The “Social Strategy” and Alec Saunders

July 26, 2007

in Brand Futures, Social Networks, VoIP

I have to tip my hat to Alec Saunders. His blog, his writing and the topics he’s writing about. Including “Stop Using Me“. Well Alec I’m using you today, as a friend, blogger, and  pointer to a person who writes a great socially aware marketing blog. Who acts as both the customer for many products and the CEO of Iotum. I’m holding you up today. It’s both a knack and a creation.

I think I will go looking for more blogs like yours. It’s an emerging genre and for some companies a foundation element for success with “Branding” and “Marketing” in a 2.0+ world.

Great commentary:

I enjoyed your Ooma insights and somehow you still managed the thumbs down politely. While I was described by you as thumbs down in criticism. I was certainly blunt in providing the feedback that I won’t shell out $400 for this product.

Where I want to pick a bone is on your perceptions that the PR and Marketing failed to have the right blogger outreach. While it may have helped the real problem is still the product and the price point. Still I think it goes further than just the product and there are lessons for hardware / physical product launches everywhere.

In a 2.0 world marketing is reframed; the consumer is dead, and the users are people. Every product requires a social strategy. Products like the message are inherently social. All media is now social. I know you know this. Iotum has a presence and SOCIAL standing way beyond it’s footprint. This traces to trust, transparency and a sense that “we” know and understand what you and your team are trying to do. Most importantly Iotum seems communications as social.

The Ooma marketing failed on all these fronts. They are not transparent about the technology. The product suggests security compromises. They brought in an Actor and and that’s supposed to make it cool. They thought they were in control of the “message”. That’s an old school thought and thinking that too many companies are continuing to make. Ooma is not a social product.

The brand manager cannot own the message. We the “people” are the message and collectively “place” the product. In many ways it’s always been that way. Just in this case — no one seemed to ask… “what will the WOM (word of mouth) be?”. Andy perhaps characterises this very well describing it as “Hype”.

While I started this post with Alec, and close with Andy both these guys are exemplary examples of participating in next generation marketing and branding programs. It has become a “trusim” that if you want to launch VoIP products then you better think and build relationships with them; and I could name a dozen others. VoIP products today require a social context and backdrop to be successful. Names, branding, pricing etc all matter. However, if you are not prepared to talk about it early and often you can forget about it.

Just in the VoIP space these are (just some of the companies) that share their stories and are learning faster from their customers. Truphone, JajahFring Phonegnome,etc.
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