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"The rise of social shopper means a shift in consumer psychology" LivingSocial's Peter Briffet Interview


By Craig McGill | MD/Creative Guy

August 31, 2012 | 4 min read

Peter Briffet knows technology - and consumers. His career at Microsoft and Reuters before now being UK GM at LivingSocial have shown him to be an astute operator in the field.

Naturally, we're delighted to have him as a Social Buzz Award judge (tickets now available for the awards event) and that he spent some time to tell us his current thoughts on social media and customer engagement (all of which will come in handy for your 2013 entry :-) ).

What got you into social media?

With a background in fast-growth technology companies, I have always kept a close eye on the exciting trends and developments out there. With the strength of social media marketing growing exponentially, when I was offered the opportunity to head up the UK and Ireland operations for LivingSocial, one of the most exciting business growth stories of all time, I simply couldn't resist.

Is it for every business?

Social media is a part of our day to day lives as consumers. It impacts how we find, process and share information, our process of making purchases and much, much more. Therefore, it truly holds relevance to organisations of all shapes and sizes. The rise of social shopper means we are seeing a shift in consumer psychology which impacts businesses across the board.

There’s an old argument that PR/marketing/advertising should own social media - should any of them?

The fact that social media is intrinsic in every past of the consumer experience, means the time for segregation is quickly passing us by. Forward-thinking organisations are thinking beyond social media sitting in one department or another, and are integrating it into evry fibre of the business itself, changing the way they think about communicating with customers, stakeholders and employees. We do not, notably, have internet or computer departments: it underpins the running of the business. Social media has potential for the same scale.

Why is there such a fear over traditional ROI? Surely it’s the best metric to be using?

Commercialisation of social media is an ongoing debate, and until we have consensus, debate will continue to rage.

In your eyes, what’s the biggest barrier to adoption of social media? And how would you tell people/firms to overcome this?

Preoccupation with ownership limits the potential of social media to underpin great business initiatives. Another factor is a reluctance to test and learn, to try new initiatives and integrate successes into our business models fully. Finally, I would urge marketers to think like a consumer - where do you take recommendations, look for reviews and share ideas? Social media.

A huge element of social media seems to be based around customer satisfaction but should companies - and customers - accept that you won’t always get it your own way?

Any paradigm shift that moves us from one-way to two-way communication, as social media does, inevitably means brands need to reconsider their stance - by entering a conversation with the consumer, they open themselves up to feedback - both positive and negative, and it is important we as social media marketers, are prepared for this reality.

Where do you see social media being in five years time?

In a lot less than five years, social will become the standard rather than the new kid on the block.

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