Conversations Smartees Belgium: WorLd of mouth

Thursday’s Smartees event was about living in pretty amazing times. Hakim Zemni, Business Director at InSites started off strong by quoting Paul Polman. The CEO of Unilever referred with his statement ‘If they can bring Egypt government down in six weeks, they can bring us down in nanoseconds’ to the fact that people’s online engagement can’t and should not be underestimated (anymore). Nowadays people tweet about everything and constantly update their Facebook status. Nevertheless, the Smartees event last thursday in InSites Consulting HQ in Ghent, Belgium wasn’t about social media. It wasn’t social media that turned Google and Facebook into megabrands… word of mouth did! These companies didn’t even need advertising, only great conversations. Pretty amazing if you ask me… But there is more!



Figure out these facts

Some interesting facts really triggered my attention. Did you know that despite the fact that social media is hot nowadays, 90% of branded conversations are happening offline… Do you recognize this campaign? Did you talk about it? Fact is that more than 1 in 4 branded conversations are triggered by advertising. 30% of the branded conversations have an actual impact! At this point I had figured out what the message was about… ‘Create conversation and spread the word’. What else?

The pot of gold

Instead of 1.000.000 likes on Facebook or having everybody talking about your ad, everybody in the room agreed on the fact that we all want 100% happy customers. Nonetheless, not all fans share their happiness… Challenge is to convert silent fans into real brand ambassadors! Dennis Claus, Director Branding and Conversations suggested three specific solutions to manage conversations, create content and collaborate with consumers.
1 Conversation mapping
Conversation mapping uses a survey to investigate who is engaging with a brand, which content is discussed, through which channels (online and offline), how often, for what reasons and with what impact… Is this important? Yes, it is. Dunlop almost created a community platform to reach their target group, when in fact they only had to focus on spreading their content. Without conversation mapping they would have spent a huge amount of money on something they actually didn’t need.
2 Social media netnography
Netno-what-graphy? Social media netnography is a research methodology that makes use of publicly available user-generated-content on social media in order to answer a research question. Useful? Yes! SYTYCD is a show about dancing, but social media netnography revealed that the conversations are not. Online people rather talked about the background of the dancers in the show than about the actual performances

3 Platform health
Conversation mapping and social media netnography track the health of the platform and can highlight issues with participants, actions, content or drivers. The community, either ongoing or for a limited period in time, allows to better understand these health issues and pre-test and co-create new content for the platform.  Below you can see an example of a perfect integration. Want to engage your fans? Turn the platform into a true collaboration!

Telenet: A Conversation story

After the coffee break, it was time to let two enthusiastic people take the stage for deep insights from the real marketing workfloor. Leentje Chavatte, Knowledge Manager and Steven Pyck, Director Digital of Telenet talked about how they implemented social media webcare and how conversations have influenced their current and future business. “Every 6 minutes somebody is blogging, twittering… about Telenet”. In 2007 Telenet decided to start talking back to their consumers. Both agreed that it still is a learningprocess and not at all marketing in a traditionally way.
To conclude
Word is a change has to be made and I agree! Yesterday’s Smartees made it very clear that WOM is thé driver for good marketing and great sales. Message: “Sync in with today’s pretty amazing consumers and spread the word!” Don’t you agree?

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