James has been talking about blog monitoring and nailing jelly reflecting on our shared experience of helping organisations keep track of what’s being said about them online. The essence: blog statistics are a bit unreliable and convey a very abstracted notion of the messy reality of conversations in the blogosphere. There’s just no substitute for actually reading – and better still participating in – the conversations.
I think this is part of the shifting paradigm of what some are calling Marketing 2.0 (to go with Web 2.0). Forgive the self indulgence, but I’m going to quote myself from 18 months ago. What sort of dance are we taking the brand to?
For conventional branders, it’s an 18th century ball. This is to be the introduction to society of a young lady. Her attendants fuss about each detail of her attire, her girdle is tightened, last-minute tips are whispered explaining exactly how to move. This is important, because upon her entrance to society, everyone will be watching. There is a certain way of doing things that will make the crowd at the ball behave in the desired way.
But our debutante is in for a shock, when she discovers the real world is not an elegant ball, but a rave party in Ibiza. Her grand entrance goes quite unnoticed amid the uproar. Her elaborate and cumbersome costume is an encumbrance. As she looks around at the scantily clad crowd having fun, she realises she’d much rather have a lot fewer layers. And it would be more fun to drop the predetermined pose and stary gyrating with whichever body comes closer. She throws off her clothes, drops the posture, and gets sweaty.
Top-down “creativity” (eg Barclays’ silly signage initiative) looks clumsy set against the less controlled but way more engaging approach of empowering individual employees to tell the brand story their way.