Orkut (no catchy title here)

No matter how hard I tried I could not find a catchy title for this post. I guess it’s just as well because there is no Orkut anymore.

What? You never heard of Orkut?

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This was Orkut, originally put out there by Google after Friendster wouldn’t sell to them, (probably should have — oh well, hindsight and all). It emerged about a year before Facebook. Looks kinda similar, doesn’t it? It had an interesting run and actually took off and had 1.5 million communities within a year.

Did I not tell you? Orkut’s original purpose was to help users find communities by keyword searching where they could connect with other users. Yes… you heard that right, communities. Isn’t this something I’ve been talking about ad nauseam in social media when it comes to marketing? Let’s touch today on the ways that this innovative platform functioned. First, it was clean, simple, and sophisticated, and users could make recommendations about products and services through these communities.


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Are you putting the pieces together yet?  I’ve been talking about our groups and how we can create a marketing strategy using these communities. Something that we can take from Orkut is the ways that it promoted these communities. We have our own, but unfortunately, it requires user input to be beneficial.

Most traditional marketing strategies want you to consider the audience that is most likely to use your product (for us this is books). With communities, these audiences are pretty much a sure thing.

Let’s apply this to the Branded Social Experience

What’s a brand experience? In a nutshell, it is the way consumers “Feel” about your brand. How did Orkut help this? Orkut was invitation-only, this tells everyone that it is an exclusive opportunity but it was more than that, the community feel of the platform contributed to the “feel” about the marketing.

So, what is this branded social experience? It has four basic dimensions, Sensory, affective, intellectual, and behavioral that are connected to the brand or product related to design, identity, packaging, communications, and environments. Let’s look at them.


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Sensory experiences

These include something to see, hear, taste, smell, and feel in association with you and your product. This may be difficult but as writers aren’t we adept at show and don’t tell?  How can we show the consumers? Perhaps with the little blurb. What words would incite these senses?

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Affective Experiences

These allow consumers to emotionally connect with products. We need to appeal to a part of the audience’s lives. How the heck?

Communities… here is where you are effective — if a reader (aka the consumer) is unhappy you can cheer them up with a word perhaps. If they love your book they can share it within the community affecting others. See where this is going? You have to participate to affect them though. JS

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Intellectual experiences

First, let’s just be clear. Don’t just patronize them. They want something that requires thought and energy. For us, this means don’t just chuck a book link at them and then not talk to them for the next two months because you’re writing [for them] so they can read your next big mass of pages full of word vomit. (did I just say that?) Yea… I kinda did, but it is meant to show you how it feels to be patronized, those in the community won’t like it any more than you just did.

Behavioral Experiences

All of these lead to the behavioral. Real-life action! Consumers find in communities the prompt for a real-life behavioral change [aka they buy your books] where they may not have done so before! Here is where the mobilization comes in. Utilizing these communities to mobilize consumers. Combining multiple sensory experiences into the behavioral prompt.

Orkut offered us a map of sorts when it opened up its communities based platform and showed us how communities can offer these experiences were traditional marketing efforts may fail.

*Orginally published by DJ Cooper is an Author of the Apocalypse

I Like It On My Desk

My purse of course…

Does anyone remember the Facebook statuses that prompted women to put simply the color of their bra for their status, or the “I like it…” followed by the location of your purse?

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The goal was to raise awareness for breast cancer, and it was meant to draw attention and get people to ask what it was all about. The post went viral and soon every timeline it seemed had the same post with no explanation as to the reason why. Did it actually raise awareness for breast cancer or merely spur a lengthy litany to follow about bad dates.

Something that we might want to note here was the question I ask… Did it? Did it actually help raise awareness?

This is a powerful form of social media mobilization called cyberactivism. But the question remains…Do all breast-cancer memes on Facebook really have to involve sexual innuendo?   

This was the question asked and it seems that with the underwear color, where you like your purse… each of these led the man’s eye to the woman. Not as an advocate for their health, I’d venture but more to the innuendos that provoked it. Did it raise awareness?

Probably not, but it sure gained some interest.

This is likely that what made it viral was indeed the innuendo. For both men and women, the women carried a mystique, while the men wanted to know what it was. Has anyone heard the old saying sex sells? In this case, the sex was only implied, but it offered the one thing that many seek in social media… Attention.

What is cyber activism, and how can it help with marketing?

We actually see it every day on social media, we see it in political posts, we see it when others are raising money for causes on their birthday, we see ribbons, flags, and sports team profile picture filters. It’s everywhere! The question is how do we harness it?

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WHAT DOES IT MEAN IN TERMS OF MARKETING?

Wouldn’t we all want to incorporate these things into our messages and capitalize on the power of a viral internet meme? This is the holy grail of marketers in the social media age. According to Mahoney and Tang, the utilization of social media to ignite behavior change exists on a tricky continuum. Cyberactivism should go beyond awareness only. Tangible action is tied to the messages that correspond to the initiative’s goals.

“I like it… On the Desk.”

If there is to be cyberactivism uses for content, it needs to have more information that would lead those that see the content to the cause. It should lead to engagement beyond the innuendo. Brand awareness, product awareness, brand loyalty, and consumer engagement beyond the cause is the reason so many companies choose to engage in it.

The “game” should offer the consumer the engagement relative to the cause along with a side of the brand. The action that is tied to the message needs to have a tangible promise of more than an innuendo.

Figuring out that special way to encourage active engagement? Now that is a skill.

*previously published on DJ Cooper’s Blog