The Millennial or Generation Y has the world abuzz. This generation is not only changing how businesses sell and what they sell, they’re also changing how businesses work. Millennials are indeed the first truly digital generation but they’re aren’t the only group with digital DNA. Generation Y, those that follow X and Generation Z behind them are rising fast. They too see the world differently and already represent a significant economic force in the world. In the United States, Generation Z is said to control up to $30 billion in spending. They’re connected. They’re informed. And, they’re practically immune to traditional sales and marketing programs established to serve the generations before them.
The importance of establishing your brand in the era of Digital Darwinism cannot be overstated. Digital Darwinism occurs when technology and society evolve faster than one’s ability to adapt. Every brand is vulnerable, but no business is too big to fail or too small to succeed.
Photo taken 11/19/12 using an iPhone5 at St Kilda Beach, Melbourne Australia
The Times They Are A-Changin’
Come gather ’round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you
Is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’.
- Bob Dylan
Content Context is King!
Social media ushers in an era of contextual relevance that finally trumps content as king. Don’t get me wrong, content is important. After all, without it, what would people read, watch, interpret, remix and share? But without context, content is simply a message or story trying to find a home. In social networks, people stitch together social networks based on their relationships, interests, and aspirations to personalize their online experience. Doing so creates a network where, in theory, information that’s shared and the connections that come and go are material to everyone involved.
I’ve always admired TED’s approach to presentations. More importantly, I appreciate how this approach inspires its presenters to in turn inspire audiences in the room and around the web. This evokes the concept of having an “audience with an audience of audiences” where those on stage break through the fourth wall to speak to and through audiences to extend engagement to social networks. TED stimulates the sharing of inspired experiences and it’s the nature of those experiences that foster greater dialogue in and around each event.
Social media changes everything. Marketing, sales, customer service, they’re no longer departments, engagement is now a way of business.
As the impact of social spreads through organizations, questions arise about the role social ultimately plays in customer service and overall customer experiences. For the past three years, good friend Brent Leary and the folks at Social Media Today have produced The Social Customer Engagement Index. It examines how companies are using social tools for customer service and, more importantly, how customers are responding.
Guest Post by Jaap Favier, managing partner of The Small Circle
What is the secret of bars? Why do we happily pay four times as much for beer in a bar as in a store? We pay this brand premium to be with friends. The secret of bars is that they convert our quality time into cash. Like bars, social media are places where friends meet. The best social media programs also convert the consumer’s social time into a brand premium, reaching a return on investment (ROI) up to four times as high as the ROI of a TV commercial.
The state of the relationship between Twitters and its developer community is nothing short of tumultuous. While there are significant merits on either side of the debate, what’s clear is that the Twitter of yore is no longer on a similar course for what will be the Twitter to come. It’s a sign of maturation and focus. It’s Twitter’s shift from tech startup and media darling to an aspiring new media empire. Ruffling feathers and clipping wings is an unfortunate reality of any business strategy.
Every day, an increasing number of connected consumers are taking to social networks to ask for help or express sentiment related to business or product related experiences; some do so to seek resolution from their peers, others broadcast questions or comments as a form of catharsis; and a smaller group of consumers actually hope to receive a response directly from the company. The reality is that social media is the new normal. A myriad of social networks, whether you use them or not, are now part of the day-to-day digital lifestyle with Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Youtube among others becoming the places where your customers connect, communicate, and engage around experiences. They take to these social networks and more because they can. The question is, what are you going to do about it?
I can’t be the only one to notice this…infographics, “viral” videos, Like and Retweet campaigns, they all seem to be trying a bit too hard lately. For example, most infographics I see today are no more than visual press releases with graphical elements tied to information…and then more information…but wait, then more information. If this was just about visualizing scrolls of information, then anyone using free infographic generating tools and a list of interesting data points could make pinteresting graphics. The key is to think less about the packaging and more about the story you want to tell. But even more importantly, it’s time to put the social in social media and craft the story you want people to talk about and share.
Brian Solis is a digital analyst, anthropologist, and also a futurist. In his work at Altimeter Group, Solis studies the effects of disruptive technology on business and society. He is an avid keynote speaker and award-winning author who is globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders in digital transformation.
His most recent book, What's the Future of Business: Changing the Way Businesses Create Experiences (WTF), explores the landscape of connected consumerism and how business and customer relationships unfold in four distinct moments of truth. His previous book, The End of Business as Usual, explores the emergence of Generation-C, a new generation of customers and employees and how businesses must adapt to reach them. In 2009, Solis released Engage, which is regarded as the industry reference guide for businesses to market, sell and service in the social web.