Can Businesses and Brands Give Up Control? A Recap of Liquid Content: BCAMA’s 2012 Vision Conference by Jerrie Lynn Morrison
Liquid content means marketers are no longer in total control of branded messages.
It’s all about “crafting stories that provoke conversation, and creating messages and brands that spreads organically through the power of sharing and self-publishing,” according to BCAMA’s Vision conference organizers.
Value placed on customer service
Venture capitalist and media visionary, Leonard Brody, engaged the audience immediately by saying “five-year plans are a waste of time.” In Brody’s view, it only makes sense for businesses to plan 365 days at a time. Why? Because the world is changing so fast that socio-economic cycles have shrunk. What used to take generations to cycle through, such as recessions, now happen multiple times within a single generation.
Even human behaviour is changing more quickly now than in decades and centuries past. “This idea that we only use 10% of our brain will be challenged by the current generation of kids,” said Brody.
Brody felt that marketing will require a significant rewrite, and he claimed that marketers are crappy at customer service. “Those who succeed will be the avid students of human currency, who clearly understand the target audience,” he said. For Brody, businesses that place a high value on their customer service staff will win.
Intertwined Authenticity of Brands and Customers
Terry McBride, of Nettwerk Music and YYoga fame, talked about Branding Emotionally. McBride’s key message was that your intuition will lead you to success. He emphasized that being authentic and reflecting the authenticity of your customers was important to fluid branding success. McBride, right down to his soothing yoga teacher-like voice, was the perfect example of someone upholding his intertwined personal and professional brand.
Consumers Determine the Value of a Brand
When Fredrik Carlstrom (Hyper Island) and author Bruce Philp gave their respective talks about Building Brand Promises and Consumer Republic, it became clear that the true owners and originators of liquid content are the front-line and rank-and-file workers of companies, and, of course, the consumer.
Carlstrom argued that brand promises must be upheld and owned from the bottom up. He was adamant that businesses consider the desired outcome from the point of view of the consumer rather than the shareholder, saying “companies that have a bigger purpose than making money actually make more money.”
Similarly, Philp claimed that brands are no longer in control. He said that, “brands are something you use by the grace of the market place,” and that branding depends on the goodwill granted by the consumer. Philp sees marketing as a listening job. He advised companies to listen especially to the early adopters, because they decide whether your brand lives or dies.
Brilliant Experiential Branding by BCAMA Vision Organizers
One of the challenges in today’s fast-paced world inundated with social media is getting the attention of distracted customers. Perhaps in a tongue-and-cheek display of understanding the consumer’s point of view, the organizers of BCAMA inundated a room full of marketers and advertisers with random distractions, such as dancers who appeared for no particular reason, as well as a twitter wall with random clipart during the panel session featuring Steve Johnson (Hootsuite), Mark Nicholson (ING Direct), and Kory Klem (Movember), moderated by Wayne Carrigan (Station X).
The entertainment break featuring comedienne Erica Sigurdson was a welcome relief that helped bring the audience back into focus just before the master of ceremonies, Shane Gibson (Socialized! Ltd.), introduced the last speaker of the day.
The Best Example of Liquid Content
Closing with Jon Ferrara (Nimble) was an absolutely brilliant move by the organizing committee of BCAMA Vision. Ferrara talked about Marketing to the New Age: Strategies for tapping into an audience you already own, and in a live, organic example of liquid content he demonstrated how to use his social business platform, Nimble, by drawing from the #bcamavision audience tweets as a source of content for his presentation. Attendee @sammacmillan found himself used in Ferrara’s example of how Nimble combines relationship management, social listening and engagement to strategically tap into the audience.
So, what is liquid content? What did we learn?
Attendees at BCAMA’s 2012 Vision conference learned that liquid content is dynamic, and shaped by users who are part owners of the branding message. It goes beyond the Web 2.0 idea of crowdsourcing of 2.0, into actively engaging in conversation with the crowd that is sourced for ideas.
Many of the presenters and organizers commented that they were meeting each other for the first time at the conference, but that the origins of their connections with each other could be traced back to actively engaging in conversations online.
The liquid world is out there, and it’s waiting for us to make a splash.
Jerrie Lynn Morrison is a writer and a knowledge sponge. If you missed BCAMA’s 2012 Vision Conference and would like to see Jerrie Lynn’s “notes,” they can be found on Storify