I wrote this back when Indianapolis hosted the Super Bowl, but never published it. Old thoughts, new year.
“I sent the club a wire stating, PLEASE ACCEPT MY RESIGNATION. I DON’T WANT TO BELONG TO ANY CLUB THAT WILL ACCEPT ME AS A MEMBER” – Groucho Marx.
First of all, my congratulations to those selected to help promote the Super Bowl in this way. Go do great things. I know some of the folks in the Social 46, and they are as diverse as the sandwiches found in the Super 46 promotion http://www.in.gov/visitindiana/super46/ . Some have lots of ham piled on, others lend towards the vegetarian options. Some will use this as a platform for self promotion. But that is the nature of this thing we call social media. And yes I have already matched some of the sandwiches with some of the people. The Super Bowl Committee chose these people for their own reasons, and it isn’t our job to second guess their choices, or their motives. Business decisions are made all the time.
What I do wonder about is the overall approach to using social media by many organizations involved in the event, including the Committee. Being the most “connected” Super Bowl is an admirable goal. But isn’t there more to this equation than the awareness factor? Or conversations? I am not privy to the marketing machinations behind the scenes, no doubt the big players are all over a tightly integrated marketing play that intelligently incorporates social components. But it seems to me that many in our City, from a business perspective, are not up to speed on how to best leverage social as part of their marketing efforts. The good news is that it will be a huge event for the city, and will boost the bottom line for many, many businesses. In spite of all the marketing expertise out there.
Jay and others quickly pointed out the lack of disclosure guidance. Disclosure is such an important issue, I would like to think that they assumed the 46 were disclosure savvy. One of the best examples of disclosure can be found right here in Indiana. at the Visit Indiana blog http://www.in.gov/visitindiana/blog/index.php/ftc-disclosure/. There are some great folks over there including Jeremy Williams. Erik Deckers is one of their bloggers, and always informs and entertains. Both of these gentlemen are social luminaries in their own right.
I wasn’t chosen as one of the Social 46, and quite frankly, if I was, I would have wondered why. I’m deeply into social technologies, but frame it in the much larger context of big picture marketing. If I have a potential client who wants to use just social media, I point them to an appropriate vendor.
For those folks who somehow have gotten hurt by being passed over by the Committee, let me tell you. There are many marketing professionals in this community that do great work, and they were not chosen to help in this way. As professionals, they understand that “celebrity” can be a double edged sword. I honestly don’t think more of Jay Baer because he is a social media celebrity, and I can’t imagine that he would think less of me for not being one. We’ve had several conversations, and they always feel comfortable, peer to peer. Jay and other folks in the spotlight have to prove their worth every time they post on their sites, make a speech, or write a book. If we as professionals don’t look beyond the cult of personality, then we only have ourselves to blame if we fall into the illusion that celebrity trumps authority and thought leadership. Does lack of celebrity infer lack of knowledge, skills, insight, or wisdom? Not by a long shot. Does celebrity in the sense of Klout score, followers, etc, help one in doing a great job for an employer or client? Not by a long shot.
Can celebrity help to amplify messages? Absolutely. This is the essence of why the Social 46 was created.
Will there be a huge opportunity to learn from the successes and mistakes brought about by this effort, and others? Absolutely. Why don’t we as a diverse group of professionals come up with a way to do just that?