This panel looks interesting. The relationship between individual personality and brand is clearly an uncomfortable one for many people here, and exploring that looks worthwhile. In the driving seat: Gordon MacMillan, Social Media and International Editor of Haymarket.
Candace Kuss (@candancekuss) Hill & Knowlton: Personality is not the same as a character.
Drew Benvie (@drewb), 33 digital: Social media is full of fake and FAIL. The conversation about character and personality needs to happen. People need to learn to be personal about personality.
Will Mcinnes (@willmcinnes), NixonMcinnes: Does a brand have a personality? Once we get past the social media as the new new, we need to understand what the organisation's DNA is.
Ruth Mortimer (@marketingweeked), Marketing Week: Every brand already has a personality - it's about how you use it.
Richard Baker (@richard_baker), Virgin Trains: Not every customer care wether or not you have a personality. Some just want information. The skill is about tailoring response to the right customers.
Richard is making the point quite strongly that marketing can't own social media. It's cross-functional and just as important to, say customer service. Candace is backing him up, restating that the best thing people can do is listen - and spend a long time listening, and then they can keep it real because they've seen how to do it.
Gordon suggests that there's a time when you have to stop listening and start doing. People expect a quick response to problems, just because people can communicate them. Will suggested that the Twitter behaviour was chasing down towards the playground in the previous session.
Drew pointed out that companies have people dealing with e-mail and letters - why should Twitter get special treatment? [Answer: not given - it's a public channel, so that problem, if unsolved damages your reputation]
I take my last comment back - Candace just made that very point.
Will asks if we will have to deal with a world where all our employees have accounts and voices? [Yes]
Richard points out that you need a corporate account, because, if people have a problem, they don't search for your name, they search for the brand. And that's true, but Drew also compellingly argued that people will quite happily discuss a brand elsewhere, and companies need to accept that, and that they no longer have total control over discussion of their reputation.
Is there a danger of your employees misrepresenting your brand? Will: "Yes, but they do that every day anyway."
Drew suggested that the way HR should approach this is just suggest that you behave as you would at a work party. Will followed up to point out that there is an HR / internal comms angle to this, and it is important that social media is the responsibility of more than one department...
Is people taking their social graph with them when the leave a problem? Candace recommends the "@" approach - Adam@RBI, for example. [This raises the issue of separate personal and business twitter accounts, which I guess won't get discussed, as it's all over]