This morning I made a comment on a blog that resulted in some strange and beautiful private dialogue. First, here's the blog.
For those who don't know them, Wray Ward owns 'advertising' in Charlotte. Sure, there are a couple of other agencies that bill MANY tens of millions annually, but WW is pretty much synonymous with advertising in Charlotte. That's all I know about them. I once interviewed there, but nothing ever came from it. Which is cool in retrospect. A good decision.
Wray Ward was also a very important sponsor for Social Fresh here in Charlotte, and they did an outstanding job. My comment on the blog was made purely as a professional observation in a public forum – which is the essence of Social Media. I don't think you can bucket the breadth of Social Media (or Social Marketing as it's referred to in the video) into a two-minute video. And I definitely don't think that the same thinking that goes into traditional marketing (driving sales) is nearly as important today as driving trust between a brand and its audience.
Right or wrong, I left my comment. By virtue of my submitting a comment in public, I am more than happy to engage in public a public debate via the blog. This kind of transparent discourse is one of the things that makes Social Media such a revelation. The best ideas and arguments win. Big Brands no longer own the conversation. Which is also to say that a conservative/traditional approach to communications doesn't really apply as much today – as we scramble to figure out how to harness this awesome new forum. Only, it's unharnessable. It's give and take. Besides, is there some rule that I missed that states we all have to be agreeable in public forums? No, there's not – I looked.
Getting back to the point of this post – I was warned by more than a few people that my comment on the SoFresh blog above could result in some kind of backlash from Wray Ward. No, really – backlash. Without getting into specifics (and for fear of incidental libel – which indeed could result in some serious backlash), let me just say to all the people who warned me – we're cool. I stand behind my comment and don't really fear much of anything. That being said, if something really weird happens to me soon – you guys know what to do. ;)
To the benevolent folks at Wray Ward – keep up the good work. You set a standard by which the rest of us measure ourselves.