Tuesday, March 25, 2014

New Brand Assets: Where are we going?

"We show that easily accessible digital records of behavior, Facebook Likes, can be used to automatically and accurately predict a range of highly sensitive personal attributes including: sexual orientation, ethnicity, religious and political views, personality traits, intelligence, happiness, use of addictive substances, parental separation, age, and gender. The analysis presented is based on a dataset of over 58,000 volunteers who provided their Facebook Likes, detailed demographic proļ¬les, and the results of several psychometric tests."

Kosinski et al. 2013 (The Psychometrics Centre, University of Cambridge)

Like. Comment. Engage. Sponsored post again? Uhm.. Is your behavioral targeting ok? No?It's fine. Don't worry. Numbers are fine.

How have brands embraced digital ecosystems like Facebook as a key marketing channel to drive engagement and brand awareness? Let's use FB like waveforms as a metric of brand engagement and let's illustrate some examples of FB like pages:

Multinational retail corporation with 35M likes
Ivy League management magazine:
A worldwide branded commodity

A multinational sports company
Leading Telecommunications company in Greece-edited

Leading retail operator in Greece
It seems that these waveforms are similar to a manipulated oscillograph signal where the peak comes in "Sponsored Campaigns" periods and then to zero, till the next paid campaign. 

There are tons of examples like these. Off course, some of these effects could be explained by deeper analysis of econometric advertising models, mentioned here, but is this the best we can do with these new media? Where is organic traffic? Does paid traffic have a decent ROI in terms of brand engagement?

It depends.

I believe that the virtual digital economies which are developing as we speak will reshape the landscape of marketing as we know it. But do marketers do their best in order to engage with the customer, as brand ambassadors? The images above indicate that apart from the times that we press the button "Boost Post", things do not go very well in terms of brand engagement. Further KPI's, like numbers of comments and shares, retweets and favorites, per brand page, analyzed with statistical tools, should easily verify this hypothesis. I understand that perhaps, the higher the numbers, the higher is the brand perception and other key brand assets, but are the results discrete and measurable? 

In the long term, does the world have enough strategists to make optimum use of the new technologies and channels of communication?

For the time being we have:

  • Google, Facebook, Twitter charging and gaining billions for "awareness" and "engagement".
  • Overvalued IPOs, overnight millionaires, questionable business models, startups offering frivolous services, fake engagement tools and similar services.
  • Marketers trying to deliver actions with ROI but frequently unable to achieve optimum brand engagement, let alone incremental sales or other corporate goals.
  • 3B customers who are now online but have the same purchasing power that they would have if digital marketing wouldn't exist in a parallel universe.
  • Academics trying to follow up and model consumer behavior versus both real-life and digital marketing stimuli as technology advances.
A nice bubble? I think, yes.

How would Aristotle structure his philosophical pillars if he was writing his "Athenian Constitution" in his free time while working as a Chief Marketing Officer for Facebook or Google?

21st century. Who will pay for the news?