I have recently defended and presented my thesis about social objects in B2B marketing. Considering the nature of business-to-business (B2B) transactions, and the lack of relevant research on consumer attitudes toward a B2B-brand, my thesis examines the concept of social objects in a B2B marketing context.
This thesis expands the use of social objects to a B2B marketing context, and quantiﬁes social objects by sending out questionnaires to 1500 individuals that are accountable for scheduling meetings in a ﬁrm. The concept of social objects is deﬁned and applied to a digital context; the recipients for this study receive a shareable and annotatable interactive picture. The social object “mediated” the value that Nordic Light Hotel uses for positioning its brand. The outcome was quantiﬁed by measuring a composite attitude score toward the brand by using the expectancy-value model.
This thesis found that when recipients are exposed to a social object, there is an increase in the attitudinal favorability to a brand. It also suggested that social objects likely carry out a new perception of the brand, which is both an opportunity and a pitfall if not followed up with, since the change is coupled to the object, e.g. the company itself.
Do not let the screenshot mislead you. It is a charming little short movie that illustrates how technology is incorporated as an extra layer of our lives.
The surroundings interpret you as absent when you are focused on the computer or a cell phone. It may seem like you are not present in the same space and time as your surroundings and are brought back to reality when someone interrupts you. The opposite is if you sit at a book or magazine. You seem to be fully present with what you have in front of you, and are perceived as if you have made a conscious choice of where and when you have positioned yourself to read.
The technology is a disruptive force of our social life. Who would think that we suddenly would excuse us for picking up an artefact that would instantly change who we conversate with? We are literarily turning our heads to someone or something else and are at the same time capable of establishing a new relationship with a low transaction cost. We sometimes accept the friend request or liking a brand while we are at a different social context, a meeting or a lecture.
As with all innovations, it results in benefits and consequences for those affected by the change. Instead of moving to the same city to build a community around certain interests, individuals can now gather around social objects and create value for themselves and others. We are online now.
In short, the post above express that our intrinsic trust to companies are today related to the business model. I do also believe in the philosophy of not being a free user, if you want to be sure that the service a company offers will be around for a while and if you value what the company is delivering to you. Note that a business model based on the concept of a paying customer does not ensure that a company will deliver the value you want or need. You will certainly pay for your restaurant visit, but it is not certain that you will be happy with the food or the service.
Porter’s Value Chain Model: Borrowed image from Wikipedia licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
The Value Chain Model above suggest that every activity sums up a value to the end-product or service combined with support and primary activities (see figure). Consumers bought the software provided by Sparrow because they believed in the activities the company until recently executed. The difference between pre-Google and post-Google for Sparrow is the sudden halt of development, and it is one primary activity their customers highly valued.
There has recently been a paradigm shift in marketing about what customers really are. We are no longer consumers who only are expected to have the capacity to choose between finished products. We are now investosumers, consumers who also can contribute with time and money to help a company proceed with their primary and support activities to achieve its business objectives.
Kickstarter is an excellent platform for investosumers. I have invested in Remee (I’m still waiting for the product) and I’m expecting to have a product that has been presented to me through Youtube. If I have not been fooled.
App.net is a social platform that will be released and developed with the help of investosumers time (to give feedback) and money. The advantages are that it will be ad free and will try to do mistakes in a different way than Diaspora, to literally making the value chain model bilateral. The value of the activities will essentially not only flow from left to right in the model, it will also flow from right to left.
There are many questions that have arisen, matters beyond the business model and technical descriptions of what App.net will be. One crucial issue is if the activities from the company will suddenly halt, just like Sparrow. Or even worse, that App.net will not deliver anything all? App.net are asking us to act as an investor without the legal agreement and thus an investor without control. Even though we have not seen so much, not even a prototype, of the service they are trying to make.
I feel more compelled with the open source project FreedomBox:
We live in a world where our use of the network is mediated by organizations that often do not have our best interests at heart. By building software that does not rely on a central service, we can regain control and privacy. By keeping our data in our homes, we gain useful legal protections over it. By giving back power to the users over their networks and machines, we are returning the Internet to its intended peer-to-peer architecture.
In order to bring about the new network order, it is paramount that it is easy to convert to it. The hardware it runs on must be cheap. The software it runs on must be easy to install and administrate by anybody. It must be easy to transition from existing services.
There are a number of projects working to realize a future of distributed services; we aim to bring them all together in a convenient package.
The only necessary monetary transaction is the user’s purchase of the hardware to access the software. And the only one who can make the decision to close down a functioning social platform that runs the FreedomBox-software is the end user, who then unplugs the cord. In the case of App.net, there’s not the end user who decides if the cord should be pulled.
It seems that Spotify Social was a counter move against a future competitor, Rdio. The founder of Kazaa and Skype, Niklas Zennström, has probably carefully studied Spotify and taken strategic decisions on how a music service could be more social. The front page is more intuitive when you are interested in exploring new music. In my case, I have added people with similar taste of music. This is also a strength that Rdio has, it is difficult to find people with similar taste in music in Spotify.
They have designed a more social browsing experience where users can easily gain an overview of other users who listen to the same thing as oneself. I have found interesting music by being able to see which users are listening to the same albums and browse further. The difference between Rdio and Last.fm is to just press play to hear the music. Rdio also presents albums and not just individual songs when you browse. It has the ability to add albums and songs in a collection (in addition to playlists) while Spotify users struggle with starring songs and create playlists without folders to keep track of the music they want to listen to again.
Spotify has much to learn from Rdio if they want to break into the U.S. market. To offer any kind of freemium is not enough, now users have been spoiled in the U.S. with a good browsing experience which Spotify must catch up on to succeed.
Det händer inte att man skulle gå på gatan och bli oprovocerat slagen i huvudet. Men det händer oss.
Det värsta var att höra den dova smällen. Hur den högra knytnäven träffade R i huvudet. Man tror inte att det skulle kunna hända. Att en människa skulle gå längs Folkungagatan och argt som ett bi skrika i telefonen “Fuck you, ja det säger jag!” för att sedan stirra rakt mot R och säga “Vad glor du på gubbjävel?”. Och sedan “Jag ska sänka dig! Ja det ska jag!” Den fullständigt galna ilskan i ögonen i det förvrängda ansiktet.
Och det där ljudet, den dova smällen, knytnäven mot huvudet.
Hur jag handfallet springer åt sidan och ringer polisen. Hur jag ser kompisarna knuffar undan, hindrar, för bort gärningsmannen och går ner i tunnelbanan.
Frustrationen över att vänta på att polisen skulle springa ner i tunnelbanan (kanske stoppat tågen och plockat honom) och sedan ta emot våra vittnesuppgifter. Tio minuter senare går poliser ner i tunnelbanan. Vi står kvar. Går sedan hem.
Hur R sen ringer polisen och frågar om de har fått tag på honom.
Allt detta. Och ingenting har ändå hänt. Polisen har gjort sitt byråkratiska jobb. Mannen är fortfarande på fri fot.
Det kommer bli svårt för mig att fritt och avslappnat gå hem på kvällen utan en gnagande oro för att utsättas för något så vansinnigt och oprovocerat som ett slag i huvudet.
Den fruktansvärt dova smällen.