Social Collision is Paramount!

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The Collision Event took place yesterday evening in the Centre Point Building in London. The Social Glitterati attended from the four corners of the Social spectrum – Key Commentators such as Tom Standage of the Economist and Kate Russell (@katerussell) of BBC Click, Brands such as Nokia and Norton seeking to use Social as a fundamental part of Marketing and Customer Experience, a number of very knowledgeable Social and Digital / Marketing / Digital Strategy companies, and organisations providing Marketing Automation and Analytics infrastructure.

I enjoyed drinks with Tom, and Alan Dunachie of TEADS.tv, where we discussed the rise of, opportunities for and challenges with Social in organisations, and how The Economist had used technology on their site to optimise the Customer Experience. I then chatted with Jay Patel of IMImobile and John Watton of Silverpop, and the sophistication available for Marketing Automation and tracking across media and devices.

Rod Banner performed the role of Social Dating Ringmaster with aplomb. His smooth, wise style, combined with his bespoke coat bedecked with the Collision icon, broke the ice and drew out the social passion from the attendees on the 31st Floor – although the cocktails on arrival may have loosened a few of the tongues!

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Tom Standage started the debate by introducing his new book, Writing on the Wall, in which he describes the origins of social networks that were ignited during the Roman époque due to the presence of an economic structure and the ability to publish in Latin. Moving forward to the 17th Century in London and the emergence of Coffee Shops, in which like-minded people assembled to debate and socialise, and some key institutions such as the Bank of England were born.

The debate then opened to the floor. Craig Hepburn of Nokia provided a knowledgeable perspective regarding how important Social is to an organisation, and how businesses need to structure themselves to engage with customers through various social media and balance the resources respond to the right amount of customer comments or enquiries. A measurement that provided a ripple of enthusiasm around the floor was that 4.7% of Socially-engaged customers will have an Opinion Leader / Influencer multiplier effect across the broader community. Identifying the profile of customers is an imperative.

On the theme of measuring the value of Social, one attendee expressed the view that it depends of what aspect you would like to gauge, with the assessments such as Net Promoter Score (NPS) score a macro way of assessing the investment over time. I agreed with the Brand measurement point and chipped in that a great opportunity is to put Social at the centre of proactive Brand Campaign experiences with a fun and creative theme, with a ‘gamification’ competition component, that can be a catalyst for transitioning customer engagement and perceptions.

During Dinner, with Kate Russell, Tom Evans of BleepBleeps and Michael Wrigley of EngageSchiences, we discussed the need for organisations to harness social at a senior leadership level in order for it to be key aspect of the culture and be entwined in the products and services offered to customers. This would then strengthen the push and pull effect and ensure higher levels of customer relevance, emotion and advocacy.

A great gathering and debate! Many opportunities for Social Media to blossom and be a way for organisations to create sustainable competitive advantage.

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