A new year has started and if 2012 was hard to predict, 2013 may be even harder.
One of the major shifts happening right now is the movement from social media to social business. I think there are at least two good reasons why this is happening. The major players in the social media space have been focused on building their platforms and adding users (Google+, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook etc.). Now they’re all looking for ways to make money. Secondly, brands are looking for ways to use the channels as more than just media, but as platforms for direct or indirect revenue streams.
It’s a natural maturing, but it’s also a consequence of the way many brands think. I have met many CMOs who have grown tired of being presented with yet another social media activity, just because it’s something everybody else is doing. Instead, they’re looking for social ideas that tie in with the company’s business goals.
Personally I’m a bit reluctant to only think about how social channels can add to the bottom line. My gut feeling tells me that if there’s too much business and not enough value for people, it can reduce the attractiveness of the platforms, which will obviously backfire on both the platform owners and the brands using them – a social suicide. Not to say that the brands shouldn’t think business, just that they should make sure that what they do makes sense for their brand and offers value to consumers/fans and potential customers. And by value I mean things like entertainment and utility as well as attractive offers.
I still think social media has a lot to offer in terms of branding. As social creatures, we love those stories about truly caring brands (and employees) reacting to complaints or making up for the misfortune of a loyal customer. One of my favourites right now came from one of our clients, LEGO. To me ,that shows the potential of social and also supports the strong belief we have at Advance that a company’s people are the key to building stronger relationships with customers. Employees are the brand.
I’m also hoping to see more relevant CSR in 2013. Since it’s something a lot of companies have already experimented with, it’s much harder to have an impact from CSR – basically because people are sceptical thanks to the “green washing” that has taken place. Fortunately, there are still examples of brands getting the credit they deserve simply because it’s in their heritage to do the right thing, or because of the passion of the owners.
It’s my hope that the right CSR initiatives will keep having an impact, not because they are marketed, but because they spread. Advance supports cancer initiatives and has done so for many years because our founder and several great employees have died from the disease. We have never really marketed our support because that’s not why we do it and never will be. But maybe it will spread and tell a story about the agency. And if it doesn’t, well I still think we’re doing the right thing.
Whatever 2013 will bring, you’ll be able to follow our progress on different channels. So give us a like on Facebook, follow us on LinkedIn, have a look at some of our work on YouTube or, better yet, drop by and meet us in person. We reckon we have the best agency coffee in town.
LEGO came out with some great results last week, driven in part by the huge success of its Friends theme, sales of which are double what was expected. Here’s a selection of the best news coverage here in Denmark:
BureauBiz highlights our role in the success of LEGO Friends
Berlingske pinpoints Friends as key to LEGO’s recent growth.
DR picks up on LEGO’s plans to increase hiring, again partly a result of Friends’ success.
A while back we invited some of LEGO’s top designers to the agency for a two-day workshop. The goal was simple – generate ideas for the future of Hero Factory and push each other’s creative boundaries.
The feedback from the session was hugely positive and more are planned.
Last week might as well have been the most important week of the year for LEGO fans in and around Copenhagen. From Thursday until Sunday, 16 truckloads of bricks were spread in Bella Centre, Scandinavia’s biggest exhibition and conference centre. Both the LEGO company and their fan builders were present to show their most spectacular creations. Pirates, space ships, knights… you name it.
Like last year, there was no way we were going to miss out on that. Jef took some pictures for your enjoyment.
The evergreen Christian Faber was the subject of a lovely profile in Politiken’s Careers section earlier this week. It’s a must-read for Bionicle fans but it doesn’t seem to exist online so I can’t link to it alas.