Take it from those of us who have been marketing to Fans for a long time…..The Kinks were right. It become more and more amazing to see brand land adopt the types of activities that entertainment brands have been doing for a long time. (If only music was as physical and as difficult to steal as a bottle of shampoo, coffee or a car.) NOTE: WALL WORTHY GRAPHIC BELOW
How Social Media Has Radically Altered Advertising
Hank Wasiak is a partner at the creative firm The Concept Farm, and the best selling author of the Asset-Based Thinking book series. He is a three-time Emmy award winning TV host, a teacher at USC’s Graduate School of Business, and a Reiki Master.
Social Media () started out as a bit of a novelty — a playground for the “geekerati.” But it has taken hold as a game changing force that will reshape advertising at its very core.
It’s time to move past debates about traditional media co-existing with social media. Madison Avenue should see social media as a wonderful, if not disruptive, gift. It should run hard to catch up with the consumer, let go of legacy business models and build something better.
My career in advertising started in February, 1965, right in the middle of the Mad Men era, and I am fortunate to still be doing what I love. Just when I thought I’d seen everything over the past five decades, along came social media. Here I am at age 67, cheering for change and eager to be a part of it.
To put things into perspective, it’s helpful to look back at the impact that TV had on the ad business in the mid 60s and draw some parallels with where we are today.
That Was Then
When I arrived on Madison Avenue, the growth and expansion of television advertising was hitting its stride. An explosion of mass, controlled, “broadcast out and shout” communications was changing the face, function and finances of advertising. Madison Avenue embraced these changes in a big way and leveraged the power of television to launch a golden age of advertising.
Creative people started seeing short-message story telling as a valued currency just as creative departments promoted collaboration between art directors and writers. TV production departments also grouped together producers, directors and technical specialists into collaborative teams.
The client/agency relationship deepened as agencies took on proactive roles. Research also changed, and put more emphasis on measuring both the rational and emotional components of messaging.
In effect, a new breed of Mad Men emerged to start boutique agencies that fueled a creative revolution and brought a new value system to the business.
The Seeds of Disruption
While TV ushered in a new era in advertising, the business aspect evolved and reshaped itself along relatively predictable lines. All of that changed with the Internet (), social media, and the rise of mobile devices. This quote from Jim Farley, the CMO of Ford, sums up the sentiment in most C-suites today: “We want to take that stupid little box we were forced into as advertisers, blow it up, and change the way we interact with the customer, and we want it to be around the experience.”
Now it’s time for Madison Avenue to embrace these social marketing opportunities with the same enthusiasm it had for the disruptive change of television.
This Is Now
Marketing has traditionally focused on the four “Ps”: Product, Price, Place and Promotion. Social media has morphed into the fifth, and possibly most important “P”: People. A people strategy is at the center of today’s dynamic and fluid social marketing mix. John Janitsch of Duct Tape Marketing has another take on the four Ps, and has turned them into four Cs for the social age: Content, Context, Connection and Community.
A people strategy is much broader, deeper and more profound than consumer targeting. It involves listening to and engaging with everyone who can touch or influence current and potential customers at all stages of brand interaction. Jeff Pulver is a savvy guy who has had his finger on the pulse of this dynamic for some time. “The social media revolution is less about “we the people” and more about “me the people,” Pulver said.
Social media has changed the way people interact amongst themselves and with their media. People play multiple — sometimes simultaneous — roles as receivers, creators, critics, advocates, transformers and transmitters of messages. Brian Solis’ conversation prism helps to put this mash-up into perspective.
This Is Why
A “Me the People” mindset changes the way companies strategize, organize, monetize and commercialize their business. This recent statement from Bob MacDonald, CEO of Procter & Gamble, sums up just how far a “me the people” movement can go: “What I would like to have is a one-on-one relationship with seven billion people in the world and be able to customize offerings for those seven billion people. Digital allows that relationship.”
Seth Godin’s insight into how this is driving change in C-suites is brilliant — the role of the CMO has changed from Chief Marketing Officer to Chief Movement Officer.
The stage is set. In 2010, social media has introduced the advertising business to its next big disruption. But this time the state of the advertising business is quite different. Advertising is struggling to recapture relevance. It is mired in murky fee-based compensation systems, dealing with loss of control and trying to keep up with the accelerating pace of media dispersion.
A Much Needed Mindset Shift
For Madison Avenue to make it through this change and emerge stronger there has to be a mindset shift away from deficit-based, downside thinking to asset-based, upside thinking. Madison Avenue needs to embrace the power of letting go, reaffirm core values that maximize the potential of what is working and experiment with new models. Here are five suggestions for that “up” mindset shift:
- Lighten Up. Stop lamenting the end of advertising as we know it. Celebrate the emergence of advertising as the consumer wants it and as it was meant to be — the art of one-on-one persuasion.
- Listen Up. Take Chris Brogan’s advice. Grow bigger ears and become an expert at listening to what people feel. Value response and engagement skills as much as creative abilities.
- Loosen Up. Get comfortable with giving up control to gain confidence and traction with clients and consumers. Client relationships ought to be rooted in trust, transparency and creative programs that are built on a strong positioning and responsibly deliver what is promised.
- Ladder It Up. Embrace “collabetition.” Resist the urge to say “we can do it all” and openly collaborate with like-minded competitors to add value to an idea or program.
- Live It Up. Everyone at an agency has to immerse themselves in the “social circles” in which consumers live and move everyday. Observation and understanding have been trumped by participation and engagement.
There are some other lessons we can keep in mind moving forward. Advertising is an art, made up of ideas that can move and persuade people. Technology, digital tools and metrics are useful but they cannot come up with those ideas for you.
Energize creatives to go beyond just making ads. They should become masters of sustained transmedia storytelling. Involve media people at all levels of development.
Lastly, invite consumer participation in the creative process through dialogue, inclusion and experimentation. Wisely directed user-generated content and crowdsourced ideas can be a huge asset.
Ultimately, I believe that the advertising business is ready to enter its next golden age. Bill Bernbach, an influential and inspiring “Mad Man” I had the privilege to work for, had these words of advice: “An idea can turn to dust or magic depending upon the talent that rubs against it.”
Now is the time to be magicians.