We've been monitoring the activity of well known brand names and their attitudes towards use of the social web.
Just one year ago the best descriptive to define the general attitudes would be "watching and wondering".
That was one year ago and today we would define the general attitudes as "jumping in and leveraging".A recent example of an old well known brand jumping onto the moving Cluetrain is the CBS recent announcement.
CBS, Facebook Team Up on NCAA Coverage. CBS is teaming up with social-networking site Facebook to offer March Madness brackets and other content. The application, located at www.facebook.com/brackets, will allow Facebook users to fill out brackets and compare their picks with their friends. Facebook will also feature tournament coverage from CBS Sports, CSTV and CBSSports.com, as well as mobile access, and the ability to create public or private bracket groups. As CBS ramps up its digital coverage of the tournament, the Facebook application gives CBS access to a large footprint of college-basketball fans. CBS is selling ad sponsorships tied to the site, but has yet to seal any deals. Last year, CBS sold about $10 million in ads tied to its digital March Madness extensions.
There are many others who have also "jumped in within the last year" including Business Week, Wall Street Journal, NBC, ABC Ford Motor and a host of other well know Fortune 500 brands.
What Shift Will The Old Have to Make?
Dave Morgan, Executive Vice President, Global Advertising Strategy, for AOL, LLC. writes: "The Future: People Networks: We've seen the online world change a lot over the past 15 years. We've seen several shifts in the key battlegrounds for control of the value generated by consumers' use of online services.
The big trends over the past two years have been about networks:
the extraordinary explosion of consumer usage of social networks, and
the very significant shift in online ad spend to the ad networks. While
some may disagree, I think that these two trends are ultimately about
the same thing, and it's not just the search-accelerated audience
fragmentation away from portals to vertical and niche sites. To me,
it's all about the growing role of "people networks."
"Thus, it will soon be all about people networks. In that world, we may not see much difference or distinction between widgets and rich media ads, or ad targeting and content targeting, or between a behavioral segment and a social segment. Further, there is no reason to think that this will be limited to online social and advertising applications. Content and commerce and communication as well will shift to people-centric networks. They will become much less portal-like or destination-centric and more network-like, and fully distributed wherever people are. "
"People networks will create a number of new challenges and
opportunities for the providers of content, commerce and communication.
Among other things, networks will create incremental value less from
adding "sticky" services to their pages to try to make users stay put,
than from leveraging the usage and the people-centric data to deliver
more value in their core services â€" and to seamlessly link those users
out to other relevant services when and where they need them, even if
they didn't know that they did."
"The portal to people network transition will be a very good one for users, just as the pipe to portal one was. It will be all about them, not all about publishing pages. Of course, the portal business won't go away, any more than the pipe business did after the shift ten years ago. These two businesses will continue to survive, but they will have a different and less significant role in value creation in the online marketplace."
Back to The Future?
Much of the shifts discussed above are centric to one underlying dynamic, relationships. Millions of people are just discovering the power of self expression without constraint. Social media has enabled that discovery. The "networking phenomena" has enabled people to "connect" based on the affinity of each others social media; profiles, blogs and friend list. These two related dynamics are fueling the power, influence and reach of relationships. Relationships have always been and always will be the driving force of influence, commerce and satisfaction.
"The People Network" of the old has shifted to the new in reach brought on by advanced technologies. When you combine self expression with massive reach, on to one to millions, the factors of influence change rapidly and the people become the media and the wave of change represents a fundamental shift in power. Remember the song, "Power to The People"?
The people are no longer the few rather the many, self governed and self organized. Sounds a lot like the early days back in time.What say you?