Join The Conversation

Have you ever had a conversation with someone and couldn’t get a word in edge wise? Or, have you ever had a conversation in which you detected a tone, you felt berated, like the person was talking “at” you as opposed to “with” you.

I always thought I was the victim…as it turns out, I am a culprit, like probably many of you.

Joseph Jaffe, best-selling author of Life After a 30 Second Spot, informed us that the old ways of advertisement and communication (marketing produced and disseminated messages) is one-sided street, sort of like yelling at the consumer that doesn’t want to hear it or can’t yell back.

As the internet, social media and networking have virtually changed the dynamics of our entire lives; and with the  birth of the “digital natives”, we can no longer expect to utilize the old traditional ways of marketing, we must actively participate, “do as opposed to say”, explains Jaffe.

In his follow-up,  Join The Conversation – How to Engage Marketing-Weary Consumers with the Power of Community, Dialogue and Partnership, Jaffe provides case studies, check-lists, and answers concerns that you may have in your approach or why you may not have started your approach?

So what is conversation?

Wikipedia describes conversation as interactive, more-or-less spontaneous, communication between two or more conversant. Jaffe explains it as a two-way dialogue or stream of messaging between two or more parties with like-minded or shared beliefs, wants, needs, passions or interests.

What it is not! It is not a monologue, that is,  information presented or disseminated with a one-sided approach.

Starts with a partnership…no one is in control. An illustrated example of how marketing or a brand can become a part of a conversation is the Dove’s for Real Beauty, how a bar of soap became a badge for pride.

Jaffe explains that communication (promotion) without a solid foundation of RUE (Relevance, Utility, and Entertainment) with a consumer response of EPIC (Experience, Permission, Involvement, and Conversation) should lead to job insecurity, which leads us to indoctrinate the following:

The Six C’s and three Phases of Conversation are what come after the four P’s of marketing:

  1. Content – still king
  2. Commerce – validates consumerism
  3. Community – links together and connects the dots between shared vision
  4. Context –  framework for where conversation fits in
  5. Customization – language of generation “i” rhymes with “my” have it my way
  6. Conversation – constant – the gift that keeps giving
  7. Consumer – paramount for brand sustainability

To understand how to join a conversation, Jaffe explains that you must understand the content-conversation relationship and they come to be – how producers, prosumers and consumers are interwoven. Jaffe identifies three branches of contents casual role in conversation:

  1. Creation (initiating, extending, mashing or repurposing)
  2. Contextualization (commenting, trackbacking, tagging)
  3. Propagation (sharing, digging, listing)

This would be the biggest take away, as we are often unaware of how to identify the conversations being had; we know and don’t care; or we don’t know how to utilize the information to  join in.

Listed are five ways on how you can join in a conversation:

  1. Listen
  2. Respond
  3. Join or be invited to a conversation already in progress
  4. Catalyze
  5. Start

Joining a conversation seems fairly easy, so why haven’t most companies or brands started? Jaffe’s presented this question in a somewhat case study to his followers engaging them in conversations, with return of their answers being published, and here are some of the top reasons and favorites, do you see yourself or your company?

  1. Fear – you scare yourself; insecurity; scared of looking stupid;
  2. Scared of looking stupid
  3. “Digital Memory” – with the advent of social media, once you put it out there…it’s out there for everyone to see
  4. Companies/VP’s don’t want the risk, career at stake
  5. CEO’s afraid of inertia – inertia kills mindsets, new approaches, future income growth and development
  6. Forgot the ability to develop conversation; worked in organization that told them what to do rather than explore
  7. Disconnected – not actively monitoring or reading about them on the web
  8. Fear the silence in the conversation; small talk, corporatism
  9. Losing control; a fear of nothing to say
  10. Large companies afraid of putting reputation in the hands of low-level employees

How do I know if you’re engaged in a conversation? – If you are:

  1. Interested/Involved & Not Present = Gagged
  2. Interested/Involved & Present = Engaged
  3. Not Interested/Not Involved & Not Present = Out of Touch
  4. Not Interested/Not Involved & Present = Arrogant

Whether you are a brand, corporation or individual that has media to be delivered to your most valuable asset – consumer, you must join in conversation.

How can you tell if you speak conversation? Take the Test


One Comment on “Join The Conversation”

  1. I really found this so interesting! Thank you!

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