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Real-Time: What’s in it for Brands? – Nils Andres

Wow! That was a quickfire presentation and a stage performance very well done by Nils Andres, founder of the Brand Science Institute (Germany).
He gave the audience some very interessting insights into the ongoing research of his institute and the (possible) future trends of brand marketing and CRM on microblogging and social broadcasting services (e.g. Twitter and JustinTV).
To give you the gist, here is what Nils had to say about what’s in for brands in the realtime market:

  1. Brands can create a live online personality!
  2. Brands can re-invent their traditional customer support!
  3. Brands can generate extra sales!
  4. Low! danger of para-social group behaviour!
  5. Brands can reach especially women via microblogging and especially the young via Social Broadcasting! (based on their research)

So basically this means to give your brand a „talking face“ costumers can identify with and talk to. Hard enough, if you don’t want to show them „avatar-like TV-ad models!“ Extra sales??? Yeah, bring ‚em on! How to do that is the holy grail of course. But Nils has shared some ideas… so read on!

  1. Overcoming the state of being afraid of the unknown! Yes, realtime means leaving behind fallback options. Go engange the costumer, talk to them and help them out. They’ll be happy to love your little brand even more if you reply on Twitter or give them some gold nuggets via Social Boradcasting.
  2. Realtime is associated with Porn! Yeah, that’s still true somehow but it will change! Brands can change that and users of realtime services are already changing it.
  3. Realtime what? Not my Job!!! So who’s job is it?: Nils made it pretty clear that companies still have difficulties to assign the „realtime“ job to the right department. Is it PR? Is it Research? Is it Marketing? Is it Advertising?

His answer to this last challenge seemed to be kind of mixed. And he is probably right since it heaviliy depends on your brand and your company’s culture whom you would best assign the really nasty realtime job to. But don’t panic, you’ll make the right decission if follow Nils‘ „water proof“ tipps (wink!).
Here we go:
What does all that mean for Brands? What should you do?

  • Find out (if you don’t already know) if you have a strong Brand Community out there! Nils made it pretty clear that you will need backup from a networked group of brand-enthusiasts that can join your conversations online and help you out when the critics and trolls show up. In short: Your online personality needs friends!.
  • Fish where the fish is! Pretty clear what that means, huh?
  • Be at the right place at the right time! To reach your audience via microblogging and social broadcasting (especially with the latter) you need to have the right timing. E.g. Be on Justin.Tv when there is action going on. Don’t be there when the user sleeps!
  • Cooperate with brand enthuaissats! See #1
  • Dont start something that is already popular Don’t re-invent the wheel! Don’t reinvent Twitter. But be a good driver and player in the field! That seemed to be the message here.
  • Don’t seperate your fans Check out Amazon’s activities on Twitter. They don’t have one single channel but like a zillion. Although for Amazon this might be a wise decision it might not be a good one for your brands‘ realtime Twitter channel. You don’t want your online personality become a screwed shizophrenic maniac.
  • Don’t copy or extend a concept or campaign – Compliment user experience
  • Rely on Specialists – Dump Ad-agencies This is really bad news from Nils to your ad-agency. But his point is convincing: They don’t get (yet) what’s going on on microblogging and social broadcasting services. So hire one of them web-culture specialists!

Bottom line: Realtime has to seemlessly fit in with your brand (culture)! If it doesn’t fit don’t do it. It will not be a mass market as Nils pointed out at the end. So: No jumping on hyped-trains but making smart decision to get the best out of it!

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