Hearing that a lot lately, interesting term, another fashion accessory for the advertising world. The whole ‘social media’ infection was the one of many bright shiny objects that our industry loves to obsess about, but is that the point, was it really only advertising that obsessed over the whole social evolution.
I love the social interaction we can have as communicators, I love the ability to be able to listen, talk and more importantly learn from a section of the people who buy our products and services.
But the hype, the obsession, the blinkered snake of the agency world has driven me to distraction. Has anyone actually bothered to look at what the average Joe is doing, how it has actually seeped in to peoples lives, became part of the everyday in such a low key way. Yes, normal people are post social, but mostly because they were never pre-social. There was no big bang must have accessory for social, it was evolution, not revolution, unless you were in advertising of course.
It’s not just the agency world that has made a meal of a simple subject, brands have also had their part to play in making this mole hill a mountain. Still today we hear brands talking about being nervous of social channels, of not embracing negativity and thinking that hiding is the answer (yep, still!)
I have news for all those brands, since speech was invented, every house, bar and workplace has been a hive of good and bad chatter about you and your brand. What has changed? It’s now super easy and super global, in seconds. What hasn’t changed? Shit products, service or doing shit stuff, as a brand will get people talking negatively, as it always has.
So with the agency world over hyping and brands hiding away, what is a very simple tool has become either everything or nothing. It hasn’t replaced anything, it has however added value to the marketers toolkit, but you can guarantee there isn’t a normal Joe anywhere in the land living their life in single channels, so if you think social is the only answer, it’s time to wake up.
The answer for me is simple, awesome unique products and brands that have a real soul and a real purpose. Have a personality, have a presence and a voice, listen, learn, talk and be honest in every channel that is relevant. Super simple social, super simple communication.
Jon Holloway is head of strategy at The Works Sydney