There is a lot of advice on the new rules of brand communication, especially in the social media space, going around at the moment. Adding their contribution to the growing list, management consultancy Accenture recently issued a nice wrap-up of the environment brands communicate in and offered some advice on how brands can join the conversation.
“You no longer manage the conversations among your customers in which your company or products may be mentioned, often in unpredictable contexts. What’s a brand-conscious company to do? Just shut up and listen,” Kishore S. Swaminathan wrote in Accenture’s Outlook report. “No. But in light of this significant social change, companies need to recalibrate the way they see their marketing, branding and corporate communications.”
Some of the points made in the report:
From “need to know” to “good to know”: Quaint as it may seem, communication used to have a purpose—typically, to convey information that I needed to tell and you needed to know. No longer. Technology now gives me an extraordinary ability to talk a lot about nothing to no one in particular for no reason. As a result, communication today is less a matter of my decision about what to tell whom than it is about your choice of what to pay attention to from whom.
From “tell me” to “show me”: Cheap digital and cell phone cameras that can shoot video plus free distribution media such as YouTube are fueling an explosion in video communication. Want to know how to fix your plumbing? Or learn how to make a Mexican tamale or play the guitar? Perhaps you’d like to see how arthroscopic surgery is done? Today, on the Web, you can find video clips—by amateurs as well as professionals on almost any subject.
From “talk at you” to “talk with you”: Not long ago, when producing and distributing information was relatively expensive, organizations ranging from companies to hospitals to governments controlled, and were at the center of, the communication with their public. By necessity, they talked at you. Today, two-way dialogue is not only possible but almost expected by individuals from these same organizations—especially from doctors and health care providers.