Series of interations at Digital Shoreditch Brand Day
Our social media expert Giulio recently shared some thoughts with me on Digital Shoreditch Festival’s Brand Day..
Chris Pearce states on “The Wall” blog: “There were few clowns at Digital Shoreditch’s Brands Day last week despite the large, black ‘Big Top’ tent lending a gritty, pop-up style feel to the event” I agree with him to a degree, there might have not been any clowns around, but there were no great enlightenings either, as the core of most of the morning presentations was “be innovative”, “focus your objectives”, “be consistent”, and other things that don’t sound quite specific. I don’t blame the presenters, that’s all they could possibly say in the 10 minute time slot that they were allocated, and that’s a pity, in my opinion.
Having said that, there were of course some good interventions and my top three are Ogilvy and Mather with ‘8 things we’ve learnt this year’, Digital Blinx talking about “Curator Generation” and Francesco d’Orazio on a proprietary tool called Social Graph.
The core of the Ogilvy and Mather intervention is summed up in the above cited article, so I will focus on the following two.
Hassan Mizra, from Digital Blinx, reminded us that it all started with Tumblr, and then came Pinterest and the absorption of Instagram by Facebook, and Facebook Camera. Weather it has happened because of Facebook fatigue, the lack of patience for written text or the need to quickly go thorough a great amount of information, it’s not a big spot to say that the last steps of social media platforms has been done through images. This new trend leads to the emerging of the so called “curator generation”: a younger generation of users who is eager to state their identity through selecting and sharing pre-existing online content as they select different garments to put together a style. But how can we effectively start an online dialogue with these people and drive engagement? One of the answers is the right use of hashtags and mentions, for categorising and making the content accessible (you can find all the details in their presentation) but the key question to ask yourself here is if you have the time and resource to curate non-branded content. Similar to when doing Social Media, it is important to recognise other people’s content as well as your own and finding a balance between the two elements. The suggested relation of creation / curation for brands is 30:70, which in my opinion is ideal and quite optimistic, thinking about what the majority of brands are doing at the moment.
Fancesco D’Orazio started talking about the bad habit of brands asking people to follow them but not really following back, and the fact that yes the brands listen, but only for conversations that mention them. This would be equal to trying to engage in conversation with people in a room and only listening to what the people are saying if they are talking about you, which in the real world is obviously mental, as it should be consider in the digital space. This approach don’t really give us any opportunity to discover anything about the people who are connected to our brand.
We have been asking the wrong question, we have been focusing on the vertical space between brand and consumer and not enough on the horizontal space between consumers. To avoid talking to a faceless audience, social data presents an amazing opportunity to understand who these people are and what the space between them is. This opportunity would be on two levels: on a micro-level, replying to one-to-one mentions and conversation, and on a macroscopic level, analysing their profile and the connections between them, who is influential in which field etc. creating a Brand Graph; a conjunction between a social graph and an interest graph (mapping interest, topics, and activity that people connected to the brand share). The weakness of Francesco presentation from my point of view was that he didn’t really enter into the technicalities of what’s the best way to collect all that “ultraviolet data”, which is usually much more fragmented and uncompleted – probably the most debated point in social media analysis at the moment. You can find all the details in their presentation.
On the whole I could say that these three interventions on Brand Day shared a common point of view: the necessity of really listening and following the consumer to offer him a positive and relevant interaction, as ultimately brands are built by a series of interactions not purely by association.