by Cathy Henderson
Recently at f1 we read the thought provoking “Business Re-imagined” by Dave Coplin as part of our monthly book club. The book’s main premise is that the way we consider work is out of date and that, in order to stay ahead, organisations need to evolve by harnessing three keys areas: technology; flexible working and being social as a business. The latter, in particular, threw up a lot of debate within the team here at f1 – as users of it, we know how powerful and efficient social media can be. But there does seem to be a ‘disconnect’ between the way consumers and the way businesses use social as a communication channel. Consumers are simply way ahead of business in their use of social media and their acceptance and use of future tech such as the ‘internet of things’.
Richard Britton, Associate Director at Mediacom, attributes this social stumbling and dis-connectivity to the fact that agencies and clients are still working in social silos. He told us that unless social is integrated more fully to our communication channels it will continue to fall down. Everyone must start on the same page together or encounter challenges and misaligned messaging later on. Part of the trouble, he suggests, is that there is still a misunderstanding, within business, of what social can deliver.
Chris Rice, Head of Social Strategy at Premier, also sees the need for business to integrate social more effectively than it does now. He says that, more than ever before, he sees client briefs that require an integrated approach with an expectation that a communications agency like Premier will produce a response that incorporates social, digital and other channels to reach consumers at the most relevant time of day with messages tailored specifically to them, depending on where they are and what they are doing. Consumers and brands, alike, want consistent, joined up messaging. If you see branded content on Facebook, for example, and then go to the brand website there should be a seamless dialogue that engages the audience with one voice.
The rise of social media and the decline of the captive audience are two factors that are challenging brands like never before. Increasingly sophisticated consumers filter out the noise and only take notice of the brand messages they find most rewarding, interesting and worthy of their precious time. Making brand messages relevant and captivating is the difference between success and failure.
There is a need for individuals and agencies to hone and increase their social skillsets significantly within a business context in order to best serve their brands and clients. Social media isn’t going anywhere. We have to keep up.