Mob­bie Nasir of We Are So­cial be­lieves that so­cial ideas must be at the heart of mar­ket­ing strate­gies

And that means more than us­ing so­cial me­dia for the sake of it

Campaign Middle East - - FRONT PAGE - Mob­bie Nasir is the chief strat­egy of­fi­cer at We Are So­cial

Un­sure of your role in life? Feel like you don’t know the “real” you? If you an­swered yes to the pre­vi­ous ques­tions, you may be ex­pe­ri­enc­ing an “iden­tity cri­sis”. From be­ing the new cool kid on the block to the re­cent tantrums over Face­book’s de­clin­ing or­ganic reach, the so­cial me­dia in­dus­try is re­act­ing to a chal­lenge to its “sense of self”.

Bor­row­ing from the de­vel­op­men­tal psy­chol­o­gist Erik Erik­son, who coined the term “iden­tity cri­sis”, res­o­lu­tion of the cri­sis de­pends on achiev­ing a bal­ance be­tween a state of com­mit­ment and ex­plo­ration. Com­mit­ment to the prin­ci­ples of what has al­ways made so­cial me­dia a pow­er­ful part of the com­mu­ni­ca­tions mix, and ex­plo­ration of what change might en­able while re­main­ing grounded in those orig­i­nal prin­ci­ples.

It will be in­ter­est­ing to see how the role of paid me­dia evolves in relation to so­cial me­dia, but it would be a mis­take to re­cast so­cial me­dia en­tirely as an ad­ver­tis­ing-led, mass-dis­tri­bu­tion chan­nel. In­stead, we should re­main com­mit­ted to fo­cus­ing on how we place “so­cial think­ing” at the cen­tre of mar­ket­ing strate­gies. It’s about cre­at­ing ideas based on un­der­stand­ing con­sumers not just as in­di­vid­u­als but as mem­bers of con­nected com­mu­ni­ties. It means un­der­stand­ing the needs and mo­ti­va­tions of peo­ple, and ac­ti­vat­ing th­ese through cre­ative so­lu­tions that en­cour­age con­nec­tion, con­ver­sa­tion and shar­ing.

Such in­sights are what takes com­mu­ni­ca­tions from be­ing in­ter­rup­tive con­tent that, in the words of Banksy, “butt into your life, take a cheap shot at you and dis­ap­pear” to ideas worth shar­ing. But, sadly, many mar­keters still be­lieve a so­cial idea is some- thing that is just ex­e­cuted on so­cial me­dia – in­di­cated by the all-too-common prac­tice of tak­ing a tra­di­tional broad­cast ad­ver­tis­ing idea and at­tempt­ing to “adapt” it for so­cial chan­nels. Such ef­forts, at worst, cre­ate the epic so­cial me­dia fail mo­ments of our in­dus­try and, at best, have no im­pact at all.

Plac­ing so­cial think­ing at the cen­tre of mar­ket­ing re­quires a shift in how brands and agen­cies col­lab­o­rate, a shift in mind­set in terms of how ideas work and a depth of un­der­stand­ing of what makes an idea truly so­cial. We Are So­cial was cre­ated with this in mind. Our an­a­lysts work quan­ti­ta­tively to pro­vide our teams with an un­der­stand­ing of com­mu­ni­ties and their be­hav­iour. Our com­mu­nity man­agers give qual­i­ta­tive feed­back based on the daily ob­ser­va­tions of con­ver­sa­tion dy­nam­ics. Our strate­gists use th­ese in­sights to en­sure we’re reach­ing con­sumers in the most ef­fec­tive way. And our chan­nel-neu­tral cre­atives pro­duce ideas that peo­ple want to talk about. Ev­ery part of the agency has been built from the ground up to cre­ate truly so­cial ideas.

Our “#livey­oung Jan­uary” cam­paign for Evian shows how so­cial think­ing can drive an in­te­grated strat­egy to cre­ate mass im­pact. At the heart of the cam­paign was the in­sight that Jan­uary is the most mis­er­able month of the year, with peo­ple shar­ing their mis­ery through so­cial chan­nels. We took this in­sight to cre­ate a stream of daily con­tent to cheer up com­muters with Evian’s “live young” mes­sage. It was one of the year’s big­gest print and out­door cam­paigns, and in­cluded con­tent on Transvi­sion screens and es­ca­la­tor pan­els in train and Tube sta­tions across London, as well as ex­pe­ri­en­tial events and con­tent for so­cial chan­nels. The cam­paign gen­er­ated a 19 per cent year-on-year sales in­crease for Evian.

So­cial think­ing can help mar­keters un­der­stand their au­di­ence, and lis­ten­ing to their com­mu­ni­ties and con­ver­sa­tions can not only help de­velop bet­ter com­mu­ni­ca­tions ideas but also prod­ucts that con­sumers will love and nat­u­rally want to talk about. Our “get well soup” cam­paign for Heinz em­braced this ap­proach and has been so suc­cess­ful that it has now run for four con­sec­u­tive years. This con­cept be­gan with a so­cial in­sight – recog­nis­ing that peo­ple were shar­ing their com­plaints about colds and ill­nesses dur­ing the win­ter and that oth­ers were re­spond­ing with sym­pa­thy. We pro­vided con­sumers with the means to help their friends feel bet­ter: a per­son­alised can of soup, sent via Face­book. The con­cept even formed the ba­sis of Heinz’s win­ter TV ad.

So­cial ideas un­lock real value in how brands can build deeper, more im­pact­ful re­la­tion­ships with peo­ple. So­cial ideas en­cour­age ac­tive con­ver­sa­tion – it’s built into their DNA. Peo­ple want to talk about them, which, in turn, drives them to un­der­stand and for­mu­late opin­ions about the brands they en­gage with.

Of course, that’s not to say that so­cial me­dia isn’t im­por­tant – of course it is. This is where con­sumers are spend­ing most of their time now, even over­tak­ing time spent watch­ing TV. But be­ing able to un­der­stand and use so­cial me­dia for the in­sight needed to de­velop so­cial ideas is where the fu­ture lies. And the agen­cies that will de­liver the best work for clients in this fu­ture will be those that are putting so­cial think­ing at the cen­tre of mar­ket­ing.

Nasir…‘So­cial ideas un­lock real value in how brands can build deeper, more im­pact­ful re­la­tion­ships with peo­ple’

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