How can organisations develop effective, rather than just ‘shiny’, social ideas?

In response to the demands of planning and evaluating social media campaigns we’ve developed a framework for managing this. KUDOS is an acronym that reminds us of what attributes a piece of social media activity should display if it is to be successful. It should be Knowledgeable, Useful, Desirable, Open and Sharable. And it needs to achieve this for both the audience and the brand. By using this framework a brand will be able to plan so that it deploys the right activity. It can check and balance the needs of both brand and audience. It can also establish what it is going to measure so that it can assess the success or otherwise of the activity.

When planning a piece of social media we need to ask ourselves if it is going to be;


Does this activity demonstrate knowledge on the part of the brand? Is it something that you know about our product category that your competitors don’t? Is it knowledge that is unique to your brand, product or service? From the audience’s point of view you need to consider if its something they need or want to know. Are you increasing their knowledge or just telling them something they already know or could have gained elsewhere?


Not all of social media activity is useful to the brand’s audience. Not all dissemination of knowledge is actually useful to the brand. It might be commercially sensitive. It might promote an out of stock product or a discontinued service. The best-case scenario is when an activity is useful to both the brand and the audience such as with Amazon’s product ratings; the audience benefits by having unbiased reviews to help them make their decisions. Amazon benefits from the free content and additional product information for its audience. I’d add here that providing entertainment is actually useful. Ask any bored office worker, student or house bound parent – a good laugh has plenty of use.


Thinking through the desirability of an activity can be a great check against what is assumed to be useful. By desirable we mean that both the brand and the audience actively want it. This is a step on from useful. Think of eating your greens; useful but not that desirable. Conversely, consider for a moment the joys of unlimited self saucing sticky date pudding – desirable – oh yes, but no, not actually that useful. If something is desirable, really tasty-can’t-get-enough-of-it desirable to your audience you’ll know it. The servers will fall over. Your hosting bill will go through the roof and you’ll get calls from the IT department over the weekend screaming about terabytes of data. Desirable is a can be a challenge because making something truly desirable is actually quite tricky.


Used to the impression of control that broadcast media had previously afforded them, open is a concept that some brands have been struggling with. Open means honest and transparent. Not just about the parts of the message that are desirable to the brand, but about the whole lot, warts and all. An audience will respond very actively and negatively when they believe a brand has been dishonest with them. There are lost of examples of where brands have been dishonest and been caught. Don’t be one of them. It doesn’t even require active dishonesty – just a lack of intent to be completely open can come across badly.


Another degree further of open is making the activity sharable. Are the materials easily downloadable? Can it be linked to or have you gone and wrapped them up in a big Flash movie that no one can link to? If it’s a Flash movie then there’s less material that can be shared in social book-marking sites like, Digg and Stumbleupon. It is as important as being open that the brand then follow that up by making the activity sharable by acknowledging standard protocols that enable sharing and by actively promoting sharing with a simple “Digg this” button or a downloadable Zip file of assets.


This process of thinking through the KUDOS attributes will help a brand decide on what channel they are going to use and how they are going to use it. That decision making process can also result in deciding what the brand is going to measure to determine if those attributes have been met.

Image courtesy of ndrwfgg /Andrew Fogg.

25 responses to “How can organisations develop effective, rather than just ‘shiny’, social ideas?”

  1. Mikej

    this is a great simple way of looking at social media

    I wrote a couple of rules for a client once

    keep up the awesome posts


  2. matthew

    this is nice – i think there are lots of points to evaluate any activity against, but wrapping something up into a nice acronym means that we remember that our activity should always be evaluated (even if its not 100% trackable) against some form of criteria – not just doing something social ‘because everyone else is’.

  3. htrendell

    I love acronyms, they are the best lil checklist you can have. KUDOS is great – thank you :0)

  4. Get Skype, Nomadder Where

    [...] released by our friends over at Contagious Magazine, here is the scorecard from which I devised a KUDOS score of 33 (out of 50) for the Skype Nomad [...]

  5. R*M social media report with Contagious Magazine

    [...] also includes an in-depth explanation of our KUDOS planning framework and how it can be used to plan and evaluate social media campaigns. To assist this we have included [...]

  6. The Other Side: News from the Northern Line

    [...] latest article for Contagious magazine has seen us dip our KUDOS toes into the world of [...]

  7. Anton

    Here is a quick PDF A3 for your office wall that I put togheter.

    Thanks for a great post!

  8. Leo

    Hey Anton – thanks for that. Do you do t-shirts? Mugs?

  9. Anton

    Leo: You bet!

  10. Social Media Footprint

    [...] Footprint effectively, to how this can be integrated along with more traditional media, into a KUDOS-ful [...]

  11. KUDOS to Cutts Creative

    [...] design shop in warm, tropical Brisbane) do a lovely monthly giveaway that is in the true spirit of KUDOS; each month the Cutts Bucket is filled up with a load of digital treats that are free for [...]

  12. Annals of the Unexpected: AIG conversation with Daily Kos

    [...] KUDOS, indeed. [...]

  13. Influencer relations; it’s all about the ‘invisible ipod’

    [...] really engagaing talking points (talking point no-less that display all the virtues our very own KUDOS framework). Thus, if brands want to steer the conversation the way they’d like or get [...]

  14. Dragan Varagic Blog » Frameworks Analysis for Social Media

    [...] Kudos framework is one of the most mentioned SM frameworks (together with the ACES framework) in the search results. It is related to the definition of the strategy and the evaluation of a social media campaigns: [...]

  15. Notes from the Forrester Consumer Marketing Forum

    [...] But once you have decided on your technology you are going to need help planning how you use that technology; what content are you going to create, how are you going to distribute it, measure and optimise it? And that’s where we would humbly submit that another acronym close to our hearts which would be enormously helpful: KUDOS. [...]

  16. Getting to grips with the ‘D’ in KUDOS

    [...] hope by now that regular readers of this blog are familiar with our KUDOS framework (link of course provided for n00bs). However, just recently Leo and I have been [...]

  17. Does your social media have kudos? | Generate.

    [...] KUDOS is an interesting method for measuring the merits of social media campaigns holistically – and something that I think is useful in creative planning generally. [...]

  18. IMM09: A periodic table of creative ideas

    [...] clearly I’m a fool for a framework – but this really helped me to understand some significant differences between tactical and [...]

  19. Internet World: Obama 2.0 & lessons in social media

    [...] broad umbrella of ’social media’ we’ve developed a simple planning framework; KUDOS. In short, we look at an activity from the point of view of both the brand and the audience to see [...]

  20. Social Media Best Practice

    [...] activities on these platforms are successful, it is helpful to bear in mind the KUDOS acronym (more here). All your social media activities should revolve around a piece of Knowledge which is Useful, [...]

  21. 20080521 - Adam Crowe

    [...] R*M — KUDOS: A planning and evaluation framework for social media marketing “Can it be linked to or have you gone and wrapped them up in a big Flash movie that no one can link to? If it’s a Flash movie then there’s less material that can be shared in social book-marking sites.” — Flash: The Enemy of the People. ;^) flash anti- strategy content planning measurement socialmedia [...]

  22. What makes for good social media research?

    [...] conversation topics are most important to the brand. And finally, we use simple frameworks (such as KUDOS) to guide our [...]

  23. Challenges in crowdsourcing ads

    [...] an advertising idea for your brand, it’s worth considering whether there something more kudos-friendly you could ask them to do instead. Like advance review a product. Or respond to someone [...]

  24. An Instance of kudos as KUDOS

    [...] When Leo and I first coined the KUDOS acronym, we were playing around with the idea of ‘kudos’ itself – we knew that ‘kudos’ was the driving force of succesful social media activities, but felt that as a mere term, it was a little generic for analytic purposes. Hence the granular acronym of Knowledge, Usefulness, Desirability, Openness, and Shareability. [...]

  25. Anton Sten

    I’ve noticed in my Google Analytics that a lot of people still look for the PDF mentioned above (2 years ago). It’s now back!

Leave a Reply