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Gravity Summit: Social Media for Business Websites, Part 1

Today Im attending Gravity Summit at the University of California at Irvine. Sponsored by Rodney Rumford and Beverly Macy of Gravity Summit Media. The keynote speaker is John Gerzema, Chief Insights Officer and Brand Economist for Young & Rubmicam and the author of the bestselling book, The Brand Bubble.

John notes shift from financial crisis to confidence crisis leading to an unwinding of companies looking more sharply at their values. Looking for cash flow, brand alignment, increased quality, sharpening message points and a deep return to core business values.

Social Media Relates Web Design: the move from “me” to “we”

In this rocky economical time, trust becomes the new currency. As Americans, we thought that GM and AIG would always be with us. No one suspected that Enron would strand 65,000 employees without a pension. Trust in brands is down 50% which may not be interesting to you but 1/3 of a company’s value is in the brand. Although folks are measuring the large companies, this math does trickle down and it affects you.

As we are struggling economically, we are moving towards a different psyche. Cultural values, ethics, fair play, pragmatism, empathy, respect are required to develop TRUST. Without trust, consumers are reluctant to buy. It’s not a question only of dollars but of wanting and maybe even demanding that we earn their consumer loyalty.

Hyundai’s generous and supportive offer to take back a car if we lost our job has their sales up 14% in a rather poor car sales market.

So why is this conversation relevant to our clients? A web design is a small part of an entire message. Your website is not just some ancillary tool but the hub of all your activities: sales, communication, messaging, growth. However, websites are primarily a transaction tool: come to website, buy something, learn something, become a customer. The introduction to social media via Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, and Twitter creates a new customer expectations: I want to know you and like you before I buy from you. Social Media amplifies a desire to be in community and spiritual alignment before becoming customer.