Monday, December 17, 2012

Raise your [SQ] - It is The Key to Social Business Success

IQ, KQ... move over. Here comes [SQ]... and it's here to stay!

Intelligence Quotient, Knowledge Quotient... are both vital elements of success. But the future demands something more.

It's no longer about:

How experienced you are
How connected you are
How skilled you are
How educated you are
How global you are

Don't get me wrong. While all of that is important, what's business-critical today is:

How generous you are
How genuine you are
How emotionally aware you are
How giving you are
How human you are

It's all about how social you are.

At the risk of sounding like Deepak Chopra's social media clone, it's time to put more heart into business. Tom Peters' words have never rung truer:

"The soft skills are the hard skills."

In times of technological parity - where everyone has equal access to cutting-edge innovation and new tech - the future belongs to companies and individuals with a higher Social Quotient [SQ].

Social Intelligence (emotional intelligence in a social context) directly impacts business results:

  • How well do you relate to your customers? 
  • How well do you understand their needs?
  • How well do you connect with customers, employees, partners, suppliers...?
  • Sure, you service and support them. How well do you surprise and delight them?

How well you empathize and 'resonate' with stakeholders has a direct link to innovation.

Success today is still about getting 'Marketing 101' or 'Business Basics' right but... within a new socially, globally, digitally connected marketing ecosystem - that's the real game-changer!

When a business makes that transformation on the inside and outside, in heart and mind, body and soul... it becomes a Social Business.

A Social Business Model Integrates Social into Core Business Processes :- Internal + External
Image Source: Esteban Kolsky on

Why become a Social Business?

At its most simplistic level, here's how the old, linear, one-way business model used to work: Everything began internally as 'content' and ended up externally as 'customer experience'. Whatever happened between launch and purchase determined the project's success.

Today, our lives are played out in a social environment. Most popular activities - entertainment, marketing, games, events, news, sports, TV, commerce - have become two-way inter-activities.

In the 'social' business model, customers are co-marketers, co-creators of brand and content, co-idea generators. Through feedback channels, customers are shaping and designing products by telling businesses exactly what they like and what they don't. Truly, a community of co-innovators.

Sandy Carter's Social Business (#SocBiz) Agenda for Enterprise-wide Collaboration

By leveraging social technologies to create a culture of readiness internally, and enabling e-commerce via multiple channels externally, a social business performs better by being an effective listener of customer needs, and an efficient executor/ deliverer of consumer demands/ desires.

The traditional customer-to-company funnel is gone. Now, it's one, big pipeline with CRM, Sales, Marketing, R&D and Innovation - all processes going two-way simultaneously. With smarter use of data, better application of insights and real-time analytics, the pipeline continually gets refined.

However, once the social (digital, mobile, retail) technology is in place, everything depends on the quality of relationships. Good enough reason to become a social business, and raise your [SQ].

Two well-written pieces on the same line of thought:

“Social Intelligence describes the exclusively human capacity to effectively navigate and negotiate complex social relationships and environments."

"Someone with a high social quotient will have the ability to positively influence and inspire others to achieve, whilst also being able to prioritize their work to generate the biggest output."

Social Business starts on the inside and it starts at the top. 5 ways to explore the concept:

1) An excellent presentation by Jennifer Dubow:

2) Books:

Social Intelligence by Daniel Goleman

Return on Relationship (#RonR) by Ted Rubin

Socialized! by Mark Fidelman

Get Bold! by Sandy Carter

3) Follow Sandy Carter, IBM Vice President, Social Business Evangelism

To view all videos in the social business series by Sandy Carter, click here.

For more, watch Sandy's YouTube Channel or read her blog From Social Media to Social Business

4) Attend/ Follow this event: IBM Connect 2013

@IBMConnect (#IBMconnect) - Jan 27-31, Orlando, Florida

5) A Social Workforce Is A Smarter Workforce

a. Download this study by IBM's Institute for Business Value: The Business of Social Business.

b. Visit the IBM website for e-books, whitepapers, reports... dedicated to Social Business

c. The Rise of Social Business: Liking isn't Leading - Download this brilliant PDF

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

What in the World Are We Searching For? Google knows.

Smack bang on 12-12-12, Google has created an excellent digital initiative... Zeitgeist 2012

If, like me, you weren't too sure about the meaning of "Zeitgeist", here it is. I just Googled it!

After conducting an analysis of the Top Global Search Trends (aka keywords, in SEO speak), Google has neatly compiled the most popular search terms into a list of categories:

  • Searches
  • Images
  • Athletes
  • Events
  • People
  • Feature Films
  • TV Shows
  • Performing Artists
  • Consumer Electronics
  • Airlines
  • Google+ Hashtags

Also features a brilliant Interactive Map of moments that captured our attention in 2012, allowing you to explore and compare the most searched queries - by country and month.

Overall, I loved Zeitgeist 2012. Enjoyed the web design (UI/ UX) and relished the top-notch content. In one master stroke, Google lets us know they dominate "search", and what amazing stuff can be done with good data at hand.

But before you wander off, watch the Year in Review: A video timeline of 2012's greatest highlights. It'll make you laugh, cry, happy, smile...

Never stop looking. Never stop questioning. Keep asking. Keep searching... in 2013. And beyond!

[ps: Dear Google, the precise timing you chose to launch this cool initiative - 12/12/12 - has been noted. Well done!]

Monday, November 26, 2012

Buyral Viral and BS Buzzwords - Techies have fun too!

Thanks to LOLcats, punk'd-style clips and home videos galore on YouTube, there's no dearth of mirth or lack of humour in social media. But what is rare is...

For something funny to come from tech brands. Very often, most are esoteric in-jokes which only 0.003% of the target audience find uncontrollably hilarious.

However, with mainstream channels gone social (or rather, geeky stuff gone mainline), I happily hit upon two good ones - a short film and an ad - on the same day. I just had to re-share:

1) BuyRal: After Gangnam Style's dream success, now everyone wants to go viral. Solution: BuyRal - Professional Clicking. A good spoof on viral videos by Toronto based agency, John St.

2) BS Detector: Adobe Systems' send up of jargon-junkies and BS (bullshit) artists who profusely use marketing textbook terminology and infuse every sentence with the hottest buzzwords.

Kudos to Darren Woolley for blogging. Get more info on both videos on his site,

Source Credits with Gratitude:

Many Thanks for a fun read, Darren.
Shout out also to @AndrewArmour

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Why Social Media is a Lot Like Sex - {47 Shades of Grey}

With an oh-so-hot title like "Why Social Media is a Lot Like Sex" and a steamy hashtag like #SocialSmushing to boot, this was designed to get eyeballs popping. But shock-jock value apart...

Here's a naughty but nice presentation by Hubspot with funny one-liners and twisted analogies. "Everyone's doing it." "Survey says: Social Networking is harder to resist than sex." A fun read...

Read Shelly Kramer's comprehensive blog post on the cheeky but clever presentation.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Barack Obama wins US Election 2012 - A Victory for America, A Triumph for Tech + Social Media Strategy

This photo got 1.25 million+ Likes on Barack Obama's Facebook page - in less than 1 hour!

Barack Obama Wins Re-Election As 44th President Of United States!

BARACK IS BACK! Obama wins US Presidential Election 2012.

  • Three hashtags dominated by Team Obama - #Obama2012 #TeamObama #Ivoted
  • Driving @Obama2012 was a strategic, master-minded move by Democrats.
  • Friending top celebrities - Bruce 'The Boss' Springsteen, Jay-Z, Beyonce, Alicia Keys, Madonna, Oprah, Elton John, Robert de Niro... seriously... just look at this list!

"Four more years." - the most tweeted tweet ever - 327K tweets per minute !!!
Read more about how Twitter went nuts over President Obama's 3 word tweet here.

And this one, the first tweet from a very grateful Obama, minutes after his Election victory:

An important question was raised in this article by Venture Beat:

Q: What will 4 more years of Obama mean for the technology industry?

★ Highlights from President Barack Obama's Victory Speech after his historic win:

  • "For the United States of America, the best is yet to come"
  • "It is not about what can be done for us, it is about what can be done by us, together. That's what democracy is all about!"
  • "Your job is not done. In your role as citizen, your responsibility to this country does not end with the vote."
  •  "Our economy is recovering. A decade of war is ending. A long campaign is now over."
  • "Michelle, I never loved you more. I've never been prouder to watch the rest of the nation fall in love with you"
  • "For now, one dog is probably enough." (to his daughters)
  • "Hope is that stubborn voice inside us that insists a better future awaits us and keeps us moving towards it."

Visit other websites of related interest:

Nate Silver, a mathematician/ data statistician emerged a surprise winner of the US 2012 election.

Meanwhile, here's the 'real reason' why Barack Obama won. Hilarious Will Ferrell video - enjoy :)

As Barack Obama thanked Michelle Obama (publicly, generously, genuinely and emotionally), the Election 2012 victory for Democrats was also a big hit for women voters:

Here's a brilliant, original quote by Dee:

Life Happens... Winning Helps!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

30 Tips to Super-Charge your Presence on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the social selling platform of choice

The best business relationships start with a connection. From there, follow-up, build and develop. But first, you have to start somewhere. LinkedIn is a great place to begin.

LinkedIn is the world's go-to place for professional networking and these statistics from LinkedIn's Marketing Solutions Blog show it is the social selling platform of choice for businesses worldwide.

  • 80% of B2B social media leads come from LinkedIn.
  • 94% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn to distribute their content.
  • 50% users are more likely to buy from a company they engage with on LinkedIn.
  • 77% of B2B marketers plan to increase their use of LinkedIn in the future.
  • 63% of marketers rate LinkedIn the most effective for B2B social media.

Creating your All-Star Profile

  1. Upload a clear, professional-looking profile picture. (Of yourself. Not your pet.)
    "People trust those they can see more easily. A clean photo adds credibility to your LinkedIn profile" - Cliff Rosenberg, Managing Director, LinkedIn, SE Asia and Australia
  2. When you set out to create your profile, follow LinkedIn's step-by-step guide to complete your profile. LinkedIn has clear prompts and pop-ups to guide you through the set-up.
  3. A good way to learn the basics and pick up a few time-saving tips is to look at "All-Star" profiles - highest rating given by LinkedIn to complete and compliant profiles.With humility, my LinkedIn profile is All-Star. Click here to take a look. Got questions? Feel free to connect.
  4. SEO Tip - Google loves LinkedIn. Use industry-relevant keywords in your profile. A 100% complete profile is a great way to raise your search engine ranking.
  5. Social Recruitment: As the world's #1 network of professionals, LinkedIn is ideal for employment seekers & talent scouts. The first place a recruiter will look up a prospect.
  6. More than a static resume, your LinkedIn profile is a dynamic document. Update it regularly. As an active forum of global business connections, it is a vital part of your personal branding and online marketing toolkit. "Brand" yourself in the summary.
    "On LinkedIn, you are your own CMO."
     - Reid Hoffman, Chairman & Co-founder, LinkedIn
  7. Write a neat summary of who you are as a professional, in first-person, Channel your inner voice. Mention what you're passionate about, key drivers, strengths, specialties...
  8. Enhance your summary by adding media: videos, images, documents, presentations
  9. Add publications, projects - don't forget to credit your collaborators / contributors
  10. Ask people you know well and have worked with, for LinkedIn Recommendations.

Build your 'Power Influencer Network' with LinkedIn

Formatting and optimizing your LinkedIn profile

  1. Improvement is a continuous process. Go over section-by-section and refine each. (Pssst... you can drag and drop to re-arrange entire sections of your LinkedIn profile.)
  2. Download LinkedIn's suite of mobile apps. They provide tremendous value on the go.
  3. On LinkedIn Pulse, select the topics to tailor your own daily feed of quality content. Follow the world's top Thought Leaders. Read / share their posts.
  4. Use all the free resources available to you. There's LinkedIn Blog to research LinkedIn topics, the Help Center for any help you need, Answers, Polls...
  5. Update your 'Skills and Expertise' so connections can endorse you. Return the favour.
  6. Under LinkedIn Profile settings (i) Tick the box to display your Twitter ID on your profile. You can add more than one. (ii) You can also turn on/ off your activity broadcasts.
  7. Edit and customize your Public Profile URL (eg.
  8. Explore the top navigation bar in detail. Each tab opens a meticulously designed drop-down menu offering a host of useful applications.
  9. LinkedIn owns Slideshare. Sync it with your profile. A vast information resource, it is one of the most underrated business apps / presentation tools out there.
  10. Once your personal profile is in order, apply the same best practices to build your company profile via LinkedIn Company Pages: Link your website and twitter feed to the company page. Update the page regularly. Inform all employees to get on-board, connect with and contribute to the company page. Also, promote the page on your other business networks.

Engaging and connecting on LinkedIn

  1. IMPORTANT - When sending out a request to connect, edit and personalize your invitation every time, to suit the recipient and match the occasion. (Note: To personalize invites on LinkedIn's mobile app, tap on the 3 vertical dots on the top right of the profile page.)
  2. Regarding 'who to connect with' on LinkedIn, you don't have to meet everyone in real life before you accept their invitation. Then again, you don't have to accept all invitations. (You can reply to invites before accepting.) Who you should connect with on LinkedIn is your call, but it comes down to business/industry relevance, interest and familiarity. Some people are LIONs (LinkedIn Open Networkers) and are open to connect.
  3. Do not hawk or hard-sell your wares on LinkedIn, or spam your connections en masse. While it won't fetch you the desired response, it may tarnish your online reputation.
  4. Be courteous to connections. Respect their privacy. Don't be "salesy". Say Thank You. Be helpful. Add value. (This tip applies to every Social Media Engagement Policy.)
  5. Pro Tip: Use your Privacy Settings. Tick/ Untick those little boxes for better control.
  6. Keep your content fresh - post updates regularly, at a frequency that suits you best. Never ever plagiarize or pass off other people's content as your own. The Internet does not forget!
  7. Integrating LinkedIn with Twitter: While posting updates on LinkedIn, tick the box to post to Twitter at the same time. (i) Remember to allow Linkedin access to your Twitter account under your Twitter Settings/ Apps. (ii) Do bear in mind, only 140 characters of your LinkedIn update will display on Twitter. If posting a link, only 118.
  8. Join LinkedIn Groups specific to your industry / field of interest. Ask questions in group threads. Give answers. Engage in (comment, like) discussions you find relevant.
  9. Groups: (i) While posting a comment to Groups, untick the box if you do not wish to be notified by email for every comment following yours. (ii) Via LinkedIn Group Settings, choose the delivery frequency of the digest emails for group activity (weekly/ daily).
  10. Check "Who's viewed your profile" regularly for leads and people interested in your profile. (LinkedIn Premium or LinkedIn Business (paid accounts) afford greater functionality.)
      • Hope this helps 'super-charge' your profile and you too.
      • Since we're always learning, please share tips/ feedback.
      • If you have any questions, just ask. I'm happy to reply. 

As with most social tech platforms, LinkedIn too is constantly upgrading and adding new features. To get a good grip (and I can't stress this enough), you must invest the time to experiment and explore the many tabs and functions. Watch video tutorials, if starting out.

When it comes to learning new technology or social media, I often use a 'swimming' analogy: No one's ever learnt it by reading or talking about it. You have to get in the water and get wet.

Dive in. Keep doggy-paddling. To be good at anything, you have to give it a shot. To be great at anything, as business coach Des Walsh would say, you gotta have... "stick-at-itness".

  • LinkedIn's first ever TV commercial - voice over by Jeff Weiner, CEO, LinkedIn

  • Tweet-chat with Koka Sexton, LinkedIn's Social Marketing / Social Selling Guru


Thursday, October 11, 2012

What's Going On? All in 2 decks, 1 event, a link and a song

Feeling zonked? Here's your wake-up call.

Social Business, Big Data, Mobile Apps, Content Marketing, e-Commerce, SCRM, Social Collaboration, Data Analytics, Digital Advertising, Customer Experience Management... whew!

With so many buzzwords out there in the digital ecosystem - each with tons of content, and changes within each coming rapid-fire - if it all leaves you feeling a bit zonked and wondering: What's Going On?... worry not! You can find it all here in 2 decks, 1 event, a link and a song.

2 Decks

Keep calm and carry on through these two slide decks - the best 360-degree panoramas of 2012:

  • The State of the Internet - Henry Blodget and Alex Cocotas of Business Insider provide a comprehensive overview of the digital industry. [ Slide Deck ]

  • Internet Trends - Landmark presentation by Mary Meeker and Liang Wu citing the need for re-imagining business models, thanks to mobile and social. [ Slide Deck ]

1 Event 

Oct 21-25, Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas

An event to discover what businesses are focusing on now - and what's coming next. Think Big.

Follow the IBM event on Twitter @IBM_iod. Track it via hashtag #IBMiod. This multi-track event includes in-depth forums on Information Management, Business Analytics, Enterprise Content Management and Leadership - featuring leading speakers and keynote sessions. Must Attend.

A Link

If you're still hungry for more, here's a soup-can full of finely curated quality content - the best of the web in 2012 all rolled into one blog post.

Bonus: Two eBooks loaded with tips and insights from digital/ social media marketing experts:

  • Enterprise Social Media Management - [ Download free eBook ]
    Best Practices from 30 Thought Leaders on Social@Scale compiled by Sprinklr

...and a Song

After all that, if you still find yourself wondering "What's Going On?" ...

you can choose to hum along with Marvin Gaye or vent it all out with The 4 Non-Blondes


Just ease your nerves in sweet surrender to the charms of this soothing song.

I still haven't found what I'm looking for - U2 (Joshua Tree, 1987)

Whatever you choose to do, don't settle for status quo. Keep hunting. Keep searching. As Steve Jobs said "Stay hungry. Stay foolish." And as Einstein advised: "Never Stop Questioning".

* Many Thanks to @PRNews for the picture of the 'slightly zonked' girl (above) from their Twitter caption contest.
* Huge Thanks to Shelly Kramer of and Amy Vernon of Internet Media Labs for the links to the eBooks.
* Special Thanks also going out to U2 for making the most amazing music over the years. 36 and still going strong.

Monday, October 1, 2012

THINK: a mobile app + a film to make the world work better

The 5-step Path to Human Progress: Seeing, Mapping, Understanding, Believing, Acting

I recently downloaded the IBM THINK app - an approach to making the world work better.

A wealth of information on the app with rich display and great views, it's a celebration of the fascinating world we live in. Easily the most loaded (if not downloaded) app I've seen.

An excellent learning tool for kids (and adults), the app is a fun way to snack on interesting facts about remarkable human achievements.

The THINK app features a cool, short film introduction. Beautifully shot and edited, it narrates, through 4 distinct stories, the systematic approach mankind takes towards advancement.

The app (and the film) explore how, over time, human progress is shaped by a patterned process:
Seeing --> Mapping --> Understanding --> Believing --> Action.

Free Download: Available for iPad and Android tablets,  you can download your THINK app here.

Think Exhibit, NYC - Celebrating IBM's 100 Years (1911 - 2011)

The app was born out of IBM's Centennial Exhibit in New York to explore the enormous potential of science and information technology to make the world work better. Learn more here.

Watch more screenshots of the app on the Flickr photostream here.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Brands and Branding - Rita Clifton & John Simmons (Book)

For some companies, the brand can account for as much as 70% of their total market value.

I'm reading an insightful business book on the ever-fascinating subject of Brands and Branding - (The Economist Series: Marketing/ Advertising).

Though written in 2004, it's of great relevance today as it outlines the founding principles of branding and explains its economic, political, social and business significance.

An all-round look at the art, science and commerce of brand-building - and its close link to sustainable value and wealth creation - contributed by 17 marketing and communications experts.

An excellent book via the venerable Economist, 'Brands and Branding' is a must-read for senior marketers, brand management and business executives. A great learning source of basic branding guidelines to apply them in today's digital / social media marketing ecosystem. A snippet:

The three attributes of great brands: (1) Built from a great idea; (2) Hold true to core purpose and values; (3) Employ brand as the central organizing principle.

The gist of the book is succinctly summed up in this Rita Clifton quote:

Bonus: Read / Download your free Chapter from the Book: The Future of Brands

Friday, September 7, 2012

Q: What differentiates a brand online? A: ________.

FACT: Manufacturers make products. Marketers build brands. They build brands on promise and promotion, which in turn, shape consumer preferences and perception.

In the offline world - the brick and mortar one we live in - we can easily tell the difference between brands based on touch, taste, sight, smell, sound. For example:

  • Coke - Pepsi: different formulas, different taste
  • Nike - Adidas: different material, different fit and feel
  • BMW - Mercedes-Benz: different manufacturers, different features
  • Colgate - Close-Up: different ingredients, different cleansing agents
  • Apple iPhone - Samsung Galaxy: different tech (iOS - Android), different looks


Q: What differentiates a brand online? What separates one from the other in the virtual world?
A: Quality Content.

Quality Content creates Social Capital, and in today's digital marketing ecosystem, that's your Brand Equity.

Brand differentiation via content. That's what makes Content Marketing vital to digital marketers.

In my last article, I wrote about Mastering Content Marketing - in 7 steps and, how Managing the Content Loop holistically can help build brand awareness, engagement, advocacy and loyalty.

Some organisations driving their business and achieving good results via Content Marketing are:

  • IBM is doing great brand work via their Let's Build a Smarter Planet initiative.
    See more on YouTube.

  • Coca-Cola has a Liquid and Linked Content Strategy upto 2020 - a strategic focus on brand-based story telling. Coke has 50+ million likes on Facebook. Gulp!

Watch Coca-Cola Content - Part Two here.

Coca-Cola's London 2012 Olympics 'Move To The Beat TVC' - a musical collage of sports sounds.
Coke's Olympic Games anthem Anywhere in the World ft. Mark Ronson & Katy B.

Inspirational Leadership :: Simon Sinek - How Great Leaders Inspire Action

Information is Beautiful :: David McCandless - The Beauty of Data Visualization

Another brilliant TED Talk
The musical genius that is Benjamin Zanders is sure to leave you inspired ~ Shiny Eyes

  • NIKE - just does it. Steps up to the plate time and again with fresh creative content.

  • SAMSUNG - a recent player, it's turning up the brand heat via sponsorship & celebrity endorsement. Appointing David Beckham as its Olympics Brand Ambassador was a casting coup. Killer strategy!

  • The Olympic Games - the Holy Grail of Marketing Strategy & Creative Content

It'd be fair to say the recent London 2012 Olympics were a festival of Content Marketing, with every brand (and their ad agency) bringing their best to the fore. Here's a standout example from P&G.

Speaking of Olympic-based content, here's my detailed blog on #London2012 Olympics.

Another post on the Games I really liked is Tapping into the Human Spirit on Digital Age of Marketing by Tami Cannizzaro, Director of Marketing, IBM, New York.

  • The Rise of Visual Content - Pictures, Pins, Photos. Images, Instagrams, Infographics. And... Video.

While content is a many-splendoured thing, in recent times, visual content has gained prominence.

  • Events

With Content Marketing going mainstream, events dedicated to CM are going full-house:

Although not solely on content marketing, two events that cover all areas of the digital ecosystem:

To sign-off with quality content par excellence, here's a visual idea that's a case study in branding:

Iconic poster ad for Levi's Black with one of the most memorable advertising slogans ever - by legendary copywriter, John Hegarty - the 'H' in BBH. While the ad is about irreverence, free-spirit and attitude, nothing quite says Brand Differentiation like a black sheep zagging the world. 

All-time creative classic!

Monday, August 27, 2012

If you're not marketing content, you're not marketing.

Content Marketing builds brands. Here's how to master the Content Loop - in 7 steps:

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, 
Blogger, Foursquare, Quora, Spotify, Tumblr, Path, Slideshare, Yammer...

Social Media is in the air and it's crystal-clear Content Marketing is where the action is now. Digital marketers worldwide strive hard to keep up with the cyclical demand for quality content.

Most social media-savvy marketing managers recognize quality content as a web traffic (and business) driver, and content marketing as digital innovation (and ultimately, revenue generation).

However, despite its vital importance, when I read about content, it’s mostly the same old stuff:

Content is King… (so? what’s new?)
In these days of user-generated content, everyone’s a content producer… (oh! really?)
Content is not about quantity, it’s about quality… (anything else?)

And then, right amid the haze of cliché-geddon, I spotted... a fresh, new thought. A-ha!
“Marketing is not everything today. But… everything is marketing.”

That made me stop and go hmmm! On the same line of thought, my take is:

“Content Marketing is not everything today. But, everything is Content Marketing.”

  • Like when you uploaded the office party photos on Facebook and got 84 comments and 103 Likes!
  • Noticed how the London 2012 Games were aptly called the world’s first mobile-social-online Olympics
  • Or how every big news event (entertainment, political, cultural) also gets relayed in a multi-screen environment (PC, smartphone, tablet, TV), or
  • How most ads now end on www, facebook, @, youtube, blog, AR, or a QR code

The above may seem disparate but from a brand marketer’s outlook, it is all content marketing WIP. The term ‘content’ seems a bit of a broad stroke owing to its multi-dimensional nature.

Simply put, if you’re promoting your business via any media - offline or online - you’re creating branded content.

Life itself is a great source of stories. Owing to easy access and all-pervasive nature of social media, we are constantly creating content by expressing our like (and dislike) for everything happening to or around us.

And if that sounds too much like a Forrest Gump quote, here’s a more formal definition:

Content Marketing is the process of generating marketing and communication material, identifying target markets, and transmitting the material to specific audiences via paid, owned or earned media.

The Creative Objective is to regularly come up with material in context which the audience finds relevant enough to opt-in to receive, compelling enough to share with friends, and engaging enough to demand and come back for more - thus building a community around content.

The Marketing Objective is to amplify reach for all content i.e. make it go viral. Long term, create positive experiences via content association, to increase brand engagement, advocacy and loyalty.

Golden 2-way Principle:
Add value to your community. Harness collective intelligence to your brand.

Master the Content Marketing Loop - in 7 Steps

  1. Create
    Always craft content with your audience in mind. Be consistent. Create a rhythm.
    Keep it easy-to-digest. Packaging and presentation matter. Build your creative skills.
  2. Curate
    Excite, engage, educate, entertain your audience with fresh content to avoid fatigue.
    It’s not feasible to create content all the time. Identify and Organize quality sources.
  3. Integrate
    Synergized brand content across all channels increases impact, reach and response.
    Today's fragmented media landscape calls for integration across multiple touch-points.
  4. Socialize
    The 4 S's of Content Distribution and Delivery: Searchable. Shareable. Social. Simple.
    Listen, Interact and Engage with your audience. Learn and Respect their preferences.
  5. Analyse
    4 M's of Data Analytics: Measure. Monitor. Moderate. Modify. Decide your KPIs first.
    Build a feedback channel. Focus on insights. Select tech/ tools that work best for you.
  6. Optimize
    Unify links and organic keyword-based SEO with social search, content and offline SEO
    Optimize content for people, not search spiders. Think mobile-friendly games, apps...
  7. Monetize
    Define ROI metrics - eyeballs, brand engagement, retail sales, customer acquisition
    Evolve into a social business model - align content marketing with your sales funnel

Holistic Content Management - Working the Content Loop

Holistic Content Management is the way forward. It’d serve your business well to go about it systematically, and implement these 7 steps to manage a branded content marketing strategy. 

Working the Content Loop effectively takes multi-disciplinary skills, and calls for cross-functional teams to come together.

For best results, social collaboration is a pre-requisite. Internally at first, between marketing and tech; then across the company; and finally, externally across the business!

Point worth noting: Social change occurs gradually as it involves a cultural paradigm shift.

Three organisations achieving rock-star results via the Content Marketing Loop are IBM with their Smarter Planet initiative, Coca-Cola (Liquid and Linked Content), and (TED Talk Videos).

And where there’s content, there’s data. Given the sheer scale of content out there, it generates mind-boggling stats which make perfect fodder for number freaks and data geeks to use in their presentations - making audiences pop their eyes and drop their jaws.

Be aware! The numbers in themselves are static snapshots. The gold lies in key consumer insights, buying patterns and market findings from real-time data mining & analytics. Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome… Big Data.

In today’s content-hungry, data-driven ecosystem, digital marketing operates on two dimensions:
Social Collaboration: the new world of work from enterprise collaboration to social business
Information Management: making sense of the resultant wave of big data being generated

At a time when businesses worldwide are going from social media best practice to social business transformation, content marketing is a forward step in the evolution of the enterprise of the future.

Quite fittingly, the Content Loop is now the quintessential multi-tool in every digital marketer’s kit. Because if you’re not marketing content…

- Amar Trivedi | @Mr_Madness

Download your free copy of an eBook on Content Marketing:
How to Feed the Content Beast (without getting eaten alive!)

(Article originally published in AdMedia, August 2012 - Branded Content)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Master the Content Marketing Loop in 7 steps

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, 
Blogger, Foursquare, Quora, Spotify, Tumblr, Path, Slideshare, Yammer...

Social Media is in the air and it's crystal-clear Content Marketing is where the action is now. Digital marketers worldwide strive hard to keep up with the cyclical demand for quality content.

I've put down a few points in AdMedia to help businesses leverage maximum benefit from branded content. If you use digital technology to promote your brand, I hope you find value in this article:

Holistic Content Management: Mastering the Content Marketing Loop - in 7 Steps

Here's your FREE eBook: How to Feed the Content Beast created by the amazing Curata.

As a content marketer, you know that having, fresh, relevant content is the key to your success. Marketers now have to think like publishers - we have shifted our thinking from outbound to inbound but GOOD content takes time.

In this ebook, you'll learn how to balance and blend the two halves of content marketing - creation and curation (with a foreword by Ann Handley.) - Download free ebook here. And if you're still curious about Content Curation, here are some more free eBooks.

Well... now you know all about Content Marketing, here's what not to do:

Success is always a team effort. For this Content Marketing article, I owe Many Thanks to:

Links to my previous articles:

Notes: The business logic behind Content Marketing (CM):

  1. Quality Content > creates Brand Engagement > leads to Consumer Intent to buy/ recommend. Think Content before Intent > Creative Expressions before Online Impressions.
  2. My CM Mantra: Create with passion. Market strong. Add value to others. Can't go wrong!
    Excerpts from my Q&A with Jeff Bullas in Sydney - Top Tips on Content Creation

Updated Content: I'd like to share some of the better articles I've come across on CM:

  • An authoritative and informative presentation from Lee Odden

Cutest [Infographic] by Iain Calvert on Google Panda & Penguin updates to their search algorithm:

The difference between Google Panda & Penguin Infographic
Reload Media

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Cream of Content - Best of the Web 2012 [Presentations, Videos, Blogs, Links]

Cream of Content Soup - made from the finest ingredients curated online. Bon Appetit!

Presentations are back. Slideshares are hot again! Here's a serving of the very best of web content from Jan to July 2012. Loaded with insights and rich with nourishing learning value.
1) KPCB Internet Trends 2012 - Mary Meeker's presentation at AllThingsD's D10 Conference - has become a much-awaited annual event now!

View more presentations from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers

KPCB’s Mary Meeker & Liang Wu: 1) review Internet stats and notes that Internet growth remains robust and rapid mobile adoption is still in early stages; 2) run through a number of examples of business models that are being re-imagined and re-invented thanks to mobile and social; 3) highlight mixed economic trends and 4) observe that while there’s a lot to excited about in technology, there are things to be worried about regarding America’s financial situation.

2) The State of Social Media & Social Media Marketing in 2H 2012.
An excellent compilation by Esteban Contreras, Social Media Marketing Manager, Samsung USA

3) The Social Media ROI CookBook... by Jeremiah Owyang of The Altimeter Group.

There's a treasure of value in them Slideshares. If time permits, also see his other presentations:
  • The Converged Media Imperative
  • The State and Future of Social Business

4) Understanding Social Business Excellence - A classic! IBM Social Business Strategist, Rawn Shah's in-depth presentation:

While on Social Business, I'd also recommend:

5) Mobile Marketing: Here are the links to two [SLIDE DECKs] - the best on the future of mobile - from the Business Intelligence Team at Business Insider:

For more quality content on mobile (apps, M-Com, tablets, mobile web), click here.

6) Big Data

The better informed we are, the better equipped we are to face the future. On that premise, this video shows how data positively impacts everything - society, government, business, game plans...

Here's a website full of insights on the subject:

However, the simplest explanation on Big Data is by IBM's Chief Scientist of Data Analytics, Jeff Jonas. A 10-step Q&A style innovation explanation. Read it here.

7) This eMarketer presentation stands out because it sees Social Media Marketing not as a homogenous service, but as an expert, bespoke solution for key industry verticals. When it comes to social media, it's different feeds for different folks! This webinar deck exemplifies it.

Social Media Marketing for Verticals—What Works for Key Industries from eMarketer

Mum was right. Soup is good for you. Drink and drive... your brand and business :-)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Sydney Coffee Mornings - Getting Social in Surry Hills

A highpoint of our Sydney trip was meeting with our good friend, Markus Hafner in Surry Hills.

Markus is a Board Member at VibeWire - an organisation that exists to make sure that young people are included (and able to participate) in conversations that matter - a noble mission!

MAD in Sydney = Markus, Amar and Dee

Markus and Me - looking dapper :-) outside Lion Cafe, Surry Hills

Markus' good mate, Gavin Heaton hosts Sydney Coffee Mornings - a gig I'm looking forward to attending. (Check out the slideshare below for a sneak preview.) Gavin, a well-known member of the digital and social media marketing community keeps a cool blog at Servant of Chaos. See it.