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Through the social media lens

This term I've been teaching Masters students brand management at Exeter University. For their assignment, I have asked students to bring business data and literature together with academic literature, to give an account of whatever aspects of their chosen brand interests them and to suggest directions for the brand. In some cases, there is just not enough public domain data about their chosen brand, so I've suggested to them that they view their brand through the social media lens, by quickly learning how to deploy social media reporting tools, supporeting this by using academic and business articles on the strengths and weaknesses of viewing brands through the social media lens. I'm looking forward to what they come up with.

As an example, I took the effect on the brand of the London School of Economics of the resignation of its director in the light of the Gaddafi funding affair. When I looked at some of the blogs from students, they seemed more concerned that any new director would not be able to bring in the calibre of external speaker that the former Director had. We had a bit of a laugh in the class, reflecting that blogs seemed to show that LSE students were more concerned with the quality of their teaching than with the ethics of the management of the school! I suggested to the class that this might be because many of them were economists, who in the light of the credit crunch could be argued as being scientists of greed. Well, as an economist myself (at least in orign), you must allow me a little bit of friendly rivalry, particualry since I note that the LSE's official bloggers are keeping notoriously silent on the issue.

More seriously, I wondered to myself when marketing people would begin their marketing analysis by looking at companies and markets through the social media lens, or at least when social media analysis would achieve parity with more conventional approaches.