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Hybrid Landscape: Web Strategy & Social Media

Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself. Leo Tolstoy

“Consumers are beginning in a very real sense to own our brands and participate in their creation… we need to begin to learn to let go.“ A.G. Lafley, CEO and Chairman of P&G, October 2006

“Companies that don’t assign managers for social media will fail!” News Anchor on NBC’s Today Show and host of Dateline NBC, Rick Sanchez @ricksanchezcnn, 2009

The world we live in it is a hybrid landscape, where the combination of multiple different things, aimed at achieving a particular objective or goal/s is changing and evolving faster than ever. In different contexts, different meanings, technologies, platforms and so forth. This is true even more when it concerns web strategy and social media.

One of the most critical questions to ask is do mainstream media, companies, businesses cover the world fast enough? The answer is perhaps no. Do people get / use all the web technological potential they want and can from the traditional media? The answers is also no. And who or what is covering the world with the right angle and velocity? It seems web and social media and that is why its impact in our daily lives and work.

Community-powered news, entertainment, communications, personal managemnet and business platforms are changing irreversibly the patterns of web strategy, consumption, media, creativity, content and the distribution effect and how traditional media, news and business organizations gather and report on news, messages, PR, products and communication in general. This is precisely why Twitter and other social networks, platforms  such as Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, LinkedIn, Itunes and so forth are so successful. They facilitate the way you can share and manage our daily lives: personal info, data, information, videos, documents and the way we communicate, work and have fun with friends and peers. Ultimately they reach faster our goals and need of sharing and getting info fast enough.

This hybrid landscape where web, technologies are part of our live no more probably than the stones and other tools were part of the daily life of our pre-historic predecessors. But what is different is that this hybrid landscape bring with it new irreversible challenges both personal, professional and strategic faster than in any time in history.

This means that part of the way you / we, companies, businesses used to communicate, behave and innovate is irreversible changed. Innovation, communication, marketing and media behaving is now a work in progress never finished and implies eyes wide open and continually being updated. The key example of a company (and its respective brands) that is adapting to this new shift landscape is Procter S Gamble new advertising model. Chief executive officer AG Lafley start searching for product ideas all over the world and through different media and social media tools and sources. Have a look at the http://www.slideshare.net/vandda/rochester-ama-presentation where on can see how Proctor S Gamble looks for research and data about competitors, customers, in markets like China, in India, and then how to engage with partners to bring the new products and innovation to market. In this process they are using crowd sourcing and other ways to engage with customers.

Doing so a couple of reflections come up:

  • In an hybrid combination of different contexts and definitions one needs to learn how to be hybrid as well! We are no longer just one single closed person doing one single work all life of having the same aims, we evolve and need to adapt to new challenges and questions now.
  • This landscape mutates the modus operandi that needs to be continuous evolution, learning and adapting.
  • Measurement ROA (return and attention) and ROI (return on investment) are not the same and are both equally important and determine any business going forward. So the challenge is how to use the right measurements and behaviour strategy to calculate and manage ROI and ROA.
  • Practical experience shows that most of the times web strategy, social media ROI and ROA don’t come right away, it is a process of middle long term.
  • When just getting started any relevant strategy it’s helpful to be able to track all sources of content, media and web activity and special the social media efforts and attribute them web traffic sources through links shared in social networks, promotion codes, specific landing pages, etc.
  • Longer term, lifetime value of a customer is a key metric to understand the net results to leverage strategies.
  • Understand and engage customers and niche is ultimately the most important measurement you need to get and work always in order to reach your goals.

This is a new way of going forward towards the new flow of communication, marketing and business. The biggest dilemma and mutation in such scenario will be targeting correctly the involvement of the right audience, customers and their engagement in order to communicate the right message, in building a relationship with you, your products, your brand; this is the concept.

To engage with the right customer (reaching the key networks paramount), through social technologies gives feedback and spec to the communication, marketing and business strategy actions and facilitate how to manage old or new product and the relation with its customer that is now with all this new web, social media landscape an active participant in broad aspects of brand, message and product development. This of course is quite difficult to get, manage to most of the companies and brands but this is the way to go and there is no other way. The same applies for the way each one of us gets the info and communicates. So now it is not so much about changing the entire world but mainly about continuing changing ourselves.

In an article published in 2009 Brian Solis discussed the following “Is Twitter The CNN Of The New Media Generation?” http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/06/17/is-twitter-the-cnn-of-the-new-media-generation/ and he went through the following ideas: there is an “exasperation and opposition against traditional media networks (…)”; ‘We the people’ wanted real- time information (…)”. Also “If media is fragmented and distributed, perhaps what we’re now witnessing is that the framework for publishing news is physically and financially constraining its ability to evolve and adapt in “Twitter time.” He continues defending that the new challenges, shift is aiming towards the fact that: “It’s about real people. It’s about emotion. It’s about empathy. “ I add it is about using the right new tools, and its technology answering ASAP to all of that.

This is in fact the main subject present in the personal, media, marketing and business discussions in our days. The fragmented media and technological landscape based in digital and web platforms went and are going through a huge evolution (not revolution). One can talk about the evolution of Darwin taken to the last consequences online and most of the sacred rules about communication, PR, marketing, content, creativity, processes and even business are different or at least mutated in an i-volution (internet evolution). The principles can be the same or similar and ultimately everyone wants to communicate and reach their friends, peers, audience and of course engage, enter in some kind of dialogue and of course the same goes when doing businesses, trading.

We live in a time of where the “now-(crowd)-sourcing” evolves mixed with the last technologies that ultimately have to be kind of invisible and adapt organically in a kind of continuous total web optimization (from the SEO Search Engine Optimisation or Social Engine Optimisation). The now is all about part fueled by a complexity of sources, from conventional email, advertising mutating to digital, based in websites that have to communicate and interact with users and compete with billion of WebPages out there in the web sphere (and most of them, I am afraid are pure scam) social media, real time search and all the new forms of interact and engage online. And the more important is that now it is about the people “wor(l)d of mouth”, the buzz, the Tipping Point and the Black Swans that people have emotion about and empathy with.

People, all of us are empowered by media and are the stakeholders of the new digital landscape powering the ones of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other popular networks. But please no illusions most of people just use it because it is useful, trendy and because their friends are doing the same. The tipping point is to dismantle this new landscape and live with it, adapt and understand its trends through the right channels, opinion makers, call them elite, “informers” whatever that are the first users and that open the doors for this continuous “i-volution”.

All the new web social challenges is to manage, digest information, messages as it happens, communicate with the present tools we have with our goals in mind and be present in our world with the correct message, for us personally, for our peers,  the companies, organisation that we are part. The main pursuit of any web strategy, Twitter, SEO – Total Web Optimisation – and social media is to reach the right audience and engage with it.