Original Content, Emotional Connections and Great Experiences

Co-Creating the story with truly original content and  emotional connections…

Each of the following images offer examples of original content. Within each example, the potential for marketers to co-create wonderful social media experiences is extraordinary. Communication will move across social platforms effortlessly, but people will have social filters in place, to remove the noise, and to ensure they don’t miss the moments that matter most.

Metwit | Real-time weather from real-peoplePinterest | The level of Disney related pins continues to grow

YouTube | Personal brands are accountable for the greatest volume of video views and sharing.  Discovery is so exciting and a key trigger of emotional sharing.

72 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute [YouTube]

The future of social media will be motivated by original content, our curiosity and the excitement of discovery. We will filter for relevance, invest with privacy and share only the content that we have emotional connections to.

With social filters in place, traditional digital ad strategy will not work, and ideal connections will not be due to chance, or smart re-targeting. Brands must learn the importance of responding to the content that we think is great!

 Social Viewing is for REAL…Real-Time and Real-People

While Social Media teams remain challenged,  trying to define policy and protocol for interaction, the affability of brands is in question. It is time for brands to define strong connections, create resourceful content, embrace original content and support co-creation. Keep in mind…People are defining who they are, through what they share.

Enable data to focus direction and authentic reactions…

Now that you have our attention, be careful not to control dialogues. It’s easy for brands to slip into the role of moderator or lecturer often leading to “transmit-mode” and a negative experience.

A final thought: When people invest precious time and attention connecting with a brand… an authentic response IS now required.


Emotion, Expression and Experiences

As Marketing becomes Emotionalizing…Why I think we love Pinterest and Instagram.

Enabling Original!

Brands are certainly challenged with their new role.  Transitioning from a product focused approach is somewhat frightening and can be intimidating.

Still, a brand must consider the alternatives and understand that the process has been disrupted.

Image: Pinnable Business

People are a living part of your business and want to be involved.

A brands new role is centered on service. Offering the resources people need and enabling Life”…everything and everyone!

The narrative is always changing…

In 2012 we hope to see brands imagine the possibilities. People are keen to be social adventurers, always exploring, hoping to discover and anxious to share “found” treasure with their connections.  Emotion…I think this is one reason why Pinterest has quickly captivated our attention.

Maggie’s Brand and Maggie’s Message

Marketing is no longer the objective, even social media continues to change. For instance; savvy social brands are able to subtly nurture connections.  Whilst enabling people to discover products, they also benefit from the natural connections that occur from sharing. This is a very different form of influence.  It’s real!  This type of influence starts with emotion builders, content that is authentic, and messages that portray conviction.

“Improves the look of”  You may have tested and retested marketing messages, but with a less than authentic tone and a true conviction, this type of message is  less likely to be effective.  The sincerity found within people-to-people content is more promising and often a part of the reciprocal process within a cycle-of-courtesy.

Prepare for continuous distraction, as real-time substance meets emotional connections.  The dominance of “original” content will likely rank absolute and continue to be widely expressed.   Start here: Celebrate original and remain flexible so that you can instantly respond, reward and convey ideas.


Nike relentlessly focuses on marketing.  In Collaboration and Co-Creation, we explore Nike challenging traditional with their commitment to connecting within social environments.  Now we see Nike emerging with even more purpose and enabling branded experiences.

Nike is extending the Nike brand experience through an invite-only basketball court in NYC.  Nike has renovated a distressed gymnasium within a residential building. As part of Nike’s #makeitcount New Year’s campaign, the Masaryk building has an unbelievable gym and Nike has court-side evidence of a sincere commitment to making “it” count.  An ideal extension of the Nike brand experience!

Nike continues to enable…Fuelband keeps you active while you make it count!


So, We Don’t Want to Engage with Brands via Social Media

I have been curious to learn how much our Digital Life has developed during the last year. The TNS Digital Life study of 2010 offered a comprehensive view across 46 markets and helped companies prepare for what was ahead. This week TNS released their 2011 Digital Life results.  The report reflects the Digital Life of 72,000 people across 60 countries and the findings are extraordinary.

Of course I am anxious to dive into all the data!

What was interesting? Everything…

Allow me to start with “Engage”

Our lack of excitement for engaging with brands via social media is rather interesting and I wanted to share a few thoughts.

TNS discovered that 57% of people in mature markets are simply not interested in engaging with brands via social media.  Folks in the UK [61%] and in the US [60%] are particularly disenchanted with brands via social media. This may not be surprising, but at the same time, people are increasingly creating “original” content and are anxious to talk about brands with anyone located within reach of their social voice.

  • 57% of people in developed markets do not want to engage with brands via social media
  • 47 % of global digital consumers now comment about brands online

Authenticity and Conviction

This is a time of discovery for brands. A journey that should soon help them understand, the idea of social media engagement was not designed to pick up where traditional marketing left off.  Even more compelling, high levels of engagement do not lead to influence or true connections.  Using social media as a form of engagement without trying to nurture a real connection is ridiculous.

Take into account why people are using social media. To communicate, to interact and to share.  Every social act comes with the anticipation that it will offer relevance to someone.  A good deed has been done, a smile has been shared and in each, a response is simply the best!

For brands the purpose of social media is to communicate, understand people, and how they see your offerings. Social media should also support collaboration, but to do so requires a very different mindset and almost humble positioning.

Within social media brands have an entirely different role.  Brands must have and express an authentic persona; offer services, resources and position (enable) people strategically within every endeavor. Simply engaging with people is not enough, brands have to form connections. Identify emotional triggers, begin a conversation and respond with conviction.  Co-creating and extending the brand experience is the essence of social media success.

How? People are creating original content, at the same time brand messages must be unique. Celebrating what people are naturally doing, or co-creating even branded-content, supports emotional ties.  Within the dynamics of this approach, people are positioned as the vital element. If conditions are right, people will reward brands with a mention on their Facebook page, Twitter feed or their most important circle!

The data also supports our suggestion that brands enable people-to-people connections. Supporting these connections will encourage a brand’s social mission.  

  • 47% of people comment about brands online

TNS’ Digital Life  also reports that people are open to talking about brands via social networks and are often excited to share their opinions.

  • Among those commenting, 46% of the reasons for writing comments is to HELP! 

We refer to this process as a Cycle-of-Courtesy.  People are compelled to share ideas and experiences with others. This has become a common and expected task within the most trusted of social groups. It’s as if “they feel it’s their duty…informing others is simply a natural part of the reciprocal process”.

Engagement is the First Step…Influence is More than Numbers

Brands have created exciting and immersive forms of engagement that have really captured the interest of people and compelled them to talk about it! Enter the Influencer.  Influencers have been defined and positioned as the “ideal” source for motivating brand messages.  But, are we looking at influence and engagement as the be-all and end-all of social media?

Influencers cannot be selected by numbers. They have to be selected via contextual insight and nurtured into lasting diplomats.

Engagement is the first step. The opportunity to create interest and to build on that initial hello occurs within every interaction.  Influence is an action that derives from an emotional excitement, an attachment to the brand, its services or resources.    So, How Do You Make it Last? To define sustainability; you must build true loyalty, stronger influence and possibly co-create engagement through original content.

The diplomatic approach…

Lasting connections begin with that first engagement, but it certainly does not end there.  Understanding what captured attention, and what delighted people enough to say hello again is important.  This is the process of discovery and for brands, a journey that should have no end.

The Ultimate Influencer is engaged…

Let’s have a look at an influencer, one that would most likely be under the radar.  Just as other Moms, Tiffany has looked forward to her family’s Disney World vacation for a very long-time.   Even planning a Disney vacation is an exciting part of the magic.  The planning and reservation encounters can set the tone for the entire Disney occasion! Continue reading

What Social Media Should Be…Collaborative | Part II

What Social Media Should Be…Original | Part I

Social media experts create engaging content and have adapted extremely well to the idea of influence and the need to motivate share-ability. Yes, social media offers advantages.  Most notably, ease of convergence across platforms, but can social media support loyalty simply through engagement? Continue reading

Everything “IS” Different

Article first published as Everything IS Different on Technorati.

We have just completed three months of trend exploration, analysis and reporting. So what’s different? Again…Everything.

Change has become the only constant! Continue reading

Inside The “Everything Is Changing” Room

In the age of Groups, Lists, Hashtags and Circles; the immense level of comparative information is tremendous. The idea of segments must not only be contextually rich, but also allow for continuous change. This information must be carefully extracted,  filtered and then acted on… in real-time.

Traditional advertising was designed to disrupt…stop us in our tracks…force us to pay attention to an all-inspiring message that marketers “KNEW” we would want to hear.  Offering products brand managers “KNEW” we would want to buy…at least “they” thought so.

People have digitally matured!  We not only filter our personal information stream, but separate our business/brand streams as well. We want to consume and digest information that we want to consume, not what “they” want us to consume.

Brands have to keep up with people, ALWAYS listen, and never disrupt our course. In some ways the process is much easier. Brands now have the advantage, the ability to KNOW what we are really saying and experience, first hand, how brands fit in our lives.

Brands new role…service, resource provider and enabler…

Aspire to be “My” branded connection to…..?

As a trusted resource, we will invite brands to tag-a-long in life; perhaps even rely on brands within discontinuous spaces.

Social media and engagement are more than just a data point…

Always listen.  We are saying and sharing, sometimes even shouting, what we want.

  • Change and adapt…Now that you really KNOW what we need
  • The new war room is a corporate “everything is changing” room

Yes, these insights are unstructured and rightly so. It would be impossible to try and fit enormous levels of unstructured data into pre-determined buckets.  But, understanding that filters can play a role in making sense of ever-evolving insight offers direction and a real solution.

Remain flexible within thinking about how and what to filter.

Effectively integrating social media within a traditional marketing strategy requires an understanding of the value of social connections.

Engagement within social media is only the first step. The difference between engagement and true connections lives within how you prepare, respond and adapt

More: Social Media Moving from Engaged to Connected

From the very smart Erik Qualman