My latest post for the iCrossing Great Finds blog reflects on a recent Social Media Week panel appearance by Richard Dorment of Esquire magazine, iCrossing Chief Strategy Officer Adam Lavelle, and Jermaine Dupri, CEO of So So Def Recordings. Dorment, Lavelle, and Dupri had a lively conversation about Dupri’s bold decision in 2011 to launch his own branded social network, Global 14. The lifestyle community has blossomed into a tightly knit network of 33,000 passionate brand loyalists who share Dupri’s interests that range from fashion to hip-hop. Dupri’s personal approach — he blogs and corresponds with the Global 14 community frequently — provides a lesson in creating brand intimacy. It turns out Dupri is a trend setter. Since Dupri launched Global 14, Lady Gaga has announced the creation of her own social network, and celebrities are forming branded cable TV stations. What sets Dupri apart:
- His personal involvement.
- How he’s used Global 14 to broaden his brand beyond hip-hop and into fashion, relationships, and other lifestyle interests.
- The integration of Global 14 with the offline world, as seen through his recent Crown Life 1414 Tour, which saw Dupri visit 14 cities in 14 days to introduce Global 14 members to each other via parties he hosted.
The Social Media Week panel gained coverage in publications such as Black Enterprise, Differences, Mashable, Heidi Cohen’s blog, and PSFK. As I note in my Great Finds post, I think smaller, specialized sites like Global 14 are resonating because they speak to people and brands looking for an alternative to the sprawling and impersonal world of Facebook. What do you think?