“If you roll back the clock 10 years, you’ll find that people used to be a lot more comfortable with artifice in marketing. Now we don’t allow companies to be companies any more—at least not in the social-media space.We expect to be dealing with people.”
FLIGHT COURSE: In The Dragonfly Effect, husband-and-wife authors Jennifer Aaker and Andy Smith suggest a “four-wing” model for those who desire to create change through social media: focus, grab attention, engage, and take action.
Empathize. The bigger the company or organization, the big-
ger the tendency for it to think that customers will take whatever it offers, Smith said. Its mindset is: “We are going to make this thing because we think it is the right thing to make.” Reverse that process, Smith advised, and find out what’s important to cus- tomers. He pointed to SXSW, the music, film, and interactive fes- tival held annually in Austin (see p. 17), as doing a great job of being true to its audience by allowing them to create much ofthe conference schedule. Be authentic. “If you roll back the clock 10 years, you’ll find
that people used to be a lot more comfortable with artifice in mar- keting,” Smith said.“Now we don’t allow companies to be com- panies any more — at least not in the social-media space.We now expect to be dealing with people.” Step out from the back- ground, Smith and Aaker write,“and put a name, a face, and a few personal facts behind your cause and you will see increased engagement.”
Some brands are challenged by one of the requirements of authenticity—that companies come clean when they make mis- takes, Smith said. It’s important for brands to recognize that admitting mistakes isn’t a sign ofweakness, and that apologizing for missteps can make brands stronger. Match media. Mix up the kinds ofmedia you use, and match
the message to the media. To create maximum engagement, organizations should leverage both the immediacy of online media and the impact of face-to-face events, Aaker and Smith advise. “There is no more visceral environment than in-person,” Smith said—and face-to-face events should maximize that,mak- ing the most ofthe opportunity to engage all the senses, includ- ing sight, sound, and taste. A brand is a reputation, but it’s also a relationship, Smith said.
Ideally, brands engage their constituents and give them ways to actively participate in co-creating the brand. “Control is an illusion at this point,” he said. “Embrace the chaos.”—BarbaraPalmer