Archives for the month of: August, 2012

It’s been established that with the introduction of Web 2.0, one-way communication has become a thing of the past. Consumers now hold the ultimate power, with the ability to share their thoughts and opinions about a product, service, or company, without even moving from in front of their computer screens.

In my previous post I posed the question: how are organisations coping? Will they turn a blind eye to Web 2.0? Or will they man up and strive to take advantage of this new and exciting form of communication.

This blog will aim to uncover why some corporation’s are reluctant to break into the social media bubble, and the implications involved with remaining an outsider of Web 2.0.

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Why the resistance to change?

It shouldn’t come as such a surprise that some corporations are having a hard time adjusting to the new set of dynamics that follow widespread social media use.

Social networking is essentially horizontal and open, in contrast to that of the traditional social architecture of corporations being vertical and closed. For the corporations accustomed to rigid hierarchies and top down management, the idea of power moving downwards towards employees and consumers is a scary one.

According to C.K Prahalad, the introduction of social media means “Consumers are increasingly engaging themselves in an active and explicit dialogue with manufacturers of products and services.” But the problem for corporations is that they no longer hold control over the dialogue. Consumers have the freedom to actively seek out information about an organisation, and initiate discussion about it, demonstrating that “They have moved out of the audience and onto the stage.”

Implications

Whilst these companies might not want to believe it, sooner or later, adopting Web 2.0 won’t just be an annoying noise in the background, but rather, a crucial step in determining the success or failure of the company’s communication strategy.

Rather than view Web 2.0 in a negative light, companies should see it as an opportunity to connect with their consumers. Companies failing to engage in widespread social media use, are missing out on the use of a powerful communication tool, and overlooking a great source of consumer feedback.

It’s time for the organisations to drive this change, by breaking into the social media bubble and joining their consumers in using the shiny new tools of Web 2.0.

Gone are the days of one-way communication, where organisations held the ultimate control over what information they released to the mass market.

Say hello to Web 2.0.

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A world where publics and organisations now exist on the same level, with consumers having gained a lot more control, greater access to information, and a lot more say in what they choose to read.

In short, welcome to the world of Social Media.

Social media Statistics:

-Each week on Facebook more than 3.5 billion pieces of content are shared

-Twitter is adding nearly 500,000 users a day

-YouTube generates 92 billion page views per month

-People upload 3,000 images to Flickr every minute

Through social media use, a two-way communication system has evolved. People are taking it upon themselves to communicate and share information with others, resulting in a much faster transmission of information around the globe.

In such a fast paced society, the question is, how are organisations keeping up?

The key is being aware and up to date, honest and open, and responsive to what’s happening, without it being in their control.

“We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media, the question is how well we do it”.Erik qualman

My question to you, are organisations making the most of this opportunity? Or is widespread social media use getting the better of them?

Who here has heard about the recent debacle involving retail chain-store Target stocking MAC cosmetics at 40% off their original prices? 

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If you are nodding your head right now, then tell me this…What was your initial reaction? Mine was one of utter disbelief. MAC cosmetics pride themselves on being a high end brand, selling quality products from their MAC counters and free-standing MAC-pro stores, with the experience and expertise of trained MAC makeup artists at hand. So naturally i was confused as to why they would risk losing their exclusivity by stocking in Target. Napoleon made that move years ago resulting in a severely reduced brand value. 

My first step into finding out more? The internet of course. I jumped online straight away and googled “MAC Cosmetics in Target”, and was immediately met with a number of forums discussing the latest controversy. The forums informed me that in fact it was not a decision made by MAC, but rather a risky move by Target to unofficially stock MAC products sourced by a domestic overseas wholesaler. The forums posted official statements made by both Target and MAC, helping me to further form my opinion on the issue.

Next i jumped on the MAC Facebook page, expecting to find multiple comments from disgruntled customers searching for answers, but instead was met with absolutely no information regarding the issue. This confused me. I thought MAC would definitely have made use of their social media platforms to inform their consumers of the current situation, but it seems they were keeping things on the quite side. I then jumped on the Target Facebook page and found the same thing, no information! 

It got me thinking, why haven’t either organisations made use of their social media platforms as a way of connecting with their consumers during this time of confusion? Maybe they are waiting for the issue to hit the news before they choose to take action via social media. Either way, i will definitely be taking note on both organisations actions in the next few weeks. 

When browsing through a magazine over the weekend, i came across an article on pop-up stores. The idea of this latest trend is to “Appear with little notice, build buzz around a product or brand and then disappear as suddenly as they materialised”. Pop-up stores can be based around anything from art galleries and fashion stores, to restaurants, sales and boutique events,and can be ‘popped’ up anytime, anywhere, in city lanes, old buildings, and even shipping containers.

The article talks about the use of social media as a primary advertising medium for the pop-up stores, and it got me thinking, is this a strategic approach to marketing, or is it missing a large potential market segment?

By relying solely on social media to advertise, owners are focusing entirely on a market made up of social media users. Which leads me to my second question, have we reached a point where such a high percentage of the population are connecting through social media, that those who aren’t are no longer the focus for the marketing dollar? There is no doubt that in today’s world, social media marketing is a necessity, but does this mean traditional marketing should be scrapped?

As i pondered this question over the weekend, I started to think, maybe the marketers of these pop up stores feel that their entire target market lies within this population of social media users, and therefore attracting others via traditional marketing is a waste of time and money. Part of what makes pop up stores so exciting, is that event details are limited and are released with little notice, which in turn creates hype, generates word of mouth, and gets people intrigued. If marketers chose to advertise the pop up stores through a number of channels, maybe they would be running the risk of losing their exclusivity?

I’ve come to the conclusion that whilst advertising solely through social media might seem new and risky, at the end of the day, marketing is all about attracting the target market for your product, service and brand, in the best way possible.