Future Case

Crossmedia, Social, Mobile, Business Modeling, Marketing, Research and insights

Brand to community by using hubs in social networks

with 8 comments

The days marketers could target audiences through planning, developing products and executing advertising campaigns and smart media strategies are coming to an end. More and more this marketer must share his market control with global production networks, powerful retailers and the Crossmedia industry. And above all, he must share his market control with the empowered consumer who influences his peer group and social network, the so called hub. Hubs provide social networks content, advice, news, opinion and entertainment through social media like Twitter, Myspace, YouTube, Second Life and many others. According to Forrester Research, these social media double their impact and reach every six months. Innovative brands like Dove, Adidas and Tampax have been offering, and will continue increasingly, engaged and influential consumers tailored propositions and images online.Brands increasingly mix user generated content with professional content thus creating integrated platforms where brands and consumers meet. The question for marketers raises how to do this right. Perhaps the solution is publish control. This is the marketer’s control over what is published. This way, the brand becomes a facilitator, not a dictator. Support hubs and reward them through social network tailored reward systems.Also support the development of so called Rapid Response Methods for the value web of the brand, retailers, manufacturers, Crossmedia organisations and other actors in what was formerly known as the value chain. Have these actors participate actively and interactively with all, including of course the consumers.Also develop customer care programs (these are more than CRM) and crossmedial interaction models based on trust and transparency by means of personalized experience possibilities. Traditional marketing tools like reach and frequency and traditional target audience segmentation models (social and wealth classes, gender, geo market profiles, etc.) are becoming less relevant. Consumers are tormented by the overkill of information and will not be dictated any more. Along side, consumers claim more and more power in the process of question and demand. The innovative marketer will have to come up with new measuring tools like share of voice measurements and rankings in social networks (how many times is your brand mentioned and with what sentiment?), NetPromotor and Buzz tracking to measure the effect of marketing investments in social networks. These monitoring systems provide possibilities for all actors to hook into the communication of all actors in order to actualize and keep the relationship alive.  One main issue of attention in this is the mentality of the consumers; what their attitude (philosophy) towards life is in general and the brand specifically. It is in fact the kernel of the marketer’s investment in such value webs. This raises some questions that need further research.

  1. What is the change in consumer behavior and mentality regarding brands, content and interaction?
  2. How have innovative brands tapped in social networks and their dynamics?
  3. What are the dynamics and communication patterns in social networks and how do we tap in?
  4. Under which conditions are consumers prepared to have a social media facilitated relationship with a brand?
  5. What are examples of the mix of UGC and brand content and what is their impact on the behavior of the actors?
  6. How do we develop innovative target audience segmentation models to successfully tap in with social networks?
  7. What are the innovative Crossmedia interaction models and formats (that need to be developed)?
  8. How can we identify hubs in social networks?
  9. What are the requirements in developing interactive Crossmedia platforms?

 I’d apreciate input on these issue.

Kees

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Written by Kees Winkel

November 19, 2007 at 12:51

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , , ,

8 Responses

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  1. [...] Wendy’s Coach You To Success Blog wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt The innovative marketer will have to come up with new measuring tools like share of voice measurements and rankings in social networks (how many times is your b…And above all, he must share his market control with the empowered consumer who influences his peer group and social network, the so called hub…. … rand mentioned and with what sentiment?), NetPromotor and Buzz tracking to measure the effect of marketing investments in social networks….More and more this marketer must share his market control with global production networks, powerful retailers and the Crossmedia industry…. [...]

  2. Kees, I was wondering at point #8, “How can we indentify hubs in social networks”. I can imagine that it is interesting to identify them, however, aren’t the hubs sort of showing in online (groups with the same interests) and offline social networks (for instance the Vespa member days in Amsterdam). I suppose these hubs are clearly visible (physical and digital). Perhaps my definition of hub is different then yours.

    Erik

    November 21, 2007 at 21:29

  3. Eric,

    Good question. Thanks. Hubs are people who disseminate content to other members of the social network. We can distinguish two types; the formal and the informal hubs. Formal hubs are ‘officials’, i.e. appointed – or elected – leaders of the group. Informal hubs are those who are accepted by the social network as authorities. I believe that the latter type is of more importance because they have more influence on the SN (influence based on accepted authority).
    The official hubs are relatively easily recognized. Unofficial hubs are not. You really have to look for them. You do this for instance by asking around. A more sophisticated way is by getting permission to follow the communication lines of the members when using cell phones. Of course you need permission and cooperation of operators.
    The best way to identify hubs is by identifying both official and unofficial hubs and then picking your choice based on interviewing the alleged hubs. In this case you weigh your choice.
    I’ll be back on the issue.

    Kees

    keeswinkel

    November 22, 2007 at 10:22

  4. eriK

    Erik

    November 22, 2007 at 21:24

  5. What would you suggest that the goal for a company should be in these hubs? Of course from a business point of view. And how would you measure it and relate it to business goals?

    Aiwen

    December 7, 2007 at 16:18

  6. I think it is pretty obvious that companies will be interested in knowing hubs well. These hubs can be regarded as the representatives of the social network. Keeping up good relationships with the hubs means that the company (brand) need not know all members. Communication and interaction with hibs is very efficient and low-cost. But it also means that finding the right hubs is not easy. Currently I am looking for a method. Perhaps somebody has a suggestion?
    Kees

    Kees Winkel

    December 8, 2007 at 09:40

  7. I think marketers will continue to do traditional marketing and advertising. But participation in social networks will be part of the marketing toolbox, and in many cases more important than traditional marketing. Jackie Huba (author of Citizen Marketers) calls this the fifth ‘marketing P’ – Participation.

    You bring a really interesting point – maybe not explicitly: the social networks exist, and sites like Twitter and Linked in are simply tools where the people that form the hub meet. It is like a group of friends who can meet at a bar, at a sporting event or at a friend’s house. The group of friends is the social network itself and the bar or venue is the tool they use to interact. The community exists independent of the tool.

    Like you, I am a firm believer in the power of social + enterprise content (what you call user generated content with professional content) and that integration deliver tremendous value to end users. But I have a different vision on how to get there: I don’t think marketers should moderate or editorialize social media. As you say, it is about trust and transparency – but this requires authenticity and personal conversations. The marketer can present both social and professional content labeling each as such: “here is the unedited content from the community, and here is our official corporate content”.

    We did this at Microsoft where in our web properties and some of our products a search query will produce the official company “editorial” results, content from Microsoft bloggers and answers from the community. Social media is integrated on the website, technical support, marketing activities and also in the product Help system. Even the technical documentation is now a wiki.

    Measurement tools and paradigms need to shift. It is not enough to measure community engagement or activity, maybe we should measure trust and sentiment. Maybe even loyalty. It is about winning hearts and minds.

    About your question of how to identify the hubs? I see this as one of the intrinsic values of social media: it fosters the gravitation of people with similar goals and interests towards areas where they can have a conversation. Social media is enabling conversations across geographies, cultures and organizational boundaries.

    A relevant quote from the Cluetrain Manifesto written almost 10 years ago:

    “Markets are conversations. Their members communicate in language that is natural, open, honest, direct, funny and often shocking…the human voice is unmistakably genuine… Corporate firewalls have kept smart employees in and smart markets out. It’s going to cause real pain to tear those walls down. But the result will be a new kind of conversation. And it will be the most exciting conversation business has ever engaged in.”

    enterprisemobility

    December 12, 2008 at 18:10

  8. [...] Marketing and Social Hubs December 12, 2008 Today a colleague pointed me to an interesting post that talks about Social Hubs and how companies participate in these hubs. I posted a loong comment [...]


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