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Sunday, 08 November 2015 21:57

Q&A: Scott Monty, Principal, Scott Monty Strategies LLC

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Scott Monty Scott Monty COURTESY PHOTO

For six years, Scott Monty oversaw Ford Motor Company’s global social media strategy, but don’t call him a social media expert. “I can’t stand that term,” he said. After leaving the automaker a year ago, Monty has applied his expertise in strategic communications as a consultant. He focuses on a human-centered approach to strategic communication that is based on basic human interactions. When not consulting, Monty also co-produces the “I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere” podcast and website, which reports on popular culture news regarding Sherlock Holmes. On Nov. 11, Monty will address the 2015 Marketing Conference hosted by the American Marketing Association of Southwest Michigan at Western Michigan University’s Fetzer Center. Monty spoke with MiBiz prior to the event to discuss the importance of having a digital presence for all companies.

How do you bring technology like social media to companies such as manufacturers that are traditionally reluctant to change?

As far as manufacturing goes, these are industries that have always grasped and adopted new technology as it has been poised to improve their business, whether it’s an assembly line or whatever it happens to be. Manufacturing and technology go hand-in-hand. So why shouldn’t the way they communicate about their business go hand-in-hand with technology as well?

What are some best practices you suggest for building a social brand?

First and foremost is the platforms that we have in front of us now give us the ability to listen and monitor what’s being said out there, whether it’s about us, the industry or our competitors. The first step is listening and really understanding what the challenges are. The second thing beyond that is — (and) marketers tend to overlook this process — put yourself in the shoes of the consumer or the intended target audience. We as marketers and communicators get so wrapped up in our latest product design or announcement that we don’t stop to think if anyone out there really cares other than us.

How has your background in the classics influenced your practice?

A big part of my undergraduate training was that I was a classics major. Over the years, it’s given me a more fundamental understanding for what makes human beings tick. What I’ve come to realize throughout my later career is that the technologies will always change. There will always be another platform to investigate, another tool to dig into … but technology is always improving. However, humans never change. We are fundamentally the same that we were in ancient Greece and Rome or even before that, so there is a human element to all of this.

What do you mean by the human element?

We as humans usually want the same things. We want what’s in it for us as part of it, but we also care about the world around us as well. It’s how business can figure out how to tap into the emotions of the people they’re trying to reach that drives me. That’s what inspires me.

How essential is it for companies like manufacturers or agribusinesses to adopt more robust social engagement practices?

It depends on what they’re trying to achieve. Too often, we see brands getting wrapped up in just doing stuff simply because they can rather than asking themselves whether they should or where their time is best spent. I think that if their desire is to change public opinion about them, then there are steps to be taken to ensure that they do get in front of a consumer-facing audience — even though their direct customers might be suppliers or distributors.

What are some of the biggest mistakes brands make when it comes to their social presence?

As human beings, we are drawn to storytellers. The problem with most brands is they make themselves the hero of the story, which is the equivalent of showing up at a cocktail party and talking about yourself for two hours. That person is a bore. It’s how they actually get out of that mentality and make themselves part of the story but make the story more emotional to those that they’re trying to reach.

Do you have an example of that?

It’s something that we saw years ago with the National Dairy Council when they did their ‘Got Milk?’ campaign. … I think that’s a prime example of how to do that when an organization doesn’t have consumers as its members (but) it has suppliers and distributors. Even if you are a B2B brand, you’re still dealing with human beings. Just because it’s B2B doesn’t mean that humans aren’t involved.

What makes people tick as far as interacting with brands?

Particularly in the era we’re in, there has to be some sort of value exchange. If you’re expecting me to spend time with your brand — whether it’s in an email, through an app or online — then you better be giving me something in return. It can be as crass and commercial as a discount … Going a little deeper, what are you doing to make someone laugh or make them the smartest person in their cohort by arming them with information they couldn’t get elsewhere … or maybe helping them do something a little more easily or quickly than they might otherwise do? All of these ways are different value exchanges that brands can have with the consumers they’re trying to reach.

Interview conducted and condensed by John Wiegand. Courtesy photo

Read 1516 times Last modified on Sunday, 22 November 2015 19:43

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