DIY Brand Partnerships for the Socially Conscious Consumer

SocialVibe Screenshot

SocialVibe Screenshot

SocialVibe is offering an interesting model to users of social networking sites (MySpace, Facebook, and the long tail).

You pick a nonprofit organization from a predetermined list, and then pick a sponsor brand from another predetermined list.  They drop a big app into your profile of choice, which prominently features a 300×250 ad for the sponsor brand and gives you a chance to say that you’re partnering with PowerBar or Adobe or Colgate to save whales or pandas or cancer patients.

Presumably, it’s a CPM-based ad revenue sharing scheme that powers the thing; PowerBar is likely paying a premium to SocialVibe and a fraction of that is getting cut back to the Whaleman Foundation based on how many units are served.

At first glance, this is a no-brainer for everyone: brands get great, eye-popping ad units that users actually WANT on their pages–a fundamental shift in the traditional ethos of online media that encourages users to select their favorite brand ‘artwork’ instead of shutting out their most aggravating interruptions.  Users, meanwhile, get one more nifty badge to illustrate their identities with both social causes and brand affiliations they care about.  And, theoretically, good causes actually get some revenue.

Underneath the obvious, though, there are a lot of questions–success will very much hang in the subtext for this one.  What happens when you let end users play brand strategist and orchestrate partnerships for you?  Will the power of choice build a more authentic relationship and valuable data, or will a cacophony of unstrategic combination lead to awkward and inconsistent partnerships that ultimately dilute both brands and causes?  Will users really embrace the move as genuine, or will they see through the marketing ploy and sniff out the low levels of revenue actually going to organizations at the end of the day?

This one should be interesting to watch…

© Ryan Cunningham 2008

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1 Response to “DIY Brand Partnerships for the Socially Conscious Consumer”


  1. 1 Sunshine November 7, 2008 at 6:22 pm

    Great Idea! Already signed up – love how it integrates so easily with current networks. Here’s the only issue – there’s a whole NEW network they’re trying to build on their site. Don’t know about you, but I want my apps to work within my current networks. I’ll sign up for that, but there’s no way I’ll start asking friends to join me in another community, upload pictures, . There’s not enough time in the day. But, that’s just me.


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thoughts at the collision of business, brand and creativity

I'm Ryan Cunningham. I help companies and culture play nice with each other. At CREATURE we call this Brand Strategy, a term that carries a nice halo of reliability and structure. Here, I'm just another guy who thinks about the world and writes it down from time to time.

The result is a pile of knowledge to be used in, and for, the future. Feel free to sift through the heap for useful connections.

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