On the Ground at Social Media Week: How Mobile-Social is Changing How Brands Connect with Consumers

David Berkowitz, Senior Director of Emerging Media at 360i, is incredibly excited about the opportunities in the mobile social media space. He sees six types of mobile social media activities:

1)      Online social networks on mobile devices

2)      Sharing content via social channels

3)      Location-based check-in services

4)      Sharing and streaming content

5)      Social gaming

6)      Mobile social networks

The slides from the panel can be downloaded at http://bit.ly/360iSMW

Noah Elkin, Principal Analyst at eMarketer, has seen a tremendous growth in how mobile users are utilizing social networks to communicate.  Mobile has become core to the social networking experience, and social networking has become integral to the mobile experience.  While the number of location-based service users is still small, those who use them regularly tend to be well-connected influences and an ideal target for marketers.

The motivation for users to check-in is driven by two items: finding useful information and finding deals.  Game mechanics are fairly low on the list of motivators, but they are important to get the ball rolling.  There are concerns about check-ins becoming a commodity, but ultimately they remain a database of intentions (as search has likewise been described.)

Craig Davis, CEO of TextualAds, spoke about adding context to SMS advertising and engagement in order to better engage users.  Tom Dorf, Director of Advertisitng Sales at MocoSpace (“the biggest social network that you’ve never head of”) discussed the Mobilista badge that MocoSpace developed for Nokia.

Over the next few years, the over a billion new mobile devices and over a billion new mobile uses will enter the marketplace, according to Adam Mirabella, Head of Music Services at Nokia.  As this growth occurs, he sees a few key trends

  • Communication
  • Companies will have to be socially responsible and give back to the marketplace
  • Marketers don’t own the conversation any more, the whole company has to get involved

The role of social and mobile marketers is to educate themselves and their consumers.  Being social is about sharing knowledge.  Only after this knowledge is gained and spread can the market accelerate.

While adoption of mobile social networks and technologies is growing, there are still challenges.  Some potential uses may not understand how a channel is used.  For example, many people who are comfortable with Facebook do not understand Twitter and may not be trying to.  Additionally, users may have existing perceptions, fairly or unfairly, that limits use or prevents adoption.  For example, people may not use Foursquare because they see it as just a game or because they fear an invasion of their privacy.

Kevin Haughwout is a contributor for the Social Media Week NY Blog and a social media strategist and blogger at the freedmarketer.  For more comments on this event, you can check out a cross-posting of this entry here.

Live from Social Media Week: Keynote Interview with Dennis Crowley

The mid-afternoon session of Social Media Week New York at the Business, Media & Communications content hub at JWT opened with an interview with Dennis Crowley, CEO of Foursquare, by Austin Carr of Fast Company.  The hub was holding a capacity crowd for the interview, as they were eager to see what Crowley had to say.

While Foursquare has enjoyed a lot of success, Carr noted, it’s still a young company. It still must be concerned with growth and scale. People check into Foursquare for a variety of reasons. Users may use it as a diary of where they’ve been, use it to find friends, or use to to discover tips about venues. As Crowley explained, it’s like they threw ten things at the wall to see what would stick, and they all stuck. Rather than telling people how to use Foursquare, they want the users to tell the developers how they use it.

The Foursquare office is filled with white boards of lists of projects, including several that they’re looking to complete before SXSW. Projects may focus on new users, on super-users, and for brands; the trickiest part for the company is how to determine which ones they should work on first.

There’s a piece of paper hanging behind Crowley’s desk describing the use cases that they want to achieve (which, oddly enough, all focus around ramen.) While the cases vary, they tend to center around recommending venues for users who find themselves in a new place based on their past experiences.

Can you use game mechanics to encourage people to live richer lives? Crowley finds himself not leaving the East Village for weeks at a time, so how can he encourage him and his friends to visit a hot new venue in Brooklyn? Specials came about from venues who wanted to reward loyal customers.

Crowley believes that there is something unique about Foursquare that speaks to big brands. Users’ endorsements of venues in the form of check ins are like miniature ad impressions for a brand or venue. An advantage for media companies is creating a portable “best of” list for users. Rather than dog-earring a page in a magazine and hoping that you remember to check out a recommended restaurant, Foursquare could be used to remind users when they approach the restaurant.

As Foursquare grows, a challenge for them is to remain focused. Crowley feels that it’s his role to keep the team on track. The company displays its ideal use cases and credo in the office to remind them which direction their new features should follow. The creation of a new product isn’t the challenge for Foursquare; the tricky part is developing the organization and growing it in order to keep up with the development. Delegation is something that Crowley has had to learn on the fly, but it’s been made easier by hiring the right people. They’ve been able to bring on passionate people who have their own side projects in the same space. Their passion and expertise create a sense of trust that makes working together very easy.

While Foursquare is not looking to adopt activities like checking into television shows, they are starting to embrace event check-ins as part of their strategy. When they added a badge for checking into the 2010 elections, it was intended to get people to brag about checking into their polling places. The recent Super Bowl check-ins were less about watching a program than it was what fun things could be gleamed from Super Bowl parties (photos of dips, house party stories, etc.) Checking into events has been user-driven (e.g., Snowpocalypse) and will be expanding as Foursquare grows. Ideally, it’s about recording memories about people’s experiences in the offline world.

One of the biggest surprises to come out of Foursquare, according to Crowley, was the success of the API. The passion of developers has created a variety of mash-ups ranging from mobile device apps to dating apps to one that warns you about poor health grades at restaurants to which you check in. As the ability to craft recommendations grows, interest in using the Foursquare API has grown with it. To this end, the Foursquare team is doubling down again to make their API even friendlier for developers.

Kevin Haughwout is a contributor for the Social Media Week NY Blog and a social media strategist and blogger at the freedmarketer.  For more comments on this event, you can check out a cross-posting of this entry here.

On the Ground at Social Media Week: YouTube as the New Campfire

Lauren Siegel and Ali Pulver, two Creative Content Specialists  of the YouTube Zoo team at Google, presented a fireside chat about storytelling from YouTube at the Business, Media & Communications content hub at JWT.  They present a series of videos demonstrating the history and impact of the YouTube platform (including the first video ever posted to the site.)

What are the elements of a good story?  The great stories being told in the digital space today share these elements:

  • Informative
  • Entertaining
  • Conversational
  • Useful
  • Inspiring

A good story provides you with knowledge that you didn’t have before.  Siegel and Pulver shared a video from The Khan Academy, an online one-man classroom of 12 minute lectures on a variety of topics.  Even Bill Gates is a viewer of the lessons.  Pulver stressed the differentiated quality of The Khan Academy isn’t its channel; it’s that people are being educated by a passionate teacher and not a static textbook.

The Coco Cam from Conan O’Brien and Team Coco was presented as a perfect example as an entertaining video (two words: “dancing taco.”)   YouTube is also capable of extending the reach of live events through livestreaming.

Brands use YouTube to create conversations with their videos in order to change an existing conversation.  Pulver shared Toyota’s Swagger Wagon campaign as an example of a conversational campaign.  In addition to the entertainment value of a suburban couple rapping about their minivan, Toyota added user-generated videos to their page to encourage participation and viral growth.  An even better known campaign that leverages a variety of social channels including YouTube to engage and converse with customers is the Old Spice campaign.

Engaging citizens and public officials about political issues is a way that YouTube can be used in useful ways.  Around the recent State of the Union address, YouTube collected and ranked questions from users through their Moderator tool.  Then, their news editor got the “best” questions answered by President Obama in a video a view days after the address.  This gave YouTube a role in democratizing the role of information in politics and on the internet.  Another example shared was the YouTube Symphony Orchestra campaign, which not only offered viewers a chance to perform with the best of the best at the Sydney Opera House, but also offered master classes to aspiring musicians.

Finally, YouTube videos can give consumers the tools to succeed and create inspiring stories.  Users can make themselves into celebrities through their videos.  One example provided was the transformation of Pancea81 from a woman teaching how to apply makeup on YouTube to a makeup guru with her own makeup line at Sephora.  YouTube’s Life in a Day campaign provided an opportunity for many users to add parts of their story to a narrative that was featured at Sundance.

Using YouTube is ultimately about providing value to your audience, through one or more of these elements.  It’s easy to oversell the effect of social media tools, but the core of success comes from good storytelling.  If you are able to create a strong narrative, then you are primed to be successful.

Even as communication technologies have evolved, the way that people share stories with one another hasn’t really changed.  This is why it’s vital to look at more than just the newest channel technologies when aiming to engage with consumers.  A flashier presentation may catch attention, but there needs to be an emotional resonance in order to hold it.

Kevin Haughwout is a contributor for the Social Media Week NY Blog and a social media strategist and blogger at the freedmarketer.  For more comments on this event, you can check out a cross-posting of this entry here.

On the Ground at Social Media Week: Social Strategy Cage Match: Offense Vs. Defense

I’m having trouble figure out on which day of the week this evening falls.  My calendar says Tuesday, but tonight’s royal rumble screams “Sunday! Sunday! Sunday!”  Heavyweights from the leading digital agencies have gathered for a Social Strategy Cage Match.

David Berkowitz, the “Ultimate Dragon” (and Senior Director of emerging Media & Innovation at 360i), was raring to go, picking a fight with special guest King Kong Bundy.  King Kong Bundy, for his part, took out his frustration on the wordy moderator, Brian Morrissey, the new Editor-in-Chief at DIGIDAY.

The first case study regarded a television manufacturer that had a perception of poor quality (that may or may not have been accurate)

  • The offense had a two part strategy.  The first was to offer to replace the competing TV of naysayers with one of theirs.  The second was to set up a faux living room in a big box store and showcase the quality in a gaming competition
  • The defense wants to let people with poor quality TVs have their TVs replaced if they record a video of them smashing their old sets

King Kong Bundy wasn’t thrilled with the offense’s plan.  He ran across the floor to attack Ian Schafer, CEO of Deep Focus, pushing him out of his seat and onto a glass.  Berkowitz was clearly concerned about further attacks, as he brandished the broken glass as a makeshift weapon in case Bundy returned.

The second case regarded a high-end fashion brand that has introduced a low-price line that has gotten social media backlash from the customers of high-end lines.

  • The offense recommends widening the rift between the accessible and high-end lines.  They would move the high end web presence to a gated community
  • The defense believes that the line should embrace the low-price line and hold fashion shows in rural Walmart stores
  • Bundy offered another option, that the design should reach out to the naysayers and tell them “blow me!”

The third case study was the tragic case of the island of Agribar.  A new government is trying to rebuild tourism after a black eye from a violent populist uprising.

  • King Kong Bundy’s plan involved whiskey and hookers.  Sadly, this plan wasn’t discussed at length
  • The rest of the defense looked to focus on adventure and eco-tourism, and leverage a reality show connection.  The overall plan to to trickle out a lot of events in a short time to get buzz, and then backfill Google’s results to replace stories of populist revolutionaries mussing Anderson Cooper’s hair (hey, I didn’t make up the scenario, I’m just blogging about it!)
  • The offense looks to personalize the experience by showcasing the residents as tourists’ hosts.  Additionally, they want to incentive arts and film.  Finally, they want to leverage social gaming (offering exclusive island in Beachville and badges in Foursquare)

In wrapping up the session, the audience preferred the offense’s solution for each of the cases.  The moral of the day, however (besides never bringing a wrestler to a social media debate) was that you need both offense and defense to solve problems in social media.

Kevin Haughwout is a contributor for the Social Media Week NY Blog and a social media strategist and blogger at the freedmarketer.  For more comments on this event, you can check out a cross-posting of this entry here.

On the Ground at Social Media Week: Gamify Me: How Game Mechanics Have Infiltrated Marketing – What’s the Next Play?

Throughout this week we’ll be posting on the ground accounts from individuals that attended New York Social Media Week events.  To participate, email a blog submission to info@socialmediaweek.org

Check out the hashtag #swmgamify for more comments on the event.

David Rosenberg, the Director of Emerging Media at JWT New York and moderator for the panel, opened the panel by asking the audience who had played a game or used a gamified system today.  To clarify what he meant, he asked who had a Linkedin profile that was at least 90% complete and suggested that Foursquare users check in to try and earn an Epic Swarm badge.

Rajat Paharia of Bunchball shared how easy it was to transform his company from a gaming platform company to a gamification platform company.  Gamification is used to motivate and incentivized consumers.  Gabe Zicherman, the author of the book Game-Based Marketing, noted that gamification is a process, not a destination.  Samantha Skey, Chief Rewards Officer at Recycle Bank, provides an example of using game mechanics to drive a cause.  In Recycle Bank’s case, consumers are rewarded for taking green actions such as recycling or buying green products.  Social utility has allowed consumers to cooperate and compete with others in their graph and their neighborhood, driving deeper engagement.  Demetri Detsaridis, General Manager of Zygna New York, feels that the line between so-called “advergaming” and social mechanics has shifted.  Creating a project with game mechanics is not very different from creating a pure-play Facebook game.

Often the most compelling games are the ones where users don’t see them as a game.  Game mechanics are at its core just a collection of activities that add up to define a user experience.  A game is not necessarily a program with badges and leaderboards; a game is something designed to be fun and engaging.  Defining what a game such that it includes or excludes certain activities is no an important business goal, but creating an experience that will delight and surprise your customers (whether studios call them games or not) is critical.  The key is to find and leverage the core identity of the users so that they will support and propagate the game themselves.

Community matters in gaming most of the time, according to Paharia.  Even single-player “games” like Microsoft Office’s Ribbon Hero are driven by a user’s competitive nature.  Zicherman notes that brands have lost the ability to tell consumers what their preference is; consumers are now relying on the opinions and calls to actions of their peers.  Brands can use game mechanics however, as a system through which they can inspire a call to action.  Of course, strategy must be developed using these mechanics early in the process.  After all, there’s no paintbrush with which you can “gamify” something, Detsaridis notes.

There are problems with loyalty programs.  One, according to Skey, is that they are anticipated rewards.  Two, according to Zicherman, is that people can easily value the “free” stuff that they are receiving.  If they are receiving a free cup of coffee after ten cups, they know how much they value that cup (as much as the price they would have had to pay.)  On the other hand, how much do you value not having to wait in line for your coffee?  How much do you value being genuinely known and recognized at the coffee shop?

Designers of programs with game mechanics don’t need to put all the pieces in place (i.e., they don’t have to recreate Second Life.)  If you provide an opportunity for the user to experience their core emotional engagement with the brand, they themselves will bring what’s needed to make a game successful.  Games are about “bringing joy out in everyday life and fun in everyday places.”

If one wants to get involved in gamifying a system, there are processes to follow.  (Zicherman is producing a video to walk a marketer through this.)  The first two things to consider are to determine what your business objectives are and to define the journey that the user is on.  The brand becomes the Sherpa for the user journey.  If you can’t answer “what does the player get out of” the game, then you need to keep working.

Perhaps the trickiest concern about gamification arises from how new it is.  The panelist, four leading evangelists for gamification, continued to trip over definitions.  Like broader social media, gaming is ubiquitous and has played a part in society and communication for years.  Yet only now are we defining the science of gaming as it relates to customer engagement.

As more parts of our daily experience (both tasks that were traditionally online and those that are now just being tied into social networks) are tied to the community around us, gaming mechanics will play a more important role in the customer experience.  Even if you are not seeking to implement a gaming system around your campaign, it behooves every marketer to have an understand of what it can do.

Kevin Haughwout is a contributor for the Social Media Week NY Blog and a social media strategist and blogger at the freedmarketer.  For more comments on this event, you can check out a cross-posting of this entry here.

On the Ground at Social Media Week: The Social Web – Have We Arrived?

Throughout this week we’ll be posting on the ground accounts from individuals that attended New York Social Media Week events.  To participate, email a blog submission to info@socialmediaweek.org

Check out the event listing here.

The crowd slowly trickled into the Business, Media & Communications content hub, and quickly moved to the coffee carafes.  Ben Schein welcomed the audience to day two of Social Media Week New York and introduced Martin Green, the COO at Meebo, to open the panel with a presentation.

Social media has helped people come together and created a constant (often too constant!) connection to people that we know.  Green sees the future of the social web as social discovery.  Pandora and Netflix are two examples of current services that suggest new and relevant content to users based on algorithms and user preferences.  What if the web worked the same way?  What if we could filter new content and new information in this same fashion?

Initially, sorting web content could be sorted by people, but the sheer volume of content quickly outpaced the ability for a human to keep up.  The web then graduated to search engine algorithms.  While the search engines can keep up with the explosion of content, they fail at delivering context.  For example, Green as a road cyclist comes at a search for “cycling” from a different angle than a casual biker.  Context has been introduced through social sharing, but this is still not a perfect solution.  Our friends are a limited set who may or may not share the same interests, and even those who do are rarely the experts in the field.  The trick is to find a way to access these similar-interested experts.  If we can connect us with these disparate people, then a real discovery engine could be developed.

Green’s goal is to move from an algorithm-centric web to a people-centric web.  He sees a future where we visit sites that connect us by interests.  Logins for these kind of sites would only need a simple gesture (a Facebook Like, retweet, Pandora thumbs up, etc) and could judge our interests and perception shifts accordingly.  From a marketing standpoint, this would allow brands to build deeper relationships with their customers, and from a social standpoint, it would connect us with new individuals with the same tastes and interests.

Brian Morrissey of Adweek assembled a panel to continue to discussion.  The web has changed from Web 1.0 as it has moved from anonymity to personalization.  While much of the discussion this week is based on social media, it’s important to look at the larger “social web”.  Green, who had joined the panel, spoke about a few challeneges that the development of the social web is facing.  Data is siloed (music on Pandora, movies on Netflix, etc.), technology only develops so quickly, and people need to develop a comfort level with sharing.  Just as consumers have grown comfortable with Amazon making purchase recommendations, it’s likely that online behavior will develop to accommodate content recommendations.

Gerald Grech of Nokia sees mobile and mobile applications as an emerging growth area for the social web.  Some apps, like a “Gig finder” that recommends concerts based on the music on your phone and your current location, offer opportunities that were not possible on a desktop.  Still on the topic of changing paradigms, Morrissey asked Chris Phenner of TBG what happens when Facebook moves from a network to an environment, and what happens when a Google-centric world becomes a Facebook-centric world.  We’re moving to a world of sorting by graphs, be it Facebook’s open graph, Hunch’s taste graph, and so on, but the concept is still developing.

Morrissey believes that the principles of graphing are similar to those in search.  Search is perceived to be more effective than social sharing right now, though this may just be because search has had a head start.  One definite advantage that search has in driving conversions is intent; search requires an active role by the user, so they already likely have a purchase intent.  To facilitate conversions, Green prefers directed advertising on focused blogs to advertising on Facebook, as the visitors of the blog are likely to have stronger purchase intent while browsing.  Phenner sees an advantage to reaching out to consumers on Facebook, because the data sets are large enough to find correlations between behaviors.  This allows marketers target preferred groups for conversions.

One tool going forward that takes advantage of both the segmentation of the targeted blogs and the data of the open graph is the Facebook Connect application.  One Connect implementer that benefits strongly by using this is the new website that’s looking to build an audience.  Letting people authenticate without having to sign up for a new username and password lowers barriers to entry for that consumer.  Another implementer that benefits is one who wants to use the granular graph data to find potential customers to reach out to or upsell.

Every conference in this space has panels that cover the move from search to sharing.  I think that the key takeaway from this panel is that the future of contextually-appropriate sharing will borrow from more services that just Facebook, Twitter, and Digg.  As in many panels that we’ll see this week, speaker engagements are as much sales pitches as they are prognostications.  As long as you understand the biases, it’s an excellent opportunity to take advantage of the experience of the speakers.

Kevin Haughwout is a contributor for the Social Media Week NY Blog and a social media strategist and blogger at the freedmarketer.  For more comments on this event, you can check out a cross-posting of this entry here.

Live from Social Media Week: Keynote by David Eastman, JWT Worldwide Digital Director & CEO North America

Throughout this week we’ll be posting on the ground accounts from individuals that attended New York Social Media Week events.  To participate, email a blog submission to info@socialmediaweek.org

Social Media Week New York at the Business, Media & Communications content hub at JWT kicked off with a welcome by founder and executive producer Toby Daniels and a keynote speech by David Eastman, the Worldwide Digital Director of JWT and the CEO of JWT North America.

Eastman called his approach a “tapas” style overview, and like the meal he alluded to, his keynote left the audience hungry for more.

What is the wider social dynamic in the world today as far as social media goes?  The news focuses on Twitter and its role in the recent demonstrations in the Middle East, but this is a narrow view.  Young people worldwide are embracing a wide range of social networks and tools to spread their generation’s messages.  Similarly, innovative brands are leveraging new social media technology to engage their audiences at a much deeper level.  While some brands only view social media as a new channel for advertising, brand programs like PepsiCo’s PepsiCo10 are showing what social media is capable of.

There are risks inherent in how we embrace social media, especially those who see it as an end to itself, rather than a means for engagement.  Some people are spending so much time collecting online friends and followers that they’ve forgotten how to interact on a personal basis.  In other words, social media has the ability to make us less social if we use it poorly.  If we keep its social core in mind, though, we can use it to create an extra layer of identity,  For example, Eastman is excited about the idea of connecting an online presence to the real-world market, be it through RFID tags, StickyBits, and any other emerging technology.  These connections create the potential for new and innovative marketing programs and customer engagement.

Media companies and content providers are becoming one and the same, and in doing so they’re shifting the focus from social media to social business.  We’ve only begun this journey, but Eastman summed up the result very succinctly: “Social is not just the way that brands do business, it’s the business that they do.”

By focusing on the importance of using new channels to engage with customers (instead of just speaking at them through non-interactive means), David Eastman gave an excellent introduction to the week’s program and made a segue way into the panel on social gaming that followed.

We’re still just getting started in the social media space.  Speakers and panelists throughout Social Media Week will be explaining how brands, advertisers, and consumers are pushing the envelope in the social media space.  Stay tuned!

Kevin Haughwout is a contributor for the Social Media Week NY Blog and a social media strategist and blogger at the freedmarketer.  For more comments on this event, you can check out a cross-posting of this entry here.

On the Ground at Social Media Week: Earned, Owned, Paid Media

Throughout this week we’ll be posting on the ground accounts from individuals that attended New York Social Media Week events.  To participate, email a blog submission to info@socialmediaweek.org

Check out a description from the Social Media Week New York schedule event listing:

Following a lunch break at the Business, Media & Communications content hub, Microsoft hosted an event that explored advertising in the social media environment.  Ben Schiem, Global Director of Social Media Week welcomed the crowd and introduced Jenn Creegan from Microsoft Advertising to provide some examples of Microsoft Advertising’s media.

Creegan views paid media as a usage of creative resources to complement the earned media from the social networks.  One example that she demonstrated was an “interactivce filmstrip” that included five stages of the purchase funnel in a single interactive display ad.  The ad unit can be customized to display by default the funnel panel that is most appropriate to the page content while still allowing the user to explore the full filmstrip.

A second example demonstrated how social interactions can be integrated seamlessly into paid media.  Creegan described the implementation as “enabling a social ecosystem”, adding interactive elements, links to social media landing pages (on Facebook, Twitter, etc) and calls to action to the creative of the paid media.

Following her examples, Creegan introduced Loew to bring up the rest of the panel.  Kenny and Loew explained the importance of starting early and bringing all of your stakeholders into the creative decision-making process for media.  Halvorson believes that the focus must be on creative a user experience.  The decision-makers should come from a range of disciplines and must think agnostically about where the media is to appear.

Beeby sees all media as social; this should influence the design of any paid media piece.  This social viewpoint must also be applied at the campaign level as well.  Display advertisements can leverage earned media content (he gave an example of a real-time dynamic display ad that was driven by social sharing) and support a social campaign.  Personette extended this point, it’s not just media: all marketing is inherently social.  Earned media is essentially a jump ball that all media drivers should help grow.  She referenced the popular questions of “who owns social”, but chose to rephrase it as “who LEADS social”.  How do you transcend and build on the social ecosystem .Creegan’s focus remains on integration of paid and earned media in order to maximize relevance and effectiveness.

Social media in news is a tricky situation, Kenny explained.  The key for content is that the voice is genuine and accurate.  The most important thing in news is to be right, not necessarily to be first.  This extends to how news brands work with advertising.  He mentioned the Today show (specifically the fourth hour) as a challenging environment for integrating social media, because it differs from the traditional journalistic content.

Beeby asked the audience whether they curate their own voice on Facebook or whether they allowed agencies to do it for them.  He feels that agencies can be trusted to curate the brand voice as long as it’s real.  Brands and their partners must embrace any situation in social media, whether it’s positive or negative.  Personette described the issues of team structure: how do you arrange the players to authentically communicate your brand while satisfying the concerns of departments from legal to PR to customer service.  She singled out BBDO’s M&M’s page as an example of a Facebook page that does an excellent job in communicating the brand’s message.

Concerns over consumer data and privacy create a fine line for advertisers to walk.  Creegan believes that authenticity, consistency, and trust (for the brand and for the agencies involved) go a long way to mitigate these concerns.

Halvorson believes that advertising gives a brand a voice, but social media gives it a personality.  Brands often err when they get the voice right, but don’t succeed at personifying the brand.  Even when a brand has a strong personality, the stewards of the brand may not communicate that personality to the consumers.  If a brand is successful showcasing a distinct personality on its television commercial, for example, then it must also speak in this same personality on its Facebook page.

Beeby believes that social media and brand personas give brands an opportunity to surprise and delight consumers.  Personalities can give you additional license and freedom to share new parts of your message.  Halvorson is excited to see the discipline improve and the bar getting set higher and higher in social media on a continuous basis.  There’s been a huge improvement over the last year and even the last six months.  Social media is no longer just another channel; it’s now an always-on phenomenon.  With the increasing understanding and discipline, timelines are growing, and quality is increasing with them.  Beeby still sees a lag, though, between television and social media placement.  Personette attributes a lot of success in social media to consideration of social media early in the planning.  In other words, brands are starting to treat social media as a long-term strategy in the same manner that they treat other media channels.

In maintaining targeting and focus, social media needs to pay attention to horizontal and vertical portfolio management.  A family of brands like P&G, Halvorson notes, has unique brand presences and personas for each of their products.  Personette added that different content and personalities should be provided to different geographic segments, as well as for international and country-specific brand audiences.

While this panel shared examples and tactics for integrating paid and earned media, I believe that the greatest value came from the panelist’s discussion on high-level strategy.  One key discussion was Halvorson’s introduction of the idea of creating a fully-developed personality for your brand.  If this interests you, I’d recommend searching for “David Aaker Brand as Person” on your favorite search engine.  I studied his model extensively in business school, and it helps you flesh out a persona even when there isn’t an actual human face behind the brand.  Another key discussion was the one on portfolios in social media.  Once again this ties social media marketing into its offline marketing roots and reinforces the importance of defining segmentation, targeting, and postioning.

As the panelists reinforced several times, all media and all marketing is social.  That means that you can expect to get something out of the programming at Social Media Week regardless of the channel on which you focus your attention (online or off.)

Kevin Haughwout is a contributor for the Social Media Week NY Blog and a social media strategist and blogger at the freedmarketer.  For more comments on this event, you can check out a cross-posting of this entry here.