The IPA: social is as social does

UPDATE: if you want to know where the IPA social project is now, then read this post here.

JVW, 17th Sept 09


I was invited to be part of the panel at the launch of the IPA’s Social Media Report last night, which was a lot of fun, and very worthwhile too.  Thanks, IPA.

You can read all about the report here


To summarise briefly, it’s a great paper, perfect for introducing clients/CEOs of agencies who haven’t quite realised the magnitude of the change that social media has had, and will continue to have on the brand communications industry…

…which I won’t go into at length here, but see The Communis Manifesto for more.

Sounds good, yeah?  So, how do you get this report? 

Well, you can buy it here, for £75.  Or £63, if you’re a member agency.  Then you get a lovely hard copy of the report. 

But therein lies the contradiction for me…

The report about the power of social media.  How great things can happen when people are encouraged to share something and talk about it.

Yet the report is only available at significant cost, and in a very anti-sharing format.

So, here’s an open challenge to the IPA, anyone who was at the launch of the report last night, or indeed anyone who really wants to read it and share it…

i) Sharing this report with everyone we work with (colleagues, client etc) is hugely important for the future of the industry, because social media will increasingly replace traditional media as the way that companies and people are connected.

ii) The report should be freely available, digitally, for anyone to share as they see fit.  Then the people who believe in it will share it more, evangelise about it, use it as supporting evidence etc etc.  The industry gets to where it needs to be quicker.

iii) Yet the IPA still need to make some money from it, in order to recoup the costs of the project and do more like it in the future.  The IPA still covers the costs it needs to.

That’s the challenge to you; think of a better revenue model. 

Post them in the comments section, and we’ll forward the IPA the link.

The challenge to the IPA is to make it happen. 

Otherwise, someone will just scan in the hard copy and distribute it, or even one of the people who has a final draft already could upload it and post a link on a blog. 

And yes, I have a final draft…  and I really want to share it.  Social is as social does...

One example to start things off; the ‘brick in a wall’ scheme.  Agencies who donate a sum of money get a place on the social media ‘wall’ in the IPA hallway, and on the IPA website next to the social media section… so in exchange for the donation, you’re recognised as a champion of social media in the industry.  We set a target total, and run a Blue Peter-esqe ‘totaliser’ on the wall too…