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Social Media Revolution: What’s next for Brands ?

August 25, 2009

maginotI recommend watching the excellent video at the end of this post.  It contains plenty of mind-boggling facts and data.

On one end it clearly shows that social media is a disruptive event /revolution while on the other end it reduces the  challenge  to “do you know what they are saying about your brand“, which is a very mmm, conventional and web1.0 question.

It’s like asking the yesterday’s question in the world of today.

If this is really the revolution we believe it is (just look at how social media has changed politics  i.e Obama),  the issue at stake is way larger than “you should be monitoring your brand“.

Let’s compare Brands and Newspapers.

  • Brands as Newspapers are used to simplify our access to information (kind of a proxy): We know it’s the Wall Street Journal so it’s true, We know it’s from Apple so it’s cool.
  • Brands as Newspapers create some cultural and social glue (The readers of the New Yorker, The Coke generation, The Mercedes versus the Bimmers)
  • Brands and Newspapers are tied very closely from a business standpoint.

With the rise of the social web,  millions of people have become writers,  publishers, enabling information channels to organize bottom up: bloggers, communities, influencers, aggregators  hence putting Newspapers at risk.

By the same token, the buzz of the year in Social Media is “Personal Branding”. In the Social Media community -which is by design a few months ahead on the social media adoption curve – “brands” like Charlene Li and Jeremy Owyang are almost as powerful as Forrester, their former or future ex employer. ( see Web Inc Now)

The challenge for brands is in the same order of magnitude as the one Newspapers are facing today: survival and reinvention.

Communities represent an alternative proxy to information. If I want to know about the quality of a product, who should I trust, the logo or the hundreds of consumer reviews ?

As for the glue part, isn’t this the core promise of social media?

Many say newspapers will die. Some brands may well die and, although we have no clue on what will come out of this revolution (Black swans ?), it’s clear it will take more than “monitoring what is said about us“.  The later may well be another “Ligne Maginot” in the making.

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