Malena's Brands with Purpose vs Purposeless Brands

How Big companies can empower small start ups

June 12th, 2017 · No Comments

Large, established companies may have their challenges, but they also have access to capital, industry experience and strong professional networks — three key ingredients emerging businesses need.

I believe companies can share these valuable assets with startups to benefit both, bringing vital finance and know-how to new businesses, and helping established ones to innovate and rejuvenate. Big businesses with a clear purpose can bring value, serving as a facilitator of growth — both internal and external.

How can they do this?

FINANCIAL SUPPORT — Obvious, but important. Many large corporations act as venture capital funds, investing in startups as a way of boosting innovation when internal innovation grows stagnant. Others do this to adapt both their ways of working and their brand image, such as John Lewis. The UK retailer launched JLab in 2014, partly as a result of wanting to be seen as a leader in the retail technology space. JLab offers 12 weeks of mentoring and the chance of a store contract, as well as a £100,000 investment in exchange for equity in the startup — a much-needed capital boost to growing companies.
NETWORKING – Sometimes it really is about who you know. Companies can open up their established little black books to help entrepreneurs connect with investors or other startups. Take for example Google for Entrepreneurs, Google’s initiative that harks back to its own humble startup beginnings. Google for Entrepreneurs links entrepreneurs to existing startup communities, and builds “Campuses” where they can connect, share ideas and collaborate. Under a credible umbrella, start-ups are also better able to connect to funds and resources.
MENTORING — One huge advantage of being an established company is having in-house expertise, which can be shared with up-and-coming businesses. Dell’s Founders 50 provides exactly that for high-growth startups. The program offers mentorship and networking opportunities to drive growth. Dell provides an “internal champion” as a mentor for its Founders 50 members, giving advice to businesses at crucial stages in their development. The initiative builds on Dell’s history of supporting entrepreneurs both within and outside the company, reflecting its self-stated status as the “biggest startup in the world.”
CREDIBILITY — Half the battle of transforming a business venture into reality is persuading the market that you’re a viable, plausible entity. Being vetted or taken under the wing of a trusted brand can give startups an enormous credibility boost. Unilever’s Sustainable Living Young Entrepreneur Awards, for example, gives financial support and mentoring to winners, with the bonus of accredited validation. The award also gives Unilever credibility, presenting the company as supportive of the innovators and initiatives that are aligned to their own sustainability commitments.
TECHNOLOGY/ PLATFORM – Facebook, no stranger to startup culture, has launched FbStart, a platform that provides mobile app startups with free tools and services that help them to excel. The mentoring and connections allow new apps to exclusively build on the platform while also engaging with established developers.
The flow of benefits is not just a one-way street — entrepreneurs can provide a substantial amount to the large corporations that support them, enabling transformation and encouraging experimentation.

Take for example The Unilever Foundry, launched in 2014, which mentors and invests in digital media startups, helping them to scale up and giving them access to the myriad Unilever brands. Unilever gains an enormous amount from The Foundry in terms of access to innovative marketing technology. The entrepreneurs involved share their knowledge and offer more efficient, effective and sustainable ways of reaching out to consumers – something Unilever specifically seeks out. Let’s not forget that Unilever ensures that these startups share their purpose, passion and vision for social impact, meaning that their collaboration really does have the potential to generate change.

At Shell, I’ve seen the wonderful results of big business, small startup collaborations first hand through our #makethefuture program; but it’s certainly not our only platform to empower others. We offer a breadth of solutions to support startups at all stages of their development, from LiveWIRE, which gives early stage online business advice and funding to young entrepreneurs, to Shell Technology Ventures, which provides funding, expertise and access to our wide energy network for the participating pioneering energy companies.

And one of my personal favorites — our Shell Springboard program gives no-strings-attached funding to emerging businesses that demonstrate commercially viable, low-carbon solutions with a social impact. Deciwatt, the 2015 Shell Springboard National Winner, has already made a huge impact in communities living without electricity through GravityLight, a truly novel concept that generates electricity, providing a safe alternative to kerosene lamps. To celebrate, we recently commenced a 50-night tour of 50 different Kenyan towns, showcasing the technology and installing it in homes across the country.

It’s gratifying to not only see, but enable, such ground-breaking technology in action —but it’s not always easy.

It can be challenging for big companies tied to shareholders and stakeholders to foster entrepreneurship with startup support. But, whether you’re investing your brand’s time, money or credibility, the investment towards innovation is worth it.

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Can brands be both viral- and purpose druven in marketing?

June 12th, 2017 · No Comments

Marketers chase the formula for viral marketing campaigns with the verve of alchemists working to turn base metals into gold. Whilst there have been wildly successful campaigns devoid of meaning, in my view, the most impactful are those fundamentally driven by purpose.

At Shell, our #makethefuture campaign supports energy innovators to find the answer to the energy challenges of the future. We recently collaborated with artists, clean energy entrepreneurs and the local community in Rio de Janeiro to launch Shell’s #makethefuture music video, “Best Day Of My Life”. It leveraged international artists to amplify the message and make the video engaging, yet the key was the fact that it’s underpinned by real-life projects around the world.

Since its launch in late September, the video has been viewed more than 201 million times. It’s secured a steady spot on several “most shared video” lists and is the third most-shared campaign of the year.

Of course, viral campaigns with no core purpose can still be successful in terms of metrics, but I question whether all those shares and “likes” equal true impact. Enduring or not, an effective campaign is one that’s shared globally, becoming part of the curious, unpredictable world of Internet culture.

The million-dollar questions remain: What drives people to share? What creates pure, pass-along potential with purpose?

While you can never predict or guarantee virality, there are a few ways brands can encourage it through purpose-driven campaigns:

Communicate your core value, from the inside out

Your editors and producers are as important as the brains behind the brand. Across social media, companies are lucky to hold an audience’s attention for just 16 seconds, so content must immediately communicate a concise, compelling message.

Evian’s “Live Young” campaign is a great example of this — dancing and roller-skating babies in the “Baby and Me” and “The Roller Babies” videos were simultaneously memorable, entertaining and surreal. Importantly, they also reflected the brand’s vision of instilling youthfulness in the hearts and minds of those who drink it.

Own it

It goes without saying that a specific marketing campaign should be integral to the brand and the brand integral to the campaign. Whilst Red Bull does not consider it an advertising campaign, its “Stratos” stunt, which sent Felix Baumbarther into outerspace, was astronomically successful (literally) — more than 9.5 million viewers tuned in to the live-streamed event. Red Bull’s core value is adrenaline and adventure, so they created a campaign that was a perfect fit.

Authentically connect with your audience

Brands depend on audiences for success: They’ll ultimately make your campaign viral or not, so you must connect with them on an poignant level. The Always #LikeAGirl campaign film, demonstrating the feminine hygiene brand’s commitment to empowering girls through puberty, was viewed more than 85 million times. The #LikeAGirl film aimed to transform the phrase ‘like a girl’ from an insult to an empowering expression. The film was highly shareable as it resounded emotionally with women of all ages — transcending country, culture and creed.

Another enormously popular campaign is Royal Philips’ “Philips Everyday Hero”video. The film reflected Philips’ intention to put human beings at the heart of its healthcare strategy, and was viewed over 32 million times. The video — inspired by the true story of window cleaners dressing as super heroes to amuse children in hospital — was hugely successful as it highlighted the importance of human connection and empathy to bring joy to the lives of others.

Then connect your audience with each other

Facilitate bringing people together, allowing or even encouraging consumers to communicate and reach out to each other, creating or reinforcing a feeling of community. Take the 2014 ALS Ice Bucket Challenge for example, which raised more than $115 million during an 8-week period. The Ice Bucket Challenge created a sense of community as each participant shared their own video, and in turn nominated friends to continue the challenge, creating shared experiences and reinforcing connections.

Don’t just “touch and go”

Perhaps most important, brands can’t expect to make one video and disappear. While I thoroughly enjoyed them, I wonder where the follow up was after some of the most viral campaigns, such as the Australian public service announcement campaign and Cannes winner “Dumb Ways to Die,” or Volvo’s “The Epic Split” featuring Jean-Claude Van Damme. Brands benefit when they keep audiences anticipating what’s next — it’s the beauty of campaigns such as the John Lewis annual Christmas ad, and the strategy behind our own #makethefuture campaign.

Help people feel good

Don’t underestimate human nature’s vanity, especially in today’s selfie-obsessed society. People like to feel and look good both off and online, so your audience may be more likely to share if the message makes them feel good too. This connects back to purpose — if a campaign is underscored with meaning, people want to be connected to it and consequently more likely to share.

Walmart’s “Fight Hunger Spark Change” video gained over 12 million views in its first week, reflecting Walmart’s commitment to hunger relief. At the same time, it also gave the sharer a badge of support for the fight against hunger, and the satisfaction that their single demonstration of online support would be translated by Walmart into a pledge to help Feeding America provide ten meals.

Engage on multiple levels

With reducing attention spans, today’s communication needs to grab attention and then maintain engagement. Music plays a strong role in many of the best examples, as does universal story telling. Beyond the first impressions, the activity will deliver value for brands if it merits multiple views and contains elements to debate or decode — a great enduring example being Cadbury’s “Gorilla,” which was just named the public’s favourite add of all time in 2015).

Deeper social engagement beyond simple sharing will also fuel the viral effect. We need to respect the intelligence of our audiences and stimulate conversations. Brands should use a creative wrapper, but don’t need to spoon-feed the message or underestimate the enjoyment of discovery.

Create lasting impact

Our “Best Day of My Life” music video isn’t the end of it. We’ll continue highlighting the stories of Shell’s support across a variety of initiatives to deliver more and cleaner energy for the needs of our growing world population. This activity is not about expressing hollow intentions or beliefs — it’s about action. In my view, it’s important to show that such collaborations can foster change and deliver a positive and lasting impact.

If what we do is driven by purpose, I hope that more people anticipate what comes next —some may even ask how to join in. The more people engage with the cause, the more we can generate change. And that’s a really good reason to keep chasing that viral gold.

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Purpose, not altruism. Why authenticity matters in marketing

June 12th, 2017 · No Comments

As a marketer, it’s always been my job to shape a brand’s messaging efforts to express more than just the products or services they offer. It’s on me to help define brand purpose and communicate it clearly to consumers.

No pressure.

As an individual constantly in search of purpose in my own life, it’s a vocation that suits me quite well. I want to actively improve people’s lives through the work I do, and the companies I work with.

This drive to seek out and define meaning is not unique to me, of course. People have always looked for conviction in their lives, which includes the products and purchases that are often a reflection of their personal values.

Social purpose is an increasingly important factor for consumers: Edelman’s 2016 “EARNED BRAND” study revealed that brands will most effectively address consumer expectation and desire through “purpose, storytelling, and listening.”

Over the past few years, many brands have realized that “giving back” (or at least talking about it) can be good for business. Essentially, having purpose pays.

It is no surprise therefore that EY Beacon Institute and Harvard Business Review Analytic Services’ joint report on “The Business Case For Purpose” revealed that companies with a clearly articulated purpose see higher growth rates.

That’s a huge incentive, and perhaps the reason why we’ve seen the rise of the excessively emotional advert and cause-driven business strategy — whether it’s to (ultimately) sell food or say, energy.

But consumers are smarter, and know when a brand is sincere in supporting relevant causes or when it’s just another marketing ploy or brand building exercise.

Purpose must be ingrained in every part of the business, from company culture and innovation, to community outreach and marketing — because purpose demands actual purpose, not altruism.

Here are my tips on how to authentically build and articulate brand purpose:

1. Know your company: You must understand your past, your employees, industry and the basis on which your brand was founded. Your company will make a difference by doing what it naturally does best. Philips Lighting, for example, started out by bringing low cost, reliable light bulbs to the masses. Over the years, it has built purpose on this foundation of almost a century of entrepreneurship, and improves lives through ground-breaking innovations.

2. Purpose ought to be born in the boardroom, rather than the marketing department — so that it is truly embedded within the organization and its business objectives. It must have the commitment of the C-suite and beyond to inspire shareholders, employees and consumers.

Take the Sustainable Living Plan, for example, conceived by Unilever’s CEO, Paul Polman. His aim was for Unilever to operate by respecting its environmental and social impact as well as to increase sales and profitability. Polman engaged all the company’s brands as well as employees, customers and other companies up the supply chain. Since he launched his enlightened capitalism plan in 2010, shares have rocketed. Unilever has recently expanded its work towards sustainability in its recent launch of “brightFuture”, the parent company platform that brings together all of its brands under one umbrella, amplifying and uniting the social work done by its individual brands towards sustainability.

3. Purpose must be integral to what you do: When a company embodies its purpose, and truly acts in the way it says it will, the message will be inherently authentic and therefore trusted. This is particularly important in our transparent society. Purpose must be more than just a hashtag: It sounds obvious, but it must be about what a brand does, rather than just what it says.

Take for example, TOMS Shoes, while not shy of being a for-profit organization, an integral part of its business model is helping a person in need with every product purchased. Such is the power and success of the concept, that TOMS Shoes has expanded to TOMS Eyewear and TOMS Roasting Company. TOMS is more than just a brand, it’s a global movement, and one that I wish I’d started myself!

Or take Shell’s #makethefuture program, which, while surprising to some, was an initiative of our own invention. Admittedly, it does have a hashtag —but it has also brought safer and cleaner lighting solutions to 26 countries. It created the world’s first kinetic-energy football pitch, and fueled the first company in the world to industrialize the process of recycling waste coffee grounds into advanced biofuels. We’re not just talking about bright energy ideas for the sake of it; we’re actively enabling them.

4. Effectively communicate your purpose to your target audience. Walk the walk before you talk the talk. After you’ve established and demonstrated your purpose consistently, then you can talk the talk. Your brand might be making all the difference in the world to the world, but unless you effectively engage consumers, no one will know about what you’re doing.

Sometimes, this will mean engaging influencers or celebrities to amplify your message, and the key here is engaging personalities who meaningfully reflect the brand or message. For me, the power of celebrity was effectively harnessed in UN OCHA’s #ShareHumanity campaign — numerous stars, including Richard Branson, Cody Simpson and footballer Kaká, donated their social media feeds so that the UN agency’s message was amplified and shared with the largest possible audience. The campaign was enormously successful, generating 170,717 tweets and 1,702,188,256 impressions during its initial week.

The brands I mentioned all have one important characteristic in common — their core purpose is more than marketing. It’s at the core, and you can’t fake that.

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Does everything comes at a price?

October 12th, 2009 · 1 Comment

If I pay $1000 extra for a first-class seat, odds are the flight attendant will be nice to me.

If I pay $2000 extra for the presidential suite at the hotel, odds are the front desk clerk will be nice to me.

If I give the valet $50 to park my car, odds are he’ll be nice to me as well.

So, here’s the question: if all I want, the only extra, is for someone to be nice to me when I visit your business, how much extra does that cost? How much extra to talk to a nice person when I call tech support? How much extra to find a nice receptionist at the doctor’s office? Would you pay $9 extra for a smile when you dealt with the Swiss Cantonal Commune and were filing a form?

I know you’re rushed and stressed and stretched. I know your team deals with hundreds or thousands of customers, and a lot of them aren’t very friendly or warm. And I know that some of your customers (maybe a lot) would happily pay a little extra to get that one thing they want most of all…

I think there’s a huge gap between what people are willing to pay for nice (a lot) and what it would cost businesses to deliver it (almost nothing). Smells like an opportunity.

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Always in a rush?

April 29th, 2009 · 1 Comment

Sometimes, busy people need to remind themselves (and us) how busy they are by shaving off the last two seconds of what would otherwise be a pleasant interaction.

At Nobu in London the other day, the hostess, who is paid to be busy, looked up our name in the reservations book and then said, “over there against the wall,” while she pointed. She repeated this approach with at least three other parties.

How much longer to say, “Welcome, we’ll be ready for you in just a second. Would you mind waiting over there please?” Amazingly, saying that while smiling takes precisely the same amount of time.

I know you’re busy, so I’ll keep this short… if you’re going to interact, spend a few extra beats to be calm and gracious. It’s hard to overstate how much better everyone will feel and how much more productive you’ll become as a result.

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The old refrigerator magnet

April 29th, 2009 · Comments Off on The old refrigerator magnet

What is it about fridge magnets? Is there a fridge door in the world that is blank? I doubt it. The kitchen may be the heart of every home, but the fridge door is an intimate reflection of what’s important to a family. Kids’ drawings, take-out menus, holiday snaps, school reports, shopping lists…this is where it happens.  I even have a friend  who has a fridge magnet from every place she’s been. Let’s take this frozen passion a step further and check out a site that opens the fridge door wide and explores what’s inside. And yes, it’s called fridgewatcher.  I put it out as a good example of how smart people in business can use the Web in a far more exciting way than Googling demographics. Anyone with true empathy can learn a lot from the contents of these fridges. And, having learnt, they can start to create experiences that attract people from the fridge out. Cool products that not only taste good, but also give a fridge some class.

Don’t miss the chocolate obsessed fridge from Alexandra, New Zealand. Here’s some real wisdom to think about:

“I do have pictures of the chocolate stage [of my fridge]! In the pictures you see my daughters reaction the first time she saw that particular phase of my fridges life 🙂 One good thing about growing up and getting a job is that you find you have the money to do whacky things that you would have wanted to do as a child. Unfortunately we tend to get caught up in adult problems and forget the dreams and idea’s we used to have in our younger years. So, every now and again I like to do something different to remind myself that there’s more to life… and also just because I can :-)”

My response? Let’s all aspire to fridges that nourish our dreams!

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To Spanglish or not to Spanglish

April 28th, 2009 · 1 Comment

I’ve started to play with the idea of writing a blog for various reasons:
– I’ve used to write a lot when I was younger; life, occupations and laziness have gotten in the way of my “prose”, so much I can’t even remember when was the last time I wrote something different to an email, a white paper, business-related document or a college essay. I’ve felt the urge to remedy that.

 

– Thanks to my job I get to meet, see and learn a great deal of interesting people, places and variety of topics. I am afraid they can “get lost” in my memory if I don’t have a place to record them and look at them from time to time. We live in such changing times that “time capsules” become obsolete from one week to the other.

– I don’t have the discipline to write a diary or my “memoirs” ,therefore, I found it a convenient way to post from time to time things that interest me or remarkable experiences

I am currently working on a project that requires significant travel (time) so finally an excuse to put the mind to work on something different than work…!

-It was a great way to practice my written Spanish as I will let my mother tongue flow freely into words…. Or that’s what I thought…

I started to write my first post about the social media in Spanish, I work in marketing and communications which I love, therefore it’s a topic I am quite passionate about. But as I was trying to translate the business jargon of “social media”, “target”, etc, I’ve realized the task was proven more difficult than initially have though… as evident on my first post grammar, that I am sure will not pass a RAE test…and this one will not pass the “Oxford” either… for that matter

So I wonder, in which language should I keep this blog? I work in English, I live in French and my mother tongue is Spanish… Is this globalized world making us lose all our identity? Is it not enough that we find the same stores from Buenos Aires to Kathmandu – I need to talk about this one day – that we are also loosing the ability to express ourselves articulately …as my friend Quique would say: “I haven’t really learnt French, my English is bad and I am losing my Spanish…soon I will not be able to communicate at all!”

After giving it a bit of thought I’ve realized that the audience of my blog will be quite limited: basically ME (and my mom if I post some fun pictures or videos, in Spanish of course) and I’ve stopped worrying. I will write my blog in whatever language I feel like, depending on the story I wish to tell myself. After all it’s my time capsule and I live-and feel- the world in many captions.

 

 

 

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Coca Cola Ad – Part of Open Happiness Campaign

April 28th, 2009 · 1 Comment

coca-cola-ad-from-sundays-big-game

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El mundo de las marcas en las redes sociales

April 27th, 2009 · 1 Comment

La gente que está hoy por hoy “online” busca formas de conectarse y de ser mas sociables. Para cumplir con esa demanda, una nueva ola de sitios de “social media” germinan explícitamente con el objectivo de proveer herramientas y plataformas que faciliten el compartir con otros a través de  mil facetas y formas. La popularidad de los medios sociales presenta un testimonio de uno de nuestros deseos mas primitivos  como es el de “pertenecer”, de la misma forma en que nos juntamos con personas similares alrededor de las cosas que mas nos apasionan.

Los profesionales de marketing mas ávidos, comienzan a ver la evolución de los usuarios de internet que se mueven de ser pasivos espectadores a tomar un rol de influenciadores y embajadores de marcas, razón por la cual no deberían ser subestimados.

Muchas marcas están a la expectativa sin saber claramente como exponerse en redes sociales, pero, como sabe cualquiera que ha participado en uno de estos sitios por mas de 5 minutos, es demasiado tarde. Sus marcas ya están expuestas, y las comunidades hablan de ellas, decidan éstas o no involucrarse en la jugada. En lugar de tratar de evitar la conversación, los gerentes de marca necesitan crear una estrategia que involucre a los influenciadores de internet y los usuarios de sitios sociales que tienen el poder de crear or destruir su marca.

Aqui van siete tácticas de marketing social para ayudar a tu marca a “socializar” y participar de la conversación:

 1. Explota el “Fun Factor”

– Descubre en que sitio frecuentan tus consumidores e influenciadores, y ayudalos a conseguir algo nuevo en ese lugar. Esto no significa introducir tu marca como un “billboard”. Puede ser ofrecer una aplicación que entretenga o informe, o comenzar y hacer crecer una comunidad basada en las áreas de interés de tus consumidores. Ojo: Comiénzala, facilítala pero no trates de controlarla!

2. Mira el bosque…pero también los árboles –

Presta atención a los sitios mas pequeños, los “niche” de las redes sociales, en donde la gente se junta alrededor de sus areas de interés y hobbies. Las oportunidades de marca en estos mini-sitios se van a incrementar cuando comiencen a competir y ganar mas atención que los mas grandes -y ruidosos- sitios de redes sociales.

3. Widgets son bienvenidos –

Incorpora un “widget” o aplicación en tu próximo programa de marketing en internet. Los widgets son aplicaciones que aparecen en blogs, sitios de internets y sitios de redes sociales. Estas aplicaciones permiten a los dueños de páginas personalizar sus sitios de internet de una forma rápida y fácil. Al mismo tiempo, los widgets te permiten involucrar a tu audiencia con contenido entretenido mientras estratégica y sutilmente estás incrementando la experiencia de marca de tu producto o tu empresa.

4. La conversación es la Madre de todas las cosas –

Si desarrollas una aplicación para ser usada en las redes sociales, facilita conversaciones utilizando herramientas con las que los consumidores estén familiarizados. Promover conversaciones usando texto entre participantes es una cosa, pero facilitar conversaciones usando video y audio puede ayudarte a explotar la interacción y la resonancia de la marca. También dales una forma de conectarte a través de subscripciones a un “feed” personalizado y dándoles acceso directo a alguien interno que les conteste sus preguntas.

5. Involucra –

Encuentra algo que llame la atención a tus consumidores a nivel de la experiencia. Érase una vez cuando creabas algo y la gente venía. Hoy, la gente no va a venir a menos que hagas algo que efectivamente los mueva, los involucre. Muestra a tus consumidores que pensaste en ellos desde un punto de vista humano y no simplemente como “usuarios”. Esto va a impactar cada vez que te acerques a ellos y te va a forzar a que personalices tu contenido de acuerdo a tu target demográfico y actitudinal mas allá de las herramientas que uses para llegar a ellos.

6. Investiga y Escucha –

Qué es lo que le gusta a la gente a la que querés llegar? La única forma de aprender acerca de sus preferencias y lo que les gusta o no es monitorear sus actividades, como también la cultura y la comunidad que deseas crear. Observando, vas a descubrir no solamente ideas para crear o desarrollar herramientas, servicios o campañas, pero también métodos y estrategias para crear verdadero entusiasmo y participación.

7. No lo hagas solo –

Un mal movimiento es las redes sociales te puede perjudicar mas que no hacer nada. Investiga con tecnología, marketing y estrategas de negocios para crear una presencia efectiva y apropiada en las redes sociales.

No te olvides que los que influencian tu marca están conectados a la internet con gente a la que le importan las mismas cosas que a ellos. Están ahí para hacerse notar con ellos, no para ser parte de investigaciõn de mercados. Están ahí para participar y crear, no para recibir publicidad. Entre mas las marcas puedan ayudarles a conectarse con otros a través de internet o compartir algo nuevo, las marcas serán recibidas mas favorablemente en estos nuevos círculos sociales.

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