Should Brands Get on Jelly? (+ Announcement)

Should they? Should they buy social ads? Should they become media companies even though they are not in the media business?

How much should they invest in people and how much in tools? What budgets are their peers allocating to social? Which tools are better to do xyz vs. qwerty? Is brand x doing it all wrong and brand z taking the market? What is a minimum viable product (MVP)?

One could get carried away with such questions, and have no trouble finding opposing views, strong opinions, and all kinds of advice through search and social. The hard part is figuring out who to believe, we already follow more people and companies than we can possibly get to know. Part of the case for customer communities.

My thinking about digital transformation and social technologies has been pretty aligned with Peter Kim’s and his latest post about brands jumping into Jelly# is a small taste of the kind of advice I have been providing and taking (what's going that matters):

  • Be appropriate
  • Engage with sincerity
  • Use clear language
  • Take the time to understand motivations
  • Respect the people and their business
  • Be mindful of context, etc.

Most importantly, when in doubt, seek to learn through prototyping and experimentation (see readiness and maturity for social integration).

My professional and personal journeys in digital and social started in very different ways, yet they originated from the same desire to help facilitate that connection between people and what they want to get done.  

Along the way, my practices evolved into focusing on how technology can support better, more informed interactions, and help people scale, while at the same time being fair to the human side of this change with relevance.

Organizations are still working to realign behind new ways of doing business and although we live in an age of content avalanche, we are information-rich and theory-poor, we have an ever-growing array of tools at our disposal, yet are constantly asked to wade into uncharted territory (and to do it safely and profitably).

Faster, greater, more impactful, pick three of them is the new mantra; yet we must take time to make sense of what is going on that matters, to asses what change is needed, and to get on the same communication wavelengths for it to work.

This is not a technology problem; it is a people and purpose conversation.

To make progress we need to design to the way things are –- to recognize, enroll, and amplify strengths and become aware of gaps so they can be addressed, not paper over them. Yet being hard on solving issues, confronting the hard facts should not come at the expense of relationships, because it has serious consequences on culture.

And culture provides an energy footprint to propel individual and collective effort forward in addition to being a differentiating quality we trade -– in social and through our digital platforms. (I have often said that agreement can be the greatest form of misunderstanding.)

Helping organizations identify what is bedrock from sand is what I do best.

Which is why I am very excited to announce I have joined PM Digital, a full-service digital consultancy that creates customized, high-touch campaigns to grow brands’ business online, as Vice President of Digital Strategy. Read the official announcement at the company’s blog, where you will soon find my POV on questions like the title of this post.

I am joining a firm with a strong culture of respect, curiosity, and integrity and a very experienced team of practitioners both on the strategy and execution side – people like Clay Cazier, and Richard Chavez, who I am fortunate enough to have as colleagues (an example of the kind of rigor – and fun – we bring to our engagements).

In addition to leading clients’ strategy engagement, I will focus on building out the firm’s content marketing, and social discovery and engagement offerings to help brands answer many of their questions about:

  • Better tools to manage information streams — this is greater that real time; it's about right time (= relevance)
  • A measurement framework to get faster from data to action — this is bigger than Big Data; it's about measuring what matters
  • Filters to surface useful/valuable/appropriate content — this is greater than keywords/terms; it's (still) about discovery

And yes, many of the questions I posed in the first paragraphs of this post.  


Helping people do what they want to do, understanding what job they want to get done, and making that connection with empathy is what drives us. Drop me a note if you would like to discuss how we can help you take your programs to the next level.


[Jelly official launch]


Valeria is an experienced listener. She designs service and product experiences to help businesses rediscover the value of promises and its effects on relationships and culture. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on a variety of topics. Book her to speak here.

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