Nigel Hammersley – Managing Partner, VML

“If we wind the clock back a bit, word-of-mouth always has been a powerful tool. What the online environment and Social Media tools have done has allowed that word-of-mouth or conversation to expand and to be seen by hundreds or thousands more people and to be transmitted instantaneously. It’s no longer about having to be at a dinner party with four or six people. People can say something online and the whole world can hear about it. Yes, it has made a big difference. How have agencies embraced it? It comes back to the same as when digital first started. They’re not sure how it works, how it can work for their client, how they can use it and how they can make money from it. Those are some of the key things. And also, where does it lie? Back in the day when the Internet started, it was a question of ‘does this belong to the IT department, my advertising department or my PR department?’ And there are some issues there on the client side. But like anything, it just comes back to the basics. Who are we talking to? What do you want them to do? How are we going to measure this? What does success look like? All those basic things... when you’re upfront and planned it to try and figure out what channels are best. Having said that, there are some great examples of people who use Social Media and use it really, really well. But once again, if you’re looking at the New Zealand context, it’s a question of how many people is it reaching and who are those people. If you look at Air New Zealand and Telecom it works really well because it’s the right kind of audience. If I was trying to sell sewing machines in an online environment using Social Media, then it probably wouldn’t work so well.”


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