Tuesday, April 21, 2009

OnlineSpin: Will P&G Lead The Way In Social Media By Reinventing Soap Operas?

Last week Joe wrote "Corporate Social Responsibility = Profitability."

Stephen Shearin wrote in response, "I am no stranger to 'CSR' (and I'm glad to know it has its own TLA now!) The whole conversation breaks down with: Are CSR programs driving sales and profitability?

The benefits are latent at best with the exception of the odd direct sales/benefit programs which never perpetuate, no matter how cute they look on a major telco's wireless ad.

The point is, if you're in it for sales and profit, you are not in it for the 'responsibility' of just doing it. To revisit one of your corollaries, if a company does some good, and no one talks about it, good was still done. Until that's enough, it's all a charade."

Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Will P&G Lead The Way In Social Media By Reinventing Soap Operas?
By Joe Marchese

For brands, doing social media right will be about telling stories. It will be about blurring the lines between advertising and content. And while there will be an opportunity for brands to attach themselves to stories people choose to share, it's even better when brands help by getting those stories started. This means taking advantage of an old-school marketing playbook: the soap opera.

Recently Dow Jones published a story titled "P&G Puts Added Focus On Digital Media As TV Soap Ends." What's most interesting is that P&G is not winding down its soap opera operations, but rather refocusing those resources on digital efforts. This got me thinking of all the similarities between successful social media marketing and the soap opera. Rather than inserting your brand into someone else's content, the best practices for social media thus far have been to create stories around your brand, making the integration more seamless. The difference, of course, between traditional soap opera and social media is that social media is "participatory." This means that brands won't need to produce stories, as much as they will need to create settings where people will feel compelled to tell their own stories. Another benefit of brands integrating themselves within the content is so they can easily take advantage of the pass-along nature of social media.

So where will the line of responsibility lie between brands and agencies for producing content and facilitating people telling stories? The answer will depend on who more quickly develops expertise and resources for managing social media efforts in an ongoing manner. Rather than looking at a singular campaign concept and staffing for the plan, with an execute and evaluate marketing model, marketers will evaluate how best to develop and manage conversations around their brands. Years ago P&G realized that it would be easier for the company to produce the content itself and then put it on because it gave them the greatest return. Will the story play out the same in social media?

What do you think? Leave a comment or drop me a line on twitter @joemarchese ( http://twitter.com/joemarchese).

Joe Marchese is President of socialvibe.

Online Spin for Tuesday, April 21, 2009:

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