Online Exclusives

Get and Stay Connected

By Tom Branna, Editorial Director | December 1, 2014

Keeping close to consumers is key for companies.

What’s a social network got to do with laundry detergent? Plenty. Which is why World Detergent Conference organizers had the foresight to invite Nicola Mendelsohn, Facebook’s vice president of Europe, Middle East and Africa.

“In the 1950s, business was personal,” she explained, recalling that her father was a retailer. “Shop owners knew the family and could anticipate their needs and wants.”

That all changed with the advent of mass media, which led to the growth of brands and managed to make consumers feel at home whether they were buying a mocha latte in Seattle or Shanghai. But mass media has its limits according to Mendelsohn.

“Familiarity can never replace the personal connection of an earlier age,” she insisted. “But we can have both with mobile and social networks.”

Mendelsohn noted that there are now seven billion mobile phones in use, which is more than the people on the planet. The explosion of mobile even caught Facebook off guard.

“We had to readjust,” she recalled. “We had to focus on people.”

That’s because the Mobile Revolution is not about technology; it’s about people; individuals who want to chronicle their lives and share their experiences, according Mendelsohn.

“Seventy-two percent of people like to be connected to the internet,” she said. “FOBO, Fear of Being Offline is the new phobia.”
Don’t believe the Facebook exec? Then consider this: it took television 67 years to reach one billion people; smart phones eclipsed that number in just five years.

To reach these connected consumers, Mendelsohn had three recommendations:
• Create surround-sound via multiple devices. By marketing online and on TV, marketers can reach more people in more places, more often.
• Get personal. Mobile lets you reach the right people—such as McDonald’s novel World Cup campaign where French fries replayed the days highlights.
• Be bold. Customers are moving quickly.

“Mark Zuckerberg recently said that if Facebook debuted three years later, it would be a mobile company,” recalled Mendelsohn. “We must change in order to reach the connected consumer.”

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