I hate to blockquote so much of a great post, but if you have any interest in marketing and brand and business generally, you need to read this…
Quick – what’s the top brand in the world? Coca-Cola? Nope. IBM? Nope. One of GE’s stable of brands? Wrong again.
All these players are near the top. But the most powerful brand in the world today is, according to the gold standard of brand valuation, Millward Brown’s Brandz report, Google.
Now, that might seem superficially logical. But from a strategic point of view, it’s nothing short of astonishing. Why? Because every other player in the top ten has spent decades – if not literally centuries, as for P&G and Coke – investing billions in advertising to build a brand.
But where these players invest on the order of 5-10% of revenues on advertising, Google’s advertising expenditure is almost exactly zero.
I reckon that pretty much everything we need to know about social media marketing was written back in 1999 when the Cluetrain Manifesto was published on the thesis that “markets are conversations”…
And in his post Umair Hague is reflecting something similar, that the value of traditional brand equity is fast eroding as the cost of interaction amongst consumers drops and the value of that interaction grows…in other words ‘consumers’ (aka people) would much rather talk to other consumers than consume mass media from corporations…and they can do this much more efficiently than the corporations can carpet bomb them with media.
So at the very least we all better be listening to those conversations, if not actively being part of the conversation…which if you’re reading this probably comes second nature because you are already participating, or at least you’re about to…go on leave a comment and tell me what you think 🙂
UPDATE: I posted this late last night and ran out of steam a bit, but went to sleeping thinking about it and there’s definitely more to say, particularly about the challenges that traditional businesses have engaging in the conversation…I mean it isn’t like the individuals within large traditional organizations are not participating (lots are), but often those organizations do seem to have to have brand and organizational blockers which prevent effective participation, e.g. “blog writing isn’t on anyones job description!”.
Plus it isn’t always obvious how an organization should engage in the conversation. For all the talk of social media marketing these days I really don’t think that a MySpace profile or a Facebook group is the right answer for everyone…a blog on the other hand is a great starting point and I rarely find anyone with a good reason why they shouldn’t blog.