If You Build it, Keep it Up

Monday, will.i.am of The Black Eyed Peas wrote a blog post for AdAge entitled “What Does ‘Communiting’ Mean???” In the post, he challenges marketers to make conversations, not ads. I couldn’t agree more.

As he notes, and all PR pros know, we have been and are in the midst of a major shift in the way businesses communicate with their target audiences, and vice versa.

He analogizes the similarities to the 1600s race to discover the new world, placing the major US-founded global technology companies in the roles of world-conquering European countries; “the ocean is the internet and computers and software are the ships…”

This change in the strategies and tactics employed to communicate spreads beyond PR/business, and this shift is evident in daily global news – political unrest, calls for government restructuring, economic debates, etc.

The post includes an important observation: the TV and film industries are currently reverting to remakes and reinventions. The art of creating is laking.

[Proper and strategic] Communication is essential for creation, invention, preparation and success.

There is a growing number of businesses whose mission is to build communities to discuss relevant and/or their product(s)/service(s). Keeping the conversation engaging, interactive, interesting, and relevant is key.

As will.i.am notes:


to have a business…

you need to go where the people are…

people have the power to kill brands or make them a success…”

Rather than attempting to overthrow that power, allow it to be used in your advantage. Provide a platform/space for conversations about you/your business, and make sure to contribute, empower, manage and expand those discussions.

“in the intersection of people and companys in a conversation is where COMMERCE is found.”

Make it a point to build those communities and conversations, and keep it up.

You’ll love the result.

 Kelly is a traveler, New York native, public relations and social media professionalavid music lovertechie, and psychologist. She is passionate about enabling meaningful conversations and connections via the social web, believes that learning is lifelong and enjoys discovering new tactics to create and sustain brand identity and influence and maintain advocates.

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  • Harrison636

    Who knew will.i.am was so insightful? OUt of all the good advice and valid suggestions given in this blog post, I have to say I’m most impressed with the fact that will.i.am was guest poster for a blog. Even more impressive was his business adivce and how informed he sounded. Major props go out to will.i.am.
    I believe the message of your blog post is solid too though, very true to what we in the PR world face daily. The phrase “if you build it, keep it up” stands true to almost every campaign and marketing scheme out there today. In order to get customers excted about your product or service you have to reach out with them and grab thier attention, and in order to retain those customers you have to give them something that makes them want to come back for more. PR professionals can step in at this point becasue we’re here to make you and your business look good and we want you to succeed. But as a company, you gotta get yourself and your product out there in the customers face and then once you ahve their attention, keep it up!

    • I have followed several articles around the many corporate partnerships and sponsorships between The Black Eyed Peas and its members and brands (exhibits A and B in WSJ: http://bit.ly/opuOkcl, http://on.wsj.com/nboald), so I was not surprised that this post was written by will.i.am. I was surprised, however, that the piece appeared in a Ad Age blog.

      I agree, all marketing related campaigns need the attention, support and time to grow and thrive.

      Thanks for the comment.

  • Anonymous

    Being a fan of will.i.am of The Black Eyed Peas, I really enjoyed this post. It is interesting to see such famous people as will.i.am being guest posters for blogs. However, it is not all that surprising. In one of my previous media classes we talked a lot about famous media people or artists having to brand themselves. So, while will.i.am talks about engagement and creativity with organizations, it is exactly the same for personalities as well. As will.i.am gives advice he is portraying exactly what companies should be doing. He is putting himself out there to engage and communicate with even more audiences. Thanks for the great post!

  • Caleb0228

    Definitely not something I would expect from will.i.am.  He makes some extremely good points in his article and the analogy he uses is excellent.  The new technologies that are being formed are the ships…what does that make us?  Binary code?  We decide what information infiltrates our lives.  No longer the the sea control us but we are learning how to navigate the nautical arena that is social media.  Using this analogy and using it to force ourselves to thrive in the “new world” will throw marketers way ahead of the game.  Right?

    • So sorry, Caleb, I am just seeing this.

      I love your extension of the New World analogy, and believe that any analogy that increases businesses’ interest in and understanding of the social media landscape and how it affects them puts them in the game, if not ahead of it.

      Thanks for the comment!

  • Madison112

    Interesting. I didn’t know that will.i.am wrote blog posts. I especially like this quote you used: “people have the power to kill brands or make them a success.” I have been learning about this new trend in several of my classes, particularly my social media based class. People trust other people who are just like them to give them reviews about products and brands – so providing a platform for these discussions to take place is key for business success. Great post!

    • So sorry, Madison, I am just seeing this comment (ironic, I know.)

      Thank you for the feedback!

  • Heather Caldwel

    I love that will.i.am does blog posts!  Not only is he a great artist but he is very insightful  on social media.  “in the intersection of people and companys in a conversation is where COMMERCE is found.”  I think he hits the nail on the head with this quote.  I have been learning in my social media class about social media and the importance of building relationships and having conversations.  Any organization who reads that post will really think about power the people have on a company’s success. 

    • So sorry, Heather. I am just seeing this comment (ironic, given the post name, I know!)

      That quote from Will is definitely key, and an important point for businesses that are still hesitant to use social media to consider.

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