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In Search of the Holy Grail of Social: Return on Human Potential and Participation

I think there was a general consensus at Social Media Week NYC last week that data-driven marketing produces higher ROI, ROE (return on engagement)—and higher “return” period on all brand value propositions.  That’s the good news. And it signals an important new threshold in brand marketing thinking.

The caveat? If you stir into the social soup what I like to call, ROHP—Return on Human Participation, or Return on Human Potential—as a value proposition for measuring ROI or ROE, a hazy head of steam often blurs a marketer’s vision.  But the fog can readily be lifted and the sight line restored—if and only if you begin to see your data as a collection of human stories, told by humans with a desire to be heard.

I suggest that once the C-suite accepts the reality that not all value propositions are ROI-encrusted and becomes comfortable experimenting in the human realm of intangible value, that exponentially bigger employee Human Potential is possible, resulting in enduring customer Human Participation with a brand.  Translation:  A brand must invest in and cultivate its human value to win in today’s market. 

Although no one I am aware of has stepped forward to suggest it, I predict that ROHP will replace ROI in the search for the new Holy Grail of marketing.

I came to this conclusion after reviewing the “socialspeak” heard at SMWNYC14. And my review of SMWNYC14 wouldn’t be complete without a more objective rear view look at what seems to be sizing up to be this year’s  roster of  “socialspeak” aphorisms, which benchmark not only the current evolution of brands seeking “native relevance,” but also, and even more significantly, underscore the conflicting paths companies seem to be trudging to “humanize” their marketing in search of a greater Return on Human Participation and Human Potential.


Below are a few of my favorite truisms heard at Social Media Week NYC last week, culled from my social intelligence radar on NetBase.  In truth, they are all narrow-cast tactical approaches and descriptors underscoring the greater need for a long-term ROHP brand marketing strategy.

“Content pollution,” “true attention,” “present shock,” “branded experience,” “digital quicksilver,” “relevance,” “authenticity,” “personalization,” “silo buster,” “permission to fail,” “cross-screen conundrum,” a“bottom-up innovation,” “harness collaboration,” “connectional intelligence,” “newfound connectivity,” “smaller data,” smarter data,” “right-left brain convergence,” “life in 2020,” “buzz metric,” to name but a few. 

And let’s not forget this year’s Nokia event theme “The Future of Now”—which to me symbolizes and sums up the corporate thinking fueling the disconnect between brand marketing and humans.  The most salient metric of this?  Less than 0.07% of digital ads are clicked through.  Marketing must begin to live and speak in the Now, not the Future.


Join The Conversation

  • Feb 27 Posted 3 years ago Madhava Verma D...

    Good share and explaining about the importance of kicking start Now.

  • MCCCODE's picture
    Feb 27 Posted 3 years ago MCCCODE

    i believe the human interaction is the essential part of today's Social Media and slowly will get its attributes on search. The main challenge though is how to identify value from the human interaction, does a "Like" has the same Value of a "Share" or a "comment". What about The content of that comment, the sentiment involved within this.

    On these same lines we must also take in consideration the paid vs organic nature of postings. Google had made very clear that using adwords will not help you in Rank; they are also unable to crawl facebook and have a hard time to interpret the data. I think they are experimenting with certain algorithms on G+ to see how the rankings may be affected by the impact of Social Media.

    None The Less Social Media has its attributes and they are fine just were they are with out the involvement of search



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