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How are we compensated if people share?

May 9, 2008

This is the stark reality: brands can’t make people share. Just because a brand creates a Facebook page, or a Twitter feed, or submits something to be Dugg at Digg, doesn’t mean people will share it.

Because it’s all about IT. ‘IT’ is the idea. An idea so compelling that people can’t help but share IT. IT needs to be crafted in such a way that IT isn’t a pitch. It isn’t asking people to buy something, but to buy into something.

Dr. Pepper didn’t care if Axl Rose is/was the best front man ever. But in coming up with that, they created a community, and they created conversation. They had a bit of IT.

So lets assume that your agency has an idea that people will share using social media. People follow the Twitter feed, fan the Facebook page and Digg the thing.

Let’s assume they love IT. Here’s a new question for you:

How does an agency charge for IT?

We’re often talking about the ROI of social media, the metrics of a Fan in Facebook, or a follower on Twitter. But there’s a flip side.

How does the agency charge for the idea? is it a lump sum cost? Or is it a cost, plus a performance. In other words, if the agency is confident that they have IT, would they be willing to be paid a bit of money upfront, but the rest based on performance?

It’s kind of a scary thought. Agencies have always been paid when things run. Not really when things work.

But think about it. Imagine that your agency comes up with the idea that goes viral. The client paid a lump sum for the idea, but the idea ended up being worth way more to client. Can agencies get ahead of that?

Should agencies be in the business of betting on ideas? Or does coming up with the idea and not getting fully compensated for it just mean that it’s equity in the relationship?

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