In London last week, I happened across Mark Ritson’s column in Marketing Week: “Hoodwinked by the Emperor’s New Tweets”. The title alone sparked this cartoon idea.
Mark lampoons the social media bandwagon, particularly the herd mentality to incorporate social media into each and every marketing plan and the gullibility of marketing directors to believe all the hype. He writes, “Most brands don’t have the newsworthiness, broad appeal or dynamism to have any chance of making Twitter work for them.”
I think that statement is true. And I agree that attempting social media without “newsworthiness” or “dynamism” is simply expensive window dressing. But, I don’t think that this is result of a limitation of Twitter or any other social media platform. I think this is the result of a limitation of the brand.
Brands have the obligation to be “newsworthy” and “dynamic”. Start there, not with social media. I’m a big fan of a quote from Kathy Sierra: “Please, businesses, don’t DO ‘social media’. Do ‘user happiness’, which may, or may not, require use of social media tools.” Social media will not make a dull brand more meaningful.
Eric Ryan who founded method in the mundane category of household cleaning likes to say, “There are no commodity categories. Only commodity brands.” It’s the impetus of each and every brand to rise above commodity status. Or it risks becoming irrelevant next to cheaper private label.
Only once a brand is truly meaningful to consumers does it earn the opportunity to have relationships with them. And I believe those relationships often can be made stronger through the use of social media tools.