July 8, 2013

‘Brand Advocates’: How to enlist armies of loyalists

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Photo by the Irish Labour Party on Flickr (CC BY ND)

Reviews of 3 new books on social businesses

Target audience: Businesses, brands, digital marketers, agencies, entrepreneurs, educators.

JD LasicaI‘ve been head down working on a cruise startup for the past few months, but the weather has been so beautiful the past few days that I carved out some time for reading on the back deck. It’s been rewarding — doubly so in that I’m friends with two of the authors and know the third.

So let me line ’em up and offer some brief highlights. If you’ve read any of these books, please share in the comments!

‘Brand Advocates’: Chronicling the revolution in fans & supporters

brand-advocatesBrand Advocates: Turning Enthusiastic Customers Into a Powerful Marketing Voice
By Rob Fuggetta
276 pages, John Wiley & Sons (hardcover)

One of the most important changes in the relationship between businesses and customers in the past few years has been the move by forward-looking companies to harness the power of the crowd. Rob Fuggetta’s “Brand Advocates: Turning Enthusiastic Customers Into a Powerful Marketing Voice” is the ultimate guidebook that explains the hows, whys and what-not-to-dos of this powerful phenomenon. (And yes, that harnessing thing is a big part of what we do here at Socialmedia.biz.)

I met Fuggetta, founder and CEO of the brand marketing platform Zuberance, at a “Brands and Word of Mouth” event in San Francisco two years ago. Now he’s taken his and his team’s learnings about brand advocates and compiled it into a smart, timely, jargon-free book that covers the basics of listening, “activating power advocates” and launching a full-fledged brand ambassadors program, as many businesses have begun to do. Continue reading

March 23, 2010

5 questions for the author of ‘Engage’

‘Companies have no choice but to pay attention,’ says Brian Solis

JD LasicaBrian Solis’s new book, Engage: The Complete Guide for Brands and Businesses to Build, Cultivate, and Measure Success in the New Web, covers how social media significantly contributes to the success of brands and businesses smart enough to get in front of this burgeoning phenomenon.

Brian, the president of FutureWorks, is a longtime friend and fellow member of the Intel Insiders. Here are six ques­tions I put to Brian this week about Engage and how brands are using social media:

1Your new book Engage may turn out to be the definitive work on how social media is transforming business. Looking at the big picture, how is it changing the balance of power between customers and companies?

I invested an incredible amount of passion and also vision into this book as I believe that the time is now to lead a media revolution based on insight, intelligence and experience. I think the minute you hold this book, its intentions are clear. The impact of new media is only just beginning and the road to where we’re going is, to channel the Beatles, long and winding. I believe that the destination is less important nowadays and it is this journey that we each embrace, that defines our experiences and teachings.

Social media is the democratization of information and the equalization of influence.

As in many books and blogs on the subject of social media, theory plays a role, of course. However, new media isn’t as “new” as we might think. There are lessons and applied learnings that we must embrace in order to effectively change, not merely for the sake of change but for the betterment of the tattered relations between businesses, customers and the influencers and peers who connect them. The shift of balance skewed toward those who believe they held the power and, in many cases, businesses invested profits into distancing the nodes that connect us to our networks of relevance in order to reduce the cost of actually “managing” customers. When we lost the universal ability to hit 0 and connect with a live human being, regardless of medium, it was the final insult that sparked a social uprising. Continue reading