“The Social Media Landscape Is Broken”: Philips’ CMO

“The Social Media Landscape Is Broken”: Philips’ CMO

The true genius of content marketing is amplification of that content, said Damien Cummings, chief marketing officer of tech brand Philips. While many brands turn to social media, Cummings argued “the current social media landscape is fundamentally broken”.

“The way that we use it, the way you’re probably using it, is not right,” he said. His comments were made at ADMA’s marketing technology event TechMix in Sydney last Friday.

In an attempt to change the way Philips was seen, as Cummings admitted to the audience no one probably knew who they were despite the fact the company is one of the biggest tech businesses around, the brand had to undergo a different way of thinking.

“In the 1930s, 40s and 50s, Philips was the Google or the Apple of the day,” he said. “We were the mass media brand because we sold so many radios.

“But in a world where ‘what have you done for me lately?’ Philips hasn’t done that much for you lately. This territory of innovation is owned by Google, it’s owned by Apple, it’s owned by Samsung. It’s not owned by Philips.”

In order to change the perception of the brand, social media was one area Cummings said the brand was investigating.

Creating an extortionate amount of content for social media platforms, hundreds of tweets, a myriad of Instagram images and an endless amount of Facebook posts, is how you own a conversation, said Cummings.

However with so many pieces of content needing to be distributed, Cummings argued the traditional social media distribution model is fundamentally changing. And the tech brand had done a lot of things wrong in terms of distribution.

In the brand’s quest for correcting its social media, it’s focusing on three platforms: Philips’ managed and owned platform such as Philips.com, LinkedIn and Twitter.

“There’s an underlying theme here which is very, very interesting,” he said. “We realised platforms don’t work. So we’re going to focus on people, not platforms.”

Cummings explained how the brand went to LinkedIn to see how many employees were using the platform. In the APAC region, there’s 11,000 employees. And Cummings said they were going to rewrite all of those profiles. “And we’re going to use those profiles for content distribution.”

Starting off with the higher up people such as CEOs and country managers, Cummings took the audience through how the team now ghost manages the profiles, as an opt-in option if the employee gives them permission.

The team behind the profile updating would include specific areas the employee specialised in, such as healthcare or consumer goods.

“Then, we actually engage other influencers. We get these guys to connect with customers, with ministers of health, with competitors even – anybody who’s influential in that space.”

The process is only just beginning but Cummings foresees it being a very powerful tool for the company, “and zero advertising dollars”’.

It’s not faceless marketing, it’s personalised marketing.


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