At the W2O PreCommerce Summit, Paul Fox, Kurt Heinemann and Holly Potter spoke about the importance of keeping the audience at the center of marketing and communications. While each speaker brought a unique perspective, each talk underscored the need to tap into core audience interests to drive meaningful connections.
The Ology of Social with Paul Fox
The breadth and depth of social networks and the amount of data created within them is complex. But according to Paul Fox, Director of Corporate Communications for P&G, there’s a simple mnemonic for reducing that complexity. Social networks today resemble the extended family networks of the 1950s, when aunts, uncles, parents, grandparents and children all lived in close proximity to one another and everything a person wanted or needed existed within that structure. Fox believes that today, our social networks have become our extended families, which suggests a certain level of influence and closeness that we as marketers and communicators must attend.
“In social networks, the same protocols exist as those for dealing with your extended family. Look for the grandma, look for the trusted uncle, because these are the people who are now shaping our future.”
My takeaway? As brands, if we’re not leaning on the garden fence and chatting with grandma, we’re missing our opportunity to understand what grandma cares about, and ultimately, our opportunity to influence.
Wake Up with Kurt Heinemann
“With great power comes great responsibility.”
Social media delivers the power of customer intelligence at our fingertips. Kurt Heinemann, CMO of Sysomos, is concerned that we’ve taken this great resource, which enables us get closer to our customers, and we’ve diminished it as a targeted advertising engine.
Heinemann believes the rising popularity of social networks that offer anonymity and privacy like snapchat, whisper, secret and confide in some ways represent people running away from marketers. Further, he feels we’ve done such a bad job of listening to customer needs that Kickstarter and Indiegogo have emerged to fill the space between what people want and what brands deliver.
When we fail to leverage the qualitative and quantitative research power of social media, we all lose. Brands that use social media primarily as a broadcast medium are missing the point. We should be using social to connect with customers. As Kurt says, “the opportunity is to bring the customer into the soul of your business.”
Building Brand Journalism Capabilities with Holly Potter
“We want to understand what our constituents want to talk about, and give them the information they need,” says Holly Potter, VP Brand Communications for Kaiser Permanente and lead for Kaiser Permanente Share, where the organization publishes its news and views. According to Potter, bringing people in and having them advocate on your behalf begins with understanding the interests and needs of each audience with whom you are trying to connect, and offering content for each. As a brand journalist team for Share, Potter credits connection as the key to success:
- Connecting the organization’s point of view to readers’ interests
- Keeping the editorial team directly connected via daily huddles
- Keeping the brand connected to stories that matter
Thanks to all of our speakers for reminding us of the fundamentals: it all starts with knowing and understanding who your talking to.