David Armano, a prominent blogger and twitterer in advertising, has used Twitter to raise money. That’s right. It’s happened. Twitter and it’s attached 140 clipped, social network has generated actual dollars. Not for a brand, but for a good cause. Armano’s friend, Daniela, left her husband after she was being abused. Armano took in the woman and her three children. Then, he reached out to his 8,000 Twitters followers, asked for donations and ended up raising over $12,000.
David just wrote an editorial in Businessweek all about the problem of ROI and rebranding that term, “Return on Insight” rather an investment. Oddly enough, he has actually ended up proving that Twitter can be monetized; that there is more than insight available through social media networks. This is a case study for the century.
Now, what is the larger lesson for brands? Armano has proved a few things:
1) the power of authenticity
2) the power of a community
3) the power of authority and the devotion that is engineered through online connections
4) that even in a tough climate, people are willing to give away their hard earned dollars for the right cause
Traditionally, brands have trouble with number 1. Many have also had trouble creating an active and devoted community, which is 2 and 3, which almost always comes back to problems tackling number 1.
And getting consumers to spend money? Again, lets go back to their issues with number 1.
If brands could actually get their head around the idea that they need to be more than shallow corporate logos, to have a mission beyond their articles of incorporation, perhaps their work in social media might actually pay off in real dollars. Social media experts from Alan Wolk to PSFK will tell you all these things. This blog, Adrants, Adfreak and you guys, too have been screaming the same thing. So now what? Will Armano’s amazingly wonderful Twitter effort be enough to prove to brands that there is value in this whole social media thing? The truth is – only if agencies can coax brands into being authentic, to being open to a community that acts without borders and can create a campaign that actually makes sense to consumer concerns. That’s a big task. We can’t wait to see what agency can take this case study and turn it into an actionable, ROI generating campaign for a brand.