Social vs traditional – the ongoing debate…

2 Jun

“Is social media negating the need for traditional marketing as we know it?”

If I had a quid for every blog I’ve read around this subject of late… Granted, the majority of people posting this sort of question are not likely true ‘social media experts’.

The answer to the above quandary is of course no, don’t be daft. Social networking is another communications channel. A relatively new communications channel, which is still finding a place in the world, thanks to its fast development. It’s by no means the Emperor’s New Media (pardon the shit pun) but it’s amazingly valuable and offers all-manner of opportunities. However, there’s a still a long way to go for it to find itself – oddly (in part) due to the fact that many marketers are trying to shape it into yet more interruptive marketing, rather than simply let it be.  Regardless, there are clearly countless possibilities around the corner, which I (and we) will be interested to explore when it comes to creating our brand stories.

In addition, I’m intrigued about what it’s doing to twist the arms of brands, into completely re-evaluating how they communicate their values and propositions (i.e. driving honesty).

A friend of mine recently wrote  about content being viewed in some circles as theonly form of marketing going forward. I find this to be a fascinating point, and one of the concepts that’s resonated most with me when it comes to brands communicating via social media.  Dan’s point derives from the simple view that social media is a conduit for content. Potentially massive amounts of content. The key, however, being that the content has to be TRUE and has to be HONEST. I.e. it has to be on-brand.

Now then, I don’t profess to be a social media expert – nor am I a digital evangelist. But I do know a little about brand marketing. And I’d be utterly rubbish at my job if I weren’t already acutely aware of the astounding opportunity that social media content has to offer to brands that truly understand their values – and are fully prepared to bare all in digital spaces: Not in a contrived manner (as is happening now), but with all the honesty they can muster. This way brands can use social media/digital marketing as a far-reaching extension of their brand message.

So maybe it’s more the case that the advanced use of social media by brands will bring about a healthy and vast reduction in bull-shit marketing messages – rather than the media formats used to carry them..? Entirely possible. As always though, I’d exercise caution in using any marketing channel, until the brand message is absolutely right (cart… horse…).

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