04 June 2014 • What does a good social strategy look like? As one of the judges of the Warc Prize for Social Strategy, which has just named AMV BBDO's ' Doritos Mariachi ' Facebook campaign 'the world's best social strategy', you'd think I might have my answer down pat. But after four months spent arguing the merits, or otherwise, of 40-odd case studies with a brilliant global group of strategists, planners, researchers, analysts and creatives, I have never been more aware of how subjective success can be in the social marketing world.
21 May 2014 • Last week, I took seven days' holiday, in a remote cottage on the Suffolk coast. There was no phone signal. I switched off the WiFi. I cooked some locally caught fish. Then I sat in front of the log burner and read The Circle, Dave Eggers' controversial Google satire.
17 March 2014 • The image shows a young man leaning against a marble bannister in Grand Central. He is wearing a beanie hat and a straggly beard, with a skateboard in one hand and a bottle in the other. He looks half-hopeful, half-resigned. The caption above reads: 'I told her that if she wanted to start over, to meet where we first kissed. She was supposed to be here 15 minutes ago.' The Facebook post has 107,490 likes, 4,020 shares and 4,719 comments.
15 January 2014 • You'd better accept it now: your January detox is bound to fail. The British Liver Trust has described short-term New Year abstinence as 'medically futile', but we don't need scientists to tell us that attempting to embrace salads and spinning classes at what is possibly the darkest, coldest and most anticlimactic time of year is dumb. Instead, I recommend you stock the boardroom with biscuits and motivate your team to shed some flabby social media habits in time for spring.
16 December 2013 • Social commerce – where the act of shopping becomes seamlessly embedded in the creation, sharing and consumption of social media content – has always been the pot of gold at the end of the social media rainbow. According to McKinsey, word of mouth drives 20-50% of purchase decisions, so enabling people to buy in the same venues and contexts where they're chatting with their peers makes total sense.
13 November 2013 • Two years ago, I went on a 10-day silent retreat at a Buddhist monastery in the middle of the Thai jungle. One morning at 5am, in the first of the day's meditation sessions, with bites on my arms from the spiders I wasn't allowed to kill and cramps in my stomach from the food I wasn't allowed to eat, I finally achieved my revelation on the impermanence of all things. Praise the universe, I thought. Glory to the fickle world. In only 48 hours, this too will end, and I'll be able to go back to my blinkered, base, absolutely wonderful life of electricity, box sets and beef.
02 October 2013 • In general, I despise the Chicken-licken approach to progress. The insistence that the latest piece of popular technology means curtains for morality, journalism, God, society, TV, music, or whichever pursuit you have a vested interest in preserving in its current form, is an age-old instinct of human nature which never fails to be both boring and inaccurate. A few thousand years ago, Socrates was fretting that the newfangled vogue for writing would destroy our memories, and just look at Derren Brown. Of course, technology alters our behaviour, but human beings are resilient creatures, and we have repeatedly proven that we are capable of combining old and new practices in exciting and profitable ways.
22 July 2013 • Recently, a rare bout of browser bookmark-sorting made me rediscover 'Human Life', a lovely video created by the UK telephone bank First Direct in 2009. You can still find it on Vimeo: a montage of people going about their day, their heads crowded with hopes and worries, while they absent-mindedly check accounts, pay bills and file tax returns. In the climactic frame, an old-fashioned clerk declares that 'it is my belief that we will see banking become a harmonious part of our everyday lives'.
13 May 2013 • What on earth is a prosumer? It sounds like it might refer to someone following the latest Neanderthal diet or positive psychology programme, but it may well describe you. The term was coined by Alvin Toffer in his 1980 book The Third Wave to describe someone who is both a 'consumer' and a 'professional' or 'producer': essentially, 'consumers unusually interested in [certain] products'. Essentially, people who are evangelical about, and valuable to, their chosen brands.
15 April 2013 • Customer service has been one of the earliest and most tangible areas in which businesses have achieved social media success. This is partly because the contract between brand and customer is so clear: 'we are using this channel to answer your questions and fix your problems, not to make you love us by sharing photos of our office pets.' Best Buy, KLM, Eurail and T-Mobile USA are some pack leaders, and for a glimpse at how much effort is ploughed into this field, look at the Social Bakers' Socially Devoted website, which ranks industry leaders on their social care.
11 March 2013 • Empathy has always been the emotional G-spot of advertising. If you can make a consumer believe that you truly share their pain and their dreams, you're more likely to convince them that you'll be able to plug that lipstick/car/consultancy-shaped hole in their soul. And one of the chief appeals of social media for marketers is its ability to bridge the divide between 'us' and 'them'. "If you're trying to persuade people to do something, or buy something," David Ogilvy said, "it seems to me you should use their language." Social media allows brands to create instant verbal and visual rapport.
01 November 2012 • The fashion industry has always been fashionably late to the social media party. For years, the girl on the street outstripped the big brands. While stylish snappers' daily Tumblr self-portraits were garnering thousands of fans, creative shoppers were crafting elaborate Pinterest mood-boards and bloggers were blagging prime places in the FROW, the fashion houses trailed behind, throwing freebies and show tickets at the grassroots gurus in an attempt to steal a little of their social shine.
30 September 2012 • When I was asked to guest edit October's Admap Focus on Word-of-Mouth Marketing, I knew it would be an easy gig. From Brad Fay, founder of the world's only offline and online word-of-mouth research company, to Craig Hepburn, who is using word-of-mouth to transform the way Nokia engages with people across the world, the leaders in this industry have now had several years to prove that conversation really does drive business – and that it can be measured, grown and managed long-term.
About Molly Flatt
Molly Flatt is word-of-mouth agency 1000heads' WOM evangelist. She is also president of WOMMA UK, the trade marketing body for the word-of-mouth industry.