I am speaking with the fantastic Ruth Speakman from [tag]Sony Europe[/tag] (declare: client) at the [tag]IAB conference[/tag] on the 26th July. Together we are going to take a look at how Sony BRAVIA fuelled the conversation online by engaging with influencers.

Often when I speak with marketers and PRs, they understand that they should be active in [tag]social media[/tag]. The problem occurs when thinking how to engage with their audiences in this space. Particularly for big global brands knowing how to be part of a conversation, or inspire positive comments is difficult.

For many companies understanding how to trigger conversations is complex. What if your brand isn’t ‘exciting’. What if the brand isn’t tied to an emotion or desire. People blog, comment and chatter about interests and passions. What do you do if your brand doesn’t communicate at this level. It is hard to start a conversation about toothpaste, bottled water or cream crackers – and then keep it going!

Having read Douglas Rushkoff’s book, Think Inside the Box,   I was very taken with his explanation of social currency. The idea that we need to offer something of value in order to gain the conversation and facilitate advocacy. People want an simple excuse to interact. It is my belief that brands too can help with this interaction. By giving people the ammunition they need to have conversations.

[tag]Rushkoff[/tag] says: “In an age of interactive media, customers don’t want to communicate with brands or their spokespeople, anymore. They want to communicate through them. Brands for this era can become a form of social currency, offering opportunities for affiliation and, at best, even authorship”.

I shall be talking at the IAB conference about how we have evolved this theory of social currency into a workable model. One that helps brands to engage with social media and become the vehicle for conversation.

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