Archives for posts with tag: Maersk Line

Now that I’m on the verge of leaving Maersk Line to join Wibroe, Duckert and Partners (and while I’m still on paternity leave) I think it’s time to highlight a valuable lesson from my past two years in this great company. Unfortunately, it’s something I find I need to repeat again and again. Here it goes:

“Social media is about communication, not marketing.”

Yes, in case you hadn’t noticed, with social media we’re dealing with social networks, not a list of broadcasting platforms where companies can launch campaigns with the sole ambition to sell more. With social media, the users have finally taken control. They themselves control what they want to see, and they sure as h… don’t want to follow companies that are only there to sell to them.

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Following my last post which touched on corporate media and the journalism vs marketing discussion, I think there’s something to gain from looking at the recent production of four Maersk Line timelapse videos.

The point in my previous post (many others have said the same, most notably Tom Foremski) was that in the age of social media companies need to tell the stories that are already there. They shouldn’t try to invent the content. As many modern novelists will attest to there’s always an interesting story to tell – if you can see it, and know how to tell it.

This idea (coupled with a growing need to be trustworthy, human and transparent) led me to the conclusion that companies need to hire journalists, not marketers.

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A few months ago I learned that the Maersk Line approach to social media is “radical”. I don’t see it that way. But I understand where it’s coming from: Our Social Media Team is rooted in Communication, not Marketing, and we therefore have a different approach to things.

We’re not trying to manufacture anything. Rather, we’re trying to tell the stories that are already there, including those that are important for the business to communicate, e.g. about our new incredible mega ships, our efforts to reduce bunker fuel consumption, our knowledge within refrigerated transport or simply the company history.

Apart from focusing on stories that are vivid, crisp and visual, it’s crucial that they are honest, down-to-earth and credible. Otherwise they don’t travel well in social media, if at all.

The exception that proves the rule: This timelapse is evidence that we do ‘manufacture’ stories a bit from time to time. Almost 1 million people have viewed it so far. 

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