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cim seminar | punch above your weight with web 2.0 June 4, 2008

Posted by nicholas gill in active branding, Alan Rae, blog, brand experience, Chartered Institute of Marketing, CIM, Lisa Harris, Punch above your weight, seth godin, SME, social networks, Southampton University, squidoo, user generated content, web 2.0.

A couple of weeks back I attended a CIM seminar on how web 2.0 can help your business punch above it’s weight. As it was local, for once didn’t cost the earth and had web 2.0 in it I thought I’d better pop along.

I liked this:

– the phrase “gifted amateur” basically covering how web 2.0 technology can make a broadcaster, DJ, journalist, dare I say professional etc. out of any of us.

– the chart on slide 12 that visualises the gap and opportunity for web 2.0 and how SMEs in particular can rapidly scale using this rather than high investment & expertise in IT systems and people.

– being informed about another social network called ecademy that is a niche for businesses. And if I can read my notes correctly has 150,000 users worldwide.

– a great example of a garden company who use their passion for their work to run a weekly podcast. Which lasts 45 minutes. And reaches 10,000 subscribers via iTunes. Wow. Imagine 5 years ago, no way could she have done that. She’d had to have wangled her way into a regular guest slot on a local radio station. But with a PC, microphone, freely available software and some time and effort, she’s channelled that passion and sharing it with like minded people. Extending the brand experience beyond the website and the printed ad. Someone in the audience didn’t quite get why anyone would listen to a 45 minute podcast but they missed the point. For niche audiences with shared passions, people do.

I was a bit bemused by:

– while I agree with the premise that SME’s can indeed punch above their weight (as can individuals like me) using the power of web 2.0, I disagree (and made the point in the discussions at the end) that corporates are not making strides as quickly in web 2.0 because of their IT restrictions (equipment, policies etc.). Having worked with a number of corporates of late, the IT department has been a factor but often the least of the worries. It’s more the scale of the organisation requiring multiple approval points, quite often fragmented budgets which restrict/impact decision making and overly protective legal and CSR teams who disable the art of conversation.

– some of the sweeping generalisations such as “if you blog once per week, you’ll be in the top 100 bloggers.” I found that misleading.

– that Twitter was being introduced to a relatively inexperienced digital audience. Even some of my colleagues who do digital haven’t got a clue what the point of Twitter is so to explain that alongside general social media principles seemed a surprising choice. Although saying that I’ve been following @lisaharris since the event and have found some interesting content.

– that Squidoo was brought into the mix as something every business should have. This confused me. A lot. Squidoo say: “Squidoo is about finding people when you care what they know instead of who they know.” Which is OK. But Squidoo is quite US centric. And doesn’t really get talked about that much as far as I can see. Certainly not with the thought leaders I sneak up on and read. I can’t help thinking Squidoo was being used because it’s founder is Seth Godin who does come up with some cracking business ideas. I’d love to have seen more on why this was pushed. I would have spent more time on what tools you can use to build a fantastic site with little/zero tech knowledge using tools that are already out there, e.g. freewebs, or more explanation on Google Ad Words and SEO which can scare people who work in digital let alone normal humans. Or maybe how you can see what people may be saying about you with Google Alerts. How to aggregate your data using Google Reader. Maybe I’m just being picky?

– surprised that Google docs had only come to the presenters attention the day before. But then maybe they’re surprised I hadn’t been aware of ecademy.

But overall I enjoyed it. Also made me chuckle when they said they’d been working on this research project for over a year. I can imagine we’d probably get a couple of weeks tops in agency world to deliver thinking on this if it was a client brief 😉

Here’s a link to the team’s blog. Get in touch with them if you need SME and web 2.0 stuff.



1. DrAlanRae - June 10, 2008

Many thanks for your kind review. Just a couple of points – the top 100 bloggers referred specifically to blogging on ecademy – sorry for not making that clear.

You’re right that Squidoo has a very US profile – but as a way of putting a body of knowledge together fast it takes a lot of beating. Its a great example of an aggregation tool.

I was surprised that I’d only come across Google Docs the day before too!

The detailed adwords stuff is covered in the workshop itself.

Anyway, thanks once again for your review and recommendation – its nice to be appreciated.

Alan Rae

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