Dentsu Aegis UK CEO: “Brands need to stop treating social media like a channel”

Tracy De Groose

Dentsu Aegis says its acquisition of social media management agency Tempero is a response to the rising number of brands trying to bring consistency to how they manage their reputations worldwide, a shift the network’s UK CEO Tracy De Groose believes will “take off” once brands stop treating social like a media channel.

The Japanese agency network has high hopes for the UK-based agency, and intends to turn it into a “centre of excellence” for social media.

Tempero, which has more than 160 professionals and strategists, is to be folded into the European arm of Dentsu’s ICUC specialist division where the business says its “community management” expertise will have “great influence” on developing strategies.

Harnessing Tempero’s experience is key to standing out in a crowded market, said De Groose, which has left advertisers short of answers to “how they generate value from social media” beyond traditional metrics.

“Clients increasingly understand the value of social media beyond a simple like but they don’t know how to achieve that goal,” she added. “Rather than think of social media as a channel they need to be shown how it is used as a way of propagating content and understanding theirnetwork in a way that gets to people more cost-effectively, faster and more relevantly.”

The aim is to nudge brands into rethinking the way they measure their performance online, focusing on how people are talking about them rather than solely on the price. It is an approach energy providers, through their promotion of Net Promoter scores, have increasingly been drawn too in recent years due to operating in market where brand not price is increasingly key differentiator.

De Groose said: “I think we’re moving on in how we measure the success of brands. We’re seeing a lot of brands talk about their Net Promoter scores and that’s down to the importance of social media. Everyone is connected so you cannot look at brand metrics in isolation around individuals. You have to look at that wider sphere of influence to understand.

“When we start moving to metrics like Net Promoter scores then we’ll start realising how influential social media and the management of it is. It’s the importance of really understand how your brand is being talked about and how you can manage that will lead the industry to start measuring brand success and brand heath in a different way.”

But marketers have been nurtured on traditional metrics and with companies imposing tougher cost-control limits on the marketing function, any radical shift is unlikely to manifest itself soon. It is why buzz around dark social -traffic that comes from sharing content through private communications such as emails and instant messages that web analytics cannot track -alongside the rush for personalised branded content could be key to convincing brands to think about social media in a different light.

“Sometimes the way the industry measures campaigns is just because it’s the easiest way and advertisers default to what that they know. Digital as a whole is leading the charge on a greater focus on business value and away from using metrics that just look at proxies.

“A lot of the time we think of social media as the likes of Twitter and Facebook when actually it's so much more fundamental than that. It goes beyond platforms. They just help us get there. Maybe it’s time the label social media was changed.”

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