Iran couldn’t keep the news out. They blacked out the airwaves, banned reporters, jammed the internet, and crushed heads.
But the new tools of technology—the Social Media—prevailed, and the whole world watched and listened as the Iran Thugocracy was revealed.
The information age is here, and there was nowhere to hide. Twitter, cell phones, Blackberry and all the rest put an unyielding spotlight on the evildoers.
The genie was out of the bottle and the tyrants couldn’t stuff it back. Social Media is a tool for freedom. It gave everybody a voice.
The Iranian people were heard, not just because they protested, but because their message was powerful. The message was not about the election: it was about freedom.
There are lessons here for marketers. First is a new definition of “transparency.” Now the beams you send come right back at you, reflecting your warts. No make-up can hide your blemishes, no spins can deflect your misstatements.
Second, the sounds you utter are amplified, and you’re in an echo chamber.
Marketers aren’t on a stage any more; they’re out in the audience.
And third, no matter how new the media, the message is the key.
Social Media gives people a new voice, and it’s virtually free. Freedom of speech can’t be denied, but there’s no guarantee that anyone will listen, or react. Why should the audience give attention, why should they care? The Iranian people had something powerful, interesting, and universal to say: we are oppressed and we demand our rights.
What is the key benefit that a marketer wants to convey? Why should anyone pay attention and care enough to buy their product? Social Media can make new connections, but by itself can’t deliver new customers. The Iranian protesters had a worthwhile cause to communicate, and they did it. What is so important about our product, and how can the new Social Media connect to new users for us?