In social media (and with apps), consumers can talk about you, create mash-ups, and interact with your brands in ways THEY control. Scary stuff for traditional marketers! Adding to the sense of anxiety, most marketers don’t PERSONALLY understand social media well enough. In a survey by McCann-Erickson in the UK, 2/3rds of marketers admitted they didn’t know as much about social media as they needed to and 14% were in complete denial that social media is here to stay! (How would you like one of those folks running your brand?)
At the ARF, we aren’t scared by social media, we welcome it. For our members, we see crowd-sourcing innovation and communications ideas with those engaged with your brand as remarkable opportunities. We admire Ford for committing to social media by giving 100 bloggers a free Ford Fiesta, just asking them in return to post videos and blog about their experiences in their own words—good, bad, or indifferent. We see Marketing Research moving to a completely new level of insight generation by listening to organic, naturally-occurring conversations. This year, the three big ARF Ogilvy Award winners (Frito-Lay Cheetos, Obama campaign, the NBA) all used some form of listening to gain the big aha-s.
At the ARF, we are putting our money where our mouth is, and so we’ve made a fabulous hire to run our social media efforts. Her name is Lynne d Johnson, formerly head of communities for Fast Company magazine. Her rep is great with the thought leaders of social media and she has been blogging, tweeting, and connecting before most of us knew what this stuff was.
We asked Lynne about her vision for social media and how the ARF can guide marketers. Here is an excerpt of what she said (for the full interview, click here.)
ARF: What attracted you to joining us?
When I met ARF’s Chief Research Officer, Joel Rubinson, at Brandworks University 2009: “How to jump start engagement, sales and growth in the conversation economy,” and learned that this 73-year-old organization wanted to take a leadership role in the social media space, I was sold.
With its long history as a leader in the marketing world, the ARF has a unique opportunity to provide research, insight, and leadership and push the social media dialogue forward. The ARF can establish best practices and research for its members in the advertising, public relations, and marketing industries, as well as the industry at large. By creating community for The ARF, the organization will be in a better position to lead the charge in defining what it takes to develop a community. The ARF will also be in a better position to determine and develop an assessment tool that explains the ROI of social media activities. The ARF can and will lead by example.
ARF: What is your vision for the new Social Media Council?
- Help companies understand how they can be the chief storytellers for their own brands within the midst of all of the noise and conversations.
- Create appropriate metrics that can gauge the impact of marketing efforts in social media.
- Develop a plan for research/insights to bring the voice of the human into the boardroom by “listening” to what is said in social media as part of a cohesive research program.
- Have the ARF leverage social media with its membership and the marketing/media community to develop and demonstrate successful social media marketing principles.
ARF: How do you see the role of social media in today’s marketing and media world?
Social media is becoming a critical part of progressive marketing thinking. With the rise of social media, the consumer has been able to drive the conversation with or without input from the brands. It’s past due time for brands to not only join the conversation, but to actively listen as well.
For the rest of her interview, click here: Interview with Lynne d Johnson
The ARF is moving ahead with social media in four significant ways:
- We hired Lynne to provide leadership
- We have formed a social media council. The first meeting will be at ad:week on Sept 23rd with Lynne leading a discussion among 4 leading marketers who are committed to social media.
- We are creating a “Foundations of Listening” white paper that will guide marketers to the right class of listening tools for their needs.
- We will have a powerful one day workshop on Nov 3rd entitled, “Winning With Social Media. Last year the event was sold out with over 200 attendees.
The ARF would like to help marketers learn how to join the conversation that is happening with our without them.
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