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Social Media Marketing: The Mad Men Era Legacy in Today`s New Media Landscape 

Posted in:ICUC Blog - Author:Patricia Daumas


Today, any business with a solid marketing strategy already knows that a strong social media component is a must have. Big brands are now having a conversation with millions of follower. Almost any brand has some kind of social media plan, and a social media strategy is part of the curriculum of any new business course.

But what many brands fail to take into consideration, especially new and small businesses, is that a social media campaign needs to be anchored on a big idea, as any good old traditional advertising successful campaign taught us.  The lessons learned from the Mad Men era are still applicable when drafting a social media marketing plan.

Brands are interacting with consumers using a variety of media channels and devices more than ever before. It’s the “big ideas” that help ensure a brand has a single, consistent proposition across all platforms.

Leo Burnett famously said, ” Adapt your techniques to an idea, not an idea to your techniques.”  And this as true today as it was then.

What is that elusive “big idea”? It’s nothing more and nothing less than your unique brand message and how you will communicate it to the marketplace —something easier said than done.

Here are some tips on how to find your brand’s big idea and start planning  — because, “Unless your advertising contains a big idea, it will pass like a ship in the night.”  David Ogilvy.

I. Establish your brand goals. 

What are you trying to achieve? 

The answer is not just “I want to create traffic or followers”. You want meaningful traffic. You want traffic that will help you achieve your primary goal.

Is there a problem you need to solve? Do you want to put your name out there? Or do you want to raise awareness of your product? Or change a perception? Do you need to build consumer loyalty?

II. Content is king

To achieve your brand goals you have to know the “how, what, and when” of your target group:

Understand your audience.  Who are you talking to? For a dialogue to be productive it has to be about shared perspectives. Know what your consumers expect from you so you can deliver.

Listen to your audience and adapt fast to changing perceptions.

There is no such thing as a good or bad strategy by itself. It is defined by the context at any given moment. What is good at one moment is bad at another.

III. Be consistent across all platforms.

Only if you have a solid brand goal, a clear and unique Big Idea, will you be able to create and sustain social media brand consistency.

Style: Actively push the use of consistent colors, fonts, icons styles, and logos.

Brand voice: Do you want your brand to be perceived as playful, corporate, traditional, or bohemian?

Are you embracing the conversation rather than trying to sell your brand?

David Ogilvy said it first: “A good advertisement is one which sells the product without drawing attention to itself.”

IV. Always hunt for the new media trends.

Don’t just follow your followers or you might fall behind.  Rather surprise them, take them to new places.

You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. “A lot of times people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” -Steve Jobs.

V. Word of mouth is the best medium of all.

But it is a tricky one for brands. Social media has put more power in the hands of the consumer, and as a result, bad news travels incredibly fast.

Interestingly enough, Bill Bernbach also said, “A great ad campaign will make a bad product fail faster. It will get more people to know it’s bad.”


There’s not a clear-cut divide between traditional media and new media.  As this great Google experiment shows, the new social media platforms are only great tools that still need great ideas.

It is, and will always be, about people and ideas, and great conversations, whether you are promoting your brand from Madison Avenue or from your computer in your living room.

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    Response: TV everywhere
    Social Media Marketing: The Mad Men Era Legacy in Today`s New Media Landscape - Journal - Bilingual Creative

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