Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Through the Looking Graph

Our friends at eCairn have coined a brilliant new term for SEO called "Social Ecosystem Optimization" (trademark). Basically, the theory looks at computers as networks (cloud computing) and networks as messages (delivery-intent parallel). What makes this really unique is that it approaches the construct of brand connectivity in terms of social graphs that make up the currency which is spread outwardly (or inwardly, if you so choose). So, instead of thinking of social currency as content that is passed back and forth between influencers, you now can see it as real human capital. If you can accept this idea, the possibility of developing spheres of influence in a continuum seem far more plausible. Let's examine.

A couple posts back we touched upon the notion that time (the measurement of intervals between events) has created a silo that forces the hand of campaign development, as opposed to an ongoing conversation. The associated end-points often run the risk of precluding someone invested in a brand from perpetuating their advocacy, or quite simply, keeping that conversation alive and building upon it. Take the Motrin debacle, for example, a scenario in which one false move, along with a suffocating call-to-action and an immediate switch-back in brand perception, turned loyalists into angry detractors. But if a brand ecosystem can evolve in which the individual has no perceived restrictions on participation or respective value, then several possibilities are imminent:

- Spheres of influence take shape whereby sheer numbers (or quality of associations) and equity represent the truth (not a fictitious glimpse) and can "outweigh" unfair brand perceptions, or, fairly debate startling truths.

- Brand equity is a shared risk that engenders responsibility and examines human truths that can be associated with both negative and positive perceptions, in effect creating a "balance".

- The overlaps between spheres - areas of commonality - present new opportunities for product or service development, and in turn, feed directly back into the cycle that strengthens a given brand perception.

- Further, the individual now sits in a place of parallel existence with brand ambassadors, particularly those who are revered as celebrities in one form or another; therefore, the brand is truly humanized. 

So, what we are ultimately left with is that big ideas are those that transcend time, place and even circumstance. They can't really be encapsulated in a tag line or a positioning statement. More importantly, they reside within us, are formulated by us, and carried on through us.

As for search, as we've discussed before, the semantic web is quickly coming into view, peeking out just over the horizon. And as such, we are now faced with the wonderful challenge of optimizing real experiences, not just the values we ascribe to them.

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