A Tale of Two Concepts

Ideas and innovation. Impressions and invention. Effects and ingenuity. Such is the stuff of creativity, a purely human pursuit. Creativity begins with inspiration, an impetus which may be received from within ourselves or without. In business, it is ambrosia, the food of the gods which stirs imagination and vision, a well-spring from which steps to success arise and may lead to unforeseen advancements which benefit not only the firm or industry, but the progressive upgrade of mankind itself. The written word, printing press, Internet, and Web 2.0 contrivances are examples of this upward mobility, each a rung on the ladder of text-based communication amelioration through which knowledge and intelligence are passed down over millennia, and contribute to the gestalt of human narrative and understanding.


Two companies whose business models are devoted to the awesome idea industry are TED and Business Innovation Factory (BIF). TED is a nonprofit organization which sponsors brief presentations by knowledge leaders and experts on a variety of topics referencing technology, commercial and global themes. BIF is focused on the renovation of business models, particularly in the fields of healthcare, education, and government. Both host conferences which offer insight into best practices in strategic imperatives, and each is active in the use of social media channels to advance their business operations and marketing functions.

TED is well known throughout the social media space, having grown a loyal community in a variety of channels, especially through recorded videos presented on YouTube. As well, their presence on Twitter has tremendous influence, reaching 8.72 million followers and an attendance which has existed since 2008, during which time almost 19,000 tweets have been posted. Facebook is another strong manifestation for TED, having garnered almost 10 million likes for its branded page. The firm has verified Twitter and Facebook accounts, identified by the enviable blue check mark on each SNS site. TED has leveraged economies of scale in social media through the utilitarian methodology of facilitating a sanctioned societal commonwealth.

While not as immediately recognizable, BIF also is active in social networking. Videos of conference presentations are available on YouTube and Vimeo. A respectable count of almost 14,000 users follow BIF on Twitter, where 12,700 tweets have been posted since 2008. On Facebook, the corporate page has gained almost 3,000 likes. Neither site has been afforded verified account status. While much less familiar than TED, the company nonetheless has established a respectable status as an authority as a business model innovation and transformational R&D for profit firm. Conferences are well respected, and have harvested the attention of major media outlets.

BIF is certainly no match in size and reach when compared with TED, yet both fill the niche for inspiration sources. TED does so as a public service, and dominates the global stage as a world-class player. BIF proposes its marketplace offerings as a function of revenue generation, and is more circumscribed in reach, but with a correspondingly engaged targeted audience. The paradigm presents a study in contrast and comparison, yet each is heavily dependent on social media as both a communications and marketing artifice, and does so with respectable outcomes. The span of issues covered by TED is wide and varied, whereas BIF is more narrowly focused. TED seems to visualize itself as a media outlet, whereas BIF determines its services in research and development enablement. The two brands present with similar strategic practices, though each is differentiated in tactical approach.

I know we look a lot alike, but our social media marketing strategies are highly differentiated, I promise!

We at Grannelle hope you have found this article on differentiation to be informative and enjoyable. Please feel free to use the share buttons below to distribute this content among members of your social graph. And please join us again on Grannelle for the latest eBusiness intelligence!


About Grannelle

eMarketing Scholar
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