Social spotlight shifts abroad, says Ogilvy's Bell

Brands should pay close attention to the rapid growth of social media in global markets, said Ogilvy PR Worldwide managing director John Bell at Monday's Social Media Week keynote in New York.

Brands should pay close attention to the rapid growth of social media in global markets, said Ogilvy PR Worldwide managing director John Bell at Monday's Social Media Week keynote in New York.

“Global markets will define the next phase of social media use,” Bell said during his speech, entitled “The insidious plot to socialize the enterprise.”

“As a global company, if you don't have a social business strategy for China, you're not facing the facts,” he continued.

The facts? In the BRIC countries, the rate at which people access social networks via their mobile devices has increased by 158% in the past two years, Bell said, and social media is growing faster in emerging markets than in the developed word.

There is an “urgency to socialize businesses” both at home and abroad, Bell said. He went on to share two video testimonials from companies that are pioneering social media use in business: IBM and Ford.

In one instance, Ford invited bloggers to an auto trade show, to the irritation of some traditional media outlets. The tactic resulted in more buzz on social media channels, said Ray Day, VP of communications at Ford, in a video.

“Unlocking the value of social media really is hard,” Bell said. “It requires change.”

Bell delivered his keynote on the same day Ogilvy & Mather launched Social@Ogilvy, a global cross-discipline social media practice. Bell is leading the unit, which includes 550 specialists and serves 35 markets worldwide.

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