Saturday, March 27, 2010

Organizing for Digital and Social Media: Metrics, Structure, Culture
Friday, March 26, 2010 from 8:30 AM - 1:00 PM (ET)
NYU Stern School of Business

The conference was hosted by L2 (LuxuryLab), a think tank for prestige brands.

Event Description
As prestige brands scramble to shift resources from traditional marketing to new media initiatives, they are forced to confront a number of questions:

• How to set digital goals?

• Where does social media sit in the org chart?

• When to use new forms of data to drive decision making?

• How to measure and incentivize success?

• How to leverage digital resources across multiple brands and business functions?

Through insight, best practices and discussions, the Organizing for Digital and Social Media Clinic will address these tough but important questions and provide actionable tactics to adapt within your company.

Agenda Recap
Presenters’ Biographies

Presenters addressed the group for 20-30 minutes each. I found their presentations very helpful and I am happy to share some of the highlights with you.

Condé Nast Digital, President
Topic: From Print to Digital

Sarah kicked off her presentation by showing us a screenshot of the homepage of the first website that Condé Nast launched, back in 1995 or 1996, called Epicurious Food. This marked a risky entrance into digital media, as all statistics at the time pointed to the fact that website visitors were primarily men and here was a site devoted to an audience seeking recipes and food prep tips. The gamble paid off, and Sarah commented that they still have many of the people who signed up to be part of their Forum discussions back then as frequent visitors today. These individuals, the ideal brand ambassadors, are often the people who educate new Forum members about the “rules” of contributing to the Forum.

Moving to current day, Sarah shared that Condé Nast now has 1.6 million users of the iPhone app of Epicurean recipes. These high numbers show reach and vitality. Sarah explained how the quality of images and technology of Mac products have helped share the “delicious” content of Condé Nast. Her team is gearing up for the iPad, which holds promise to be an excellent way to deliver Condé Nast’s digital content.

Sarah offered some interesting feedback about site visitor’s behavior and how that behavior has influenced Condé Nast’s digital media strategy. They have learned that visitors actually like the ads included in the online versions of their magazines. And online ads offer great opportunities for conversion, including the ability to click through to order products. The concept of shoppable advertising and shoppable content is one that is becoming increasingly meaningful in the luxury goods space.

Sarah explained that Condé Nast typically does not post an article in full, except when they anticipate very significant interest in a piece. GQ’s article about John Edwards’ mistress Rielle Hunter represents an example of an article published in full online, including a photo montage. I really appreciated Sarah’s candor in sharing that when they get significant site traffic, she is thrilled but also concerned that the site is able to withstand the volume…a dilemma I am sure many digital marketing departments face.

Coach, SVP Global Web & Digital Media
Topic: From Bricks to Clicks

David has been with Coach since 1998 and has been promoted to roles of increasing responsibility. His current title is Senior Vice President of Global Web and Digital Media.

David acknowledged that Coach’s website has become the company’s most effective marketing vehicle. He offered insight into how the marketing budget is divided between traditional and digital media campaigns. For the launch of Coach’s Poppy line, 10% of the marketing spend was earmarked for digital media, which bought the campaign a mini site with a unique URL. David noted that people who visited the mini site converted two times more than those who visited via

In David’s leadership role, he said the question he is pondering with his team is how they most effectively chart the next six months to a year. They are mining for the next big idea, the next big thing for Coach. His fear is that they are moving too fast, and his criticism is that they are moving too slow. David keeps on the pulse of digital media by subscribing to the Blogs of Seth Godin and Erik Qualman, as well as the daily emails from L2. Visit to receive L2 Daily Digest emails.

David also explained how they have reached out to the Blogging community. About a year ago, Coach hosted twelve Bloggers. This allowed David to form some impression of the bloggers which included that they were genuine, not to be influenced by swag, and to be treated as another editor.

Blog activity inspired David’s group to sponsor the Coach Holiday Blog-a-Day. Thirty bloggers were asked to write about their favorite Bag or a bag they would wear to an upcoming holiday party for the month leading up to Christmas. The event was kicked off by a girl named Blaire, who posted a vlog 40,000 people came the first day it was posted to view Blaire’s 8 minute Poppy video.

Topic: The Impact of Digital on Luxury Strategy & Operations

Professor Novak began her presentation with a generous offer. She said that if you’re using social media tools, this presentation would cover what you need to do to use them well. Game on, I thought to myself. She had great insight on the need to focus on what's available to sell AT THE MOMENT of consumer excitement.

Professor Novak explained how social media allows you to microfocus on the devotees of your brand. It also creates a need. You need to reward these loyalists with something special. The expectations challenge becomes, “Can we deliver on that expectation of reward?”

Now that social media is featuring things like recording of runway shows featuring clothing and products that will not hit the market for many months, the digital marketer needs to ask themselves, “What is available to sell at the moment of consumer excitement?” Ultimately, you want to turn excitement into sales. The trick becomes determining how you can satisfy your customers’ impulse to shop…immediately. And this means that marketing needs to be in lock step with operations. Social media outreach and operations need to communicate to manage expectations.

Professor Novak stressed the importance of synching inventory & availability with editorial. She cited an example of a company where marketers were doing a great job, but inventory counts were continually outdated. Customers were becoming infuriated by ordering items online only to receive an email a week or two later offering an apology and explanation that their order could not be fulfilled. The item or items were out-of-stock.

Professor Novak pointed out that there is a distinct social media advantage for larger scale companies. Those companies can afford to make an investment in advance of social media outreach (e.g. they can bolster their inventory to meet an anticipated demand). For companies without such means, some creative alternatives were recommended including offering a promotion as a limited edition and announcing the quantity in advance.

Professor Novak shared how she has seen companies use Twitter:
· For customer service
· Announce new product launch
· An operations opportunity (as Danielle of L2 explained in her Tweet, there is an opportunity to create real time demand at specific stores looking to clear inventory)

NYU Stern, Associate Professor of Management & Organizations
Case Study: DeBeers

I have to admit that I did not read the Harvard Business School Case Study in advance of this session, but now I definitely will. Presented by Professor Marciano, I was quickly captivated by her winning lecture style. So much so, she has me thinking about what it would be like to go back to school.

Professor Marciano explained (in a cool, Socratic style) that Tiffany’s makes their profit on trust. In effect, they monetize their reputation.

Beyond the direct application of the HBS case, Professor Marciano reminded us that you have to be able to do something that others can’t. She challenged us to answer the question, “What social problem are you addressing?” and “What valuable ability do you have to bring to bear on the solution?”

Great food for thought…

phd Network, EVP, U.S. Director of Digital
Topic: Measuring Digital ROI

Lance took us through some of the changes that are occurring and posed what I found to be a vexing question: “Are we producers or distributors?”

For example, he explained 3-D printing. He explained how there are possibilities I had never imagined before. Could a 3-D printer with silver ink really allow us to build electronic components from home? Cool. And could batteries be improving so much that soon we’ll only have to charge our phones only once every two weeks? Cool again.

I appreciated Lance’s knowledge of digital developments and the way he challenged us to consider, “How is your knowledge of your audience improving over time?” And he was sure to add the disclaimer that we need to consider privacy concerns as we forge ahead. Appreciate that warning, Lance. I think it warrants a lot of thought and consideration.

Halogen, CEO
Topic: Hire a Nerd

Greg’s presentation was short and to the point. He said, “Hire a nerd!” Why? Well, for starters, thenerd can help you find a way to get at your own cookies. The risk is that if you let say, Google, collect your audience data, they will own it.

L2 (LuxuryLab)
Topic: Who Is Doing This Well

Maureen recognized the MAC artists as a great public relations effort.

She also called our attention to IKEA’s use of Facebook for a store opening in Denmark. Brilliant! Here’s a recap from IKEA

L2 (LuxuryLab), Founder
Case Study: Professor Gone Wild: The inadvertent viral spread of a professor/student exchange

I loved that Professor Galloway addressed this circumstance directly.

An email he exchanged with a student that arrived late to his class has become an Internet sensation. For full details, visit: Don't be late for Scott's class! A Professor's Diatribe ... Set To Music : NPR

We discussed why certain items go viral. We joked that its typically safe to think that if legal approves it, it won’t go viral! So here was the recipe for Viral that was offered:

Viral Recipe:
Authenticity (perhaps with a sense of titillation, voyeurism, it was not originally meant for your eyes)
Social Debate (controversy)

Professor Galloway also shared that at the height of this controversy, he was receiving an average of one email every 11 seconds…if my math is correct, that’s over 7,000 emails a day.

And still, Professor Galloway saw fit to respond to my email to him last week in less than 24 hours. I inquired about the conference and he graciously responded. So, thanks for that Professor Galloway!

And thanks also for setting a tone of respect at yesterday's clinic. I have been attending many conferences and networking sessions of late, and I would say that the audience at yesterday’s clinic was by far the most captivated and respectful, aware of the contribution of each presenter and their fellow clinic participants.

Key Learnings
As someone who has begun working with individuals to build their unique personal brands, I found it so interesting to learn that 25% of search results for the largest brands are links to user-generated content. That is a significant shift in control of the message from the past. Scary? Yes. Powerful? Without a doubt.

And so I say, “Walk into the fear”. Because if you compare controlled messaging versus authentic messaging, it is easy to see that the latter is what really represents the potential to be transformational.

What a great day of learning! Great job L2 (Luxury Lab)

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