There currently exists the opportunity to engage a global network of brand activists, and what's better than having the consumer do our jobs for us?
The big challenge that Ogilvy and agencies in general encounter is that of trying to educate clients in the power of these global online communities
When you look at what drives consumers, it's that they crave facts, really hard facts, and trust is a big factor in believing those facts. There is no turning back from the social world that we live in now, and because of that brands must be authentic.
Dove was used as a case study. The Dove self esteem fund was created, to try to engage the community. The self-esteem ad ran during the Superbowl, and was quickly placed on YouTube. The big takeaway was that 56% of women that had seen the video had a higher approval rating of Dove, and that a large chunk of those women didn't even realize that it was an advertising campaign, they took it to be a public awareness campaign.
This was followed up by the Evolution video, which was produced for next to nothing. Over 500 million people around the world have now seen it. These campaigns generated over $1.2 billion of brand value, which explains why Dove was ranked 3rd behind YouTube & Google in most transformed brand of 2007.
The recurring conference themes of listening, being transparent and engaging the communities were then walked through with examples from SleepNumber beds, and Nike Plus. Marketers need to remember that no amount of electronic manipulation or technical bells & whistles will replace telling a great story.
One last example of the power of the community was Six Flags. They wanted to give away 45,000 free tickets to their parks to celebrate their 45th birthday. Rather than trying to push these tickets through traditional channels they just went to CraigsList and posted about the free tickets. They were all gone within the space of 4 hours.
The final take-away was a call to remember that we are in a world of perpetual beta, everything can and will change, and experimentation is the best way to find out what works and what doesn't.