July 26, 2010 - Comments Off on pull, push, not for dabbling

pull, push, not for dabbling

We Bloomers consider that Social Media IS the future for (Digital) Media.

Indeed we believe that what is called by many; ‘the web’ or ‘the internet’ will soon be a social media dominated domain and marketplace; giving much more ‘control’ and influence to your audience as opposed to your ‘corporate’ office.

Being a high growth opportunity, it’s also a ‘bandwagon’ that many traditional and digital agencies seem to be attempting to jump on without properly understanding (or perhaps believing in) its potency …. and associated risks. Clients are also hesitant to engage without a more tangible appreciation of its benefits. This results in dabbling, that ultimately debases the business case and credibility in the approach; particularly when the provenance in such a revolutionary technique is limited and clients hesitate with RoI not easy to identify … quickly!

I may be rightly(?) considered biased in this view, although would suggest that, as one of the Media Agencies that already has a number of social media client campaigns running (together with a Dadi Award for a social media campaign), we have a privileged insight that provides an experienced perspective.

We only have to look at recent media history to identify the power of social media campaigns …. or perhaps the catastrophic lack of them; that really stand out to emphasise our view.
Take for example, the troubles Toyota had with its car fault recalls, the Catholic Church with their scandal of child abuse and much more topical at present, BP (and its CEO!) and their (public) ‘trial’ in the Gulf of Mexico.

We can assume(?) that its not arrogance or ‘care-less’ that inhibits their engagement, so I would consider that each of these has quite powerful traditional media agencies fighting on their behalf (albeit, one may question the Catholic Church’s abilities here!) Even with these powerful lobby groups, their corporate reputations and images have been hugely tarnished with the result that their ‘value’ and pulling power has been fundamentally debased.

Today, there is nowhere to hide, yet the tools and techniques exist to pro-actively engage with and openly address such critique. Effective Social Media campaigns could and would have made such a positive difference to these enterprises and their challenges; even if simply considered from a Corporate Social Responsibility perspective.

The bottom line is that, the traditional ‘push’ mentality of corporate messaging is no longer good enough (on its own) to engage with your marketplace and stakeholders to maintain brand, image and reputation, particularly in tough times, let alone promote products and services.

Engaging with your stakeholders and creating effective digital dialogue with them, whatever their views, is vital for future enterprise sustainability. Obviously this is easier done when the message(s) and engagement is positive as opposed to critical. However, treating the audience with due respect and engaging with debate can be so powerful not only for image, brand and reputation management, but also for new product/service development, strategic market positioning and even simply growing market share.

Clients must be prepared to change their approach to their marketplace and provide professional resource to effectively engage with the dialogue created. Such a challenge must not be underestimated.

I for one, long for the day when we get beyond those mind-numbing (and cosmetic) TV Ad campaigns with a related call to action web-site where we are supposed to have fun with some kind of trivial engagement.

Lets stand up and be professional about it.

And clients ….. please start to appreciate that ‘push’ is no longer good enough on its own; even though that is what you have traditionally been comfortable with. Your target audience now has a voice to which you are called to respectfully respond and engage …. ie ‘pull’.

Ignore it at your peril, because ‘pull-push’ IS the way forward and ‘dabbling just doesn’t cut it.
Just take a look at the Wikileaks debate today ….. so who is in control?!? ……….