Facebook and the power of the people

Mark D'Arcy speaks to NABS partnercard holders.

“Technology is catching up with humanity”….   “The web is being rebuilt around people”……”Put people at the heart of your creative process so that social isn’t an afterthought”……….. “The mobile screen will be your primary creative canvas ……………”

For anyone who might have worried about marketing losing its human focus, these words from Facebook’s global director of creative solutions, Mark D’Arcy, speaking last week at NABS’ first Tuesday Club of 2013 were music to the ears.

Facebook is a sexy brand. And sexy brands have enormous pulling power. Who wouldn’t want to hear the world’s biggest social media platform talk on the hot topic that is ‘social creativity’ just weeks after it launched its social search product to the world?

Add to that the opportunity to look inside Facebook’s UK HQ in Covent Garden – yes, it’s just as cool as you’d expect – and you’ve got a winning combination. Even before the formalities kicked off, the crowd was won over with an array of old fashioned sweets…… Woolworth’s pick and mix anyone?

Despite his hybrid accent, Mark assured us that he was a Lancashire boy. He took us back to a time growing up in the 70s when flares ruled and Starsky and Hutch were the coolest thing on TV. In an age before video or catch up TV you had one chance and one chance only to watch your favourite show. TV schedules waited for no one. Fast forward to the 21st century and how thing have changed. The balance of power has been overturned and now audiences decide what they will watch when. Now TV schedules dictate to no one.

In a world that is shifting fundamentally as opposed to the incremental changes both marketers and consumers are used to, we all seek refuge in collective wisdom. We turn to other people for advice because we are hard-wired this way. The web needs to replicate this very human instinct and that’s what social is all about, said D’Arcy

Mark called for marketers to get closer to their customers again. “Take a lead from the local businesses you love”, he advised. “Think about what makes them special; the personal service, the friendly owner and a product that might have been made just for you, for example. Try to inject some of the same qualities into the way your brand talk to its customers.”

In a rapid shift of gear, Mark closed his talk by talking about Facebook’s special culture. We’ve all seen the film and we all think we know a bit about the legend that is Mark Zuckerberg. While anyone hoping for a scoop was disappointed, Mark confirmed that Facebook really is different to most companies.  Think about a business that is set up with no preconceptions. Where employees work to the principle of ‘what would you do if you weren’t afraid?’ That, explained D’Arcy is Facebook.

In a year when NABS is celebrating its Centenary, there was no better way to kick off our Tuesday Club schedule than with a talk about our industry’s future. ‘Power to the people’ was probably the biggest take out from Mark’s talk, and it’s actually a great way of summarising what NABS is all about too.

The next NABS event is a Tuesday Club talk with Cilla Snowball, group chairman & group CEO, AMV BBDO on “pushing advertising up the business agenda” on Tuesday 19th February at AMV BBDO.

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