The shift in marketing approaches can’t compare in historical magnitude to the changes brought about by the automobile and the industrial age, but the analogy provides an instructive framework for thinking about how to solve big questions. While history looks in awe at Ford’s imagination for modernizing transportation, his real innovation came through his use of systems that augmented humans’ ability to produce new goods. Instead of looking to the past for an answer, he created an entirely new system to build the future.

If you are a brand thinking about the challenges of the age of social media, start by asking yourself, “What is different now than in the past and what are the tools that we have at our fingertips?” If the answers make you feel as if you are treading into territory never documented before, that’s a good thing. As many have noted, the biggest mistake we make in a new medium is mirroring the process of an old one.

The awkward self-quote from an article I wrote in AdAge. Outside of hiring and meeting clients this is what I spend most of my day thinking about. 

In Order To Build the Future Systems of Content, Forget the Past | - Advertising Age

Thank goodness for Percolate, a small but fast-growing company that recognizes that marketing on the “social scale” requires content, content and more content, but only if it passes the relevancy test. Through algorithms, filters and other tools, Percolate scours the web and serves up content tailored to my specific areas of focus that I can review and easily share.

I’m grateful for and a tiny bit envious of this start-up. I marvel at how its founders quickly spotted a need and last year created a company that has scored a slew of clients and, in November, $9 million in funding. Besides that, everything this company does is on-brand, from its business cards and its Daily Brew email to the—yes–perkiness of its staffers.

It’s interesting that cities and companies are both “networks,” yet the characteristics of one network (cities) promote growth and innovation, and the characteristics of the other (companies) don’t. Well, what does that mean for Percolate? Are we the first company that has attempted to create an ecosystem that operates more like a platform instead of a mere hierarchy? Are we the first company that wants to establish a culture that brings out the best of our employees, supports ingenuity, and promotes productive thinking? Are we the first to build a company that grows super linearly? No, probably not. But we are trying and how we try and our commitment to trying will only get more important as we continue to grow.
Awesome post by Rodan Luo from the sales team. 

Why Companies Should Grow Like Cities | Blog @ Percolate

Where things start to get interesting, though, is that we can take the mirror versus magnet idea even farther thanks to our ability to quickly learn from the lightweight content we create. Basically brands can now set their magnet strategy and adapt it in real-time based on what the audience is engaging with.

Noah talking about how we talk to brands about their content strategy and how they need to go beyond their traditional listening methods to be interesting and aspirational.

Mirror versus Magnet: our approach to brand listening | Blog @ Percolate

Maintain a Balance Between Selling and Non-Selling Messages.
Mr. Brier shared his stock vs. flow analogy. “Stock” are the durable observations that brands can make — the high-production-value messages that brands are already good at producing. “Flow,” on the other hand, is more fleeting, the “breadcrumbs” that brands aren’t good at getting a handle on. While stock attracts new customers, flow is what keeps them engaged. The challenge is to find a balance between both of them, said Mr. Brier. “What we do in marketing is sell stuff,” he said. “So when you think about your social content, you have to think about how you’re going to break down the selling and the non-selling.”

What’s the biggest blind spot in leaders today, and how do you correct it?

We work closely with a startup, Percolate, that introduced us to Stock and Flow, a concept that Robin Sloan described a couple years ago that I think plagues leaders in a big way today. The idea is that there are two kinds of quantities in the world, Stock, which is durable and lasting, and Flow, which is a stream of sub-daily activities or updates.  

Why do you think it “plagues leaders today?
”The reason I say that is, historically, we have been focused on developing stock, products and services that take time to create, but that last. Developing the next Ford automobile or Amex credit card takes time, months or possibly years. However, today, it feels important that we’re creating news and dialogues all day long. Tweeting, Pinning, Liking. The latter can seem all consuming, even distracting, but it is important to find new ways to create real authentic dialogue with customers and prospects. Stock AND Flow are both important and hence the blind spot. If you’re looking directly at one, you take your eye off the other. If you do that for too long you are likely to crash or at least not realize your full opportunity. There’s no easy way to correct this, you just need to find the natural balance that feels right. Be self-aware and course correct as you go.