Its not over till the fat lady shuts up

Read a useful summary by Hannah Connors of Ogilvy Action of the impact of social media on brands to the effect that brands have lost control and will never get it back. I'm not sure if you will be able to read it if you're not a Brand Republic subscriber but here's the link to try. Its not the first time I have read this but perhaps the first time I have heard it expressed so forcefully. And realised how much of a cultural struggle is going on at present. With brands desperate to find a way to attract attention so they can start to talk. And paying lip service to listening but only so they can pick up their name being repeated and dive in (to start talking)

Street-Evangelist Walking through Tottenham Court Road tube station many years ago I remember seeing a wacko evangelist who had decided that sacred texts were so powerful that all he had to do was to release them in people's hearing. So he literally bobbed and dived by the bottom of the escalator hissing out bible texts. Not intending to be understood but to get under the radar. It was bizarre and oddly compelling – and I dare say some so called listening brands are actually doing quite a lot of diving and hissing themselves in the hope that this gives them some kind of entrypoint instead of  which it makes them look sad.  We still have to deal with how to pay for listening. And how to pay agencies for listening instead of helping the client to shout. Research it used to be called. Which involved listening for prescribed periods to prescribed numbers of people.

Why is it that brands can only ROI talking about themselves?  Why are the conversations of others of such little interest that listening to them is merely a warmup for the next speech? Since I bought a monitor a month ago I have been inundated with emails with monitor offers. Couldn't one of these retailers or brands asked me if perchance I am enjoying my new monitor and whether I've seen anything good on it recently (or is that commercially useless information? Here's a freebie for the content spiders. We took delivery of a half terabyte Samsung drive looking more like a lady's compact mirror than a drive. It had Terminator Salvation preinstalled on it which looked brilliant when played on the brand new LG monitor. That enough product information for you. Can we go back to talking about the film now? And how nice it was to have some free content when all we wanted was the drive.

Now devoting yourself to listening doesn't mean you have nothing to say. Or that you shouldn't say it. But that there is a place in a conversation where it fits and where it doesn't.  If people are spending more of their time using social media channels (and they are). If they are spending proportionately more time using mobile devices. And they are. Then the window for shouting (and singing) is much reduced. Shouting or singing louder to compensate looks DREADFUL.  so go easy on those email campaigns – don't play hunt the thimble through the cable networks and starting doing and saying something useful. What films are Samsung or employees recommending this week? I bet Samsung doesn't know.  Just in case any of them are listening check out Terminator Salvation on one of your own drives. Its really very good. 



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