This Economist presentation is so well designed and so persuasive on the importance of continuing to advertise through tough economic straits that I almost bought its conclusion: buy print. They get to this conclusion with a massive elision/assumption: that you can't build brands online. The example is search. Sure it's tough to build a brand with Google Adwords haiku but that does not rule out the possibility of 1) reinforcing brand messages by simply showing up where your audience is looking, and 2) using other online vehicles to create the kinds of engrossing experiences that are what branding is all about.
Not that you shouldn't buy print of course. Just that you shouldn't overlook the opportunity to build brands through new vehicles that may well burst out of this recession with the same exit velocity that search did from the dot-bomb.
[Here's the "authorized version"... the full press release about the VivaKi Social launch this week]
NEW YORK (December 17, 2008) - VivaKi, the strategic entity created by Publicis Groupe to leverage the combined scale of its media and digital operations, today announced the launch of its REAL Social Suite. REAL is an acronym for Reach, Engage, Amplify and Listen—requirements for clients who want to engage consumers on the social Web.
The REAL Social suite—a series of tools and partnerships that inform social outreach and messaging—was launched at a Social Media Summit held in conjunction with the VivaKi social partners featuring Facebook, as well as Buddy Media, Converseon, Meebo, Social Vibe, SocialMedia and Vitrue. The suite also encompasses internal social marketing offerings from Publicis Groupe agencies Denuo, Moxie, MS&L and Performics.
"Clients want to participate in the consumer conversation, but there currently is no true infrastructure that allows them to participate in the dialogue," said David Kenny, Managing Partner of VivaKi. "We have brought together media owners, technology providers and internal partners to create access points and mechanisms that begin to scale audiences, and deepen engagement while also building tools that let us measure how well we are resonating with the communities we engage."
The REAL Social Suite is divided into three "toolkit" components, each focusing on a specific step in the social media process. As a cornerstone for the suite, Facebook spans across all components of the REAL framework through its Facebook Ads system and marketing tools. Other specific partners contribute to each component of the suite as follows:
"We don't have all of the answers to activating social media, but by forming strategic alliances with a spectrum of partners and collaborating with them on tools, measurement approaches and best practices, we create a process and platform that we can continue to fortify,” said Cam Balzer, SVP of Vivaki's Social practice. "We will continue to welcome other leaders and pioneers in the social space, toward the goal of creating viable 'on ramps' for our clients to more deeply and effectively engage their customers as fellow participants in the social web."
[update: release is live here: VivaKi And Social Media Owners Collaborate...]
The industry is also cautiously excited about two new forms of online advertising: [first is video.]
The other hope is for ads on social networks such as MySpace and Facebook. They are experimenting with a variety of advertising formats, though none has yet proved very successful. Their big weakness is that users go to social-networking sites to socialise, not to shop (as they might on search engines). Their biggest strength is that users spend so much time there. Two years ago 11% of time spent online was at Yahoo! and MSN, two web portals; now their share is down to 5%, and 5% of online time is spent at YouTube and Facebook.
Online traffic, in other words, is moving towards sites where advertising has so far proved ineffective and is therefore cheap. This, says Ms Meeker, presents an opportunity for innovation and arbitrage by clever marketing managers as they cut their conventional ad budgets. It may also provide a glimmer of hope for the advertising industry as it enters recession.
Not ye olde banners | The Economist (Nov 27, 2008)
Some great insights from Jack Myers on balancing future and present in today's media world, where old models are eroding at the same time the bottom is falling out of the economy... and of advertising/media budgets:
Myers lists several valuable tips for managing this crux, including having a dual management team to address today's needs and tomorrow's opportunities without either getting short shrift.
Good thought to begin the week:
“When we went out to raise a second fund at the start of this year, we told our investors that the Internet was getting more global, more mobile, more social, more intelligent, and more playful.”
Interesting synchronicity between Chris Anderson's thoughts on the unconsidered "negative externalities" of PR spam and Max Kalehoff's observation of the costs to consumers and advertisers of bombarding consumers with messages:
the cost of advertising for the consumer is rarely factored into marketing strategy or advertising planning. This is important because that cost translates to brand experience, affinity and equity. Fundamentally, how often have you ever heard a marketer ask: “Does our advertising — ultimately, our message — cause our customers to love or hate us?” The closest advertisers come to addressing this question — and this was especially true at Ad:tech — is in discussion of thresholds of tolerance. Thresholds of tolerance? That sounds like a framework more suited for discussions of pain or torture. (The Cost Of Advertising For Consumers)
One of the beauties of search marketing has always been that when the engines manage relevancy well, the advertising is a benefit, not a cost. As performance models begin to emerge in the social network space, the sliding scale between unnoticed skyscrapers and interruptive vs valuable ads will make all the difference. Introduce ANY real consumer cost (in creepiness or by tolling their social interactions) and they will flee to the next cool social platform in droves. Find a way to ad [sic] value and you've got the next Adwords.
My latest Chief Marketer column, covering a trend I'm calling "unified search": What Marketers Must Understand About Unified Search. Exemplified by Google's Universal Search natural search enhancements, Ask's new "3D" search interface and innovative smaller players like Kosmix, this trend will eventually--finally?!--move us past the text-only search results pages that Google perfected and everyone else copied.
Our full brief (PDF) on this topic is also available from the DoubleClick Performics website: Unified Search Brief.