I’ll come out of the closet and admit it. I’m a Neil Diamond fan. To be a fan, you must have seen The Jazz Singer. Now, I’m not here to discuss the merits or flaws of this movie but want to bring up one line that has always resonated with me. The young Neil is chatting with his father about his personal pop music desires vs. the strong familial pull to be a 3rd generation cantor in the synagogue. His father tells him, “If you don’t know where you come from, how do you know where you are going?” In short, respect the history while embarking on the future. This aptly applies to the current state of marketing when discussing classic vs. social. For the purpose of this post, I will be focusing on the last two circles below: Language & People Involved
When it comes to language, the journalist in me believes the classic and the social are best integrated together. I’ve spent years running media produced by my teams through a gamut of editors, lawyers and standards and practices experts. I think the classic marketing language is for the most part more legally safe and not open to much interpretation. The classic marketer creates their message, delivers it and you receive it. What social media can take from classic language is a vigilant need to be legally sound especially considering the platform is VERY public with a wide reach.
Overall however, the genuine, direct and at times, casual language of social media is more effective at connecting on a personal level. Antony Young tells us in Brand Media Strategy that people crave an authentic and organic experience. The language of social media is more personal and directed at YOU…not a mass audience. This short, personal and raw language is better suited to the main social media platforms. Twitter confines the user to a 140 characters. Vine is a 6 second production. Instagram is a 15 second production if you opt for video. Facebook allows more room for posts but brevity seems to work best.
There is also a larger latitude for language informality under the mass balloon of social media. The greatest example that comes to mind is the infamous “Poop Tweet” about Mercedes-Benz’s Smart Car.
It has to be written that the decision to respond and the content of the response is pure genius. There is a brilliance and wit to this exchange that catapulted it into viral greatness. As Bob Lord wrote in his June 12, 2013 Management Blog for Business Week, “…everyone from Buzzfeed to Mashable picked up the story. It even hit the top spot twice on Reddit in a 24-hour span.” I would add that the very basic language of “poop” also played a part in that. There is a shock value to seeing the word “crap” in media from a respected company. The popular topic of toddlers is typically taboo in a classic marketing campaign but Mercedes-Benz ran with it. According to motion designer and director Steven Tapia, the car company even tapped him for this provocative viral video. A brief warning for my readers, there is profanity in this video but it only further illustrates my point about language tolerance: The Poop Tweet Case Study.
As discussed in this week’s course materials, the world
is changing has changed!
When looking at classic marketing vs. social media marketing, I am a big fan of how involved everyone tied to the brand must be in a social media environment. Let’s face it, in this day and age, if you work for a company and have any kind of social profile, you represent that company, that brand. There is a great responsibility that comes with this but for the sake of this discussion, I am assuming that companies have hired professional, responsible adults. Having a stake in the message of your company fosters a deeper loyalty, a sense of pride and a greater stake in ownership of your professional brand. It also creates a vigilance among employees around the clock in keeping that social message on target. One great example is the Oreo Super Bowl Tweet. The power went out in the Super Dome in the second half of Super Bowl XLVII. Oreo tweeted this:
It turns out, according to Wired, Oreo had 15 people logged in and ready to go. The Super Bowl is such a multi-screen experience that the company had the foresight to have a team ready to interact. When the lights went out, it gave their social media minds a unique opportunity to engage with a huge audience that was already talking. This real-time response was smart, calculated and resulted in some great buzz for a really good cookie. It took more than just a “classic” marketing team of people to make this happen. The social team, the user and every Oreo employee involved scored big time with this play.
For all the engagement, personalization and reach of social media, it would not be what it is without some of the basics of classic marketing. You have to have a strong brand and a strong message. The mode by which that message travels has certainly changed but not without integrating the tools of the past. In short, Social Media knows where it came from…which is why it knows exactly where it’s going.