Saturday, December 6, 2008

Building Digital Influence

John Bell , Executive Vice President and Creative Director Ogilvy Public Relations.

From his bio: "He has developed strategy and executed award-winning programs for clients including BP, Intel, Johnson & Johnson, and Lenovo.

He is currently on the board of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association. (WOMMA) and
Adjunct Professor at Johns Hopkins University's Graduate Program at the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences."

Social media + Digital Marketing=Word of Mouth

"I run 360 digital Influence, global word-of-mouth marketing fueled by social media. Its a big business that has become hugely relevant because of the economic downturn."

The company spends its time determining who is influential right now and identifying communities and networks of people.

How Ogilvy organizes itself and serves clients:
  1. Put a lot of weight on listening programs
  2. Planning - identifying influences - its not all about blogging ("of the 150 million bloggers out there, which 50 matter to our clients")
  3. Better search results
  4. Engagement "now that we've listened to what people are saying, what can we do to get involved"
Word of mouth organizing has an ethics program.

What Journalists can learn from Digital Marketers

  • Listening has big rewards .
Ogilvy launched a blog for the Dept of Health and Human Services, to help prepare for pandemic flu. Reached out to faith, business, health segments of the community to teach them how to help their segments get prepared.

"On any crisis there is a fringe element who you will never get to."
But key players in "flublogia" world invited into conference so they wouldn't torpedo program.

  • Knowing the new Influencers
"It is not enough in our minds to look at the Technorati authorities. We have to look at a lot more information to determine who is influential."

Discussed example of bank which wanted to build reputation as helping people manage money. Ogilvy found the influencers in how people think about their money management - "Zen Habits" blog, "The Car Blog," etc.

Bell attended discussion in Buenos Aires about who is a journalist. He feels it was a lot of discussion inside the tent.

Drew Ginn, Olympic Gold Medalist became one of the influencers in Beijing. He and other athletes were given laptops and encouraged to blog about their experience.
(Here plays video about Lenovo featuring Olympic athletes in Beijing. They talk about keeping family and friends updated via blog)

"These folks were the ones we engaged. They created media."

It was also an interesting way to get a global view. Bell called the Olympic experience a good step in the right direction.


Enhanced Search Engine Optimization - Bell says just making sure the web site has the right keywords in it and is submitted properly isn't enough.

Select Comfort Sleep Number Bed: They had a search engine problem, weren't telling story as thoroughly as they could have and found negative stuff on web. Search engine is now the new shelf space.

"They're gonna want to hear about your experience with the product, was it good or bad."
"Of all the chatter out there on the web," says Bell, "there were about 75 percent promoters."

He says there were a loose group of people talking about the bed, but most of them were not influential. He had to find way to elevate their voices. He pulled in any brand mentions into website, Kept negative comments along with positive.

Youtube has surpassed Yahoo.

There are 30 to 40 video sharing sites Ogilvy pays attention to. Also Flickr.

"Making sure there's content out there is not as easy as it sounds," says Bell.

Social Graph

Bell asked, "What's your digital footprint out there in the market place? Who are you connected to?"
Obama campaign went out with the attitude of being everywhere. Youtube, Facebook, etc.

"I have a couple of blogs, Twitter account, Facebook, My Space..."
"I syndicate content out to Womma, BusinessWeek exchange." Technorati tools, not so great. (they're not a search engine anymore, media company. Bell doesn't believe they have trustworthy information.)

Creating lists on becomes part of social graph.

Social Media Optimization - rules by Rohit Bhargava

  1. Increase your linkability
  2. Make tagging and bookmarking easy
  3. Reward inbound links
  4. Help your content travel
  5. Encourage the mashup
Dave Romano, Digital Hashup, very good at creating cool graphics.

Measurement Ingredients

"We're working in a highly measurable environment," said Bell. "This is about knowing what's going on out there in the marketplace."

Key Performance Indicators:
  • Engagement - Number of mentions, posts, comments, recommendations, mentions-per-user, Tone=positive/negative/neutral, inbound links
  • Reach - Page impressions, visits, emails opened, videos viewed
  • Conversion - the most important thing. Sales, votes, subscriptions, etc.
"We've moved beyond Engagement. Its the buzz word of our business - everybody talks about it, no one really knows what it means."

Bell says the measurement now is product preference. For media, did we create more favorability?

Becoming Your Own Brand

For your personal brand, Bell says you want to raise your profile.
"Yes, look at blog site traffic, how are you doing in search engine results? "

"Marketing and communications have become so complex, they can't work independently anymore."

"Journalism is still different. There is still a lot to be learned on both sides." Mentions Knight Ridder Foundation Community Journalism project and the search for different business models.

"Don't know if that's the model for the future."

"If you expect to make a living (in journalism) in the future, I don't see how you can avoid (making your own brand)."

"What is Huffington Post? Its a collection of independent brands put togetner in one brand," said Bell.

"Why couldn't a journalist establish an independent name for himself?"

Amy Eisman responds - "In the world of journalists, objectivity depends on you not playing your hand."

Bell says if there are limits to what you can build inside the machine - go outside the machine to build your own brand.

Bell asked if there still room for entrepreneurial efforts inside a corporate media job? He recommends looking into how branding yourself benefit the individual and the company.


John Bell on Consolidating Multiple Sources

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