Last week the Altimeter Group, run by former Forrester Research analyst Charlene Li, and online marketing firm Wetpaint released a study that analyzed the 100 most valuable brands (according to BusinessWeek/Interbrand) and how they engage across 11 different online social-media venues, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
|Photo: JC Bourcart|
|Steve Rubel is a marketing strategist and blogger. He is senior VP-director of insights at Edelman Digital.|
What was eye-popping was the correlation they made between social engagement and financial performance. In my view there are a lot of factors that influence a company's financial performance, which makes such a correlation questionable. But good use of social media could be seen as a proxy for an innovative culture, eagerness to engage with consumers and take risks, a net positive for any business.
The bigger takeaway from the research is in examining how these companies were able to build their social networks. They all innovated early, often and, sometimes, incrementally. Consider that:
Social capital goes to those who innovate early, often and with excellence -- and repeat this process over and over. That, to me, is what the research spells out.
(Note: Starbucks, Microsoft and eBay are all clients of Edelman, my employer.)