Archive for September, 2012

LinkedIn CMO Series in Bangalore – Social Media & Digital Marketing

Srihari Palangala, Country Marketing Manager, Adobe IndiaLinkedIn

I was invited to attend a CMO roundtable hosted by LinkedIn and IAMAI in Bangalore. The discussion table had a great mix of senior marketing leaders from the B2B as well as B2C space, from a varied set of industries. My thanks to the hosts (Jaggi and Dhiman) for an evening of interesting discussions and learning.

The event was lively and everyone was keenly talking about and sharing their experiences in digital and social media marketing. I synthesized three key points, and think these will only continue to grow in importance in the future:

1. Linking digital marketing to the sales cycle: The strength of digital is in analytics , with the opportunity to optimize an engagement through real-time positioning of products/services/bundles to the prospect based on context/relevance. The challenges in the digital marketing era are to stay connected with the prospect (multichannel touch points) with personalized and relevant targeting during the consideration/purchase cycle progression. Remember those internal ROI conversations? They just got a lot more interesting!

2. Content & Engagement Strategy: The strength of digital is how it facilitates open and multiple-way engagement with communities. In this context, the opportunity with digital is the option for brands to be part of the right conversations; and the challenge is to monetize the engagements.

3. Digital is increasingly the Central Pillar in the Marketing Mix: Marketing budgets are under strain across the board; all spend is expected to work harder and produce better results.  As marketers we need to be ready to launch and sustain brands online.

Let’s get geared up and ready for the exciting times ahead!

Acer gets popular on Facebook!

In this digital era, where social media is becoming an integral platform for engagement with consumers, companies around the world are looking to optimize their social presence. The challenges companies are facing is driving membership’s growth, delivering ongoing engagement and generating awareness on new products and campaigns through multiple channels. These challenges are amplified in regions like Asia, which is so richly diverse in culture and language.

With Facebook still taking the lead as the number 1 social platform in the world, Acer, like many other brands, hoped to leverage the enormous Facebook global community base to increase its mind share and market share. They succeeded: discover how Acer leveraged Adobe Social and Multi-channel Advertising Technology to increase its US Facebook fan base by 10 times! Adobe Digital Marketing Suite acts as an all-encompassing and comprehensive digital marketing solution. From content publishing and management to integrated paid media optimization and the underlying analytics to give you insights to optimize customer experience in real time.

Read on to learn how Acer used the Adobe solutions to drive awareness and participation in its sweepstakes competition while boosting follower acquisition. Just click on the link below and register with your contact details.


Social Business Maturing in South Asia

Will Bosma, APAC Solution Consulting Director, Adobe Australia – LinkedIn, @wbosma

I have been fortunate this week to spend time with a number a larger enterprises in Singapore and Malaysia discussing their current social business situation and their priority needs going into 2013. These meeting were across a number of industries but there were some strong consistencies across all of them.

They have been on a remarkably similar journey. By and large, they all start with an ad hoc approach to social media listening, engagement and moderation. This ‘experimental’ stage see’s social initiatives disconnected and operating in a silo from all other channels. The measures are nearly always the low level ones that focus on ‘how many’. The fixation is on getting more friends, fans and followers.

The history was remarkably similar – at this stage they are using free tools to try to manage the processes – and they are using a lot of them and in a very disconnected way. And as these enterprises are pan regional, in some cases global; the presence grows rapidly and they have a lot of different pages and accounts all over the place. The engagement is almost completely reactive. Its at about this time they begin to discover that social media is far from ‘free’ and that to be effective they need to do something very much more integrated and strategic.

Pretty much during the past few years they have been evolving into social brands. Marketing seems to own all social initiatives and the focus is on brand / reputation management, marketing optimization –  and the KPI’s now turn more to engagement – comments, retweets, customer posts, ‘people talking about this’ metrics are now at the fore. Now, given that Asia has some of the most engaged audiences on the planet  (see figure below) you would expect that engagement rates are high compared to other parts of the world. And its amazing how pretty much every major brand has a sport or famous sporting team connection that features as an important part of the content and engagement strategy. Popular picks are football (soccer) teams from the English leagues; Formula 1 teams and some events like the recent Olympics.

Some of the companies I spoke to had over 1.5M fans on their Facebook pages and hundreds of thousands of twitter followers.

There is a strong emphasis on outbound social campaigns but with so many channels and presences they are struggling to maintain brand consistency; struggling to keep the engaging content flowing and increasingly concerned about governance.  And today, they have evolved from using only free tools to having a real mix of point solutions. Perhaps some freeware for engagement; a paid tool for social listening; a different one for publishing; and perhaps another for moderation.

And whilst social no longer sits in a complete silo; nor is it completely integrated. I saw examples of specific channels set up for customer service which were separated from the outbound marketing channels but if a customer lodges their complaint in another channel it gets ignored. You can literally see customer delight in one channel and customer anger in another

I would argue that many of these enterprises have reached the operational stage of social business, with a focus on marketing. It’s a more embedded part of the business and there is a lot of focus on campaign integration and even some thought on how to utilize social internally.  But they are struggling to get to the next level.  There is even some frustration within businesses that social has gone too far from a marketing perspective. That investments are being made in increasing levels of social campaigns without analysis of results and comparison to other marketing channels. This was pretty surprising to me.

And as the conversation then moved to ‘where now’ there is again a remarkable consistency in what these organisations have as their priorities for social in the coming year. They want order; they want consistency and they want measurable results – in short they want to move to the next level of social business.

Universally, they want to take social out of its remaining silo and make it an integral part of the business – at least from a marketing perspective. They want to centralize some of the governance around key processes to promote consistency of message and brand as well as ensure compliance with increasing regulation. But they didn’t necessarily want to reduce the number of sites they have.

Largely they see the value in having local presence and encouraging the regional / local business to build its own community. This can be difficult to know how far to go – some banks want to have a Facebook page per branch for example whilst others felt a country based approach is enough.

What they did want though was integrated workflows and permissions where they could create a framework which gave them flexibility to decide what could be decentralized and what should be centrally approved.

But over and above all else, they want to be able to close the loop and measure the results of their social efforts. This is really heartening as this truly indicates to me that social business is maturing and organisations are understanding that ROI can and should be measured on social initiatives – after all, that is a primary reason for all forms of digital marketing – its measurable! And of course, there is mounting pressure from the C suite to demonstrate this return as they all know by now that social media is far from free.

A little while ago I wrote a blog piece on the 10 Commandments of Social Business which a few people connected with.  It seems to me that large enterprises in South Asia are doing well on most of those but as yet have not recognized the needs for a social business strategy, not a social media strategy. But they are working hard now on making social measurable.

Is your brand smashable?

Imogen Riley, Digital Marketing Senior Manager, Adobe APAC – LinkedIn @IERiley

My team and I recently attended Martin Lindstrom’s symposium, Brandwashed. Martin had my attention from the get go – his ability to engage the audience for an entire day was incredible! He takes you on a journey into consumer psychology and challenges you to think outside the box.  Here are the key takeaways I took from the event and hopefully give you some actionable insight on ways to boost your brand.

1)      The brain acts irrationally – Martin begins by explaining how we act irrationally and are ruled by emotions. Did you know 15% of what we do daily is rational compared to 85% which is irrational? Therefore businesses cannot assume their consumers behavior without extensive research.

2)      Smashables – Would your consumers still recognize your brand if your logo was removed? Martin’s concept of ‘the smashable brand’ was a real eye opener. He explained how businesses have to own every aspect of their brand. By this he means a whole range of related elements, sound, shape, colour, a word, an icon and so on. For example, Coca Cola can still be recognised if you remove its logo just by the shape of the coke bottle. Apple is associated with the apple icon, the ‘i’ naming series and many more instances.  Google owns the word ‘search’ – when a consumer goes to search something online, they almost always go to Google (so much so that people say ‘google it’ instead of ‘search it’). So, is your brand smashable?

3)      Word – of – mouth – Never underestimate the power of word-of-mouth marketing. It can be your most useful or detrimental tool – use it wisely and effectively. “It takes a mere 5% of ‘informed individuals’ to influence the direction of a crowd of up to two hundred people” according to Professor Jens Krause from Leeds University. Identify your key influencers: who are your 5%?

4)      Generation-to-generation Branding: Did you know that 65% of our adult brand choices come from our parents?  If this is the case should we then relook at our target group? People tend to remember their past in a positive way and associate certain sound, smells and taste with it – clever brands can leverage this to tap into their consumers’ nostalgia for the past.

5)      Gamification – We are entering the era of games. Brands are capitalising on the concept of games and using it to drive consumer engagement. How can your brand incorporate a gaming aspect?

6)      Contextual Branding & Customisation – in the future everything will be customised. In this highly competitive environment, brands need to offer a customised experience to customers, either through website content, promotions, product selection or so on. Brands must understand their customers and their social interactions in order to engage them. Technologies such as Adobe Social allow brands to have full visibility into their customers’ social interactions and behaviours and respond to them appropriately.

7)      Have a mission in mind– Clarify your mission to your customer and employees. A mission will create a vision which in return will generate passion. Think about what you are selling, what the benefit is and what the added value is. This will then clarify and simplify your message. For example, Adobe’s mission is: To transform the world through digital experience’. What is your statement?

Get into the minds of your consumers! Go out, interact with them, conduct research, and understand their needs. Talk to them on social media and listen to what they are saying. The more you understand your consumers and how they view your brand, the better you become in responding to their needs and the more you will grow. Feel free to leave your comments and questions.

Social Business – 10 Commandments Before You Start

Will Bosma, APAC Solution Consulting Director, Adobe Australia – LinkedIn, @wbosma

Before leaping into the journey of becoming a social business there are 10 ‘commandments’ that I believe an organisation must embrace or they should not start the journey at all – it will be a total waste of time, effort and money.

I don’t profess that these commandments are original – I have been highly influenced by some of the better practitioners in the field and have often used their advice before proceeding. But here is what I tell anyone today who says they wish to become a social business:

1. Social is about engagement and relationships – it is not about transactions. If you don’t understand this then don’t start. You have to focus and care as much about the 10th customer interaction as the first. This is not to say that results and ROI aren’t important – they are, but they take a while in coming. But you will never be a social business if you don’t understand relationships – a two way concept – is at the heart of everything you need to do.

2. Fit social into your business – not the other way around. The focus is to use social constructs and methods into your business processes where it makes sense. The focus is NOT to have Facebook in the enterprise. But it also means that you have to think about social beyond marketing – the entire customer journey experience is affected when you become a social business.

3. Fish where the fish are – don’t try to have a presence in every social network on the planet and don’t agree to a page or account for every product / department / business unit / branch / state / country / language in your business. Consider only those networks where you KNOW for a fact your customers already exist and are ACTIVE. And think carefully today about your presence needs – every page, every account has to be managed, moderated, filled with content and provide an engaging experience. If it doesn’t – get rid of it. This is a key part of what we call Social Architecture.

4. Social is not a Silo : if you do not connect your social efforts into your entire business it will fail to deliver the desired results. It’s part of a marketing mix – therefore social campaigns must include and link to websites, email, eDMs and newsletters. Your Twitter account for service must be part of a fully fledged service experience that includes any other service response mechanism. If your PR crises management plan doesn’t include social then it will likely fail you in an emergency. The customer experience is not linear and traverses many channels – they don’t work in silos and if you do you will fail. ‘Social everywhere it makes sense’ should be your mantra.

5. Engagement cannot be Outsourced : A pet peeve of mine! You can use your agency for monitoring, for creative, for campaign creation but if you use your agency to create your regular posts and to respond to engagement then you have two problems. The wrong agency (for accepting this practice) and the wrong attitude towards your customers. See point one above. I don’t care about your content calendars – if you don’t talk to your customers how can you hope to understand and serve them.

6. Social involves your entire Organisation : this is the biggest realisation for most companies and is mandatory to becoming a social business. You must focus even more internally than externally. You can’t exhibit the traits of transparency, engagement and collaboration which are central to success in social if your organisation is based on a command and control culture and set of processes. There is no Faking IT in social. And it is not only about marketing – it impacts HR, sales, marketing, service, product management, engineering and more.

7. Success requires Engagement without Fear : once you realise it’s more than marketing you must be prepared to put some basic rules and processes in place and then get out of the way and let your people at it. Everyone must have the choice to participate and its amazing what they can do for your brand, reach and revenue when they are let loose. Not to mention how your employee satisfaction, productivity and talent acquisition improves. Yes, the social channels are full of trolls, sideline commentators and idiots. So is the ‘real world’. Get over it and get involved.

8. Social is based on Sharing : this means not just sharing your product brochures endlessly or repeating your marketing messages over and over and over again. This is probably the biggest mistake that many organisations make. Social does provide an opportunity to tell the human stories behind your brand. After all, your customers want to deal with people. The obsession with being ‘on message’ is one that hurts many brands. And the social economy is based on reciprocity – you must share content of value from sources other than yourself if you are truly going to be perceived as a source of value in the social economy. I know it’s shocking but you are not the only one in the world with value to add.

9. Social is Not Ad Hoc : whilst the social networks may seem chaotic at first and it’s difficult to relate to your current processes you should approach it as you would any other other business initiative. You need to go through the process of creating your overall social business strategy based on a thorough process of research, evaluation  and review. You then need to associate goals, initiatives, priorities, programs, measurements, resources and activities. Social business is not an accident waiting to happen but well thought out piece of your corporate strategy. Plan it that way. A strategy for social media is not a social business strategy.

10. Social is Measurable : Anyone who tells you that you can’t measure your social initiatives and that ROI and social don’t go together needs to be escorted off your premises as soon as possible. Measurements should be at 3 levels – reach metrics such as friends, fans and followers. Engagement metrics such as comments, re-tweets, social shares, user generated posts and so on. And ROI on your social campaigns and activities. All levels of measurement are both important and possible.

And here is a bonus commandment that is perhaps the most important of all:


Nothing stays constant very long in a social business and to be successful you must be lean, agile and willing to change. You can’t have lengthy approval processes for responses to posts for example or your relevance to the story will evaporate entirely. The half life of a Facebook post is measured in minutes and a that of a Tweet is measured in seconds. Pinterest didn’t exist a year ago. Get rid of unnecessary overhead and go listen to your customers and engage.

Will B