Creative departments and social media clash in 2009
As 2008 closes, and a new year dawns, I’ve been making predictions.
My prediction is a clash in marketing. Here’s why:.
In my opinion, the creative departments of Advertising Agencies don’t like social media. I personally think that social media people will come to the table and meet creative people a lot more in 2009, and the result will be clashes. To understand why, look at the roles the two have in telling people about a product/service:
Creative people (and their agencies) have been the keepers of the brand as the Agency of Record (AOR). They’ve spent the last 50 years massaging and perfecting the voice of the brands they represent. Therefore, it’s not something they are willing to give up easily. And really, it’s not something they should give up easily.
Social media people, though, are hot. They are getting results in Digg, on Twitter, and getting jobs to manage communities. Do a search for social media strategist and you’ll find many listings for jobs. In a bad economy, social media peeps aren’t expendible. They appear to be in demand. Meaning, they are often considered the Smartest People in the room. And why not? They read blogs, hear about new ideas and theories from their Twitter community, and generally know what needs to be known to get any brand into the conversation.
So here’s the emerging clash. People who have been charged with the voice of the brand (creative people and their agencies) hear from people who are hot that they have to give up that voice.
In this post by Jon Burg, the number one thing to think about when starting a Twitter account is this:
1. Make your account as personable and useful as possible.
In the bullets, he writes this: “Consider putting a picture of a human face in place of/next to your brand logo. People know how to talk to people. Nobody talks to a soda bottle.”
So, here’s the dilemna: advertising agencies have spent years putting a voice to a soda bottle. Not in real terms, in that the soda bottle talkes to you, but in terms of the soda bottle saying something to people. It’s cool. Refreshing. And the tone is one of leadership, with a proud heritage (or whatever, but the tone is crafted to be unique to the brand).
It’s not a tone that a person can manufacture on Twitter. A person isn’t a brand. So if Charlie speaks on behalf of Soda, he will widdle away at the brand’s voice. So all of that investment in the Power of your Brand can be undermined when the tone of the person on Twitter differs from the tone of the brand. And ironically, the more successful the social media results, the more it could chip away at the brand.
Now, some of you will say that the days of Brand and normal advertising are numbered. That could be right, I don’t know (nor am I saying that Jon’s overall point is wrong — I would never say that, his name pops up as a link in Zemanta!).
Still, I beleive in the power of crafting a brand from the ground up. When it’s time to make a purchase, that’s when the power of the brand is measured. If the brand percolates up to the top of mind, then the marketing of that brand has been done well. If the brand can use social media to capture customers, then it will do well to stay top of mind. And a good way to stay top of mind is through consistency.
Put if to you this way: people won’t have conversations with complete strangers. So if they don’t know your brand or product, chances are good they won’t talk to it.
My hope is this: creative people learn a little more about what social media can do for the brand. And social media people learn a little more about what the brand, and awareness advertising can do for social media. Both are examples of a brand having a conversation with people. The smart money is on making them connect, so the overall message connects to the people who may buy the product or service. That’s what we plan to do.
It’s gonna be a fun year.