How distinctive are your social markings?

Who are we if not the sum total of things that make an impression on our lives?

Human nature doesn’t exist in a vacuum. it’s the culmination of things that make us collectively and individually, the sum total of our formative experiences, times of achievement, transcended challenges and memorable moments with others we can recall years later.

There’s huge value in the memories and the objects that remind us of these moments at a personal and on a corporate level.

And, for any organisation thinking about how to make the most of their identity and any organization thinking about their brand, an important question now is to what extent, and how, does its social interaction play a part in this?

Brand identities are signifiers that combine identification and communication, a redux that convey meaning in one easy sitting.

In the age of the factory, all one had to do was hang a sign over the door and people would come marching through, ready to produce and consume. There were few other choices on offer. But things have changed and brands have multiplied. Competitive pressures have demanded brands develop individuality and be more recognizable, distinctive and preferred.

Today if you’re a large corporate, or a business of one, is of no matter. If you’re actively social, with a digital footprint, it should have clear markings and create a trail that leaves clues about you are as a distinctive species of value.

At Davos, Edelman cited Goldman Sachs as a company that aces social media. Goldman Sachs doesn’t have a great social reputation, it aces social media but isn’t a social organization.

Johnnie Moore and Euan have pointed this out recently:

We are conditioned by what we eat, by the economic pressures, by the culture and society in which we live. We are that culture, we are that society.’

The online social environment regarded primarily a technical and digital in nature. Dig a little deeper and we will realize when we connect with others, we are our authentic selves and each other’s native spirit.

Picture by Liddy Napanangka Walker ‘Wakirlpirri Jukurrpa’ (Dogwood Tree Dreaming).

Data visualization and story telling are both very powerful ways to articulate this. We show our social markings when our data visualizations take us closer to art.

Novo Nordisk tells it’s story online in its integrated Annual Report. Such great content could be brought to life with animated datasets, visual story, interactivity and rich media. Today these are an essential part of communicating the social dynamic of a brand.

For food and FMCG brands, telling useful data stories about food provenance and product journeys is part of being a sustainable brand.

In the limited nature of datasets today, graphical, verbal and behavioural identity is still largely missing and tools proprietary. The telling of the Microsoft journey below is a good step in the right direction, as are these examples from Foursquare and Old Spice.

Social brands communicate effectively when they have clear and recognizable cultural watermarks. Their art needs to be seen as well as their output.

Picture by Quasimondo

As data journalism comes on stream, there’s a big opportunity ahead for developers who will be telling stories for organizations by blending data with visual art.

The opportunity to tell stories viscerally using data is convening, curating and narrating the progress of the collectively smart social organization. It is quantifying ‘the net worth within the network’.

We’re looking for developers who can collaborate with us on developing powerful data stories for brands. We think that’s one way we can help the artistry of how social organizations develop and if you’re interested in being a part of it, we’d love to hear from you.

Tuhoe Isaac by Ashley Daws. The face of an individual and his identity, honest, unique, full of integrity.

  • Pingback: Tweets that mention How distinctive are your social markings?()

  • I always remember David Weinberger talking in the early days of blogging of us “writing ourselves into existence”. I reckon you are right – why should it be any different for companies?

    • Anne

      That’s a great phrase Euan, thanks for mentioning it.

      I think of the virtual nature of the web and differentiating ourselves in a global market collectively and as individuals as two reasons this time is a step change in terms of self-expression.

  • Pingback: Visceral Business()