Chapter 4

The Brand Network

As with almost any complex system, social media is a challenge to execute. It is comprised of myriad moving parts that are constantly changing and interacting. Accordingly, most social initiatives are made up of diverse and often distinctly different elements, so their outcomes may be unpredictable.

Brands can hardly afford to operate so erratically, though. They need a means to take all the fragmented pieces and pull them together to create cohesive and comprehensive strategies. Such continuity is at the core of effective social marketing. Despite the real-time nature of social media, however, for “always-on” to be “always great,” there needs to be a better way to handle the complexity.

Think Like a Network

Until fairly recently, marketing was primarily the domain of traditional media. Even today, the bulk of advertising dollars still goes to TV, not just because the medium continues to reach the largest audience worldwide, but also because the considerable majority of consumers still believes that TV commercials are more effective than online advertising. Two-thirds (66 percent) of consumers surveyed by Adobe and research firm Edelman Berland say that the clout of TV spots outweighs that of web ads.1 To this day, the majority (55 percent) prefers print advertising over what appears online.

Like publishers, TV executives have always understood their viewers and know how to create content that appeals to them. Television's top brass also know and understand ...

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