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July 14, 2008


I'm so excited to see what comes next, Deb. You've been working so hard. I'm waiting impatiently for the unveiling of what you've been up to!

Hi Deb, I surfed here via Umair a while back and have been excited to hear more on this topic.

1. Are you working with them on bringing broad social media plays into any of the "Connect and Develop" program? I started Eric Von Hippel's book "Democratizing Innovation" (MIT Press) recently and am curious to see more on this subject

2. I've done a lot of work in the education/mom/family sphere over the years and am curious about the status of VocalPoint...are they still running it and how do you see resources like that creating value in the future?

Couple quick thoughts: Seems like the "lab" construct is very useful in dealing with the complexity you outlined in your post, enabling P&G to be different things to different people...a simple way to become a desirable collaboration partner to a variety of different firms/services/customers/suppliers...

Also: I am curious to hear your thoughts on employee blogs/twitter/etc and managing the "group improvised brand message" or maybe the "media membrane" that governs the flow in/out of firms. To loop this back into your post, is it fair to say that "the relationship between company and customer" is really about dis-integrating a single relationship b/w an "entity" and customers? How firms step back and create their own context, and interface with all the info that others are creating about them, is going to be an important and emerging skill.

It's certainly a blast trying to help folks figure this out and I wish you the best of luck and hope to help and learn.

Very refreshing to hear someone be upfront about how complex this stuff is ;-)

Kind regards,


Hi Deb, thanks for sharing what you've been up to with P&G. Love the idea of the Social Media Lab - the key thing is that it's multidisciplinary, not just a marketing/communications issue. I guess this is what you mean when you say it's far deeper than just 'conversations'. I was talking to another big company last week who had set up something that sounded simlar to the SML, but hadn't thought to invite along anyone from the operational side of the business. D'Oh!

I intruded your space because respected Valeria Maltoni commented on one of my posts with your tagline. I'm glad she led me here by the nose.

This stuff is so new and complex -- no one knows all the answers or even exactly all the questions.

I love this part the most, and I applaud you for saying it out loud. If I have interpret it wrongly, do correct me. I have many IT firms springing up around me claiming to do social media, and this statement seemed to work against the expertise they declared. I'm not saying they're no good, they are breath-taking at what they do. I can't code a site even for a short minute.

But yet, I find that many of them lacks the communication skills of marketers and PR. The sole emphasis on IT is almost like cooking a disaster in the wok.

If I am allowed to borrow a little of your audience, I had (by chance) just written a post based on Jason Fall's article in Social Media Explorer. It just hit me because one of your commentators above highlighted your Social Media Lab as multi-disciplinary. That is very much what I am rooting for, and also find difficult to "knock the sense" into IT geeks around me.

Well this meme is certainly taking off around the Web - thanks to Brian et al. I love all the comments above. Thank you all for your encouragement.

Ed- yes it is always about more than just tech

Ethan - SO SO true multidisciplinary is the way to go - I am pushing that as best I can - you can imagine that we have to start somewhere with P&G [the place is HUGE] and demonstrate why this is more than just marketing - and then let er rip!

Tom - spot on! Looking at this from different angles and different avenues - of course employee membrane is a big one - especially at a large company.

I couldn't agree more. Those just entering the social media need to realize that while the low-hanging fruit may deliver some dividends, it's always best to be one step ahead of the curve.

Takeaway: Social media is an art, not a science, and P&G seems to understand that.

I couldn't agree more. Those just entering the social media need to realize that while the low-hanging fruit may deliver some dividends, it's always best to be one step ahead of the curve.

Takeaway: Social media is an art, not a science, and P&G seems to understand that.

Hi Deb:

Nice post. This is a large, complex and multidimensional problem. We work for all kinds of large brand owners and agencies just to "listen" to what is out there, mining for ideas and actionable insight.

Anyone who claims to have the answer is just wrong.


When I was growing up in the ad agency business, P&G and Unilever were considered two of the most hidebound, anti-creative, uninteresting companies on Earth.

Today, both are among the most adventurous, creative and fascinating companies in their approach to new media.

Best of luck in your efforts with P&G. I'm sure you'll do great things there. Please share as much learning as you can with us here.

I'm director of interactive for a CPG company myself. It's great to have similar-minded people out there blazing the trail.

Why do we think that "social media" can build a business?

Every case study I have seen is expressly around conversations, which is being given the cock-eyed stare in this discussion. I am curious as to how folks are envisioning the role of SM as a component within their marketing plans.

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