Why brands should base decisions on Social Media

Posted in Online PR, sociable brands, Social media with tags , , , , , on October 14, 2010 by nijay

‘Brands should not base decision on social media’… if Doron Meyassed, as cited in this MarketScan blog post, is to be believed.

Apparently, the managing director of Promise Communities said:

“decisions are too important to base on research from sources that are unverified. Indeed, this is the problem with social media interaction – it fails to define who is actually take part in the conversation.”

Of course, in reality, this isn’t the problem with social media interaction at all – it’s the problem with BAD social media interaction.

Ill-planned social media interaction fails to define who is actually taking part in the conversation. When it’s done properly, you know exactly who you are listening to and engaging with.

If brands only conduct low-cost, low-level tactical social interactions online without any strategic research, insight or planning, Meyassed is right – they are very likely to end up interacting with the ‘the same people who call to complain about Coronation Street’ rather than loyal customers.

But to extrapolate from this that ‘brands should not base decisions on social media’ is akin to saying a brand that got it’s MD’s 8 year old son or daughter to design and build an ugly, badly-functioning website for £4.50 and a packet of Smarties should therefore not ever bother having a website at all.

In reality, the brand in question should simply do the job properly.

Social tools and social web offer an unparalleled and previously unavailable opportunity to learn enormous amounts about your existing customers and target customers.

Before any brand interacts socially, a rigorous research approach should be taken to map your audience landscape and identify true influencers and detractors online and sift out those that aren’t relevant – Meyassed’s ‘Coronation Street compainers’.

Unfortunately, it seems the low-cost, low-level tactical engagement with no strategy or insight behind it that many brands have experienced from their digital and PR agencies seems to be giving the industry a bad name.

In reality, brands should definitely use the power of the social web to get an intimate knowledge of their customers and potential customers. When done professionally, they can then use that knowledge to enage with them on a real-time, ongoing basis. This feeds into better customer service, improved brand perception and allows brands to derive higher levels of customer insight.

Twiday is 100% fat free! So you can have as much as you like

Posted in Uncategorized on August 21, 2009 by glennwhite


A slim fast edition of Twiday this week. The only excuse I can offer is that we have all been very busy working away 🙂 I will make sure next weeks Twiday is full-fat with lots and lots of lovely tweets. This week though Tom and Nigel will entertain you 🙂

@MrTomasz’s favourite tweets

Tom cant remember where he found this tweet…he did like it though

(sorry I can’t remember who from though) http://ow.ly/kGm8

@nonlinearDog I know I’m not SUPPOSED to get up on the counter, but this is a bit of an extenuating circumstance. Fries usually don’t appear like this.

@special_noodles monday #twago action http://bit.ly/nJixS

@nijay’s favourite tweets

@eddieizzard: Met him on the side of the road http://twitpic.com/epft1 #foundwhilewalking

@rosiefresh: Apparently tis “Hug your Boss Day” !!! http://www.nationalhugyourb… DONT even think about it @mrtomasz & @glennw

@CliveAndrews: think Brighton’s West Pier Trust use definition of ‘survived’ that varies from most people: http://www.westpier.co.uk/ LOL

@Mazi: RT @Zee: 25 Unintentionally Inappropriate Statues: http://bit.ly/1LoFgB – what were they thinking! (LOL…)

@timmisson: RT@ preview_says Check out our friends @leapfrogg in the Paid Search Agencies Guide http://bit.ly/181ejV – good work froggers

5 of the best, serving up icecream dispensing robots and a plate full of fashion

Posted in 5 of the best and 5 of the rest, Social media with tags , , , , , , , on August 19, 2009 by glennwhite

Our favourite social media stories from the past week and  5 other random things that may or may not be interesting.

5 of the best

Advertising Firework, Social Bonfire

If advertising is like fireworks than social media is like the bonfire. A really good slide show to help explain social media, just remember “No one wants a firework in their bonfire”. Well worth a flick through 🙂

Daily Booth

Sort of like a pictorial Twitter. The site launched a few months back and is already picking up a reasonable user base. Not sure if I would use it, or what someone could do with it, but it looks like it has the potential to be really interesting. Also check out their live updating map…kind of creepy.

Has Twitter’s popularity peaked?

I am sure a lot of you are fed up with everyone banging on about Twitter, Qube are just as guilty as everyone else (we Love Twitter!). Perhaps Twitter has hit its peak. This is a really interesting bit of research into hype, there is usually a huge amount of interest as everyone clambers for the new exciting toy followed by a big trough as everyone realises it is not the second coming. More interesting to me was how interest slowly grew again though as people discovered the technology’s real uses and got to grips with why people were so excited in the first place.

iPhone Dethrones Rebel XTi as Most Popular Camera on Flickr

On the surface level this is an interesting look at how the iPhone has affected social networks such as Flickr and Youtube. Underneath that though this is an interesting look into how technology can change our lifestyles. From these statistics it looks like iPhones may well have increased people’s appetite for shooting video and taking pictures. As technology moves forward we will probably end up documenting more and more of our lives in a public online arena. Much like Gordon Bell (see our story further down on Digital Planet).

Myfashion Plate

It seems like almost every lifestyle and niche is covered by a bespoke social network these days. That is not a knock at all against fashion plate, in fact I would love to compliment it on how it has taken ideas from other sites and turned it into a really good network for lovers of fashion. Users can take their virtual wardrobe with them everywhere, put outfits together and get advice and comments from other fashionistas. Here is a brief but slightly more detailed write up over on springwise to check out.

5 of the rest

Carved Magazines by Nate Page

Some slightly creepy but very creatively sculpted magazines

Dr. Whippy Serves More Ice Cream to Sad Customers

If anyone is wondering why I  have been so upset and stressed recently, don’t worry! I am just putting on an act to beat this machine, just like I did with the lie detector in my court case (JOKE! They don’t use lie detectors in court cases anyway). Everyone on the office was looking a little glum earlier so I went out and got everyone an ice-cream…not sure if they are still sad or just angling for more ice-cream!

Financial calender predicts next months bank balance

I have ranted before about how I would like to see Banks move forward with their online offerings. My wish has not yet been granted on these shores but it seems like some of these American bankers are getting their web services in line with the modern day internet.

Digital Planet

Digital planet is a BBC podcast that looks at the world of technology. Really worth a listen, especially the part about Gordon Bell and how he digitally archives every part of his life.

Cavuto: Universal healthcare is terrorist recruitment tool

Not so much one of the “best” things this week, but worth watching purely if you like to get really, really angry. 15 people retweeted me after posting this, so it clearly angered a lot of you as well! I just hope our news channels are never this ridiculous.

Bad jokes are almost as good as good ones (Twiday)

Posted in twiday with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 14, 2009 by glennwhite


The Qubites favrouite tweets from the past week.

@glennw’s favourite tweets

@TheGreatBundini It is truly the most pressing issue on the national agenda http://tinyurl.com/rynmd7

@gwarek: Girl’s new boyfriend not l33t enough for her parents: http://bit.ly/1QjXJw (CollegeHumor video)

@jonburgerman Bad jokes are almost as good as good ones. http://www.flickr.com/photo…

@nijay’s favourite tweets

@paulbradshaw: 2 random stats: 70% of newspapers are sold before 10am; 50% of magazine buyers buy on impulse http://bit.ly/Xm9ny (PDF)

@MrsPBoutique: Answer is a millionairre who ‘as a woman I can kill quite easy’. My cabbie has it all planned out #twago LOL

@itsnicethat …Photographer Nils Jorgensen… captures moments and coincidences beautifully. http://nilsjorgensen.com/

@banpuppyfarmsuk: http://bit.ly/Wlspa #banpuppyfarming SO SAD BUT SO TRUE. PLEASE RT.

@MrTomasz’s favourite tweets

@strutting When you’re feeling down, I want to be the one who feels you up.

@thepetnet Today’s #petoftheday is Lady Binkleton, owned by @special_noodles . Hat’s off to Lady Binkleton. http://ow.ly/jli0

@qubemedia Facebook takes on Google and the Isle of Man has never been so close to a Natural Disaster! http://tinyurl.com/q6hzxq

Make Your Community Contributions

Posted in Online community with tags , , on August 13, 2009 by qubefiona

fail owned pwned pictures
see more Fail Blog

This made me chuckle.

Although the above is a monetary contributions tally it made me think about the wider contributions that are made – or not made – to communities online and how this results so often in a fail.

I myself have joined ‘communities’, both branded and non branded ones, excited by the potential life enhancing role it will play for me.  A month, or even sometimes just a week down the line, my discussions topics or comment contributions  are left languishing in a dark and quiet corner of cyberspace.  I have no idea how many community profiles i have out there and sadly i can’t think of one online community that i am consistently in touch with.  Maybe its partly my fault (spreading myself too thinly online is a weakness :-)) but i can’t help but think if only more was done to conjole me into community life that something would have stuck on both our parts.

I think even if you succeed in getting people in to your community – a feat in itself –  it takes time, creativity and focus to keep them interested and committed community members.

You need to constantly think “what can i give back to my community, how can i add value to their lives, how can i reward their participation and continue to keep them involved”

That old cliche “you get back what you put in” should be a big part of the strategic planning behind a community.

Facebook takes on Google and the Isle of Man has never been so close to a Natural Disaster! (5 of the best)

Posted in 5 of the best and 5 of the rest, Social media with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 12, 2009 by glennwhite

Our favourite social media stories from the past week and  5 other random things that may or may not be interesting.

5 of the best

Facebook in challenge to Google

Revealed: why Facebook acquired FriendFeed

Facebook acquires Friendfeed

The big news this week was that Friendfeed was snapped up by Facebook straight from under Google’s nose and we have not one, but two articles about the event.

99 Designs

99 designs is a site for designers to find clients. Competitions are set up with a brief and cash prize and designers then enter their ideas for a logo or design. It is a great way for a designer to build a portfolio, find clients and make some money at the same time. A good example of how the web and social networks can bring people together who may otherwise not have met.

The legend of the Witch lives on

In amongst the possiblity of a “true” Blair Witch project story is an interesting story about an internet marketing campaign. Funny to think how inventive having a fictional website for your movie was, but 10 years ago Blairwitch.com was one of the first. Now entire marketing campaigns have been built around crossing fiction with reality.

5 social media campaign killers

5 reasons your social media campaign might die!

A tinythread

A very simple looking website that allows you to create conversation threads that can be commented on using your twitter account. Will be interesting to see if it takes off.

5 of the rest


The rules are simple; get from one wikipedia article to another in as few clicks as possible by using the hyperlinks within the articles. Take on a random challenge or set one for yourself. Can anyone beat my score of 4 for Isle of Man to Natural Disaster.

23 Badly Placed Internet Ads

23 internet ads that probably shouldn’t have appeared on the pages they did.

Hurrah Bah

A weird and slightly surreal selection of images and text. I am not quite sure what to make of it…but I can’t help but read it.

When feminism went nuts

Has our society given up on feminism? What does the current generation think of the treatment of women in the modern day world?

Invisible Hand

Finally we have a Firefox plugin to help you bargain hunters out there! Have been using this for a week or so now and I have been quite impressed. Mainly because unlike a lot of Firefox plugins this one is really unobtrusive.

Good Brands Have Sociable Traits

Posted in sociable brands, Social media with tags , , , , on August 10, 2009 by qubefiona


PSFK have released a new report on Good Brands, if you want download the full report click here.    This report has been compiled by shortlisting all brands that have been mentioned the most across their trend reports and then they have asked a panel of industry experts from the Purple List to vote on which they thought were ‘good’.  Good being based on an average score for innovation, responsibility and community.

No suprises that brands like google and twitter appear up here but brands like The Good Magazine, Ikea and Amazon are not so likely winners.  (check out the Good Magazine as a particularly interesting brand)

PSFK also have pulled out what they think the most common traits are of the winning brands and it makes interesting reading for those social media believers among you as many of these traits come part and parcel with adopting a more social approach to branding and business.

Utility – Aim to enhance your usefulness for the consumer. In doing so, look not only at your product or service, but the eco-system that surrounds it.

Experimentation – Constant innovation is the essential element of growth. Continual- ly push the boundaries of your offering and create ancillary products.

Design – Premium aesthetics coupled with consistent delivery wins every time. A premium experience can be applied to any product or service, no matter where it sits on the price spectrum. Make your audience feel valued, encouraging them to include you as part of their identity.

Community and listening – Create a sense of community for your customers. Actively engage them and listen to what they have to say. They are the best source of guidance for improved service.

Change the model – Look at your consumers’ eco-system of needs and change your business model to suit them.

Beyond the 30 second ad – Of the top 100 largest advertising spenders in 2008, none of them made it onto this list. Instead of spending money on advertising, leverage the existing community that’s involved with your brand to promote your products and services.

Environmental priorities – Brands in the lower half of the list lose points prizing innovation over environmental responsibility. Build in sustainable practices wherever you can in your brand’s eco-system.

I think its a worthwhile exercise to judge your own brand – or your clients brands – against these traits and determine where you are, and where you want to be on the ‘Good Brand’ or sociable brand scale.  Then think about how social media can help you get there 🙂

What is on your brands’ playlist?

Posted in Social media with tags , , , on August 8, 2009 by qubefiona

spotify + howies

I love the Howies brand.

I love their clothes, I love their identity, I love their friendly tone and I love how personable they are every time i come across them whether that’s in a shop, on their website or on the phone.   I kind of feel like i know them which has got to be a great achievement for any brand – to build that personal brand connection.

As someone who works in social media too i have been following with interest their social forays which now span across many social platforms and initiatives.

The most recent is their branded playlists.

Most brands wouldn’t think it was relevant, interesting, useful or entertaining to offer this type of content to their brand followers but i think its a perfect use of social media to express their brand personality, build a brand narrative and offering real points of engagement that go way beyond a transaction.

Its personal, its unique and it doesn’t seem over engineered like so many social initiatives are.  It doesn’t relate to a particular product or promotion, its just about sharing interests and tastes between a group of alike people.  A group of people who buy into the brand and its point of view – whether employee, customer or partner.
This is the kind of thing real sociable brands do.  They have such a strong sense of self that they freely express themselves without the need to over think it.

Good work howies, we can all learn a lot from you.

It’s Twiday (featuring our shiny new logo!)

Posted in Qube, Social media with tags , , , on August 7, 2009 by glennwhite


The Qubites favrouite tweets from the past week. This week features our new and exciting logo designed by @colossalblue, if you missed how this logo came to exist check out the blog post from earlier in the week.

@glennw’s favourite tweets

@gwarek: Alain de Botton on success and failure, career anxiety, criticisms of meritocracy … interesting and funny http://is.gd/1YTol

@nijay: OH at a wedding: is a duck a fish?

@nachimir Did you see this TED talk about modifying the behaviour of crows? http://u.nu/2dpr

@mrtomasz’s favourite tweets

@glenntomltd Buy your “I survived the twitter blackout” T-Shirts from GlennTom. Available in Woolworths and Virgin Megastores.

@alqaeda Really sorry about the #ddos. We were trying to take down the CIA, but Azzam fat-fingered the setup & ended up importing my bookmarks file.

@MonaWalsh’s favourite tweets

@endthesentence I tweet therefore I…am fabulous daaarling.

@marcthevet Don’t miss Part II of Channel 5 News #Banpuppyfarming tonight at 5pm & 7pm PLEASE RT

@qubemedia: How do you solve a problem like Efficiency? http://bit.ly/1vxNRC

@nijay’s favourite tweets

Predictive text fail :) RT @Luke1972 Very shove of myself for cycling to work. Poet’s corner to falmer. Wasn’t as hard as i expected. #twago

@kevinpatrick: “What is the soup de jour?” “It’s the soup of the day.” “Mmm, that sounds good. I’ll have that.” http://twitpic.com/cur7w

@mashable Twitter is BACK!! Malicious DDoS attack blamed: http://bit.ly/Wv0Il

@AnnaFuller I think the lesson here is: don’t get involved with Macauly Culkin. Or you will die. (this made me laugh, that’s all) FRIDAY

ROI and a dodgy social media diagram

Posted in measurement, Online community with tags , , , on August 6, 2009 by qubefiona

recency picI drew this diagram for a client today when we were discussing how building a community through social media could be a more cost effective approach than their existing event / campaign led approach to communications.

The basic premise being that a community (if managed properly) provides continuous access to a continually growing group of people who are interested in, and engaged with, your brand.  This effectively reduces the peak in investment that goes along with a traditional campaign approach, meaning you don’t have to start from scratch  to build an audience.   Not only that, but seeking out and encouraging advocates within these communities further boosts the investment made as they begin to spread your message and do your job for you!

This diagram then reminded me of one of the first things i learnt many years ago as a grad in a media agency – cumulative reach and frequency. The upshot of this theory for planners in advertising and media alike, was the importance of aligning and timing brand messages so you continually build your brand story.

I wonder how social media and branded communities fit into this traditional theory? Is it just another string to our communication bow to work in harmony with everything else? Or does social media, and more specifically branded communities, offer the ultimate remedy for the cumulative media planning challenge?

Interesting to hear what others think.    Aside from that theoretical side point, I think the diagram simply demonstrates that building communities is a more cost effective approach to communications.   The investment may be hard to justify up front but the ROI over a longer period of time is worth it.