A vision for productive social media

ImageIBM asked 1,700 CEOs from across industries around the world what they believe is going to happen with social media over the next three to five years. The response was clear:  while no one claims to have figured out how to monetize it, social media has proven an invaluable source of insight and means of collaboration worth as much to business for its usefulness as a knowledge tool as for a marketing channel. 

Without doubt, social media has very quickly emerged as the ultimate tool for customer engagement.  And regardless of whether companies or nonprofits or celebrities intentionally promote or monitor their brands, the public hooks up with brands of interest.  Message to marketers: social engagement is no longer optional.  It is not your choice. You can’t opt-out of social.

As regards the B2B market, a U.K. CEO from the media and entertainment vertical pointed out,

“Our B2B customers are also consumers of social media; you cannot split the two.”

Interestingly, views on social media among the CEOs vary widely across industries. Here’s the percentage of CEOs in these verticals that expect social media to be a key channel for customer engagement.

Education 77%
Telecommunications 73%
Retail 72%
Insurance 51%
Electronics 52 %
Industrial products 34%

Spinning Scandals into Entertainment — Now THAT’S Crisis Communications

Why have we learned more in the last three days about the Petraeus scandal than we have learned about the Benghazi tragedy in the last two months?  Spin, baby, spin.  The CIA and the FBI want us to know more about the dangerous liaisons of the top brass than about the danger our citizens are in.  And, understandably, more people would rather read and hear about sex than violence.  Let’s not be so naive as to think this story is about conniving women who lure powerful men to their downfall.  The question is not why these men were vulnerable to their sexual drives.  That’s entirely personal. Their relationships are none of our business. The question is why are we sacrificing people upon the altar of their vices rather than addressing the circumstances of their professional failures.  That, my friends, is our business.

If ABC’s TV show Scandal is your guilty pleasure, you might like this article about the crisis agency that inspired the series and has a significant part in the Petraeus scandal.

Susan B. Anthony and the Price of Rights

Ya know, 140 years ago today, Susan B. Anthony had the nerve to VOTE?! She was arrested and tried for this crime.

The presiding judge, Justice Ward Hunt, refused to allow Anthony to testify in court on her own behalf but he allowed statements given by her at the time of her arrest to be serve as testimony. She was not imprisoned but was fined $100. She declared in court: “I shall never pay a dollar of your unjust penalty” and she never did. Fortunately, the U.S. Government took no collection action against her….and years later (from 1979-1981 and again in 1999) the U.S. minted dollars in her honor. 888,842,452 of ’em. HA!

In case you’re wondering who she voted for when she took what was at that time a RISK not an opportunity… Susan Anthony wrote to her pal Elizabeth Cady Stanton that she had “positively voted the Republican ticket—straight.” That means she hoped to re-elect President Ulysses S. Grant.

I don’t care who you vote for and it’s none of your business who I vote for but I thank G-d to live in the United States and I thank our government for its commitment to providing equal rights to every citizen.  I thank Susan Anthony for being a brave, brazen woman who refused to take no for an answer when it was so clearly the wrong answer.

What will it cost you to vote?  What will it cost our world if people don’t exercise their rights and fail to fight for the rights of others?
In 1920, 14 years after Susan Anthony died, women got the right to vote. Exercise your right tomorrow.



How do you feel about this braille Wimpy burger?

Via AdvertisingAge:

What’s inside this burger? Feel it and find out.

To highlight the fact that it offers menus in braille, agency Metropolitan Republic in Johannesburg came up with a brilliant idea for hamburger restaurant Wimpy. It created 15 “braille burgers,” using sesame seeds to spell out what was inside (for example, “100% Pure Beef Burger Made for You.”)

The agency then delivered the braille burgers to 15 people in three of South Africa’s biggest institutions for the visually impaired, filming their reactions to create a viral spot.

Wimpy claims it reached 800,000 visually impaired people via social media with this effort.


How do you (pardon the expression) feel about this, um, audience segmentation?  Is it pandering for brand loyalty within a community?  Is is good target marketing?  Is it exploitative?  Is it funny? Or just an agency’s goofball shtik to generate press about themselves?

Interesting use of sesame seeds, I say, nice to make those functional.

McDonald’s Makes Parents Happy by Serving Books in Happy Meals

McDonald’s is reinventing itself as a healthy and responsible marketer, selling only organic milk and prominently publishing the calorie counts of products on packaging and in its restaurants — and now the fast food chain is feeding brains.

Rather than indulge in classic movie merchandising, McDonald’s has struck a deal with HarperCollins to give away about 9 million copies of Michael Morpurgo’s WAR HORSE just as the film adaptation makes it debut.

WOW!  Books?  Not toys?  Using books to sell movie tickets?  That’s not just a paradigm shift, that’s a complete role reversal!  Ordinarily, the booksellers put the novels up front to tie-in with a film release.

We are not simply witnessing a revolution in fast food merchandising, this campaign signifies a major power shift in media value.  Clearly, all three industries (restaurant, film, and publishing) recognize that sales of War Horse Happy Meals, movie tickets and the many future iterations of War Horse-themed digital content will far outpace the potential of book sales.

The giveaway is being backed by a major TV campaign – launching on Wednesday and running until February 7 – with McDonald’s claiming the initiative is about increasing literacy and creativity among children.

What do you think?  Are you ok with books as loss leaders?  I certainly am!  Reading is good no matter who pays for the books!  I love this idea of corporate sales and “free” books with the purchase of something else!