Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Social Media and its effect on brands

Social networks have always been existing, naturally also before the digital era. They were shaped by our friends, families, neighbours, sports clubs and so on. Word of mouth, the recommendation by a member of our social networks, has as well been existing, and was always the most respected and trusted way of communication. So what has changed, then?

The first thing which changed was technology. The paradigm shift we are experiencing right now is enabled by technology. But the dynamics and the dimension the shift reached is cultural. This is how it goes:

Our social networks have started to be digitalized recently, and the process gets faster and deeper every day with an ever growing amount and speed. I am talking about the large number of social platforms and the trend to get everything, anytime. Real time.

The digitalization of our social networks has turned them into a media. Or to be precise: They have always been a media. One to one. But now they are the new mass media. Many to many. From now on everything has to be true and real. That’s why the shift is a great thing for humanity. It’s hard for brands. But they will learn and evolve. Some on the hard way. Game over, old mass media.

In a nutshell:
The digitalization of our social networks has transformed them in the most powerful mass media. The other thing to remember: Everything is a media. Everything communicates. In this context I can also recommend some classics from Marshall McLuhan, although its heavy stuff.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Social Media is Boring

Houston, we have a problem! It turns out that social media is great use for brands as e.g. customer service / interaction platform or corporate communications channel. Makes sense. But as we at the same time are preaching the end of advertising and the raise of social media, where did the creativity go? Of course I love the transparency and the communicative features social media offers, but I would not like to sacrifice the fun part for it. So here is a proposal: Let’s just stop creating blogs and facebook pages and twitter accounts and youtube channels for our advertising campaigns and reserve them for long term communication. Let’s don’t sacrifice that what once was advertising for it. Sounds clear. And still - useless pages and boring profiles are popping up daily like mushrooms, overloading social media services to an extent which makes them unpleasant to use. Just happened recently to facebook.

So I have to correct my headline: Social Media is not boring. It just gets boring like hell if we try to use it wrongly to extend our advertising campaigns. Just happened to me the one or other time recently. So I promise not to do it anymore ;)