Recently, I’ve watched this short interview with Brian Solis about the future of social networks. The interesting point has been made about privacy – Brian argues that due to the different social graphs and increasing social importance of the updates (status) social networks of the future will have to tailor the content to context – the right content to the right audiences at the right time – it’s kind of the new J-I-T communication system concept and tools will have to be developed. While I agree with these suggestions I also see some different trends which may reduce the need for such tools.
Everyone who likes you will listen
Social media has started from the idea of opines and transparency. The first bloggers wanted to share their personal experience with the whole world on their web dairies or journals. The innovators were driven by the idea that the world can be the audience not only of the big media companies but of common personalities. At those days bloggers ceternaly didn’t hide much and privacy concern was the last thing to worry about. So what have changed now? Social media has become a norm and instead of planed few international friends the certain messages of bloggers and other social media citizens has reached millions, including their friends, families, employees. Why it’s a bad thing? I think it’s not and that’s my main point – it’s not bad to reach the mass audiences with a single update / everyone who are willing to listen will listen , who are not will not. The problem is that we are afraid of ourselves to transmit the same messages to everyone and can’t figure it out how to make people listen to what we have to say. Simply put I think it is not a senders worry what messages the receiver gets (as he will setup filters in order to get the right messages anyway), but how to make him want to listen to your messages at all. Read the full story
Was watching this new inspiring TED talk by Seth Godin and remembered my earlier researchabout tribes and brand communities which are so important in analysing the post-modern consumer behaviour . Here are some of the main concepts of tribes and brand communities reviewed in the research:
“In the post-modernity period which encourages a move away from individualism towards a search for more social bonds, these communities tend to reorganize themselves into neo-tribes, networks of people gathering homogeneously together for social interaction, often around consumption and brands (Simmons, 2008).From the marketers perspective it is very important to consider tribal relationships as it may be a powerful tool in building loyalty and trust among the consumers. Even though neo-tribes and brand communities are two different concepts they share very similar features and often are very related to each other. According to Cova and Cova (2002) the main differences are that the brand communities are explicitly commercial whereas tribes are not, furthermore, brand communities are concerned about relationship between brand and consumer, whereas tribes – relationship between consumers. Muniz and O’Guinn (2001) (citied in Ouwersloot and Odekerken-Schroeder, 2008) describes a brand community as a specialized, non-geographically bound community that is based on a structured set of social relations among admirers of a brand. Mairinger (2008) suggests that:
The brand community is not just formed around a brand; it creates the brand.
The brand community is not just formed around a product; it is part of the product.
Therefore, the creation and development of brand communities is one of the most important tasks of the marketer as it can guarantee the company success in the long term. According to Mairinger (2008) brand communities can add real experiences and emotion to the brand, reach the long tail, address both individualism and collectivity needs and replace the celebrity endorsers with community brand advocates. Considering that 49 % of people made a purchase based on friends recommendations on social media property (Razorfish, 2008), social media can be viewed as an important channel and tool to interact, manage and enable these brand communities.”
Was watching Paul Sagan (Akamai, CEO) comments about the future of on-line video and couldn’t agree more that online video still haven’t reached its highs, but it is nearly there. All these video services on the net like YouTube, iPlayer and others are redefining our habits, but in my opinion there is more to come. People still are getting familiar with the idea of filming themselfves or communicating through video conversations or interacting with the video itself. The technology is here (3G, Facebook video, Joost) , but it takes time to get comfortable with it as video presents new level of transparency on the net. Maybe that’s why people are still texting on each others wall’s rather than posting video comments as it is much more personal and real. I bet that’s why the video service like Joost (where you could comment on videos in the real time) didn’t grow as expected, as people were still getting familiar with idea of sharing (what and why to share?) on the net and opportunity to blog or comment live just seemed a bit frightening and came too early. But situation is changing – services like 12seconds.tv and ustream.tv proves that ordinary people want to be seen and heard online without any hiding under the keyboard.
Augmented reality is clearly the buzz word of 2010. There were not too many bloggers who hadn’t identified augmented reality as a top subject in their trend lists of 2010 and there is a simple reason for it – it is (or will be) the world-changing trend.
I’ve been browsing through the case studies and examples of augmented reality and it looks really amazing – bands playing live on you PC screen, journals and even buildings interacting with you (fool list at the end of the article). I completely agree with Adam Broitman that at the moment augmented reality is all about having fun trying the new technology, but it will be so much more in the future. If the technology like LED Contact Lens will take off it just hard to imagine what can be done, literally, the sky is the limit. It will simplify our lives and will facilitate decision making process process by reducing the time dedicated to information search or looking for alternatives. It will completely change our personal lives as eventually this technology will become as the second brain where all the information will be stored in your personal server about the important objects from your everyday lives.. i.e. can you imagine wearing your Led lenses, you just take a quick look at you refrigerator and you already know what is in it without even opening it or browsing through the shop and not only getting additional information about the products but comparing the prices in the real time? Sound’s quite exciting and the best part of it that the technology is almost there. It just takes my breath away how much I’m going to love the world we will live in that I’m jealous for myself already. But what will it mean for marketers?
Brand communities and augmented reality
It will definitely be a game changer – Google’s is already trying to integrate real time ads on its “Street view” which will replace the old ads on the system. But at the moment, speaking about the subject we are concentrating on the technological development of augmented reality not thinking enough about social aspects of the technology, which I believe will be the key for branded communications. Almost 5 years ago, I came across this concept called branded learning which have never gained much popularity because the media channels couldn’t deliver the social experience and messages as well as they can now (mainly because of the social media power ) But the augmented reality is about to change that. The art of connecting your brand with your brand community through augmented reality can be the next big communication challenge for your company. Augmented reality will create great opportunities for story telling, socializing and even greater personalization of the brand by providing that additional information in the real time and connecting your brand with your consumers through learning can be the one of the answers for you. Social media will facilitate this process enormously. How? Imagine this: You are traveling around the Europe and you’re visiting some famous building which you are not really familiar with, you just point your phone at it and here you go you have all the info you need plus you can see the other people who are visiting the place by reading their tweets, reviews or recommendations what else you should visit in the town. Even better example would be going to the shopping mall and getting real time recommendations from the customers, information about sales and trending products or competing for discounts in live promotions with other brand community members.
When you really embrace the idea of augmented reality, it’s just seems so clear what amazing opportunities it can bring on to the table: I was thinking about my last client 77diamonds.com (the diamond’s e-shop) and imagine that you could create the technology that you could embed some sort of really small code into engagement ring and whenever you feel lonely you just point it to your camera and you can see your engagement video or your wedding pictures on your phone, TV or PC screen , wouldn’t it be cool? I guess what I’m really saying is that this technology can carry not only additional information but an emotion with it and it can really make the things even more personal and that’s where all the branding begins – creating and building emotions. We will see, won’t we?
If you are really interested in augmented reality and want to find out what it is all about here is the list of TOP recent articles and videos related to the subject:
I was just reading this great post by Robin Carey , the co-founder of Social Media Today, about the maturity of social media and the challenges it faces on the way. One of the main challenges for the businesses is monetization of social media. I completely agree with the thought that “Information does want to be free, free to move around at any rate, even if we’ll increasingly seeing value put on that information in various ways”, and who can evaluate or put the value on the content best? The Consumer.The recent news aboutNews Corp plans to monetize the content again, it kind of reminds me this video of Prosumer, where corporations are trying to control the free movement of the content but at the end they loose the battle. Do not get me wrong I am not against paying for the content, but sometimes I don’t understand why can’t I pay for my favorite blogger or journalist directly? I think that’s about to change. I believe that “freemium” business model and payment systems will have to evolve to become more flexible and provide more choices for the consumer. I can easily imagine the media platform (i.e. Social Media Today) where I come to read the news and with a click of some sort of social “pay me” button I could pay for the good quality post and support my favorite blogger/journalist directly without any intermediaries by donating 10-50 p for the post. The emergence of such function could massively improve the social media content quality as there would be kind of “natural selection” in social media because people would be motivated to build up their personal brands by creating valuable content (monetary motivation always helps). Furthermore, the media brands would be interested to attract good journalist/bloggers to maintain their brands who in return would be willing to share their revenue stream with the company because big brands attract more visitors. The more I think about the more clear it gets , that such kind of system could be a game changer and a win-win situation for everyone . What do you think about it?
As a follow up to the recent post “Challenging the Old Media Business Models” I want to get a bit deeper into the analysis of media business (revenue) models. There are quite a few them which come in different classifications and structures, but i find this diagram organized by Paul Bradshaw most suitable to discuss the subject, mainly because it is very clear, informative and well structured.
Most of these models like advertising, affiliates, premium (“velvet rope”) services have been tried and work pretty well under certain circumstance , but “Social value” model hasn’t been explored that much or hasn’t been considered as a valuable enough on its own. According to Paul Bradshaw , “Social value” model revenue is generated through social interaction by brand community (in the form of donations, support or spin-off). Read the full story
The power of the consumers in social media can be deceiving. According to Taylor Ellwood’s recent post, only consumers with the large lists of followers can be actually influential. It is realy straight forward and natural assumption, but it presents quite and interesting opportunity for the brands working in social media. Why? Brands and people related to big brands (Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Seth Godin) usually attract the biggest crowds of followers on social media properties. These social accounts has indisputably greater social influence than normal personal accounts. As a result they can be used as and opposition to consumer power (sometimes anarchy) on the social networks or other social media properties. .
Social Brands Network
Is it possible that brands will connect to networks in order to help each other to face growing consumers power on social networks? Yes, it is. I love the idea of the consumer empowerment by social media, actually this blog is all about that, but I think there has to be a balance in communication power between brand and consumer. The unintentional silly mistakes by brands (i.e Vodafone) can not be exaggerated by consumers to that level it sometimes is and should have an opportunity to be managed better. The appearance of strategic partnerships between brands could be one of the ways to solve this problem. Let me first define what I call the Social Brands Network: Read the full story
I’ve just read this fascinating research on Discovery news about the happy cows. It turns out that the loved cows, who are personalized and called by the given names gives 5% more milk than the usual ones. It got me thinking about social media environment and why social businesses are doing so well, I think it is exactly the same simple reason – it is “Made in Love”. The personal relationship and attention has been a unique selling point of most of the SME businesses for years, they sell products or services which cost more than mainstream brands but are delivered with Love and Personality. The only difference is that now the businesses are enabled by social media channels to share these love stories for their clients with many more people. I definitely believe that we are going to see much more of that kind of branding in the future, where the “love manufacturing” becomes a standard addition to a great brand story . Who knows maybe in the future instead of labels as “Organic” or “Made in China” we are going to see “Made in Love”? What do you think?
Due to the growth of social networking and micro-blogging sites the survival of e-mail marketing has been questioned for quite a few times in the past year.The recent researches by eMarketer and StrongMail once again prove that there is nothing to be afraid for e-mail marketers.
The reports also provide some interesting insights about Millennials and how they adapt to the changing media environment and their relationship with social media and e-mail marketing.
Marketers sometimes wrongly assume that the new generation is just all about new technologies, tools and channels when targeting digital natives. As you can see from the table below, Generation Y is not that different from others, but due to the natural multitasking skill they just embrace more means of communications than the generations before.
It actually reminds me about this great talk by the youngest TED speaker Adora Svitak who suggests that every new generation always has to do more in order to keep the progress in pace.
Another table from this report related to Millennials is a bit ambiguous. There are too possible assumptions:
Just 35 % of Millennials use e-mail to share info about the brands.
Just 15 % of Generation X use social networking to share info about the brands.
I would stick with the second one (37 % vs. 15 % ) which actually confirms the earlier proposition about Millennials and rises a new issue – possibly the bigger problem is not the “Generation Y” rejecting the old media channels, but the “Generation X” not willing to adapt to the new ones.
Therefore, marketers have to think how to make new platforms more accessible for both generations and provide a greater experience by merging them together.
According to the StrongMail’s blog post, with the recent announcements from top social brands who are already doing it (Google Buzz) or are set to do it (Facebook e-mail service) creating an integrated social media and e-mail marketing strategy gains even greater importance.
eMarketer came up with brilliant tips how to maximize the connection between social media and e-mail:
Multiply the sharing opportunities.
Provide a broader platform for advocates.
Shift the control to your consumers.
Use e-mail metrics to enhance social ROI.
So keeping in mind the Millennials, I would add one more bullet point to this list:
Provide the right form of the content.
Before finishing the post I just accidently stumbled upon this video by iJustine, where hundreds of teenagers go crazy at a Justin Bieber concert, screaming and filming themselves all along. It can be noticed, that not only the distribution channel but the nature of the content is vital for Millennials and in the future it’s clearly all about video.
The new ambitious changes on Facebook will seriously affect our Internet experience. According to Anne Herngaard , there core technologies that will make it happen can be grouped in three categories:
“1. OPEN GRAPH: Connecting websites with Facebook so that you can connect content outside of Facebook with your personal profile. This will instantly be added to your news feed and your Likes and Interests will be build from the activities you do around the web.
2. SOCIAL PLUGINS: Consists of easy-to-use widgets to incorporate on your website with a simple code to provide the user with a more personal experience. The new plugins include ‘Like’ buttons, activity stream plugins that transfers your news stream, a Recommendations plugin, a ‘Sign In’ plugin, and a Social Bar that will appear as a dock at the bottom of your site. This way you have socially enabled you site with some simple html.
3. GRAPH API: A more open platform for developers to work with, so that Facebook will be easier to build around. This will entail new tools and services to incorporate on your own website. For instance developers can search on updates on public Facebook pages and develop services that may tell what people are saying about your brand.”
So how it will really look like?
I believe very soon you are going to notice such kind of recommendation widgets on all major websites and blogs. It’s important to notice that you won’t have to login to your Facebook account to share the experience with you friends. Nevertheless, your action will be automatically reported on Facebook as you can see in the pic below.
What can be seen as a minor changes or add-on from the the first sight, actually might be a revolutionizing Internet technologies. We will start sharing our lives not only on Facebook, but all over the Internet. CNN identified an interesting side affect of all this – we will only see the web that is liked by our friends and might forget the beauty of exploring the new territories on our own.