The Interactive Brand Ecosystem (Forrester)

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Social Media Strategists at the Crossroads

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Social Media Strategists, the inhouse alternative to Social Media Consultants and thus in the long-term often the cheaper solution (no mentioning of quality here), do not have an easy position these days. Confronted with high hopes from the very first day, they start their position in a company. Social media experts often have to define their position themselves and often have a hard time to explain their skills to a senior aged management. The embedded report by the Altimeter Group picked up the role of Social Media Strategists and analyzed who they are, what is being expected of them and which career patterns their future bears. As it turns out, many come to a decisive point which decides about whether their future lies in everyday helpdesk style routine or whether they can manage to take their company ahead of the competition. Definately worth a read! Please use fullscreen mode.

How consumers shop online

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Ever wondered how consumer really behave when shopping online?
If you are running your own ecommerce website you can invest a great deal into web analytics. Analyzing visitors paths, conversion rates and visitor loyalty can provide interesting insights. Still it may be really hard to get definite information. Changing IP addresses, inexact origins due to electronice data processing centers and all the common inconveniences of web analytics make it hard for online retailers to analyze their customers behavior.

McAfee Secure now came up with a white paper that summarizes the results of the analysis of 163 million consumers who completed a total of 2.52 million transactions. The results are stunning. And they prove what we already know from real life shopping: We love to promenade through the inner city stores monitoring all the interesting products and comparing prices before we finally come to the obviously bet decision based on the information we have gathered. The same happens online. Consumers do not shop at once (except for spontaneous purchases). The average online shopper is in no hurry. Of course not, as stocks online usually last some time and there is barely any fear someone else might grab the last item available. The average online shopper of those 163 millions shoppers surveyed take their time – on average up to two days – between first visiting a website and finally purchasing a product.

What happens within those 33 hours and 54 minutes? Well, nothing extraordinary. Consumers compare prices elsewhere, read test results and consumer reviews, ask their peers about the product and gather recommendations from other users. An ever growing source of information are social networks and the entertaining social media presences of brands. They may lack elaborate information but they provide a good impression of a brand’s character and its fans. Some ecommerce websites even allow shopping together making use of social media technology. We call it social commere. Paul Marsden, an expert in this field defines social commerce as follows:

Selling with social media – the use of social media in the context of e-commerce (Source:

What are the implicatios of this analysis for online retailers?

Well in order to assure that shoppers really shop with you instead of finding another place to get the product of their desire, you might want to assure this: clarity / good usability, transparency in terms of costs, shipping and handling, warranty, product details and of course the reputation consumers have of you! You know, price is not everything. Simply treat your customers the way they expect it. And for your own sake, always keep an eye on costs. The best service in the world is useless if it costs you too much and eventually ruins your business. Then customers with a service issue will sadly have to find out that only some months after they bought your products your business went bankcrupt….

For a more detailed list of advice, please see a really good article on this here:

Don't go Social Media if….

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well, plenty of reasons to enumerate!
As I had been previously writing about the fact that not every company or organization should blindly invest in Social Media campaigns or open up a group, account or whatever wherever possible, I much enjoyed an article by Lisa Barone on her blog. She lists up „10 signs your company isn’t suited for social media“ – which pretty much covers the issue.

Here they are:

1. You have no social skills (and don’t want to fake them)
2. You have no sense of humor/can’t handle criticism
3. You’re going to forget about it in the morning
4. Openness is a problem for you
5. You’re only there to sell
6. You view social media as a numbers game
7. You’re inclined to call people’s wives ‘douchettes’
8. You think Twitter is a social media strategy
9. You don’t have a ‘social’ culture
10. You don’t have permission

For the details, well you know where that is to be found!
Please see her blog for the entire article.

Direct consumer approach by Opel

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Opel seems to have understand some essentials of how to address consumers.

In this video message of Carl-Peter Forster, Opel Chairman, Opel explains the where its new claim „We love cars“ comes from and what it stands for and how it should help to lead Opel into the future. He mentions the sympathy Opel has received from the public in the recent weeks. This is indeed something to build on and it is something American makes lack: trust in a brand. If the typical American still believed in American engineering he would not buy so many Japanes cars, and the best-selling car would be a Ford Taurus. But it isn’t….

Here is the wording of the statement by Carl-Peter Forster:

„Wir leben Autos.“ ist der lebendige Ausdruck der langjährigen Markenwerte von Opel.

„Wir leben Autos.“ bezieht sich nicht nur auf unsere deutschen Wurzeln und unsere Liebe zu deutscher Ingenieurkunst. Es ist darüber hinaus auch ein Ausdruck unserer Hingabe und Leidenschaft, die all unser Denken und Arbeiten prägt.

Das „Wir“ steht für die Begeisterung und bejahende, positive Einstellung, die unsere Mitarbeiter und Händler miteinander teilen – Grundvoraussetzung für die Entwicklung intelligenter, überraschender und innovativer Produkte für unsere Kunden.

Aber wir bauen nicht nur Autos, wir leben für Autos. Das Wort „leben“ steht für unser hohes Maß an Energie – eine Energie, die jeder spüren kann, der Opel erlebt; durch die Vielfalt sinnvoller Funktionen, begeisternder Innovationen und das faszinierende, dynamische Design unserer Fahrzeuge.

Nicht zuletzt glauben wir, dass „Autos“ auch in Zukunft sehr viel mehr sein werden als ein Fortbewegungsmittel. Bei unseren Fahrzeugen geht es nicht allein ums Fahren – sie sind ein wesentlicher Teil unseres Lebens.

Wir verbinden unsere persönlichen Erfahrungen mit denen unserer Kunden, um ihre tägliche Mobilität einfacher und angenehmer zu machen. Indem wir jeden Tag aufs Neue darüber nachdenken, wie wir das Leben von Menschen innovativ und nachhaltig bereichern können. Eine anspruchsvolle Herausforderung, die für uns niemals abgeschlossen sein wird.

„Wir leben Autos“ – das ist unsere Leidenschaft, unser Engagement, unsere Liebe zum Detail, unser Verantwortungsbewusstsein, unser Ziel und, ja, unsere Zuversicht.

Das ist es, was uns ausmacht.
Opel. Wir leben Autos.

Here is the link: video

See for yourself and let me know what you think about this approach. Like it? Think its cheap? Not very credible? Open? Transparent? Outgoing?