Move Over,Here Come The Brands?

by Jay Deragon on 08/20/2008

For the last four years early adopters of social technologies have been paving the way for others to study and strategize the evolving dynamics of all this social stuff.

Major media brands, print and on line, have been watching the growth, shifts and related dynamics to see if the adoption is a blip or a sustainable movement. Proven more than a blip we’re about to witness aggressive moves by the brands to leverage all that has been observed and learned.

Now Businesses Are Attempting to Be Social

Digtrends writes: “Corporate blogging, wikis and social networks have been through the worst and are now on the path towards productivity. Their technologies have been through a couple generations, they are being widely adopted by consumers and companies are making them work for business.”

“Social media tools are some of the fastest moving technologies on this curve. Gartner has shown how important these technologies are and how critical they will be for businesses in a very short period of time. The key to success right now is to develop a strategy and set some clear objectives so you can try the various tools and technologies to see where you can make the biggest impact for your business.”

“If you don’t believe so… see how Groundswell author Josh Bernoff combines social media strategies in this short video.

New Economics of Advertising

RICHARD PÉREZ-PEÑA writes: “In print, BusinessWeek has a circulation of about 900,000, similar to Forbes and Fortune, which publish half as often. (The other top-selling financial magazines, like Money, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, Smart Money, Fast Company and Inc., do not compete as directly. They are all monthlies, some focus primarily on personal finance, and they tend to have fewer ads or online readers.”

“In both print ad sales and online traffic, BusinessWeek ranks far ahead of most other financial magazines, but lags behind its closest competitors. Its Web site draws more than three million unique visitors monthly, according to Nielsen Online, a healthy figure, but Forbes.com gets more than eight million. No directly comparable figure is available for Fortune, whose online presence is contained within Time Warner’s CNNMoney site, with more than nine million monthly users.”

“In the first six months of 2008, BusinessWeek had more than 900 ad pages, according to the Magazine Publishers Association, while Fortune had more than 1,100 and Forbes more than 1,300. Though print sales have held steady, financial magazines have lost more than 20 percent of their print ad volume in the last four years, and BusinessWeek’s advertising has fallen even faster.”

“Roger W. Neal, senior vice president and general manager of BusinessWeek Digital, said that as Business Exchange pages work their way up through search engine results, the site should double BusinessWeek’s traffic on the Web within two years, allowing it to sell more ads.”

The Question Still Remains

All this “social stuff” is creating new dynamics that don’t fit well with old business models. Advertising clickthroughs are down; socializing and advertising seem to be oxymorons.

In an earlier post titled “Does Advertising & Socializing Mix?” we share Jordan McCollum writes in Marketing Pilgrim: Ads work on Google because people are looking for information. However, when it comes to a social network, usage is quite different. People aren’t looking for information about products — they’re looking to communicate with friends. In that environment, ads are seen as an intrusion — which is the exact opposite of ads in a search world.

The Answer Is?

Which brands will be successful combining the old with the new? Who will create new models, new opportunities where brands and consumers can win without relying on advertising? As more brands get aggressive their success is dependant upon understanding the dynamics of all this social stuff and what strategies will gain the most users and subsequent value. For those that run small communities, get ready to move over or run over. Stay tuned for the rest of the story.

What say you?

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