I am currently at the F-Secure partners conference in Vienna, Austria, and have been listening to Richard Gatarski speak about a passion for social media. One incredible story illustrates the power that new social media forms have to influence brands, and how little many established companies (even those who sell products and services that are designed for this new world) know about this.

In March 2006, Melody, a teenager better known by her YouTube name, “Bowiechick”, was feeling pretty depressed. She had just broken up with her boyfriend. So, she decided to record a vlog (a video blog entry). In order to cheer herself up, she experimented with some cool software that came with her webcam. By the end of the 75 second video, she had had a bit of fun and was feeling better. She posted the result at YouTube (see it here). This clip has now been viewed nearly 2 million times!

As you could anticipate, a few of her friends saw it, and wrote notes to her, encouraging her to cheer up and move on. But then people started asking her about the software she used to make the video itself. More and more people asked, so she created a little video to explain how her Logitech webcam and software worked. This 2 minute video has been viewed over 3 million times. Watch it here.

Logitech’s sales of webcams went crazy. Now, imagine you’re Logitech’s sales manager. Your sales start increasing. You feel good about yourself, but you don’t know why it’s happening. You haven’t had a campaign recently. Then, they do more than spike – they go crazy! Read a news report from the time (along with the usual gumph from Logitech and Amazon about what the cause was – or maybe they just didn’t want her to claim any money from them for advertising).

This is the new world of marketing and sales promotions. There are new rules and the companies that understand this first, and make moves to harness these sorts of things, will be well rewarded. Social networking and sharing sites are not just teenage toys!

TomorrowToday Global