THE BLOG
10/04/2012 12:47 pm ET Updated Dec 04, 2012

We're Still Surprised?

After the first few days of Advertising Week, I am surprised that media and marketers continue to be surprised by the degree to which we have adopted social and the effect of that scaled sharing, commenting, interaction and engagement for their brands.

Wow! People are using all screens while they watch TV! We can learn about how people feel about our shows in real time! We can be where the audience is, any place, any time, any platform! People talk to their favorite brands! Mobile really is a game changer! Wow!

I am glad that media is feeling disrupted by consumers who are empowered to participate and influence media and brands. But I continue to be amazed that it's taking so long for media and marketers to understand and adjust to people's changing behavior.

Millennials (teens through twenties) have lived their lives in digital media, they were in Yahoo chatrooms and AIM as tweens, texted on mobile phones in teens, joined Facebook when it opened. Communication has always been instant and digital for them. And Gen Xers are catching up quickly. We actually expect our airline to respond to an angry tweet about our flight cancellation and we know how to get the wisdom of the crowd for any purchase or decision.

We are all interconnected. Our definition of friendship has become a virtual one -- we are friends with people we have never met and we trust those friends. We "talk" in text, typing and laughing as we conduct conversations with friends we have never met.

As we develop more digital friendships, inanimate objects -- brands -- can also become our friends. We can "like" them and if they talk (text) and act like friends we build a relationship with them. This is the trick though -- act like a friend. If you don't, we'll find other friends who do. What do friends do? They listen to us, care about us, respond to us, make our lives better, entertain us, tell us their troubles and happy stories in return, make us feel good.

This can be done at scale and it can be done individually, but it must be a genuine effort to build and maintain a relationship and that is a two sided process. Everyone has had a friend who only talks about herself -- and how many of us have dropped those friends?