The Social Squared Manifesto
Brand want to be both loved and respected, become Lovemarks, but are finding it increasingly difficult to do so in the 21st century.
Two years back, I went off consumption for a year to understand what happens to brands in a post-television, post-advertising, post-materialism world.
I learned that most brands are pre-occupied with the wrong question — “how to maximize the reach and frequency of the brand message?” — that was important in the 20th century, but is no longer relevant in the 21st century.
If brands were to ask the right question — “how to organize and energize our evangelists to help them scale their passion?” — they will discover a simple three-step answer: find passion, ignite passion and spread passion.
They will learn that creating a Lovemark is similar to getting a fire going, or an epidemic. You find the right conditions, add the right catalyst, provide a little push, and sit back and watch it spread.
To transform their brands into Lovemarks in the 21st century, brands will need to embrace the Social-Squared Manifesto: 21st century brands are driven by social-squared: the intersection of social as in connecting people and social as in benefiting the society.
Twitter, Zappos and Barack Obama are good examples of 21st century brands. All three have embraced “social as in connecting people” in the form of social media/ technology/ design and “social as in benefiting the society” in the form of social responsibility/ innovation/ activism.
But how does a marketer go about embracing the social squared manifesto in practice?
First, she should break away from the old 360° marketing mindset, where she started with the brand positioning, created a TVC and maximized the reach and frequency of the brand message through a 360° campaign. She already knows that such campaigns don’t really work: each disconnected TVC-centric 360° campaign starts and ends with zero attention.
Instead, she should select a compelling social object, perhaps a cause that resonates with the brand values, build an online community around it, and support it with long-term 360° commitment, a series of connected 360° campaigns. She will discover that each connected community-centric 360° campaign attracts long-term evangelists to the community. I call this new approach to 360° marketing, indeed 360° business, 360° redux.
360° redux is characterized by six seismic shifts –
Shift #1. From inside-out brand message to outside-in social object
Shift #2. From TVC-centric to community-centric
Shift #3. From short-term campaigns to long-term commitment
Shift #4. From interruption-based to permission-based
Shift #5. From brand commercial to branded content streams
Shift #6. From paid or earned media to owned and shared media
Pepsi Refresh Project is a good example of how a 20th century brand is embracing the 21st century social squared approach.
Shift #1: In 2009, PepsiCo committed to the promise of “performance with purpose” and launched Pepsi’s Refresh rebranding.
Shift #2: In January 2010, PepsiCo launched the Pepsi Refresh Project with a budget of $20m to support ideas that refresh local communities.
Shift #3: Apart from monthly contests in which 1000 ideas compete for $1.3m, Pepsi created a series of celebrity campaigns to energize the community.
Shift #4: People opt-in to vote for and promote their favorite projects and receive updates on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks, apart from the website.
Shift #5: The Pepsi Refresh blog includes announcements, how-to tips, case studies and grantee stories to educate and energize the community.
Shift #6: Pepsi Refresh content is created by celebrity ambassadors, contestants, and supporters on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks, apart from the website.
While PepsiCo remains a 20th century company at core, in spite of embracing 21st century marketing, native 21st century brands like Twitter, Zappos and Barack Obama have become Lovemarks by building in these six social-squared shifts into their core.