Came across this interesting interview with Jonathan Salem Baskin, author of Branding Only Works on Cattle. Of the 10 questions asked to him, I found the answers to these 3 most thought provoking:
What do you think of the hype over social networks?
It’s hype. The idea that we’d replace the ‘interruption model’ of advertising with the ‘distraction model’ of social media is rather laughable; pointless conversations are, well, pointless. But seen as true communities wherein information is shared and vetted, I think social media can and will be a powerful tool for helping consumers define brands. The challenge is to stop talking about “joining the conversation” and focusing instead on “giving it direction.”
Give us five brands to watch for 2009.
Microsoft: how will they waste more money?
Google: how will they react as privacy and consumer groups realize they want to rule the world?
B of A: how will it get Mainstreet America to invest hard-earned dollars in stocks?
Sears/Kmart: how will the stores capture recession-conscious consumers who would otherwise go to WalMart?
Apple: how will its competitors knock off its latest branding, and fail to understand it’s all about the interface?
Finish the sentence: If I were creative director of a NY Advertising Agency right now …
…I’d figure out how to get creative about getting people to do things, not just think them.
On Social Networks, I couldn’t agree with him more. Increasingly, brands and agencies are focusing on maintaining a token presence on the social networks. I guess its the new wave and which CMO worth his salt would miss the bus? Given the short life cycles of Brand Managers, CMOs and ad agency executives in their jobs, it is the best thing to do for short term results.
Yes, there are brands that go beyond paying lip service to social media marketing. Here is a fantastic list of Social Media Marketing examples. Among these, the stand-outs for me were:
Online video: ABSOLUTworld
Social networks: Top Bartender page on Facebook.
Online video: YouTube channel has almost 100,000 subscribers and over 2.2 million views, helps sell B2B products to a consumer base. (I had written about it here).
On a related note, check this article about Hype Cycles and a visual representation here.
I loved his comment about Apple. But interface should not be mistaken for design. It’s about getting things done in a seamless manner. The comment about Creative Directors should be printed out and pasted on every Creative’s soft board.