4A’s: Shops, Brands Must Join the Conversation

As social media continues to become part of consumers’ everyday lives, agencies and brands will have to reorganize themselves to accommodate that trend or risk being cut out of the conversation.

That was the broad conclusion of a late afternoon panel yesterday at the American Association of Advertising Agencies’ Transformation Conference in San Francisco, which keyed on social media’s rapid transformation.

“Innovation [in the social media] needs to be part of your culture,” said Ian Schafer, CEO of Deep Focus. “Consumers are transforming faster than we are, and if we don’t catch up, we’re in trouble.”

“Use this as a lens into the consumer,” said Pete Blackshaw, evp, digital strategic services at Nielsen Media Research.

But while social is getting a lot of attention, it will never reach large scale. Rather, said Bryan Wiener, CEO of 360i, social media can greatly enhance traditional media (such as television) and provide a host of consumer touch points that haven’t been available to marketers before.

“It can be a potent combination,” he said. Added Blackshaw: “Synergize with what you have.”

However, since rich data is a key driver of marketing in the social landscape, there are some pitfalls to watch out for in regards to how consumers are handled and outside scrutiny from Washington.

“My message is don’t screw this up,” said Blackshaw, who reminded the audience that trust in the data space is very fragile.

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