Yep, I’m one of those people who writes blog posts about conferences now. I even tweeted about it while I was there. Sorry, I know it’s annoying, but I’m going to do it anyway.
I was at econsultancy’s Jump event yesterday – I spent a big chunk of the day queuing and listening to marketers complain about queuing, but in between there were some really interesting presentations. The stand-outs for me were Anna Rafferty from Penguin on ‘How social unites online and offline’, Tom Denyard from Unilever on ‘The Power of the Few’ and Mark Lund from the Central Office of Information on ‘The New Communications – Create, Connect and Share’.
The overarching theme or idea that I seemed to hear throughout the day was ‘the many and the few’ and how to interact with both groups online.
Just to over-clarify: the many are also those people that know about your brand, maybe even quite like it, but don’t feel any strong urge to get involved with it; the few are the small number of people who are either really passionate about your brand or really want to interact with it.
For Penguin, and Unilver brand Marmite, it seems like they had a huge level of success by providing different levels at which people could get involved, to make the most of the different levels of effort people would put in. So in the frankly amazing Marmarati campaign, the few obsessives got an unprecedented level of special treatment and access to the brand, and in turn they went on to talk about it, a lot. This trickled down to the many Marmite lovers and haters, who could engage in a much less committed way.
The ‘many and few’ theme was also reflected in Mark Lund’s presentation. He talked about how the COI is trying to create behaviour change (for example public campaigns to get people to stop smoking) and also about the links between the ‘Big Society’ and digital media. This really got me thinking – I’d never thought about the very obvious connection between trying to pass on responsibility to the public and the unique space the digital landscape provides to do this.
Online it’s very easy to get people to pass on ideas, to find people who are passionate about things and to ask them to talk about it or do something about it, so you can see what that suits the agenda of the ConDem’s Big Society. (Sorry to get political here, but I do feel I should say that I’m in no way an advocate of Big Society. I have very little faith in people. Look at Fix My Street to get an idea of the kind of low-level stuff most people are too lazy and apathetic to sort out themselves. I also have a feeling the kind of people who would organise themselves to do anything are probably borderline psychotic busy bodies and/or Daily Mail readers.)
One final thing – hearing people talk about brands like Penguin or Marmite that have a long history, a ready-made fanbase and inspire passionate reactions is great. But (there’s always a but) I would love to hear someone talk about how they made a great campaign for an ‘unsexy’ brand. Because I think that small/boring brands that provide the biggest challenge for digital marketing…