I still can’t believe we’re well on our way.
By the way, the pic above says it all. As excited and as happy as we are about this new venture, it is still wrought with a lot of anxiety, doubt and re-thinking: strategy, positioning, messaging. It’s ALL good and this is the way we grow. If building a business was easy I’d probably have done it years ago.
Amy and I spoke about this yesterday and as we grow-up I want to be able to track our progress and create a journey from where we’ve started.
So we’ve decided to create an ongoing series called The Story ArC So Far (pretty nifty, huh? — and I did that without Danny’s help).
The Story ArC So Far: Where We Began
Starting a new business was very new for me.
The easy route was to define a business that was doing something that NO ONE else was doing. The harder decision was to figure out how this comes together in a form that people would buy.
With all the experience I’ve garnered in the last 20 years of working for others, I had no clue how to start my own business.
This, in itself, was a nightmare: registering a name, setting up an HST Account, registering trademarks, buying insurance…. you name it, I Googled each one. Never in the course of humanity has ONE person been as close to having multiple heart attacks in a week (actually, not as far as I know!).
I’ve made so many mistakes and I’m sure I’ll continue to do many more. But that’s not the point of this post….
The Story of Arc is About Evolution for Business:
We are teaching a new way of business and we need to drink our own Kool-Aid and become our own case study.
If we can provide some guidance for other businesses along the way, then we’ve done our jobs.
Like all new businesses, we don’t have the luxury of marketing dollars to increase our market visibility right way. But we do have content backed up by strategy and marketing know-how.
We are all writers and content creators by nature and we have very strong opinions on most topics on the emerging marketing landscape. So we’ve chosen to put the bulk of our efforts into developing great content that brings our voices to the forefront.
Content is the CORE of everything that we do. That’s how we build our story.
We’ve had loads of discussion on topics and format. The internet is full of social marketing advice.
There is no shortage of blogs out there that tell you how to “maximize” traffic to your site; use blogging to build engagement; use X tools to find out your most engaged customers; or how to optimize listening strategies to properly manage reputation.
We wanted to stand out. Perhaps we write about the “new” and evolving practices that are still being scrutinized. Perhaps we write about events and incidents that provide a point of view that’s deep and analytical.
Here’s the reality:
Social media is not new anymore. But there are many who don’t see the benefits beyond the social campaign, NOR do they understand how they can capitalize long term.
Developing a content strategy means putting the customer at the centre
We need to write for our customers and clients. We need to be in their headspace and question everything. Most of all, we need to inform them and give them something that will feed their knowledge, and allow them practical approaches to help them in their day-to-day business.
So, we continue to refine our content.
Friday Finds was a great way to find the one story that drew the most attention in that given week and to write about it. That quickly morphed into Weekend Wrap-Up as we attempted to aggregate some of the top stories that week.
Our recent series called Social Judge, Jury and Executioner has proved to be highly engaged content.
So far, we’ve covered the social media events surrounding the Boston Tragedy in A National Tragedy ; the dark side of social in the Steubenville Rape and the Rahteah Parsons Tragedy, and, more recently, our Lynch Mob in Action post drew a lot of attention and discussion.
However, where our intent was to draw attention to the subject matter and elicit some honest and respectful debate about social practices, the opposite resulted. While it provided a forum to “safely” discuss the events and issues, we also lost control of the message.
We realized that these types of discussions need some some sort of emotional detachment in order to move the issues forward and create some real solutions.
We’re Practicing What We Preach
- We need to measure everything. The value of content is the same as the value of advertising. Putting the time and energy to deliver great content needs to yield validation. This is why companies like Measure.ly provide huge benefits. For the first time we now have solutions to validate ROI for content. Content can now be measured, not only from the standpoint of amplification, but also from which shares are most likely to contribute to conversion: traffic to website, subscription or sales. This becomes much more important when it comes to defining people or companies that influence those conversions.
- We need to really know our audience. Traditional targeting methods don’t work in social media. Tools and solutions to properly target our target audience via profiling and demographic information are few and far between. We have stumbled upon some amazing solutions like DemographicsPro, which aggregates rich profiling data like: demographics, occupation, location, brand propensity, platform usage etc. for followers on Twitter.
This not only allows us to understand whose listening and engaging with us, it provides a much richer set of information (beyond the user-led profile information) that gives us more context into each of those Twitter profiles, and how we as ArCompany can drive discussion.
We’re also discovering some amazing things happening with Internet Media Labs’ OneQube Solution.
OneQube allows indexing and analyzing of followers, allowing the business to query audience based on keywords, location, gender, or influence. These and technologies like Tellagence, Appinions, Traackr, TrendSpottr, Pulse Analytics and Nimble are among those that ArCompany identifies as leading the market forward.
These leading data solutions are the stuff that will drive a whole new discussion about how we target in the “new world”.
- We need to understand what drives “Action”. In the last few weeks we’ve been heavily promoting Danny’s new book, Influence Marketing, which he co-authored with Sam Fiorella. I may be biased but this space has been waiting for a book like this. Where the nascent view of Influence has applied numbers as the metric that correlates the ability to drive action, both Sam and Danny demystify that singular approach and offer a more pragmatic approach that defines how situational factors like emotion and finance impact purchase decisions, as well as how relationships and context as attributes drive the intended action (the purchase). Watch this video:
Our Message Needs More Clarity… or so we’ve been told by our peers. We are intently listening to those who hear our message and we continue to test and refine. The elevator pitch is one area that will continue to evolve but we think we have a good one. Check this out (and believe me, this too will evolve):
ArCompany: We are a consultancy that believes in data-driven decisions for today’s social enterprise.
We understand there are critical events occurring that must heed some attention:
The death of print (perceived or actual); the staggering challenges of traditional and even digital advertising
Content is everywhere; it’s accessible; it’s free. People are more informed than ever before.
We’re moving from an era of mass communications to being a mass of communicators with more people trusting the communicators
This wealth of content and communication has enabled data-driven solutions to filter out the noise and provide companies actionable insights.
It is eliminating the guesswork for all of us.
Social is not a trend, it’s going to define the way business is structured, as a dynamic, decentralized, and social culture.
The reason is twofold:
1. The future of business will mean accountability at all levels of the organization hence “our” company.
2. ArC is an acronym for, and has established its foundation among three drivers: Analysis, ROI and Customer
ArCompany will help create the next chapter for business, to drive their own stories:
to enable meaningful dialogue with customers and stakeholders
to help companies adapt to the changing communication landscape
to help business understand and evolve with changing customer expectations, increasing advocacy and loyalty at every customer touchpoint
We’re Motivating Each Other
There are many days when the work and my own impatience gets to me. I’ve always wanted everything NOW, no matter how unrealistic.
I believe what we’re doing is different and we are indeed moving the needle.
The team continues to be inspired. There are no shortage of ideas for promotion, content or developing sales leads. If there is one thing to be said for ArCompany, we are all led by PASSION and that alone makes it easy to pool all our energies into making this work.
There have been very few times in my career that I’ve been surrounded by people who think the same as me; who understand what needs to be done; and who have the gumption to make it happen.
The coming months will be very exciting for ArCompany. We hope you continue with us through this journey.
photo source: dawnzy
Founder at ArCompany, and Director, International Council on Global Privacy and Security by Design Hessie is a seasoned digital strategist, and intelligence analyst having held senior positions for top ad agencies including Ogilvy, Rapp Collins, ONE and Isobar Digital. She also has extensive start-up experience in AI technologies, social tech, online publishing and artificial intelligence like Yahoo! Answers, Overlay.TV, Jugnoo and Cerebri AI. Hessie is the co-author of EVOLVE: Marketing (as we know it) is Doomed! She is also an active writer for Forbes, Cognitive World, Towards Data Science and Marketing Insider Group.