One of my continued irritants as an online/social marketer is the never-ending self-love those of us who work in social are exposed to on a daily basis. In a young industry discipline that is continually trying to prove itself, we often talk more about what we’ve done than what we’re doing or we tend to focus all of our attention on a few big wins.
A great example of this is the recent success Oreo has had in the interactive/social marketing field. The Kraft-owned brand reached the apex of their social street-cred when it intelligently used the Super Bowl blackout to publish clever real-time content on its Facebook and Twitter pages. It was timely, it was relevant, it was good and we’re still hearing about it. On the eve of the SXSW Interactive conference, my fear is I’ll have to hear about it everywhere I go. At some point, you reach a saturation point.
To be clear: I love the Oreo brand. I have five kids and we plunk down a good amount of money on the product and I’ve been a fan of their social marketing and community management. In fact, we share an agency in 360i – a great agency doing amazing work. In the early days of their social content strategy, I talked about how good it was and how it captured the child-like personality of the brand. But how far will pundits, “experts” and salespeople go to make Oreo the poster child for a diverse industry that needs more? Good for Oreo but let’s move on and let’s hear more about what others with more daunting challenges are doing to engage in real-time.
The danger in holding up these examples is we focus too much on these tactical wins and not on how others are using real-time content to move their business. Yes, this tactic leads back to a strategy that Oreo has executed well. At the same time, I can guess that Oreo’s war room on Super Bowl Sunday was something most small business, mid-size brands and even large brands could not afford to do. That doesn’t take anything form their accomplishment but how attainable is what they did for the rest of the world?
Oreo, and the entire Kraft roster, is in a much different place than many brands or businesses. Giving them credit when it’s due is fine. But there are many lessons to be learned elsewhere yet we don’t give them the light of day and I fear that’s a missed opportunity. Big brands have big money and vendors, agencies and consultants want their piece. That’s why these examples are more limited than we might first think.
For the local hospital trying to connect more with its community, can it learn from the Oreo example? Sure it can. Yet there are other examples that don’t get SXSWi panels nor get love in the trade media that would be more impactful for practitioners. Those examples and their businesses don’t have tens of millions of dollars to market during the Super Bowl. Yet their impact is great and we’re not talking enough about them as an industry.
We all want to get better at what we do. There are associations, groups, conferences and meetings that occur so we can all learn from one another. But those with a louder voice and those with bigger audiences need to diversify and share stories, successes and challenges from all types of businesses. Not just sexy consumer packaged goods companies with big budgets, big agencies and armies of staff.
There are brands in restricted industries or even B2B who are doing amazing things that no one is talking about. The cult of social is much like People Magazine – you only get ink if you’re famous, rich or dysfunctional.
Let’s hope that changes soon.