Building a Platform that Respects Brands and Users Alike

Digital technology is maturing and diversifying into many different services and networks. You already know the big ones: Google, Facebook, and, to a certain extent, Twitter.

How many networks does any one individual (known as user) join and use? Which services and technologies are brands favoring to achieve scale?

More than is there room for more services/networks? The question has shifted to where does it make sense to trade, and what does the model look like?

Intent is where search and share meet

To me, a successful content strategy addresses how to build a platform that respects brands and users alike. While sharing lives a the intersection between marketing and community building and search at the intersection of marketing and editorial impact, these are not where all the action is.

There is a third term that connects what we intend (think about) with what we do: intent.

It sits at the intersection of community building and editorial impact, where brands trade promises and individuals who use technology make their connection or transition from intending to do something to actual behavior or intent.

This scenario works even as you look at information and news.

Saturday Three

The three stories that caught my eye this week are:


1Andrew Weissman asks is this the golden age of Internet marketing? And proceeds to explain how new digital technologies and networks allow brands to go native:

These new emerging revenues streams will be native monetization models that are consistent with the fabric of the product, that run with the grain of how users interact with and use the service. Google ads are the perfect, and prototypical, example, because they deliver a unit in a manner consistent with the way the user is using the product to search for information. These units generally work because they align the interest of the three interested parties in a search: users, marketers and publishers. Users get what they are looking for; marketers' get performance on their spend because they buy against the search action itself; and finally publishers generate traffic from the content.

Platform as broker.


2One of the most common issues people raise when they talk about establishing outposts in digital media and social networks is that of overwhelm. In an interview at O'Reilly Radar, Clay Johnson says don't blame the information for your bad consumption habits:

Information overload is the wrong term because it blames the information. That doesn't make any sense because information isn't something that can make decisions or be malicious. Information is something that informs decisions, and those decisions are made by people.

[…] Because of this mistake in how we look at the problem, we're unable to fix it. Information overload's message is, "put these tools on your computer, and you'll better manage the information." This kind of practice would be like trying to go on a food diet by buying a different kind of refrigerator, or trying to become a professional athlete by relying solely on the purchase of running shoes. The problem is, we don't need to manage the information. We need to manage our consumption of it.

The thesis is that junk information can lead to a new form of ignorance. Building new habits also means respecting your own time and learning to become better with critical thinking.


3As people start to think more carefully about what they trade in social networks, they are becoming very conscious that their data is valuable to marketers. As AdAge writes, startups bank on future where consumers broker information about themselves:

A number of startups are launching with the argument that consumers themselves should be in control [of their data]. The potential promises of restoring transparency and control over data to users range from lower health-care premiums to better deals on vacations and, in some scenarios, even cash in exchange for the purchase-intent data that marketers crave.

One application example in the post, quoting Forrester senior analyst Fatemeh Khatibloo, auto marketers looking to sell a car for $30,000 could find it worthwhile to buy data from potential buyers if it enabled them to zero in on the ones looking for specific features.


A modern definition of brand is: Brand is the sum of promises made, promises kept and the unbounded expectations market.

If it’s true that on a personal level, we are motivated to share content and ideas in order to define ourselves to others, to grow and nourish relationships and to get the word out about causes or brands we like or believe in#, it is also true that for brands to be on the receiving end of customer preference, the only workable model is trust.

The brands people choose are the ones they trust. Trust is the end product of a consistent and transparent relationship between business promise and trade. Trust is not earned once. It is earned with every interaction.


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