Marcella Chamorro graduated from the Master in International Management program in July 2011, with a specialization in Digital Business. She had a head start in the subject, having set up her blog MarcellaChamorro.com and a side business working as a social media consultant, developing social media plans for non-profit and for-profits organizations in Nicaragua and the US. Since graduation from IE, she has been working on yet another project, her first book, To Be or Like to Be: The Need for Authentic Online Marketing in the Era of Ultra-Informed Consumers, which has just been released on Amazon.com. Marcella graduated with a major in Communications from Boston College and is originally from Managua, Nicaragua.
Q: First of all, congratulations on your book! How did you come up with the idea and what motivated you to write it?
Thank you! I wanted to write something longer than my usual blog posts, but I also wanted the chance to do some real research about a certain topic — delve in deeper than my blog post format allows me.
Q: The book touches on many of the themes you write about in your blog, MarcellaChamorro.com, which you kept up throughout the Master program. Did your academic coursework help inspire some of your blogposts?
If you could only see my Moleskine from my MIM days! During lectures, I’d write down ideas — and sometimes entire posts. Lectures and in-class conversations definitely inspired many posts. My classmates thought I was taking notes, but I was actually busy analyzing and framing concepts in new ways in my notebook.
Q: Your book and blog are both concerned with the idea of authenticity. What are some of the worst outcomes an organization can suffer from being inauthentic?
Loss of community. Engagement and fun is truly overtaking traditional ways of brand-consumer interactions. Without authenticity, the brand is not likely to build a significant relationship with customers. That lack of community could affect their bottom line as social media becomes more and more important.
Q: Do you have any forecasts about the direction in which online marketing will be moving in the next few years? How does authenticity play into this?
We’ve only just scratched the surface with social everything — media, commerce, networking, mobile, and more. All of this emphasis on technology will put more and more information in our hands — and more and more access to brands. If authenticity is not at the core of the brand’s strategy, they won’t be able to capitalize on the social web as effectively as the rest.
Q: Finally, do you have any advice for any budding young authors interested in publishing their work?
Don’t underestimate the power of self-publishing! If you follow Seth Godin‘s work (and you should!), you know that eliminating the barriers between the writer and the audience is becoming much easier over time. Take the initiative and self-publish, if you have to. Writing is the new business card, so it’s best to start anywhere you can.