Anyone Can Make A Prediction

Barry Cunningham
Dec 26, 2013 · 8 min read

It was 1969. The scene was Super Bowl III. The location, Miami, Florida.

It was the third year of the professional football championship between the well established National Football League and the upstart newcomer, the American Football League.

Super Bowl III featured the Baltimore Colts and the New York Jets. Leading up to the game, just like the previous two Super Bowls before it, most sports writers and fans believed that American Football League teams didn’t have the same caliber of talent as National Football League squads.

In fact, several of the Jets' players were either "has beens" or "wannabees" who had actually been cut by other NFL teams.

Everyone thought the result was a foregone conclusion that the Colts would easily prevail over the Jets.

The Colts were even listed as 18 point favorites! Everything seemed to be stacked against the Jets winning this game.

However, three days before the game, at a press junket at the Miami Touchdown Club, the Jets' brash young quarterback, who was actually drunk at the time, uttered the words that have become a part of sports lore.

"We're gonna win the game. I guarantee it."

Following that bold guarantee, Joe "Willie" Namath, the 25 year old wild child from Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, went out that Sunday and delivered on his promise and led the Jets to an astounding victory over the Colts. He was named the MVP of the game.

As we close 2013, everywhere you look you find this expert and that expert making "predictions" as to what they think might happen in 2014.

Excuse me for saying this but that doesn't really exude much confidence. If you're an expert, you should be able to stand up and tell us what's going to happen.

So in true Broadway Joe fashion, I'm going up the ante and make a few guarantees of my own.

I'll leave the predictions for those who might not be ready to put it all on the line.

So here are my guarantees for 2014. They WILL happen!

1. Community Management Comes Home: Many brands will begin to bring social media community management in-house.

Who knows a brand better than the brand itself? Agencies being paid huge retainers to learn a brand voice and respond accordingly doesn't make much sense anymore.

Social Care, the art of social customer service, becomes the reason for community management. It's absurd to respond as agencies do now by telling consumers to send an email that never gets responded to.

People expect timely responses with actionable information and most agencies can't do that. It makes more sense to bring this home and let staffers who know the culture of a brand do this.

2. SocialTV Is For Winners: If a brand or its agency haven't been keeping up with what's going on in social television, they're in trouble.

The socialTV space reminds me of a gold rush. Nielsen acquiring SocialGuide. GetGlue being snatched up by i.TV. NextGuide's work with DirecTV, Dish and Fox.

And some networks named Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook focusing heavily on the integration of the second screen with each of their networks.

There's an arms race taking place and very few brands and even fewer agencies even realize that the battle lines are being drawn.

We've all heard the term "real-time marketing". We're about to see that take on a whole different level of meaning with live audience voting on everything from show endings to play calling in sporting events, to song requests on music awards shows.

Social TV will no longer be called "social television". With the prevalence of the second and third screens this interactive engagement will simply be called television.

It's how we will now watch the tube.

3. The Herd Thins: Fortunately, as social media evolves, we will undoubtedly see the demise of the social media manager.

Professionals operating in the social space won't be able to call themselves social media experts anymore just because they have a tablet and can fog a mirror.

The days of waitresses, recently out of college kids in their parent’s basements, stay at home moms and frustrated public relations folks masquerading as social media experts will come to an end in 2014.

The skill level to succeed in social media will be greatly higher in the new year. Anyone can post a tweet or Facebook update. There's no skill in posting a meme.

The gig is up and there's about to be a rush to the application line at WalMart.

Brands and businesses will see that there's little, if any, value of having someone whose defining attribute is that they know how to log onto Twitter.

In 2014, with all of the changes ahead, if you're working in social media, you need to operate as a media company.

  • If you can't place, monitor, and analyze data from social ad platforms, you're done.
  • If you can't create compelling, contextually relevant content on a timely basis, on multiple platforms, you're done.
  • If you can't create memorable user experiences, you're done.
  • If you don't have a modicum of video, photo and sound editing skills, you're done.

2014 will demand a much more skilled and proficient social media helmsman (or helmswoman as the case may be). It’s time to separate the wheat from the chaff.

4. That’s Entertainment! : We’re all in the entertainment business now. Ponder that for a moment. Your consumers are now your audience. Every single person who reads this article can remember their first concert. That feeling never leaves you.

The feeling of walking into a stadium for the first time. The first time you saw a movie on the big screen. Those are the times that we remember.

In 2014 we’ll see the role of experiential marketing serve as the fuel for immense social interaction. Social media without activation is idle talk. Sort of like hearing Charlie Brown’s teacher droning on and on.

The noise on social media is deafening and no one is listening. The conversation has become like a bad episode of Divorce Court. All we hear is tweet after tweet, update after update with brands and users all screaming for attention.

2014 will bring about a welcomed change. Brands that can deliver memorable experiences to their audience will command center stage and realize significant ROI. After all, that is why we play this game isn’t it?

Arianna Huffington once eloquently stated that “we’re all publishers now”. I would also like to add a footnote to that. We’re also all entertainers now.

Many advertising agencies offer SEO advice and social busy work, but only a few have any real idea as to how to truly use social interaction for the benefit of their clients. Many of them are learning as they go.

Why? Because worrying about warm metrics has never been a part of their DNA. They never had to worry about things like sentiment, engagement, or interaction.

They never had to worry about creating a meaningful value exchange between an audience and a brand.

Anyone can put together a pay-per-click campaign or build a blog or take an inauthentic picture and spew it out onto the social networks. There’s no thought of building a relationship in doing that.

Remember, the organic lifespan of a Facebook post is a few hours at most and that of a Tweet is even less than that.

Traditional agencies just aren’t wired for building ongoing, lasting relationships. Most have never had to answer to an audience. A commercial doesn’t have ears. It doesn’t have eyes.

It’s faceless. A commercial is anonymous. It’s wholly anti-social. It has no personality. It’s not designed to create or sustain engagement. It’s 30 or 60 seconds of vapidity.

We’re going to see a huge shift in 2014. There will be two types of agencies. You’ll see the typical advertising agency that measures success with cold metrics.

And you’ll have the progressive agency that fosters the creation of memorable and compelling experiential activations supported by a meaningful social media implementation strategy.

If you’re a brand or business looking to take advantage of the change in the consumer’s mindset, I urge you to seek out the latter.

5. The Facts, Ma'am, Just the Facts: Remember the television show, “Dragnet”? Those were the words of detective Joe Friday.

As we move into 2014, I believe that our audiences will want exactly that from us. The Facts. Content isn’t King. Content is King, Queen, Pawn, Rook and Bishop. It IS the entire game.

This makes the brand newsroom concept EXTREMELY viable and you will see many brands understand the importance of being media companies.

The facts don't simply need to be news. They can be informational, educational, humorous, inspirational, reciprocal, and charitable in scope.

They just can't be fake. They have to be real, authentic, and compelling...not staged.

No one wakes up wanting to check to see what a brand has to say. No one gets excited about what a brand is usually posting. No one subscribes to a brand’s video channel or blog to read or view sales copy.

Entertain your audience. Bring the goods. But please, just the facts.

If your agency is creating those memorable experiences mentioned above on an ongoing basis, your “reporters” will have plenty of authentic material to publish.

But please make it interesting. Tell a great story. Anything else is purely pablum. And we'll pass on that.

Brands and businesses that understand the brand newsrooming concept will foster substantial communal growth and interaction.

Those that don't...who cares? They'll be wholly irrelevant in 2014. And so will their advertising agencies.

So these are just a few of the “guarantees” that I am declaring WILL happen in 2014. These aren’t predictions. I truly believe with great confidence that we will indeed see the next evolution of social media.

I look forward to seeing these guarantees come to fruition. Just imagine the fun we’re going to have in social media when all of this happens!

It’s why I love what I do. It’s not a job. It’s fun! Maybe growing up watching Joe Namath play and seeing how he enjoyed life rubbed off on me.

Making such a bold guarantee that he and the Jets were going to win the Super Bowl wasn’t a risk. It’s who he was. Some called it brash, arrogant and cocky. I call it being skilled, prepared and confident.

Joe Namath, poolside in Miami, talking with reporters after he made his guarantee of a Jets victory

It’s what a winner feels. It’s that feeling of comfortable invincibility that fuels a winner’s inner drive.

“When you have confidence, you can have a lot of fun. And when you have fun, you can do amazing things.”

Joe “Willie” Namath, you’re so right! Bring on 2014.

P.S. If you found value in this article, it would mean a lot to me if you hit the recommend button below. Also, I would love to connect on Twitter.

    Barry Cunningham

    Written by

    An antagonist of conventional wisdom. Helping brands & sports teams become the media. Tweeting @barrycunningham

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