When R&B singer Jill Scott released her first album “Who is Jill Scott”, there was no advertising budget. Instead, marketers were employed to create what is loosely termed as “word of mouth” to contact key influencers throughout the market to answer the question “Who is Jill Scott.” This technique has worked not only worked in the music industry, it has worked for best selling books. For instance, the Harry Potter series and 50 Shades of Grey benefited from the work of “word of mouth.”
In a recent Annenberg class, I research Egypt and specifically the coup of 2012 that was not televised. Largely carried out by young adults through social media, the youth were able to unseat the ruling government, yet after the first few days of the revolution, the buzz died, the energy faded and power shifted. Similarly, this can happen with marketing campaigns that we might encounter in the workforce. To understand better why some campaigns, political or consumer, or more successful than others, I found information about “synchronized moments”.
Synchronized moments was studied by Dr. Zeynep Tufekci’s and presented in a Ted Talk and adapted for NPR’s Ted Talk Radio. Her research included the political unrest in Egypt and Turkey. Her research also compared those movements to the success of the Civil Rights Movement in Montgomery, Alabama that had no social media to use as a tool, yet its effects were longer lasting than most of the digitally inspired political protest.
Here are the key factors in sustainability:
Time – In order to think together collectively, digitally organized groups need time to commune with one another
Consensus – dialogue must be created to help groups with different agenda agree on how to proceed
Community – when community form past the immediacy of the situation, there is a long-term effect
Essentially, something that happens spontaneously must find organization in order to have longevity. The Civil Rights Movement was organized but it too was an organization that grew from differing factions and opinions. In today’s digital environment, participation happens quickly and grows to large scales. According to Tufekci, “good intentions are not enough.” As communicators, we should help organize these groups into communities to help the sustainability of any integrated marketing efforts we may have for our employers/clients.