While some of our colleagues worry about the fast changing landscape of new media with Bebo and Second Life important one day and Twitter and Facebook the next that does not in any way diminish the role that social media plays.

To get a job in marketing these days you need a Klout (www.klout.com) score of at least 40, or a good reason why you do not have one. Klout is a crude calculation of level of involvement and interaction across all social media platforms. It recognises that business-to-business levels of dialogue between customer and supplier now happen in the business to consumer sphere because the communication tools that come with the Internet have made it possible. Nor have we before been able to measure things so clearly. Great brands such as Burberry get this, and this is why Apple has pinched their CEO.

During 2013 more and more tanners have become more involved in Social Media and are seeing a new type of conversation and flow of knowledge moving through and around all aspects of the supply chain. Just a few days ago I was asked a question about “faux leather” via Klout itself, possibly because Klout records areas of expertise. The question came from Kenneth Mellon who works in the financial sector in Ottawa, Canada.

Using social media to explain the difference between the leather and the “rest”.

Mellon had found a cracking problem in his furniture. It was “faux leather” and he thought a tanner might help. That in itself is significant. But more important as I explained in my last post is that most types of synthetic do not age well; in fact they do not last very long at all. Instead of just becoming a bit “grubby” they tear, or they peel or they wear through to an unpleasant looking knitted base. By comparison well-made leather actually improves with age.

This is an area where we must now focus as an industry. Not just working out defensive statements for leather but looking hard at the competition and laying out in detail all the issues and faults that arise in an honest and straightforward way. Everyone in our industry needs to have the arguments at their fingertips. A great task for the holidays and one that will set us all in good stead for the future.

Mike Redwood


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