September 11, 2012

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5 Social TV Strategies TV is inherently social. The hype surrounding social TV technologies and consumers’ use of social media in tandem with TV is not a new cultural phenomenon. It’s just a different technology-enabled expression of how we entertain ourselves. Don’t be confused by the fact that “TV” now refers to the explosion of long and short form professional or user-generated video streamed, viewed and downloaded on a broad array of devices from smartphones and tablets to laptops and gaming devices to Apple or Google TV offerings. It’s all Social TV. Americans are addicted. From the very first broadcast people talked about who and what they watched. In the early days of TV, families huddled around the tube as a collective, even national, experience. Passive watchers experienced “appointment TV” and planned to be in front of the set at the time and day of their favorite programs. Viewers talked about and critiqued the characters, the storylines and the actors themselves within the family, the neighborhood and around the water cooler at work. New technology created a structured, common experience. As TV grew and cable and portable and color TVs came online, the social experience changed again. Each family had multiple TV sets. Each family member had his or her own TV and watched in different rooms creating psycho-demographic and content segments. Dad watched the ballgame; Mom tuned-in to cooking shows and the kids followed their own interests or those of their peers. Every so often a show like “Dallas” brought everyone back together, but generally new technology created common but individual experiences with an increasing array of channel choices and the option to record and time shift favorite shows. The Internet revolution changed the social dynamic yet again. Today we watch all kinds of content on-demand using an array of devices to both passively watch and actively respond. Multitasking, which includes using several devices at once, sometimes focused around a single experience, is the norm for younger digital natives and is becoming learned behavior even for older digital immigrants. We expect to watch and to respond, review and share TV content. The core behavior is the same. Technology expands our reach and empowers us to play a bigger role in actively shaping the experience. The next phase of this evolution in social TV is for viewers to become actors in several new ways. M-Commerce and mobile payments will finally make the fantasy of watching and simultaneously buying a reality. Addressable TV spots will zero-in on most likely prospects and offer on-screen interactivity. Viewers will soon direct the story lines or flesh out character development as they do on sites like Fan Fiction or 4Chan and directly interact with actors in real time (think ball players tweeting from the dug out or Joan River’s Oscar play-by-play). Viewers are curating their own programming, sharing it with their friends and promoting it to the world on social and video platforms. The implications for TV brands and marketers who use them to reach and persuade customers are 5-fold. Parse Your BIG idea across channels. Consumers want apps and websites or ancillary campaigns to fill them in on the back-story, add context, define terms or help them get into your content. They don’t want duplicate channels. They want different channels to compliment each other add texture and enhance the experience. Plan Interactions. Consumers, familiar with participatory experiences and gaming, want to influence elements of the story, become part of the story and share the experience with others. Decide what you want people to think, feel and do and then give them ways to express themselves. Think about pre-during-post timing. Determine what you want the lasting takeaway to be. Organize your assets and your content to deliver the desired experience by encouraging and directing consumer responses. Orchestrate the Content. Consumers expect are interested in experiences that bridge the real and digital worlds. Use off-line events, promotions and appearances or even check-ins as content and as interactive springboards for social media. User experience planning trumps media planning. Figure out how people will learn about the programming and structure ways for them to react, share and get involved. Communication is not sequential or linear. Often it is asynchronous. Fans find their way to you through many individual pathways. Anticipate them. Offer them images, clips, illustrations, badges, links or pre-written tweets for easy commenting, posting, and sharing. Target Inflection Points. Most programs have predictable story lines and communications arcs. TV shows have relatively fixed times, number of episodes and seasons. Use these...
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The Social Business Promise There is a growing movement to apply social media sensibilities and behavior to internal communications and management. Led by IBM, who has sufficient expertise, infrastructure and incentives to have transformed themselves over the last year or two, this new social business model aims to transform real-time work processes in ways that leverage collective knowledge and experience, empower employees and achieve efficiencies in communication while driving growth. The need to share knowledge, give customers a voice and always be on are principal drivers of initiatives that connect social attitudes and social media tools to business objectives and corporate values. Called social business or the social enterprise, the promise is that a social media orientation will foster collaboration; transparency and knowledge transfer throughout an organization by utilizing personal and corporate networks to create and distribute vital content and information up, down and across the organization. The root assumption is that workers want to know what’s going on, care a lot about their employers and customers and are intuitively equipped to voice opinions, share, help each other, collaborate across verticals and geographies, post, respond or comment while protecting trade secrets, adhering to regulatory requirements and devising new products and promotion tactics. Social behavior channeled through an enterprise should have a surprising impact on profitability since it aims to marshal human and intellectual capital, reduce the complexity of operations and speed communication and cooperation. Considering a social transformation requires top-down buy-in, a major shift in thinking about access to information flow and company strategy and a whole lot of complex technology. Businesses likely to consider a social model are filled with knowledge workers, require continuous innovation to survive, operate in iterative environments and put a high premium on creating a culture that reflects the psycho-demographics of its work force. If valid, this evolving social business model will help companies answer the perennial executive management questions: What do we know individually and collectively and how can we harness and protect our IP? What resources do we have and how can we deploy, share and use them efficiently? What talent do we have and how can we deploy it for optimum impact and employee satisfaction? How can we effectively communicate in real time with employees, partners and customers to create an authentic and productive dialogue? What’s going on in our markets and can we nimbly anticipate and respond to developments? How can we continuously drive workflow efficiencies and draw partners closer? How can we build an interactive culture of collaboration and innovation that enables us to grow and prosper?

Danny Flamberg

I am a veteran marketing consultant working with leading and emerging brands

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