Monday, October 24, 2011

What is missing in Digital strategy - Brands are just standing in the corner, they don´t woo or ask me to dance

A new report (Integrated Social Media: Sales Impact Study 2011, based on American research) from Ogilvy has identified five things you should know about social media:
1. Social media exposure is directly linked with increases in sales. Integrated social media (social content + one or more other channels) exposure is linked with significant increases in spend and consumption—for example, social media + PR exposure was associated with a 17% spend increase compared to the prior week without these.
2. Integration matters. Exposure to social content was most consistently effective when it was combined with exposure to other types of media channels.
3. Social media is a top driver of impact. Out of the 20 channels analyzed, social media was No. 1 or No. 2 in magnitude of impact on spend and consumption.
4. Social media exposure is directly linked with changes in brand perception. Social media by itself is particularly effective at rapidly impacting brand perception—exposure to social media generated the largest impact on brand perception over a short (one week) period of time.
5. Brand exposure in social media is low. Weekly social media exposure to brand mentions was relatively low (24% of panel) vs. television branded exposure (69% of panel),

What does this really mean? What they are saying is that when social media is combined with other types of marketing strategies it is really good for a brand. But is the exposure and sales then growing because of the other channels or because of the social media activity? Is the brand that thinks digitally also very good at creating TVC´s and getting publicity?

It can never be the tweet that attracts; it´s the person behind the account who reaches into the customer´s heart. It´s not the website in itself; it´s how a website is constructed that makes us stay there for a while.
I am of course a big believer in using digital channels to reach people. Saying anything else would be silly. People are today spending a lot of time online and on their mobiles, and whatever we read will stick. Naturally. So if we read on computers and phones, that´s where the brand should be seen. “Digital strategy” is about meeting the consumers where they are and when they are in the emotional state that matches the brand, and since we are on our devices, that´s where a brand should be too.

But the rules of influence will be the same as in traditional media, simply adapted to the digital space. The psychology of humans is the same. Our brains react and act in the same way.

No brand can ignore Facebook, Twitter or Foursquare. But most brands misunderstand the point. Many “build a site” and that´s it. They start some ridiculous activity trying to engage people. They hard sell their products on twitter and sure – as I said before – whatever we read will stick, and if we hear a brand name all the time this might lead to sales. But most likely it leads to annoyance and us pressing the “unlike” button.
I´m still waiting for the clever use of digital. I´m waiting for the research on how we react to brands. I´m waiting for measuring tools beyond how many Facebook fans a brand has. I´m waiting for brands to wow me.

At a party the other day I asked how many who use twitter. Response: 1 in 30. Everyone live their life on Facebook of course and we check each other in to all sorts of places – especially when doing something we want to brag about, like being up at 6 am to watch the symphony orchestra down Bondi Beach  - but we rarely talk brands.

Actually, when I checked us in on Sunday morning I would have loved to easily find the event and also get a present when checking in. What if I could check in and then walk up to a coffee stand and get a free cupcake when ordering my coffee? What if I could enter the draw to win a free subscription of Sydney Morning Herald (see, I mentioned the sponsor :)? When checking in, I am endorsing the brand, giving it space on my wall and it doesn´t feel as if I´m selling – why haven´t I met any brands using this fact? It´s like they all go to the dance, stand against the wall, but nobody asks me to dance...

Who has done research on how people react on digital branding? Who has done semiotic analysis of websites? Who knows what actually works and what doesn´t? Lots of money is today spent on digital, and marketing directors are nervously doing their best to be where it´s all happening – but is it money well spent? Who knows. Be smart. As owned and earned media, it´s cheap!

TV still dominates: “Sixty-nine percent of consumers noticed a TV ad for one of the five brands during a seven-day period, with TV ads representing 24% share of all touchpoints. The second most frequently noticed paid media touchpoint was OOH, specifically billboard advertisements. Thirty-six percent of consumers noticed a billboard ad for one of the five brands (7% share of the paid media touchpoints). Twenty-four percent of consumers encountered a social media touchpoint—defined as status updates, company brand pages, updates and feeds on Facebook and Twitter, online videos on YouTube and other venues, blogs, online ratings and reviews—during a seven-day period, representing 5% share of all touchpoints.”

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