I camped out on a sideline couch today at Resource Interactive's iCitizen symposium with Holly Davis and David Griner to watch the story of open brands unfold.
Nancy Kramer kicked off the day with our shared win: social media is now accepted by the C-suite.
But as the speakers and audience questions progressed, it became clear that despite support from CEOs and consumers alike, the bigger questions still remained: who to talk to, how to do it and what to expect.
Below, take a look at today’s agenda and a transcript of my live “Twitter coverage.” I’ve added in a few extra stories and comments as well.
But, first, it would be great to have all of you talk about this open imperative from the perspective of the people who live it and power it. If you’re looking for blog subjects over the next few days, I’d love it if you’d tackle one of these:
- What brands do you find yourself routinely talking about and why?
- How are the things you talk about online different than the things you talk about offline?
- What are the biggest misses by companies trying out the social Web –or offending the social Web- in the last year?
- What do you wish brands would do to engage you (whether that means use your ideas, reward you, inform you, etc.
Onto the coverage.
Opening Remarks: Nancy Kramer—CEO and Founder, Resource Interactive
- Glam president Nancy Kramer is kicking off.
- Visualization guy is scribbling a conversation map in real time. Lots of Sharpie
- Perfectly branded space. Every detail. Down to literally laying new carpet to match conference brand. http://tinyurl.com/6zk6y5
- Seriously. Weird jokester guitar comedian singing 'thanks to the Internet' song. Totally need more coffee
iTalk: Kelly Mooney—President and CXO, Resource Interactive
- Mooney asks one of the big questions we all struggle with when dissecting online trends: "how the heck did that happen?"
- Would take 412.3 years to view all the material on YouTube. Don't give up, though, boys.
- Thinking about idea of "share unprecendented" in the context of Jill Bolte Taylor's TED speech. Tricky. http://snurl.com/29r7i
- Mooney calls Al Gore iCitizen. Opening the conversation. Affirms Wal-Mart for accepting criticism on environmental responsibility, too (theirs and their customers')
- Talking about "love triangle." New relationship model with brand, community and consumers making up the points
- Mooney says anecdotal examples are most powerful. Not sure I agree. Can quickly be written off as exceptions, "geeks," not rule
- Ubiquitous Jaffe up next. Looking forward to hearing first hand...
Keynote: Joseph Jaffe—Author, Join the Conversation
- CNN strategically uses iCitizens - not for authenticity or depth - but to get video / events / moments first.
- Jaffe calls old way "Spray and pray" ... definitely my favorite handle for one-to-many marketing
- "Targeted has become targeter." iCitizens capable of getting millions of impressions about your brand.
- re: TMobile Sucks - Conversations is between 2 or more sides. W/o debate, intensity, it's just choir preaching to each other
- Jaffe's called out Kodak's "winds of change" as listening and responding relevantly to what iCitizens say http://snurl.com/29rgr
- Three rules = humanity, humility, & humor
- "A lot of change in corporations is rogue today." Makes me think of Blue Shirt Nation's first server hidden under a desk.
- Jaffe as if speaking to most agencies I've worked at says: Don't cheat in social media, you'll be found out.
- Biggest risk we can take today is spending $4 million on a campaign no one notices
- Retweeting @hdavis: Are you in the campaign or commitment business? Are you willing to commit to customers for life?
- Jeff Jarvis, you're a powerhouse, but, really, the world needs some new examples already! (Seriously old Jeff Jarvis circa Dell Hell 05 was trotted out by no fewer than three presenters today!)
- Jaffe talked a lot about the "T-Mobile sucks" revolt. Remember the story. T-mobile claimed they own trademark on the color magenta and issued a cease & desist letter to engadget. In response, many bloggers displayed "T-mobile sucks" magenta badges. As ridiculous as the company was, Jaffe was also self aware that bloggers were essentially preaching to the choir ...saying the same messages again and again rather than creating new messages or engaging in real debate. Love the practical analysis.
Panel: And Community Makes Three
Adam Brown—Director, Digital Communications, The Coca-Cola Company
Jan Valentic—SVP of Marketing, The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company
Stan Joosten—Innovation Manager, Holistic Consumer Communication, Procter & Gamble
- Couple cool things from over the break. Jim Oswald visualizing the live conversation http://snurl.com/29rv1
- Friend Marti teaching social tools in the social media cafe http://snurl.com/29rv9
- Doc Searls: Any question based on fear is the wrong question.
- Stan: When we talk open it's a mindset, but marketers want the 10 steps to do it. Really need to create mindset, not follow recipe
- Jan / Scotts: Always been a conversation in our industry. Storytelling from individual to individual Neighbors, garden clubs, hardware store.
- Stan: When you have a brand that has a point of view, you have to build in that there's a counter point of view. And build a conversation around that. Something that we're not very good at anticipating yet. But, it's going to happen. Have to plan for it.
- Jan: There is going to be negative talk about your brand. It's what you do about it. Own up to it. Address it.
- Q from audience: How are you mobilizing your staff. Adam: Step 1, get legal to sign off
- To get our execs blogging we're talking about doing more manageable limited engagement. Two week topics that start a conversation, but set expectations that they'll be an end date
- Adam said that after legal signed off on getting involved in the conversation the next step was to get the executives comfortable with employees engaging social media. To do that, they started with existing, approved company spokespeople. Sounds kind of scary, right? A PR person on myspace...
But, Adam's group went farther. Hand selected spokespeople who would both be comfortable with the medium and uniquely close to whatever culture or issues needed response. Plus, they're all getting their feet wet with their own blogs, social accounts, etc.
Marsha Collier—Author, over 15 books on eBay
- Salads with flowers and Marsha Collier talking eBay... it's an iCitizen lunch
- I'm an iCitizen and i'm not in my 20s. In fact i have a daughter in her 20s
- For the people who read my books, i'm a gateway drug to the internet
- I would never work for eBay because someone would tell me what i could say. It's about integrity.
- Hard for you to hear, but not everyone is on the internet
- Some people tweet too much. Hmmm. Feeling a hint of personal relevance
Keynote: Duncan Watts—Principal Research Scientist, Yahoo! Research
- One in ten Americans tells the other 9 how to vote, where to eat, what to buy (Keller and Berry, 2003)
- Wonderful American story, we have super heroes and free lunches
- Every day every hipster has to get out of bed & decide what faded retro t-shirt to wear and most of the time no one cares. Why did hush puppies take off and other hipster picks didn't? Not simple formula of cause and effect.
- Multiplier effect isn't one holy grail opinion leader, it's many relationships and influence-able groups
- "Unpredictability only increasing." Some in room clearly uncomfortable. Looking for actionable advice, not worst fears!
- Great Duncan point - measurable ROI happens way before rapid viral. Set expectations for success vs. tipping point.
- Tsk. Tsk. Reference to Ohio "cow tipping" - doesn't match up with vibrant, cultural Columbus
- Distracted by Jim Oswald's visualizing of conversation .. sort of cross between sharpie stenography and graffiti tagging
- Retweeting @jaffejuice: New Yahoo research has central hypothesis: people assume more in common with their friends than actually exists...
- Great audience Q: How will we define friend when we're connected to so many people?
- More Yahoo development - how to differentiate types of ties on FB. Better view of relevant social networks... Overlapping networks of real friends and strangers with overlapping interests. Different relevant networks for different questions
- The most important thing is getting extremely good at understanding what's already happening and moving resources to take advantage ... Take the Gap. Every season they put out several colors of T-Shirts. When they find out that the orange one is selling like crazy, they don't ask why orange, they move resources to quickly put out more orange.
iTalk: Steve Knox—CEO, Tremor (WOM at P&G)
- Man after my own heart, reason most WOM fails is that the message isn't simple. When we talk to our friends, we want simple
- Buzz marketing is danger zone. Office Max made 100 million elves, but same store sales dropped 7%
- Whole industry is built backwards. Lots of people want to build you a viral video, throw them out of your office
- If it isn't a disruptive message attached to the foundation of the brand, it's just more elves
- All of our data about real advocacy today is face-to-face conversations, not online
- Lots of talk of tampons
More from Steve:
What's the right message? There are two factors:
- Advocacy: Do I care enough about your brand to talk about it?
- Amplification: Have you made it easy for me to talk about?
#2 is where most WOM dies. Message needs to be simple. The things you talk about with your friends are always simple.
Panel: What Consumers Can Do
Sam Decker—CMO, Bazaarvoice
Tim Smith—Chief Strategy Officer, Lemonade, Inc.
Manish Chandra—CEO, Kaboodle
Adam Weinroth—Director of Product Marketing, Pluck
- Manish: We measure velocity of engagement by the volume of products being added, volume recently added, & traffic back to site
- Pluck: How many people who come to your site do something social … rate of contribution is a key metric
- Sam: “Start metrics with the P&L, where it’s important to CEO, move out from there.” Really?
- Tom: Lemonade users are highly sophisticated. Using stands as side business. Have high expectation, low patience.
- Adoption has really been fast paced. Only a few years ago, I’d be in a meeting and first Q was: what is a blog??
- Adam: Reward not just quantity but content. Elevate / spotlight their voice.
- Manish: Sweepstakes / campaigns incent specific behaviors vs. ongoing rewards that can become negative to site
- Manish: Lifestyle shopping is much more discovery and emotionally oriented. Comparing handbags is much different than cameras.
iTalk: Tom Venable—EVP, InnoCentive
- Innocentive clients are reaching out to creative minds to fast-track R&D and product development
- Natural problem solvers want to create solutions. Open innovation. Awarding winning solutions. (Sample prizes: Asari X, DARP)
- There are a finite number of resources in your company. They're smart, know your industry, but they’re finite. There are millions of other people who could help
- Generation coming up now is going to find a way to make a living on their own terms, using the Web
- Humana currently has a challenge out to identify ways to improve healthcare in the U.S. 2000 solvers responding
- Other end of spectrum, statistical methods for software something-something
- Ah ha moment is when you realize how many projects are stuck in the pipeline w/ no R&D budget to solve
Great examples of the Innocentive model:
- Concrete guy solves decades old oil problem:
20 years after the Exxon Valdez oil spill, there was stil a lot of oil on the ocean floor. The problem was that Exxon couldn’t figure out how to separate frozen oil from water. So, they worked with Innocentive to put out an open call for a solution.
An Illinois chemists from the concrete industry saw the problem and quickly scribbled an idea on the back of a napkin. He sent that scan in with a half-page write up about a certain kind of oscillator working at s certain speed and solved the problem Exxon had been wrestling with for 20 years. Their engineers had a conference call with the chemist to discuss and "you could hear the collective duh!"
- Hippie keeps $100 million of product on the market
Another client needed to replace an art restoration chemical that was being phased out by EPA. They couldn't find a solution internally and were about to pull $100 million of product to stay in compliance.
They farmed the problem out over the same network and a 20 year old chemist who used tie die t-shirts at the kitchen table with his mother applied that their color preserving solution to the art restoration chemical and saved the product.
One thing I love about how Tom described "how to make it work." You have to change your perceived career role / value from problem solver to solution finder.