what we do at edelman digital

By on Jan 31, 2013 in edelman |

My small children know I go to the office and that sometimes I go to other people's offices, but when faced with the question the other day "Daddy, what are you at work? What do you actually do?" the only reasonable response I could come up with was that "I make the internet work better". Needless to say, this opened a can of worms – with them vocally  demanding more Angry Birds, Doc McStuffins and Spiderman videos. Kids. But it's a good point. I often struggle to explain, in a sentence or two, what the team here at Edelman Digital does. Thankfully, my Chicago based colleague, David Armano, shared a slide with me earlier this week that provides a bit of insight into the types of activities we undertake on behalf our clients. Now if I could just figure out how to get this down into a short soundbite…...

interview about social media strategy

By on Jan 29, 2013 in blogging, conferences/events, edelman, journalism, online community, social software |

The leading content portal in Croatia, Dnevnik, yesterday published a relatively lengthy interview with me discussing social media strategy. The article is published in Croation. Realising that most readers of are unlikely to be fluent in Croation, I've published the full, unedited, English language version below: Dnevnik: Your presentation in Zagreb is titled what’s a like ever one for your brand? Can you tell us more about it? Corporate investment in Public Relations, Marketing and Advertising has, over the past five years or so, shifted away from traditional activities and into digital. Many brands have thrown themselves headlong into social media, not wanting to miss out on the potential benefits – the key word there being potential – without first figuring out exactly what strategic objectives they're trying to achieve. Hardly a week goes buy that I don't hear a client or prospective client suggest that they should be "on Facebook" or ask if "Google+ is the next platform" where they should activate their brand activities online. The fact is, as experienced as I or my colleagues might be in devising and implementing social media propositions for brands, we couldn't possibly know the answer to either of these questions without first knowing what the brand's current objectives are, what existing activities are already contributing towards meeting those objectives, and what measurements are meaningful to the business. So, in my presentation, I won't be saying that all brands should be on Facebook or anything other social platform, nor that they shouldn't be, but rather, the point I'll be trying to make is that without understanding how social media activities can measurably contribute to strategic aims, having tens of thousands or even millions of fans and followers in social media is unlikely to make much of a difference. Indeed, without understanding the brand's strategic objectives and measuring progress towards them, even if there were benefits to the brand, that success would be hidden in a slew of data that is meaningless without a strategic context to enable understanding. Dnevnik: There is a lot of ongoing talk about measuring of your social media activities. What tools would you recommend to companies when it comes to social media measurement? There are a wide variety of platforms available for measurement, but choosing a measurement tool comes, for me, pretty far down the totem pole of importance. First and foremost, a brand has to identify and prioritise their key objectives – what impact should social media have on their online share of voice or their search result visibility, how much can be saved when social media deflects a telephone call to a customer call centre, how many additional widgets to they want to sell, how many new customers can be converted by the advocates the brand cultivates in social media, etc. Second, reporting needs to be done in a way that stakeholders within the business can understand. Third, a governance model should be in place so that activities that don't yield results can be killed off quickly, and activities achieving the best results can benefit from additional investment. Finally, it's time to find a measurement platform that meets the brands needs, based on everything above.  Dnevnik: What is the number one biggest mistake companies make on social media networks? We still, on occasion, have brands come to us – and I'm sure this is the same for other agencies – adamant that they want to be on a specific social platform without really understanding what they want to achieve there or, more importantly, without understanding how they might contribute positively to the experience their target audiences have on those platforms. Dnevnik: Content management is a big deal in the social media world. What is your advice when it comes to content generation for social media networks? There are three or four social content management platforms that we've worked with clients to implement, sometimes their own choice, other times ours. They each have their pros and cons so it's essential to let the specific use case guide the decision. When it comes to generating and sharing content, and building engagement around it, the important thing is to get the structure of how you're going to manage that right from the start. We have seen a lot of brands recently come to us with a lengthy spreadsheet of all their pre-existing social media channels, often times using different pages, handles or accounts for each market. This approach forces audience members who are seeking out a brand in social media to realise that they may very well exist in a secondary market, and that it's the market specific account they should follow. This is counter intuitive for users, can unnecessarily split the fan base, and can lead to brands making repetitive investments from market to market in infrastructure and content that could have been reused had it been created with multi-market use in mind from the start. Dnevnik: You are currently Director of Digital at Edelman but previously you were one of the first people to kick of BBC’s social media campaigns. How different is your work today compared to when you worked at BBC? I spent about eight years at the BBC, split over two stints. In the initial instance, I was the first Online Community Producer (what we called social media before they coined the term) at the BBC, so my main priority was convincing Editorial Policy,...

forthcoming speaking engagements in london and zagreb

By on Jan 11, 2013 in conferences/events, edelman, online community, social software |

It's been a while since I've provided an update here at – last year was a flurry of major, multi-market digital and social media projects for me, leaving little time to blog or get out in public to talk about the work we are doing here at Edelman Digital, London. Over the coming months, some of my current line management duties are set to shift to other shoulders, giving me a bit more time to focus more fully on what I love – strategic thinking and delivery. And with that shift, I'm going to have time to start doing something else I find both exhilerating and awkward: getting up on stage and sharing some of my experience with others. Here are the first two dates you can catch me doing that: VirComm Summit – 07 February, London: I'll be joining a number of past colleagues and industry contacts – many of them going back as far as my first job as a Community Producer at the BBC and the early days of E-mint, the International Association of Online Community Managers – including Tamara Littleton (eModeration), Dominic Sparkes (Tempero), Phil Hall (Elzware) and Rebecca Newton (MindShare). I very much look forward to this one, although I haven't figured out the topic of my presentation just yet. Marketing Kingdom – 14-15 March, Zagreb: Organised by Kosta Petrov, whose amazing events I've spoken at, in Belgrade and Dubai, in the past, is set to put on another great show, with speakers from the London Olympics, Tumblr, Carlsberg, Nokia, EMI and Salesforce. He's hoping for over 500 attendees for this one and I have no doubt Kosta and his team will achieve that. The title of my presentation is something along the lines of "What have all those friends and followers ever done for your brand?", which I intend to be more of a warning that digital and social media initiatives only have positive impact where they are strategically aligned with, and measured against, overarching business objectives.    ...