We are rolling out our 2012 Social Strategy and Engagement Training across our global network. This is the expert-level training for our Social@Ogilvy teams around the world and is in its 7th year. I have just come back from delivering this training in our Singapore and Hong Kong offices. They are doing some awesome work and my favorite part of this responsibility is learning from our experts in-market.
This year, we have doubled-down on our discipline to create insights from social and other data. Insights strengthen any strategy and ultimately answer why people should care to engage in a program or with a brand via social and digital media. If you want more effective social programs – better short and long term results – then having genuine insight into the behavior of customers, the business and culture are key to knowing how to be relevant.
Insights drive effectiveness
We discover insights by combining 2 or more data points or observations to reveal something new and useful. A clinical but accurate description of what is often an inspiring discovery. We get insights from listening data, persona profiles of how users actually use social and digital media, ethnographies and more. One place we discover insights and practical knowledge that help us know how and where to engage people, are social paths. These are a type of customer journey that use research to understand all the relevant moments people interact with digital and social content along a decision-making journey like what shoulder bag to buy or which vaccines to get for their children. Social Paths help us understand where we can be of-use to people by delivering valuable content, tools or an experience along their way.
The Real Customer Journey
We have a model inside Ogilvy for understanding what will drive people’s behavior through the purchase cycle. Developed and championed by our planning leads – Ben Richards and Colin Mitchell – the Customer Journey is part of our integrated planning model called Fusion.
I love this tool and framework. It really helps understand how we can be of-use to people and to drive actual behavior (vs. attitude). By articulating the desired response we hope to get from people at various moments in the cycle, we can map the barriers and the drivers to that response.
That’s the customer journey writ large and can help drive any big programmatic strategy and idea in marketing.
Why I Like Social Paths
In Google’s ZMOT research they find “The number of sources used by any shopper for any average shopping occasion has almost doubled, from 5.2 to 10.4 sources.” How we move from initial discovery through consideration, evaluation, purchase and on through the product experience and potential advocacy has certainty gotten more complex. Our examination clearly reveals a pattern of people reaching out through their social graph repeatedly through all phases of this cycle. Looking at just their social and digital touchpoints such as posting an image on Facebook for friend feedback, Googling to find customer reviews or following a brand on Facebook to receive valuable updates, is a somewhat artificial act. Ideally, we would look at a more holistic ‘customer path.’ Ok, we do that, but we also take a deep dive to look specifically at the social and digital moments.
Each of these moments represents an opportunity for insight and for actual execution. We learn how people are starting to use mobile access to consumer reviews while standing in front of a display counter in-store. Readers take photos of book covers in Barnes and Noble to collect readable books they will buy later in batches on Amazon. Who wants to carry around a heavy book?
Social Paths have a practical and tactical purpose, as well. Our Social Shopping colleague, Matt Gierhart sees that these moments can all be disrupted by the brand. Not in a bad way. We can learn where we can place content and what type will be most helpful or entertaining. We can see where the brand might make getting a task done a little (or a lot) easier.
Just as listening to social conversations helps us understand what people are really thinking about brands and issues, Social Paths help us understand the process we all step through towards a goal. We find this a particularly helpful view on the customer journey.
(image of The Census Project, a large-scale public art project created by artist Anita Glesta for the United States General Services Administration’s Art in Architecture Program)