The other day I was sitting in a meeting with a big brand agency and someone in the room mentioned a person who was listed on a top 50 popular social media gurus posts.
My reaction was a warm internal smile of recognition -- yes, we're constantly looking for external validation even in a field that is just taking its first baby steps in the realm of possibility.
There is opportunity plenty to explore, still.
Learning (by doing) is the new knowledge
Clay Shirky said it first: Once the tools get boring, things start getting interesting. Take the tools too seriously (or as the only game in town) and you stop seeing the true utility and value of the thing they help you doing, which is connecting people.
People use digital media and social technologies to get things done and connect. These exchanges, “likes”, and connections are all ways to express human nature. Social interaction is what makes the Web work.
The opportunity for brands in this environment is to do something that creates real meaning between people, something that actually matters to them.
The opportunity for brands therefore is to go beyond lists (yes, even influencer lists), because using the tools to communicate, educate, entertain, and transact, is a given. Think of it as dial tone -- you expect to hear that when you pick up the handset or turn on your phone.
Reading social signals is about creating experience ecosystems out of all those interactions. Learning (by doing) is the new knowledge.
From lists to maps
While lists help us remember what to bring, get, or read as it may be, we use maps to get oriented in a given situation. Maps help us see things in relation to one another, and they help us navigate the territory and context.
When you look at relationships within this frame, you begin to uncover new points of convergence between customer experience and internal collaboration, for example. The rise of social everything has had businesses focused on adding features onto existing models.
Some smart brands have moved from experimenting to implementing. Take Nike's big idea: Do things for people, and you have a good example of what this shift looks like.
Keeping better promises
This is the simplest synthesis of marketing that makes business sense. The opportunity for brands is to harness the capabilities inherent in the digital layer and social technologies to take control of their promises through experience.
The reason why we favor a product over another is increasingly because the experience we have with that brand is superior. Brands close the gap between the promises they make and those they keep not by papering over the distance -- they do it by serving their customers.
I used the last year as free agent to look into what's next in business. I had the good fortune of working with a very diverse roster of clients: from technology to corporate law. This allowed me to see through implementations in different contexts.
As I was busy planning what's next for me, I discovered Empathy Lab, a company with a digital DNA and culture of building platforms that help clients reimagine their customer products. I'm excited to be working with them and at the possibilities of doing around my very zen motto:
Before engagement: build and deliver.
After engagement: deliver and build.
[image courtesy Digital Age 2.0 with Beth Saad, full professor and researcher journalism and publishing dept at University of Sao Paulo, Brazil]
Valeria is an experienced listener. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on a variety of topics. To book her for a speaking engagement click here.