Ben Smith, the leader of Social IRL, is one of the most valuable and generous members of the Kansas City Social Media Community. His hard work and dedication delivers outstanding and valuable educational content via hosting social media conferences in our region.
Ben attracts and brings globally-recognized social media thought leaders to Kansas City (that's no understatement). On February 9th, Social IRL hosted Valeria Maltoni, a foremost digital media authority and author of Conversation Agent (one of the the most consistently ranked top 30 global marketing blogs on the Ad Age Power 150).
Important Note: You can access my unformatted Google Docs notes from the February 9th Social IRL conference by clicking this weblink. Please inform me in the comments or tweet me if you have access problems.
Here are my five (5) takeaways from Valeria's outstanding and thought-provoking presentation.
1. Understand and Determine the Organizational Focus
Start With Your Organizational Focus. You have to pick the organizational capability or competence that will drive and differentiate your company's brand and business outcomes:
- Apple: Innovation
- Virgin: People
- Procter & Gamble: Research and Development
- Coca Cola: Distribution
Valeria demonstrated how organizational focus impacted each company's share price. And, the data showed how executing that focus is linked to long-term financial performance.
2. Focus on Your Brand Promise
Valeria defines a brand as:
"The sum of promises, promises kept, and the unbounded expectations market."
Delivering and Executing the Brand Promise are Crucial. Why? The stock price represents public trust / confidence in your brand. And, that public trust / public confidence determines the discount or premium to "trade" with individual consumers. Higher consumer trust / confidence means a higher premium for your company's goods and services.
Or, it can reflect a lack of trust / confidence. See the stock price performance of Yahoo, Microsoft, or Eastman Kodak.
3. Prioritize and Focus on the Differentiating Brand Asset(s) Driving Your Consumer Trades
Brand Assets are Your Unique Consumer Trade Currency. The digital age redefines the brand assets most valuable to individual consumers before, during, and after the point-of-sale. The Internet's real-time speed coupled with one or more of following brand assets is a killer combination:
- Knowledge / Information / Data
Ticketmaster Prioritized Knowledge / Information / Data. Therefore, organizations need to pick the brand asset they will focus on for their unique trades with individual consumers. For example, Ticketmaster focused on knowledge / information / data to better inform consumer decisions (i.e., local-centric information, fan reviews, personal buying history suggestions, etc.) by making that brand asset easy to share (i.e., Fan Reviews are easily shared with a single-click via Twitter or Facebook).
Financial Outcome: Each "share of information" results in a $5 increase in incremental revenue.
4. The Unmet Social Media Opportunity: Empowering Individual Consumer Filters and Feedback Loops
Consumer Filters, Feedback and Intent. Valeria defines consumer intent as:
- Providing the right information at the right time when someone is making a decision (and that decision may or may not be a "buying decision")
- The consumer's perception of value inherent with the brand promise
- How the consumer defines the "wisdom of the trade" (i.e., was the time spent gathering information / data a worthwhile investment)
Therefore, influencing how the consumer defines the "wisdom of the trade" is vitally important. This is why brands need to focus on consumer "filters" and "feedback loops":
Consumer Feedback Loops:
5. Ford Motor Company Case Study in Leveraging Brand Assets, Filters and Feedback Loops
The Ford Case Study. Valeria believes brands need to do more in making individual consumers more influential. We still don't do enough here.
The process for making consumers more influential can be systematically achieved (e.g., there is a process):
* First, prioritize, and focus on the business problems most vital to your organization. Example: When Scott Monty became head of social media for Ford Motor Company, he focused on corporate reputation. This brand asset choice was particularly important when the entire auto industry came under fire for receiving government bail-outs.
Ford leveraged social media to permeate the strategic position that it was the only domestic automaker who chose not to receive receive government financing.
See this example of how Alan Mulally, CEO, positions Ford as different from other US automakers because Ford is "requesting access to bridge financing just in case something bad happens" versus "receiving direct government assistance." (see 2:26 to the end of this video).
* Second, after addressing #1, pivot your social media marketing strategy to focus on consumer filters and feedback loops that can grow a product / service:
Increase the Influence and Reputation of Your Influencers (see 1:39 to 2:52 of this video describing Ford's succsssful Ford Fiesta Social Media Campaign):
* Third, continue actively demonstrating "we're listening, we're listening, we're listening." Watch how Scott Monty and Alan Mulally work together in answering and responding to consumer tweets. It's a brilliant public relations play:
Hear from Valeria Herself. A HUGE shout-out to Eric Mellin and Robert Madison of Spiral16 for publishing and sharing this great interview with Valeria on the Spiral16 Blog.
Other great Social IRL presentation content included:
- Jake Jacboson (Social Media Manager, Garmin): Let's Get Personal - How Your Brand Can Benefit -- Fantastic Job Jake, You The Man!
- Jeff Schultz (Partner, Armstrong Teasdale): Who Owns You - Content in an Interactive World
- Larry Levy, (Co-Founder & CEO, Appinions): Influence and the State of Influencer Theory
- Austin Lytle (Social Business Strategist at Spredfast): Do I Really Need a Social Media Command Center?
Ashley Mahoney's SocialIRL Recap. Check out Ashley Mahoney's blog post, Social: IRL Conference in a Nutshell. She does a great job summarizing key points from other presentations I didn't address in this post.
Important Note #2: My lack of notes during specific presentations wasn't due to a lack of interest (far from it). During the conference, I received an important client email requiring immediate action (so I missed some of the presentations).
That meant piecemeal, back-of-the-room listening (i.e., Kevin Magee, Director of Sales at Expion, shared some great insights on the current / future implications of localizing and managing social media marketing efforts but I was unable to take detailed notes).