Don't Squish the Butterfly

IStock_000004447349XSmallOver the past weeks, we’ve been called on to discuss opportunities with Social Media by a handful of Fortune 1000 companies.

I’ve written previously about Big Brands who preferred to be the TOPIC of conversation vs. a mere participant.  But in these recent meetings – if anecdotes can be considered any kind of trend – I’ve noticed a different light in people’s eyes. 

These Big Brands would be absolutely thrilled to simply become a part of the conversation; to be welcomed to the community.  One person we met with stated that a specific goal of an outreach program would be “to no longer be seen as a faceless corporation.”

Each of the people in my recent slate of meetings seemed eager, curious.  Each enthused about opportunities to use their vast resources of content and personnel to add value to online communities.  It’s been a refreshing week: like watching your kid’s eyes light up at the sight of a butterfly.

Part of our role as an agency will be to guide our new friends into this world of edgework.  We don’t want them to stumble forward and squish the butterfly in their eagerness. 

Just as importantly, we’ll remind these Big Brands to worry about the potential reactions to their outreach.  Even the best intentions might be met with a sneer of indignation.

When it comes to butterflies, you need a light touch.

Posted on: February 6, 2008 at 9:37 am By Todd Defren
4 Responses to “Don't Squish the Butterfly”


  • Hi Todd,

    Really not promoting my own co. here – and understand if you don’t post this comment, but I thought this was timely/related and you might find it of interest.

    I respect you and SHIFT and 1-2 others who are moving forward in this arena, but I still find it surprising how slow moving or resistance many others in our industry have been.

    If we’re not leading the way, how will the butterflies know where to fly? :-)

    Nice post; I tip my hat.


  • Well said, Todd. You can’t rob time of time, and it takes a while to make corporate social media to work. It’s a process, not an event.

  • Lewis Webb says:

    Nice post Todd, good to see that more brands are taking the conversational attitude to heart. We put on a social networking event this morning and I’m happy to say the “light in people’s eyes” was similar to the one you describe.

    PS – cool new comment widget

  • A couple of years ago I attended a conference focused on this very topic. Many big brands were there to learn more about the art, craft and business of social media and how they could harness its power for their company. My feeling then, as now, is that this will be an uphill battle for many as there is no one ‘cookie cutter’ approach. (Which is what many were looking for) Rather each opportunity was unique and required an understanding of the tools of social media and how to leverage them to acheive their objectives. They are wise to seek consul for this journey.

Show some social media love would ya?

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