If you work in influencer relations in Silicon Valley, you want to be at the Churchill Club this Monday March 1st for an evening event featuring John Byrne, Richard Edelman, Paul Bergevin, Peter Diamandis and Frank Shaw.
The event comes on the heels of the 2010 Edelman Trust Barometer, a global opinion leaders study mentioned in my last post.Â The Trust Barometer is freely available. Bring your toughest questions or just show up for a great evening of discussion, debate and networking.
I’ll be particularly interested to see how this year’s discussion compares with the 2008 event (my comments).
See you there!
What the Public Believes: New Trends in Corporate Reputation Management
Corporations are in the combat zone, struggling to build back trust among all of their stakeholders in the midst of the global economic crisis. Faced with an overall meltdown in confidence, how is corporate leadershipâ€”including marketing, PR, investor relations and public affairsâ€”to respond? How should companies retool their communication strategies and address the right stakeholders with the right issues and strike the right tone? This panel of thought leaders speaks out on the most current trends and strategies for managing corporate reputation and sharpening stakeholder engagement.
Individual Churchill Club event tickets run $58 - $90, and normally it’s a cash bar. Reg, more info.
Hashtag will be #churchillclub.
It’s easy to fall into thinking that focusing on the top 15 or 25 or 100 influencers in a given market is a good idea for every company. That’s not necessarily so, unless you can vet their influence with decision-makers for your product or service in your market.
Mack Collier points out a good example: his experience with the “Pepsi 25″ campaign. Pepsi had targeted Mack and 24 other high profile bloggers with 3 deliveries of cans showing the evolution of the Pepsi logo over 100 years, right up to the latest logo. Most of the 25 bloggers were happy to blog about Pepsi and it’s logo. By contrast, Mack said:
I mean on one hand I appreciated the effort that Pepsi went to in sending these materials to me. Obviously they send the cans and promotional materials to myself and 24 other people because they thought we were ‘influential’ in the social media space, and that we would blog/twitter/podcast about this promotion, and hopefully in a favorable light… Now the problem for me is, I know I’m not influential to Pepsi drinkers, cause I don’t drink Pepsi (Dr Pepper here. Wouldn’t you like to be a Pepper, too?).
He goes on to suggest that his spot in the Pepsi 25 would have been better used on a loyal customer — someone who would have behaved as an evangelist out of love for the Pepsi product. Someone connected to others who also would talk about Pepsi and encourage purchases, and so on.
Pepsi 25 hit a dead-end with Mack.
As Duncan says, it’s not about influence, it’s about influence with the right people.
Can you measure branding through tangible improvements in operations and the bottomline? Are your branding investments aimed directly at changing customer behavior? Is brand equity a myth that exists in the minds of marketers?
These are some of the questions that Jonathan Salem Baskin raises in his new book, Branding Only Works on Cattle. He talked about his ideas for rocking the branding boat at a special presentation to the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco last night.
It’s easy to see that branding strategies developed for the era of mass media are not going to perform as well in the era of social media. It’s much harder to get your head around what that change would actually look like.
At least 2 of Jonathan’s ideas struck a chord with me, as they fit very well with the transition to influencer marketing:
1. Shift the branding focus away from creating fictions (mascots, celebrity endorsements, etc.) Instead, enrich the actual customer experience with your company, products, and services. The customer experience is the brand.
2. Trade in the creative marketing math for measuring branding (recall, impressions, tonality, etc). Instead, adopt standard business math. Measure brands based on real world customer behavior. Worry less about whether your YouTube vids go viral, and more about whether your brand facilitates shorter sales cycles, higher word of mouth referrals. Look to the bottomline to find the benefit of branding investments.
Jonathan is not advocating the end of branding, merely the end of bad branding habits. For example, perception-changing branding isn’t going away, nor should it. Find more about that in Martin Bishop’s perspective on the evening.
Influencer marketing is all about addressing customer behavior, as it is happening. Jonathan is challenging us to adopt some similar ideas about branding.