It’s a manifesto. It’s an encyclopedia. No – it’s Brian Solis

engage brian solis

Book Review
Engage! The complete guide for brands and businesses to build, cultivate, and measure success in the New Web.
By Brian Solis
Wiley, 2010. 382 p.

“Suddenly, everyone is a social media expert, but very few are indeed champions and far fewer are change agents. So what are you going to do to rise above the fray while also delivering true, incontestable value to those you are helping?” – Brian Solis

This encyclopedia of a book can be read cover-to-cover, if you have a week or two. Otherwise, the reader can jump into any chapter that looks good and go from there.

In this weighty tome Brian Solis tells all, and he has a lot to say. Over his long career in marketing, branding, PR, and social media he has consulted corporations and out-researched some researchers who make a career of research. He has a unique perspective, and he shares lots of juicy tidbits about who is doing what.

Solis is author of The Social Media Manifesto and co-author with Deirdre Breakenridge of “Putting the Public Back in Public Relations.”  With Jesse Thomas he designed the Conversation Prism, a tool intended to prompt discussions about where, why, and how to engage in social networks and the critical conversations that define and position the “sentiments, perceptions, and resonance of the brand in the social web.”

Solis’s manifesto for marketers is: Engage, or Die.

One of his nutshell observations: “Winning organizations will effectually shift outward activity from broadcast, us-versus-them campaigns to a one-on-one, and eventually to a many-on-many, methodology that humanizes and personalizes the spirit and personality of our brand.”

A section on branding leads into discussions of the “rules of engagement” and finding the “new influencers.”

Perhaps the most immediately applicable part of this book is Part V, Developing a Blueprint for New Marketing. Read this carefully. It’s killer-good. It will make you rethink habits and try new things.

Solis concludes with a section on relationship measurement, earned and paid media, and measuring investment returns.

Although this content is first-rate, I might have exercised tighter control over Solis’s writing style. God bless ‘im, but Brian tends to lard his paragraphs with metaphor and cliché that (in my opinion) slows down reading and interferes with his message.

But the message is there, and it’s important. True social marketing is not marketing at all, he says. “The new era of communications necessitates personalization through a genuine and humanized approach. It fuses marketing, service, sociology, psychology, creativity, soft-selling, and a dedicated practice of transparent relationship management.”

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