Are you ready for what comes back? The Unilver Axe/Dove Connundrum

Just saw the incredibly powerful new Dove Onslaught video during the lunch presentation here at The Search Insider Summit . I think the latest update to the Campaign for Real Beauty which established the Dove Self-Esteem Fund is a great step in the right direction towards resetting our societies self esteem. I was surprised to learn that the very provocative Axe brand is under the Unilever umbrella, making for a stark contrast between the two brands that Ryan Clifton parodied in this video below.

The point of the most excellent Google presentation from Suzie Reider (former CMO for YouTube and current Head of Sales and Marketing) was that companies need to really understand the power of visual storytelling. She explained the power of video through her own personal experience when the story of President Bush inappropriately massaging the German Chancellor broke. Being offline, she has not heard of the story, so she excused herself to go check it out online. When she searched for the video and saw it for herself, she was immediately up to speed and able to participate more actively in the conversation.

I was very impressed with her and her presentations was very informative – not what one might expect from a sponsored lunch event – she definitely walked her talk during her presentation, which included the following four takeaways.

  1. Create commercials that work as content. (as I often say, make media not marketing)
  2. Let users know that you understand the context (the most important of all famous “C”s IMHO
  3. Encourage interactivity. (ie, enable people to unleash their creativity and provide a safe, welcoming environment for them to do it in)
  4. Be ready for what comes back. (as in the example with the latest Dove campaign, mentioned above, the parody showing the hypocrisy between Dove and Axe, 2 brands in the Unilever family, represent the downside of what might happen – but I still think it is great, because people like Ryan cared enough to be engaged and share his perspective and make some of us more aware of the bigger picture)

In speaking with a few people afterwards, I was curious as to any characteristics that might be helpful in understanding at what point a brand might be ready for what comes back, so that they may really engage in the conversation. The response was universal, and in line with the early work we did at The Conversation Group in identifying our ideal clients. Courage – a willingness to just do it and show that the results most generally speak for themselves. In that courage is an essential element of participation in any real world arena, it makes sense that is a pre-requisite here, in the early market for corporate engagement through Social Media.

Are you prepared for what might come back? What are your favorite stories of where it wasn’t as bad as some of your co-workers may have feared?

Other exceptional coverage from the Search Insider Summit from Lee Odden’s TopRank Blog (who I finally got to meet in person for the first time this morning)

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