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Dare more anarchy - give power to the communities

Movements such as the Arab Spring, Fridays for Future or the Global Citizen Movement have mainly emerged from the circle of mostly young web users or are spreading through them. The movements and their young drivers have developed and expanded their surprising power.

Social media are still the number one means of communication for young people.

Fabio Mancarella explains a "takeover"

And that applies to almost all functions such as

  • inform yourself and others
  • private conversations
  • Buy and sell
  • Entertainment of all kinds
  • Work
  • educate and educate oneself and others

However, almost no political, commercial or other campaign uses this experience consistently.
Usually there is a little more participation by the target groups, surveys and some user-generated content.
However, the real potential is wasted.

No matter if the goal

  • the development of new target and customer groups for their own interests,
  • improvement of own brand values ​​and market shares,
  • the serious renewal of products and services
  • or the activation of young people, for example for public service, leisure activities or volunteer work is:

To do this, campaigns simply have to be set up differently than most today. "Dare more anarchy!" - This is Fabio Mancarella's message - that is the point.

Above all, more anarchy means a shift in the widespread balance of power. Less power to the platforms. Less power to agencies. More power for users. More participation and more self-determination for more people.

Fabio's thesis: This is also worthwhile for web providers such as companies, parties, associations, scientists, authorities and many others. Well-known examples of this are now available - albeit very rarely because most lack the courage to be anarchy: e.g. Tesla, the Milka biscuit tour and the FIFA Museum.

Unfortunately, hardly anyone dares to do this - especially here in Germany. This leads to increasing dissatisfaction among users. And the providers stand on the spot. In addition, of course, it contradicts the web reality of great transparency and unrestrained communication. To use this power for yourself, to make your voice heard, is very much lacking in Germany.

For example, nobody knows better what content captivates 16-year-olds interested in STEM than they do! Therefore, they have to help shape the campaign - this is what happened in the one we are accompanying Project zdi.NRW.
That is why matrix communication involves the target groups in as many campaigns and projects as possible - and then early and holistically.

Fabio Mancarella has been with matrix since 2013. After completing his training in marketing communications, he went on to train as a social media manager.

Hello Fabio, thank you for taking the time to do this interview.
In the matrix you are also called "P2P anarcho". What does that mean?

"P2P" stands for "Peer to Peer". The technical term originally comes from IT and is slowly finding its way into marketing. Roughly translated, the term means communication between equals. For us, this means that we want to communicate with our customers and the communities at eye level. "Together with the community and not through the community" - according to this motto we want to get as many people as possible to participate in our projects. Participation is THE keyword here. I find it incredibly important that in a democratic society everyone has the opportunity to get involved and to shape their own lives as often as possible.

Fabio Mancarella explains a digital scavenger hunt

The anarcho comes from the fact that our approach gives us a lot of creative power to our community. However, this is far from anarchy because we check the content again before publishing it. So far, we have only had positive experiences with giving creative freedom to the community.

How exactly can you imagine a P2P marketing strategy?

The participation of the target groups is particularly important to us. A key element for this is empathy. I can only reach them if I understand the thoughts and feelings of the target group. That is why the design of a P2P strategy begins with the analysis of the target group. Then we approach the target group to actively shape our content with them - we actively join the community. In our zdi project, the YouthScienceCamp is probably the best example of this approach. You could almost call it analogue social media. The young people tell us on site what they would like to talk about, what topics interest them and what they hope for from the event.

What does a community need?

These meetings also enable us to find out which communication channels the target group actually uses. In the camp, the young people have the opportunity to actively organize the event. Since this concept was already able to prove itself there, we also experimented with the concept on our social media platforms. The whole thing is called "Takeover". The target group creates the articles themselves on events and relevant topics. This is authentic and close to the target group.

Participative offers are only slowly finding their way into corporate communication strategies. Why is that?

Giving the community the opportunity to create content themselves always means giving up control to some extent. For some institutions, this idea is still associated with fear. A good example of this phenomenon would be online voting for a project that we did some time ago. The community was allowed to submit suggestions for what we should call our project alumni. This was then voted online.

Onboarding: The basis for user-generated content

Back then, the "gurus" won the vote, which we think is a very fitting title. The community has also received this name wonderfully. The MINTYouTubing format is also carried out in a participatory manner. Here, the freedom of decision about the content is completely in the hands of the participants. The only requirement for the videos is a scientific connection. Together with the YouTube Duo Lekkerwissen, the community of a project creates its own videos that are published on the project's YouTube channel. Since this is user-generated content that is produced by the target group for the target group, this content is characterized by high authenticity. We have been able to draw very positive conclusions from these experiences so far and have learned a lot about how to involve a community. In addition, the direct dialogue with the target group enables you to quickly find out which formats or communication channels are of interest to you. This can save a lot of time and resources if you don't have to look for the most effective way to make contact with the target group. In the future, this topic will become increasingly important. Social media are becoming more and more interactive and the community wants to be involved. In the long run, the topic will become indispensable for institutions.

What effect would a P2P strategy ideally have on the community?

Here we build the bridge to the P2P strategy. If the community is already heavily integrated into the project, it will be easier for them to become active themselves because they can identify with the project. In this case, the drive is the wish to be able to be active in the design itself. The interactivity fulfills the target group's wish to become active themselves.
If a few community members are absolutely behind your project, for example, shitstorms can be weakened and maybe even avoided before the communication department notices anything. In this case, committed community members can already present the positive aspects of the project and do valuable preparatory work. Positive responses from the community are usually much more credible than answers from the institution concerned. This example is of course very extreme, but committed community members are not only active in horror scenarios, but also support the project through their commitment. In any case, our guiding principle is "The community bears the project and not the project the community". This approach also ensures the sustainability of the work done. The goal is that the community is so closely involved in the project that, if funding is stopped, it will continue the project without outside guidance.

Participation is a principle that seems to emerge again and again. How important is participation in the matrix projects?

Participation should always be the right way in a democratic state. Giving the community the opportunity to actively participate in the design of the content is our approach to get as close as possible to this goal. This thinking is also becoming increasingly important on social media. Instead of viewing the platforms as a push medium, they are now viewed more as an exchange platform with the community, for which they were actually created.
In this context I would also like to come back to our YouthScienceCamps or Barcamps. By actively participating in the design of the event and topics, you can guarantee that there will be no boredom and that attention will remain very high in the long run. Participants are always invited to prepare and present topics themselves. After all, that is also a form of participation.

You are involved in a number of projects, tell us something about it.

My focus is on the Next Career and zdi projects. In both projects, I am responsible for communication via social media and take care of getting our partners on board as best as possible. Part of my job is to manage our social media platforms and design content for the projects. I also advise our partners and institutions and develop social media strategies together with them in workshops. The challenge is that every project needs its own approach. Strategies that work in one project do not necessarily have to be promising in another project. The individual coordination of the project and the users is the decisive factor. This can mean that we develop a completely new strategy or adapt an existing strategy. The partners should be able to work independently and not lose sight of the participatory aspect. Sometimes the customers have to ignore their own taste and focus more on the users. That's not always easy.

Do you have a basic tip that should always apply to “P2P”, social media and community building?

If I could give a tip, it would be that you just have to try things out. For example, one could name the appearance of a new social media platform.
Of course, you should first ask yourself whether the new platform fits the profile and target group of the institution.
If this is the case, however, it is advisable to react quickly and not to think for weeks or months whether to take the step.
This does not mean that you should chase every trend, but it is worth watching your own target group in order to be able to react to them in good time.
A new platform is always a new opportunity to reach the target group in a completely new way.

The selfie: the modern portrait

How did you get into matrix and communication?

Fabio Mancarella at work

Marketing has always interested me. I was particularly fascinated by the aspect of communication and how to make it interactive. The big plus for me at matrix was and is that it does not advertise typical consumer goods, but focuses on projects that create social added value. For me, these are communication goals that I can fully support. In my own training, I learned how important it is to pass on the accumulated knowledge in the right places in the company. Ultimately, this motivated me to become a trainer and to take the AEVO exam (examination to complete the trainer certificate) at the Chamber of Industry and Commerce. In mid-2018 I was able to select our new trainees. At the beginning of last year I passed the AEVO exam and since October I have also been the training manager at matrix.

You have been working in the matrix for several years and have helped to build the social media area. How did it work?

When I started my apprenticeship at matrix in 2013, my focus was on event management and classic communication. My colleague Arne Klauke and I were able to further develop the social media area together from 2017 - from the launch of various Facebook pages for the projects that we are responsible for, to the start of in-house video production. The development of the area for digital media creation in particular was a great step forward. This enabled us to produce more of our own content and hire more employees for the area. This naturally increased the quality and quantity of the content. We monitor current trends and platforms very closely and adapt our content to the relevant target groups.

The tools of content creation

Dear Fabio, thank you very much for your time.