsoft: It was promoted on various Microsoft Facebook & Twitter pages as well as Microsoft blogs. It was also a discussion topic during a Windows Tech Tuesday #winchat which is a weekly Twitter chat held by the Windows PR and social media teams from 12-1pm PT on Tuesdays. The chats cover a variety of topics from partner products to consumer trends. To participate in a chat follow @windows or @windowsblog and the hashtag #winchat.

Diva Marketing/Toby: How did Microsoft create initial awareness of the sweepstakes?

BJ O’Hare/Mircosoft: We announced the sweepstakes by partnering with the Windows team and promoting the campaign on various Microsoft Facebook & Twitter pages and on Microsoft blogs and continue to promote on those channels.

  • We also add new images every few days so there are fresh pins for people to use so they will continue to stay engaged with our boards.

Diva Marketing/Toby: What were your goals for the sweepstakes?

BJ O’Hare/Microsoft: Our main goal was to generate awareness of the new colors and artist designs through engagement with an audience that is active on Pinterest, and looking for colorful and rich assets to decorate their boards with.  We also wanted to increase followers of our boards and generate repins. Microsoft mouse
Diva Marketing/Toby: Can you share a high level of the results?

BJ O’Hare/Microsoft: We generated awareness which resulted in an increase of followers and re-pins.

Diva Marketing/Toby: Were the results what you had expected? Can you tell us why or why not?

BJ O’Hare/Microsoft: The audience that uses Pinterest is interested in images that they can use to decorate their boards. This was a successful campaign and allowed users to do that through repinning Microsoft mouse designs. We were successful in generating awareness and increasing our followers and repins by using colorful and stylish images.

Diva Marketing/Toby: Did you do any analysis of the pins/boards for consumer insights e.g. Designs most pinned, pin/board descriptors, etc. If so what did you consider?

BJ O’Hare/Microsoft: We did some simple analysis which included designs vs color images pinned, repinning the contest pin, pin & board descriptors, and group of images vs single item images. We are also doing some analysis on product images vs lifestyle images.

Diva Marketing/Toby: I noticed that the contest board is now the last board on the page. When the contest was running was it the 1st board? Also, do you plan to keep the contest board or delete it like Kotex did with theirs?

BJ O’Hare/Microsoft: When the contest was running it was in the first row of boards so it was clear to see. We have new sweepstakes we’ve run since Spring Inspirations and now currently Mother’s Day which is the 1st first board you see. We are building our long term strategy for what the presence of contest boards looks like after the contest has finished.

Diva Marketing/Toby: If you were to redesign the campaign, in retrospect, what would you do differently?

BJ O’Hare/Mircosoft: When using Pinterest as a platform to promote campaigns, each will have a variety of different tactical components that will work.  For this campaign, we achieved what we set out to do.

Diva Marketing/Toby: What lesson learned can you share with us?

BJ O’Hare/Microsoft: Pinterest is a great way to virtually express yourself and be creative.  Since we had such great artists that designed amazing art on our mice, Pinterest proved to be a great vehicle to promote this initiative.

This was a collaborative effort between the Microsoft Hardware and Windows teams and may not be representative of what other teams at Microsoft are doing with Pinterest.

Pinterest Pinning For Business Learning Series 

To learn more about our Pinterest contest, please visit the Windows Team Blog. If you’re interested in learning more about Microsoft Hardware and Windows, please explore the following:

Microsoft Hardware

Microsoft Hardware Blog

Microsoft Hardware Facebook

Microsoft Hardware Twitter

 

Windows

Windows Team Blog

Windows Facebook

Windows Twitter

Life Without Facebook ~ A View From Gen Y #4

04/06/2012

Jessica robyn facebook_1 1_12 _5Jessica Robyn, a typical millennium and 7-year Facebook member, has not seen any of the new time lines for brands.

You see, on January 13, 2012 Jessica disabled her account and began an experiment of "Life Without Facebook."

This quasi social media reality series with Gen Y Jessica Robyn takes us into her world of Life Without Facebook where she offers her insights into the questions: Why? What now? How do you exist without Facebook?

Read Jessica Robyn's Life Without Facebook ~ A Veiw From Gen Y Interviews Part #1 Part #2 Part #3 Part #4  

We found it interesting that Jessica's posts have been the basis for talking points for parents to discuss Facebook with their children. Brand managers have also gained insights.

We also discovered people were not only curious about how Jessica is living without her online peeps, but how her friends are reacting. We thought it would be fun to ask a few so we formalized the process into an online survey. 

Here are a few comments from the question - What was your your reaction when you discovered I disabled my Facebook? 

"I was very skeptical. Porter was ALL about facebook in her hayday."

"I couldn't believe it."

"I thought it was cool since I had disabled mine before in the past."

 Diva Marketing/Toby: Your friends were really supportive of you disengaging from Facebook.  Although some people thought it was a joke. But they miss you. Did anyone’s comments surprise you?

Jessica Robyn: I laughed a lot reading Greg’s answer that parents being on Facebook ruined it. It’s funny cause I think out of all my friends my dad was one of the first to join Facebook. That is why I was glad there were so many privacy settings. 

Diva Marketing/Toby: I found it interesting that it wasn't one of your friends who want to see you back on Facebook but someone from the boomer generation , Auntie Kaye. - “Holy cow, how will I be able to see what is going on in your life?” 

Why did you think that is? What are you doing to stay in touch with Auntie Kaye?

Jessica Robyn: I think Facebook is just an easier way to at a glance find out what a bunch of people are doing at once and what’s new in their lives. I know Auntie Kaye liked seeing pictures of what I was doing and who I was out with so clearly that hasn’t been happening. We have emailed and talked on the phone to keep in touch.

Diva Marketing/Toby: You’ve been off Facebook for almost 3 months now. Have you missed anything, other than chatting with your friends, from not being on Facebook?

Jessica Robyn: It’s weird cause I wasn’t really missing Facebook or thinking about it until a few weeks ago.

One of my close friends was throwing a surprise party for another one of our mutual friends and I found out about a week or so after that I wasn’t invited. She called me a few days later to apologize explaining that she and another person planned the party mostly via a private facebook event and she forgot to let me know outside of that resource.

I know at the time I wasn’t physically out or around as often (I sprained my ankle and have been recovering), but I had still been in contact with her via text message and email. I wasn’t on her mind during those conversations to invite me. To be honest, I was a little hurt, but I was also expecting something like this might happen.

Diva Marketing/Toby: Your friends have given you all sorts of suggestions for when you should go back on Facebook:

One year from the day you gave it up. 365 days of life without fb!

When you feel like you can use it on your terms. Don't get sucked into anything you don't want to!

Totally up to you. It is more a part of a younger person's world- but not essential. Certainly a nice resource to have- but not at the expense of meaningful relationships.

What do you want to say to them?

Jessica Robyn: I think the one year idea is interesting, but I have no idea if that will happen. I think a few of my friends know me well enough, are supportive, and also understanding which is why none of their responses shocked me.

  • I will reactive my account at some point and hopefully whenever that happens it won’t be as big of a part of my life as it previously was and I can manage my time on there better.

Jessica Life Without Facebook Tweet Bubbe

@JessicaRobyn on Twitter

Kotex + Pinterest = An Innovative Campaign: A Case Study With Yael Linen-Zuchman

03/30/2012

Pinterest_creative KotexSeems we can’t turn a virtual corner without bumping into a post about the hottest social network Pinterest.

What started as a playground for mostly women to share life style images is morphing into a serious business platform. Many brands, B2b, B2C, as well as, nonprofit and even the military and higher ed are pinning.

Recently I was contacted by an Israeli agency about a Pinterest campaign that they launched for Kotex: Kotex Inspiration Day.  Smoyz logoThe strategy capitalized on Pinterest in an innovative way beyond brand pins on a board. Let’s call it a “Pinterst” relationship strategy a la blogger relations. In fact, it might be the first. But I can assure you it will not be the last.

Yael Linen-Zuchman, CEO of the agency smoyz, kindly agreed to fill us in on the back-story, offer her insights about the strategy and share some lessons learned. 

Yael Linen-ZuchmanAbout Yael Linen-Zuchman, CEO of smoyz. She is a 30 year-old who graduated with a BA in business in 2009 at IDC Herztelia Israel. She established smoyz, a creative agency in 2010. She's "always looking for the next (simple yet brilliant) big thing."

About smoyz. A creative agency founded in 2010. smoyz is an agency for unique marketing on New Media, specializing in creative and novel content activities and building optimal platform for the brand on the web. Eran Sion – Digital Marketing Manager at Hogla-Kimberly

In several questions Yael asked Eran Sion, Digital Marketing Manager at Hogla-Kimberly to share his views. We have a unique view of the campaign from two perspectives: the brand and the agency.   

 

Diva Marketing/Toby: Yael, let’s start at the beginning. How did the idea to reach out to pinners come about?

Yael Linen-Zuchman/smoyz: To communicate the launch of "Kotex Design" designed pads and panty liners by Kotex. We searched for an innovative social platform where women can express themselves freely and openly in a unique way.

Pinterest, and especially pinners, were found to be the best candidates because of the simple and brilliant (and not too invasive) way Pinterest works. In one simple action (pin) you can express yourself.

Diva Marketing/Toby: So, if I understand you, it seems that before you could reach out to women to give them the unique gifts from Kotex you first had to identify them and Pinterest was how you chose to do that.

Yael Linen-Zuchman/smoyz: That is correct!

Diva Marketing /Toby: Although you were going into a new area of social marketing… call it social visual communication, as marketers we seem to always be held to the standard of achieving goals/objectives. What were the goals/objectives that the client wanted to achieve for this program? 

Eran Sion/Hogla-Kimberly: Kotex is "the underdog brand" at the feminine category in Israel and Kotex logo therefore we looked for a unique and unconventional activity that will encourage Israeli women to talk about the products and rethink their habits and attitude towards the brand. 

Diva Marketing /Toby: Since this was a novel approach to Pinterest, what did you/smoyz want to learn from the experience that might have been different from Kotex’s goals?

Yael Linen-Zuchman/smoyz: We generally think the same as Hogla-Kimberly. We were looking for an activity that would generate buzz around the product/brand. My brief was to create the conversation and maintain the brand as the creator of the move.

Diva Marketing /Toby:  Creating a YouTube video to tell your story of the brand strategy was nothing short of brilliant. Note: if you have not seen the video it's worth a click and watch.

In the video you indicated that 50 women were contacted. Let’s dive into what many marketers would like to understand .. your process of the hows and whys. Now, we’re not expecting you to give away any trade secrets Yael but a high level over view would be great. 

How were the women identified? In other words was it done manually or through technology?

Yael Linen-Zuchman/smoyz: The women were identified by a few categories: viral, trendsetters and active on pinterest (many profiles on pinterest are open though not active enough to be relevant for this campaign). The women were identified first via social media monitoring and analysis technology  and then manually picked the most inspiring ones.

Diva Marketing /Toby: Did smoyz and Kotex develop a set of criteria e.g. age, country, type of interests, etc?

Yael Linen-Zuchman/smoyz: We looked for profiles / pictures that could creatively be transformed into "real life products."  

Diva Marketing /Toby: I guess it goes without saying, the women were from Israel (smile).  Was an “influencer” or “power pinner” part of your criteria? If so how did you define that e.g. by number of pins, followers, ect?

Yael Linen-Zuchman/smoyz: Yes, an influencer & power pinner were part of our criteria; we looked for profiles which are both active and both viral (followers wise).

Diva Marketing /Toby:  What were some of the challenges that you encountered?

Yael Linen-Zuchman/smoyz: The main challenge was to make the pinners cooperate with a commercial activity owned by Kotex. Because we were very accurate and relevant to the Pinners, we received fantastic collaboration.

Diva Marketing /Toby:  From the video it seemed as though the gifts were a surprise. I’m curious as to how the women’s addresses were located.

Yael Linen-Zuchman/smoyz: After monitoring an inspiring pin we prepared the gift and pinned a photo on our Pinterest profile (Get Inspired). Then, on each pin that we monitored we commented and added a link to the gift, in order to receive the gift all they needed to do was repin our photo.

The repin was a signal of their interest, the addresses were taken via personal message approach. We used both the @ symbol and both the pin & like in order to get their attention properly. 

Diva Marketing /Toby:  Your results were beyond impressive; especially since the women posted across multiple social networks. How did you track the analytics? Note: almost 100% participation.

Yael Linen-Zuchman/smoyz: Technical social media monitoring and manually monitoring these 50 women.

Diva Marketing /Toby: Yael , I’d love to see how the women positioned their pins? Can you share a couple of the Pinterest board with our community?

Yael Linen-Zuchman/smoyze: The profile we created, was deleted and no longer exist, that's why you can't see the photos. We decided to open the Kotex Pinterest "Get Inspired" profile temporarily and closed it after the campaign. (Note: Eran addresses this approach further below.)

Following are some of the women who participated in the Pinterest Kotex campaign.

Products I Love . My StyleLegally Blonde . Urban Wilderness

Diva Marketing /Toby: My friends (and I admit me too!) are so curious .. what were some of the presents that were in  the boxes? That must have been a fun part of the project .. making sure the gifts reflected the pinner’s interests.

 Yael Linen-Zuchman/smoyz: This was the most amazing part of the campaign. After locating each womens inspiration smoyz team went out for an inspiration treasure hunt.

We went to markets, malls, searched the internet..and finally bought 50 unique inspiring gifts. After buying these gifts artists designed on these gift the new kotex design look. Among the gifts:

Kotex_kittyA women pinning cat photos received two bowls designed and with her cats names. (Note: Maxie pup approves!)

A women that pinned sweets, got a kotex designed jar full of hearted sweets.

A women that pinned cupcakes & got kotex designed cupcakes.

A young girl pinned diaries & got a pocket diary with her name painted on the diary.

A women that pinned pastry-cooking stuff received a cooking kit designed with her initials.

Kotex_gift1 Kotex gift_2
Kotex gift 3

Diva Marketing /Toby: Yael what fun .. buying presents. I want that job! By the way, does Kotex have a Pinterest page? And if they do would you be so kind as to give us the link? If not are any plans in the works that you can share with us?

Eran Sion/Hogla-Kimberly: We believe that any activity on behalf of the brand, should give true value to our consumers and reflect the core values of the brand. The latest activity did just that. We are in a constant search for a platform that will enable us to provide added value to our consumers – It does not have to be a long lasting engagement, short term relations are also welcome.

Diva Marketing/Toby: Interesting approach to Pinterest and social media. Not only short term boards for campaigns but taking them down after the run of the campaign. Eran, I'm curious .. why wouldn’t Kotex want the long-term awareness that the board would bring?

Eran Sion/Hogla-Kimberly: The main goal of our digital platforms is to promote awareness to the brand and we support them constantly. Nevertheless it would be ambitious to create constant excitement on behalf of Kotex on a Pinterest profile; but due the success of the "Kotex Inspiration Day" activity, we will examine our long term presence on the platform. 

Diva Marketing /Toby:  Diva Marketing is all about learning from each other. Yael, would you please share a couple of the overall lessons that you learned?

Yael Linen-Zuchman/smoyz:

  • In my opinion New media marketing in 2012 is all about creating intimate moments with the brand.
  • These amazing platforms enable the brands to touch their audience in the most intimate way. 
  • Conventional advertising and marketing cannot stand alone today without a simple yet brilliant touch to blow people away and create a real organic engagement.

Diva Marketing /Toby: In the tradition of Diva Marketing interviews,  you get the last word. So the virtual stage is yours .. wrap it up any way you’d like.

Yael Linen-Zuchman/smoyz:  Would it be cheesy if I quote my most favorite one? Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication -- Leonardo de Vinci

Pinterest Pinning For Business Learning Series 

Life Without Facebook ~ A View From Gen Y #3

02/08/2012

Jessica robyn facebook_1 1_12 (3)
It's 2004. You're a college freshman. You and your friends sign up for a new internet platform called Facebook. It becomes an interactive scrapbook of your life. 

Flash forward 7 years. You disengage from Facebook. Why??

This is a special Diva Marketing quasi social media reality series with Gen Y Jessica Robyn who takes us into her world of Life Without Facebook .. and offers her insights into the question Why?

Part #1 Part #2

Diva Marketing/Toby: Jessica, you disengaged from Facebook  on January 13th. It's been about 4 weeks without the Big F. What are you missing the most?

Jessica Robyn: I miss the entertainment I got from Facebook. Reading posts, seeing pictures, and playing games via Facebook. It was a great way to amuse myself when I had down time. Now I have a new obsession for crossword puzzles. I even found a trivia app on my phone to entertain me on the go.  At least my new obsessions are educational!

Diva Marketing/Toby:  How has life without Facebook influenced your relationship with people who you don’t usually keep in contact with on a consistent basis?

Jessica Robyn: It’s been interesting. I've reached out more to some college friends who I have not seen in a while. I actually found out that one of my old roommates, who lives in New York, was going to be in Rhode Island. I live in Massachusetts, so we ended up meeting for drinks in Providence which was pretty awesome.

  • We haven’t seen each other in two years, but we still had a connection without Facebook which was pretty impressive. 

Diva Marketing/Toby: What happens when those people who don’t have your eMail address or phone number need to get in touch with you?

Jessica Robyn: I perform at Rocky Horror Full Body Cast in Harvard Square. There was an occasion recently where someone from Rocky Horror had a few questions for me about something they were planning with the production.

I gave permission for people at the show to give her my cell number so she could contact me. But she never did. A couple of weeks later she told me she didn't like calling people on the phone and since she couldn’t find my Facebook she didn’t message me. I think if it was something of dire importance you could figure a way to contact me off of Facebook, even if you didn't have my contact information.

Diva Marketing/Toby: How about people you do keep in touch with on an ongoing basis. Tell us a story of how not having a Facebook page influenced you.

Jessica Robyn: Recently I had plans to go out with a friend; however, we just couldn’t agree on what to do for the evening so we ended up doing nothing. You know how that goes.

The next morning I started to miss Facebook. I am sure if I really wanted to go out I would have heard about a group of my friends going somewhere. Or I could have posted a status asking who was around and wanted to grab a drink. It didn’t really bother me about missing out on events until then. 

Diva Marketing/Toby: Wondering what are the reactions from people who you meet who don’t know you’re not on Facebook and want to friend you.

Jessica Robyn: I haven’t encountered that yet. But I did meet someone right before I disabled my facebook. He was shocked I was going to disable my page and told me that Facebook was his only form of communication with his friends (I later found out he didn’t have a text messaging plan and doesn’t use his phone much. "Big L"). Needless to say, we didn’t keep in touch after that. 

Diva Marketing/Toby: At this point are you glad you're off Facebook? Why?

Jessica Robyn:  At this moment I would say absoultely. I have found myself being more productive throughout the day. Also instead of spending mind numbing hours sitting on facebook, like I mentioned before, I have been spending time doing cross words and trivia games  ... working my mind which has been better than it turning to mush while mindlessly navigating around Facebook.

Diva Marketing/Toby: Anything that you're surprised about with life without Facebook?

Jessica Robyn: I think the most surprising element thus far has been all the exclusive deals or "you hear it first" type of deals that are promoted via Facebook. I heard of two different contests that in order to simply enter you needed to "like" their fan page, or a band releasing a song exclusively through Facebook. But for the most part, I haven't been too disappointed about my lack of Facebook yet.

- @JessicaRobyn  Jessica twitter

To Be Continued ..

Life Without Facebook ~ A View From Gen Y #2

01/26/2012

Jessica Robyn Twitter_20

This is a special interview series on what life is like for Jessica Robyn, a Gen Y-er, who disabled her 7 year old Facebook Page. We're calling it quasi social media reality! Part #1 Part #3

Diva/Marketing/Toby: The big question I've been asked is, "What were the reactions from Jessica's Facebook friends?" By the way, how many friends did you have?

Jessica Robyn: I had a few of my friends talking to me (through phone calls, texts, and of course facebook messages or comments) who could not believe that Jessica, voted biggest facebook stalker junior year, the addict, and social media manager of the Full Body Cast fan page would seriously leave facebook.

People were asking how they would know what was going on in my life and I would just laugh and say "you do have my cell number, right? I know it's an awful concept, but you may need to talk to me in person." (can you sense the sarcasm in my writing?)

I currently have 410 friends on facebook, but several times have gone on what I call "defriending sprees" since there were so many people I was sharing information with who I had met one time at a party, was
a friend of a friend, or a classmate I have no contact with anymore. It was helpful to do that so I could filter through who I was showing my pictures to or updating them on my week. I just am at a point when simply clicking unfriend is not enough.

Diva Marketing/Toby: We relate to people on different levels;  we have various degrees of “friendship” with people. Obviously you’re not going to keep in daily or weekly contact with hundreds of people.

 What percentage do you expect will maintain, let’s call it the first level of friendship, where you are in contact on a weekly basis? Oh and how do you intend to keep up those relationships (email, twitter, etc.).

Jessica Robyn: I would say out of the 410 people I am Facebook friends with there are a dozen or so Jessica robyn facebook_1 1_12who I keep in pretty consistent contact with. I text message them frequently or see them on a weekly basis. I do not foresee any aspect of our friendships changing except for the fact that our conversations won't have "Hey did you see what Jane posted today?"

Diva Marketing/Toby: What about, let’s call them the level 2 and 3 friends. What to you expect will happen with those people?

Jessica Robyn: The friendships I have with those who are not in constant cotact outside of facebook may become stronger. It may be a combination of me wondering what they are up to and vice versa. Having real-life interactions would only strengthen my friendships.

I would say that I won't become wicked close with all 410 of my Facebook friends, but there may be
some who I have not spent as much time with that I would like to and may get to know them on a more personal level.

Diva Marketing/Toby: Just curious Jess. How much of yourself image was tied to your Facebook page? What I mean is when you looked at your Facebook page what did it tell  about Jessica Robyn? In marketing we sometimes call this “personal branding.”

Jessica Robyn: My personal Facebook page is private, but if someone who had never met me were granted full access they would see someone who is funny, sarcastic, and does not take life too seriously. I feel most of my photos are carefree and me having fun. They would also see my Rocky Horror life: promoting the show or preshows I was in and pictures of that as well.

I may post a status and get NO likes or comments. Does that mean my friends do not approve of me or validate my thoughts? Of course not. But that is how it is interpreted to some people. If no one likes or comments on my status it's not a huge deal. (Sidebar: I wish brand marketers would take a cue from you Jessica!)

I had 410 facebook friends. Did I comment or like EVERY post they made? No. I did if I found it funny, I agreed, or had something witty to comment.

Also, having so many Facebook friends and with the Jessica robyn facebook_1 1_12 _7new feature of a news ticker some posts can easily be over-looked if Facebook does not mark it as an "important post." If I was seeking approval or a comment from a friend it would be through a personal conversation that we were having, not a Facbeook post. - @JessicaRobyn

To Be Continued ..

Stories from Smaller Nonprofits: National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel

12/13/2011

StarsAt this holiday season we are encouraged to look beyond face value to the heart of the people who may touch our lives .. directly or indirectly. "Looks" of nonprofits may also be deceiving at first glance.

For the first time we are opening Diva Marketing's Holiday For Small Nonprofits Series to a couple of special programs offered by larger nonprofits. These initiatives often have unique budgets and dedicated staff .. much the same as smaller nonprofits. 

John Pollock _Public Justice CenterThis story is told by John Pollock who manages this unique program. As Jennifer Pelton, Director of Development, proudly told me, "John brings strong leadership -- and helpful tools -- to the National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel (NCCRC.)"

John Pollock - This Coalition seeks to address a severe justice gap in this country. People who can afford private counsel will hire a lawyer when something critically important to them – such as their home or the custody of their children – is at stake. Too many people do not have that choice. In what is a surprise to many, the right to a lawyer (in civil cases) is not guaranteed. 

Private counsel is unaffordable and civil legal services (or other “free”) counsel meets only 20 percent of the need. Further compounding the problem, all too often,indigent litigants  face an opponent who does have a lawyer. This justice gap especially hurts families of color, families headed by women, children and the elderly.

In 2004, attorneys and advocates from around the nation created the NCCRC to expand recognition and implementation of a right to counsel in civil cases. The Coalition is led by the Public Justice Center, a legal advocacy organization based in Maryland. As the coordinator, I oversee services to coalition participants by providing advice, information, testimony and other support. I also managed a vast amount of information through a newly created wiki and bibliography.

Judge Annette Marie Rizzo talks about civil rights to counsel in foreclosure cases. 

One of the major problems faced by the Coalition was its lack of an easy way to share its massive research and case-related resources with all 200+ participants in an organized fashion, particularly given the wide levels of familiarity with technology within the Coalition.

Additionally, because of the lack of organization and the fact that few knew the full extent of documents in existence, key resources would go unutilized and reinvention of the wheel (with respect to repeating existing research) was not uncommon.

Social Media Lessons and Challenges

The Coalition chose a product called PBWorks which was obtained at a very steep discount thanks to the generosity of the PBWorks company. I established the wiki and stored the documents in an organized system, then used web-conferencing software to train coalition participants on how to access and navigate the wiki.

In addition to ensuring that Coalition participants could remain aware of all of the Coalition's resources, the wiki  has solved other problems as well.  In the past, when documents to be shared were emailed, Coalition participants that joined the Coalition later on would not have access to such documents without combing through the email archives.  

Now, both new and old participants need only visit the wiki to see a complete picture of the Coalition's resources.  Also, the wiki provides a weekly summary to all Coalition participants about all documents on the wiki that have changed, thus allowing them to know if Coalition staff upload newer versions of memos, case briefs, or other important documents.  Finally, the wiki provides one centralized location for the entire memory store of the Coalition.  For all of these reasons, the wiki has empowered advocates in the various states to benefit from the collective wisdom and work of the Coalition.

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More From Public Justice Center

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Interview with Brian Solis Author of The End of Business As Usual - Part II

11/17/2011

Brian solis_2In part two of my interview with Brian Solis, Brian shares his vision of what I might call the essence of social media. He talks about our new responsiblities, opportunities and business values. (Part I Interview with Brian Solis Author of End of Business As Usual)

Diva Marketing/Toby:  Recently Ashton Kutcher (@aplusk) made a faux pas on Twitter. He then said in his blog that he felt Twitter had gone from a “communication platform” to a “mass publishing platform. “ He’s now turned the management of his stream over to his agency as a “secondary editorial measure.”

 Two questions Brian:  One - do you feel that social networks in general have gone from a way to talk to directly to customers or have they become just another mass market communication channel?

 And two - what would you have advised Ashton to do?

Brian Solis: This is difficult to answer. Ashton is a friend of mine and honestly, it’s not my place to comment on his experience. If he asked, my advice to him would be between us. However, I don’t want to let you or your readers down, so allow me to answer it another way.

  • With social media comes great responsibility.

Regardless of the size of our networks, each of carries a duty to engage with purpose, transparency, authenticity, and above all, respect. We are defined by what we say, share, and at times, what we don’t say.  

Essentially, we create a digital representation of who we are and what we value. In the end, what people think, how people value our connections, and how people interact with us is reflective of our investment. Or said another way, we reap what we sow and cultivate. 

The challenge is of course, that this is all so new, that we’re learning as we go. We’re, as everyday people and celebrities, not conditioned for living in public without filters or handlers.

To answer your first question, people are becoming full-fledged media networks and that’s why this moment is so special and alarming at the same time.

As media networks, and as novices really in the world of catering to extensive networks, it’s tempting to approach social media with a traditional mentality. Producing and publishing content in social networks isn’t necessary social media…in fact, bringing a one-to-many broadcast methodology to social is quite anti-social to say the least. 

We are responsible for what we create and share. But we are also challenged to do more than just create content. Anyone can do that now, so what makes you different? It’s also another thing to create consumable content. Again, anyone versed in traditional media can do that.

  • Now, we’re presented with a tremendous opportunity to produce consumable, shareable and actionable media. Those that master this will be rewarded with time, attention, and loyalty for the long term…and that’s priceless.

Marketing/Toby: Your book is filled with wonderful quotes. This is one of my favorites, “… brands must figuratively wear their hearts on their sleeves to best connect with customers.” (p 170) Would you speak a little of what that means to you?

Brian Solis: There’s an old saying, “don’t take it personally, this is just business.” Now, the opposite of that statement is true. One of the best-kept secret ingredients of any engaged business before, during, and after social media is empathy.

The connected consumer is incredibly sophisticated. Add to that, the nature of social networks. What Facebook, Twitter, Google+, et al. share is that they’re rich with emotion. People share what they like, love, dislike, or even hate. People engage with one another based on these emotions because it’s personal.

Businesses are entering these very emotional landscapes and they are treating them in many regards much as they do with other media channels. Just because they’re present and participating doesn’t mean that they’re human or that what it is they’re expressing is empathetic in nature.

During the listening process, we can capture the challenges, joys, struggles, and achievements of people who are customers or those related to our markets. Rather than just track keywords and activity, we can feel what it is that would matter to customers and build off of those findings.

For example, there are companies, like Freshbooks, that makes every employee in the company staff the customer service lines to better understand customers. The objective of course is to instill empathy. Because once you do, business becomes personal.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  Brian, as we say, the Diva Marketing viral stage is yours. Wrap it up any way you’d like.

Brian Solis: This is an important time. We are presented with an opportunity and some of us need to make touch choices right now.

I believe that we are standing at a crossroads. In one direction, we can continue our quest to bring social media within business, to help companies “get it” and work with them to socialize marketing, communications, and service. In the other direction, we can use the lessons we learned from social media to bring about change within the company.

As change agents, this path will bring together once disparate teams and functions to coll Brian solis _ the end of business as usual.phpaborate in creating new culture of customer and employee centricity and overall market relevance.

Each path is important. It’s up to us to make a decision and push forward to help whomever we work with benefit from our vision and perseverance. 

Catch up with Brian on Twitter or Facebook and of course read more about The End of Business As Usual.

Bloggy Disclaimer: Brian kindly comped me a copy of the book The End of Business as Usual.

Interview with Brian Solis Author of The End of Business As Usual - Part I

11/16/2011

Brian Solis has earned a reputation as guy who digs deep and comes up with insights that result in head nodding. However, his analysis quite often takes our own thinking into directions that might not have been as obvious to us. 

Max Business As UsualFor me his new book, The End of Business As Usual, did both. I nodded and at the end of the read I thought just a little differently. Brian graciously agreed to share his thoughts about social media and the connected consumer. (Yes, Max liked The End of Business As Usual too!)

Brian's responses were so rich and deep that I've turned his interview into a two part series. Tune in tomorrow for part two! (Part Two Interview with Brian Solis)

Diva Marketing/Toby: The End of Business As Usual explores how the digital world, including social media, is impacting not only the way customers connect with companies but how companies interact with their customers and stakeholders.  At this point in the evolution of social media what does social media mean to you?

Brian Solis: Social media means a lot of different things to me and that’s why I’m inspired to invest as much possible to understand the impact on business, culture, consumers, and also individuals. At a minimum, social media is an opportunity for introspection. We have the ability to easily connect with one another.

We’re forming incredibly vibrant and extensive networks around relationships and interests.  We’re learning how to live life in a very public, and searchable, space. Just as individuals, businesses, organizations, governments, you name it, are equally given the gift of connections and the ability to interact with people directly.

Social media opens the door to empathy and influence. But as a result, the tenets required to thrive in social media require a different approach, a thoughtful strategy, and intentions designed to deliver value to all participants in engagement. 

I study social media programs by the thousands and I have to tell you, there are amazing examples and best practices out there. But, there are more examples of antisocial media then there are of social media…meaning, content, campaigns, contests, messages, are stuffed into new networks under the guise of social, when in fact, there’s very little social in the social media initiative.

Social media is in a state of rapid maturation and that’s why I wrote The End of Business as Usual. There are important lessons right now that are more important than social media. Understanding the bigger picture will only benefit how businesses use social media and how they grow as a company and a team of human beings united to accomplish something that’s bigger than any one individual.

Consumerism is changing. There is no longer one audience bound by demographics. In the book, I introduce the reader to the connected consumer. How they find information, how they make decisions, and how the influence and are influenced, is not at all like the previous generations of customers businesses are used to marketing and selling to, servicing, or tracking.

The book title says it all. This is about a fundamental change in behavior, which isn’t regressing, it’s actually spreading. Taking the same old strategies, programs, philosophies, and us vs. them culture into this next generation of connected consumerism is the surest way to digital Darwinism, the evolution of consumer behavior when society and technology evolve faster than our ability to adapt.

  • No longer is it just about survival of the fittest, it’s now also about survival of the fitting.

Diva Marketing/Toby: You discuss the importance of creating and maintaining authentic exchanges which in turn, lead to building relationship with the connect customer. For every person who happens onto those interactions (random or deliberate) these exchanges become part of a shared brand experience.  People can see who the brand chooses to engage within the social web.

How do you ensure that connected customers who have reached out to the brand but are not included in, call them direct discussions with the brand, still feel special and not left out? I wonder .. are we creating an illusion of special?

Brian Solis: Interesting…I like the idea of the “illusion of special.” The same is true for social media and individuals. From Klout scores to Twitter followers, many people are struggling with the idea of importance. Whether or not connected consumers expect a company response or if an interaction actually occurred, people will freely share their experiences with companies.It is those published experiences in social networks that become not only searchable, but also impact the considerations and decisions of those who are either connected or those who find it in social search or simply by asking.

Many businesses see social media as a necessary evil and/or an opportunity to engage with customers who have negative experiences.  Doing so puts an organization at risk. By responding to negative experiences, companies get stuck in a move and react form of engagement.

The real opportunity is to learn from customer behavior to design better products, build an infrastructure that supports improved experiences, and continue to do so over time. It’s part leadership and part support. However, it’s never ending. What is the experience your customers have today? How do they find you? What shows up as someone is considering you now in social networks, not just Google, and what does their click path look like?

Once you understand the “day in the life” and what it is that people are expressing, you can begin to design a meaningful experience.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  In Chapter 13 you said listening is “Not an administrative position left to a recent college graduate because they get social media. This is a senior function that reports to management that processes authority to make decisions …” (p160)

I’m curious to understand who you believe should participate in social conversations as the voice of the brand. Is it a job for an intern or junior staff member or is this also a senior or mid management responsibility and why?

Brian Solis: This section refers to importance of the role of intelligence. It extends the thoughts shared in the last question. Often we get caught up in monitoring for mentions, sentiment, share of voice, and we miss the insights that can guide our engagement strategies and internal processes. Brian Solis

But to specifically answer your question, it’s not the role of just any one person to become the voice of the company. The needs of customers is far greater than any one person can or should manage.  At any one moment, your consumer can be an advocate expecting rewards, a customer needing help, a prospect requiring information or guidance, a partner wishing to express ideas to improve experiences, a potential employee needing HR attention, etc. The point is that every division affected by the activity within social media or any new media for that matter, must include an extension to 1) listen, 2) learn, 3) engage, and 4) adapt.

This is a major transformation and not something to be taken lightly. It starts with a mission, purpose, and vision. It requires a thoughtful plan. It requires training, governance, and compliance.

Diva Marketing/Toby: Throughout the book and in particular, Chapter 13 Brands Are No Longer Created, They’re Co-Created, you discuss the responsibilities of the organization to embrace the connected customer in developing the brand.  With the connected customer now involved with developing the brand, the CC must also share in the responsibility. What is the accountability of the connected customer to the brand?

Brian Solis: At the end of the day, connected customers will share their experience with or without you. That’s the power and freedom of new media and self expression is the ante to buy into any social network. The question is, without your involvement, without design, with trying to shape experiences proactively, what will your customers say and what will they do?

To truly create and steer experiences, businesses must design programs that seek their involvement. For example, Dell’s IdeaStorm and MyStarbucksIdea are proactive forms of communities dedicated to rallying customer feedback, recognizing and rewarding their input, and designing new experiences as a result. It puts customer ideas to work and they can see the progress of their input. Programs like this convert a connected customer into a stakeholder. Dell has gone even further by opening up an inward-facing community where employees can contribute and engage around their ideas as well.

Communities such as this are designed to channel self-expression into forms of collaboration. American Express recently launched its Link.Like.Love program that ties together the company’s rewards program with social activity. Beyond contests, general conversations, reactive customer support, smart businesses are thinking ahead to deliver value while steering and shaping desirable “shared” experiences.

As they say .. Tune in tomorrow for part two of Brian Solis' interview. In the mean time continue the conversation with Brian on Twitter or Facebook

Update: Part II Interview with Brian Solis where Brian shares insights about new values, responsibilities and how we are on the cross roads of marketing. 

Bloggy Disclaimer: Brian kindly comped me a copy of the book The End of Business as Usual.