Vanilla Ice had it right. Who knew he was the arbiter of all things social, our digital Nostradamus? He may even be the father of Chris Brogan (you might want to fact check that before tweeting).
I've been knee deep in strategies for clients over the past several weeks, waxing poetically about the benefits of mass persuasion, digital voyeurism and the rising cultural approach to advertising and in my head the whole time Ice, Ice, Baby is urging me on. I think once I may actually have said: "we need to stop pushing messages and collaborate and listen to consumers." At the risk of exposing myself as a lover of fake Eighties rap, Mr. Ice had a beautiful way of saying wake up, change your ways and understand before you act. It's simple, but a surefire way to achieve social marketing nirvana. Here's my translation for today's advertising community:
Stop: Traditional is dead. Don't do it anymore, it's over. Everything is digital, everything demands a screen and everything is shaped by the culture around it. There's not a campaign that can ignore the tide of influence or shout a message without engaging and participating in the growth of the culture around it. In fact, can we start calling traditional something else? That's probably another post.
Collaborate: Give consumers the wheel. Allow them to be curators of content, give them platforms to innovate, open the brand to them and let them participate in its growth. By creating unique collaborative platforms, such as www.mystarbucksidea.com, we allow ownership and empowerment. Imagine what that does for customer service and operations.
And listen.: Frankly, this is the hardest part. As advertising folks, all we want to do is jump in and offer ideas. Ideas, ideas, ideas. Don't like that one? Well, hold on, here's another. If we wanted to be researchers, we probably wouldn't have gone into advertising. And yet, it is an incredibly important part of creating good ideas. By listening, truly listening, to what is being said and reporting to our clients on those needs and desires, we are free to present sound, research-based ideas, and maybe even abandon a course of action that doesn't match the direction of the audience.
So get out there and execute. Social media is the revolution, where brands will build unimaginable influence by stopping to stand side by side with consumers, collaborating and listening to their dreams. Wait, that inspires the title for the next post: Hammer Time!