ROI – Solved!

blanchardThe very thorny problem of Social Media ROI (Return on Investment) was finally solved this week by the brilliant research work of social media guru  Olivier Blanchard (aka The BrandBuilder).

Olivier, well-known throughout the blogging world as a marketing finance expert and bike-rider, dug deep into the world of virtual metrics and came up with a reliable, scalable, and reproducible method of calculating the financial impact of social media.

Eschewing traditional measures such as dollars invested vs. dollars realized, increased sales, and boring data points like that, Olivier applied his guru-like creative expertise to come up with a totally new and relevant series of measures – the “Blanchard Scale” (BS).

Since social media is relatively new and there is so much indirect impact on business, the Blanchard Scale bypasses hard numbers for new measures that take into account the subjectivity and wishful thinking of social networking efforts.

The Scale is summarized thusly, and works best if pronounced with a faint but distinct French accent:

– The Chihuahua (CH) – the smallest measure, a chihuahua of social media impact means that somebody saw something you did somewhere. If you get re-tweeted on Twitter, that’s an extra (or, venti) chihuahua.

– The Nutella (NU) – a Nutella of social media impact is when at least one comment on a blog or one Twitter dialogue ensues. A Nutella unit is often considered a measure of social media “sweetness”. If the dialogue is re-tweeted on Twitter, that’s a NU-CH.

– The Blanchard (BL) – also called a “glop”, this is a totally subjective impact measure which indicates that a bunch of really cool stuff is going on over several platforms, even if we can’t quantify it. Most social media campaigns are considered a success at a 5-Blanchard level post-launch.

– The Brogan (BR) – formerly labeled the Godin, this rarefied measure of impact is only achieved when you go viral, which means that there must be some money changing hands somewhere, and probably we’re going to get some. A 3-Brogan campaign is the gold standard in social media ROI. Occasionally augmented by a Vayner, which currently hasn’t been fully defined, but is definitely kinda loud.

– The Kaw (GUY) – only achieved once so far, all top bloggers want to be “that Guy”. Guess what – you’re not.

Prominent blogging gurus and experts were dumbfounded by the simplicity and utility of the new Blanchard Scale. “I give it 2 ‘heh’s up!” proclaimed social media expert influencer Jason Falls, who once had a post “go Blanchard” on his Social Media Explorer site. “I think all my clients will want to employ these targeted metrics, which are perfectly suited to describe whatever it is we’re trying to make happen. We’ll get people used to some CH-sized returns, then go straight for the big bucks with a double-Brogan campaign!”

Known for delivering consistent Nutella results for her many clients, social media guru Kris Colvin was ecstatic at the release of the new BS scale. “Olivier let me work with a beta version, and except for some spurious Kaws and a couple of transient Chihuahuas, I was able to provide some very soft calculations to my clients on the preliminary possible projected impact of their social media endeavors, right down to the nearest glop or two. Brilliant! I still think there should be a “Colvin“, however, tied to YouTube views…”

Doing BS calculations can begin immediately after downloading the Blanchard Scale from the BrandBuilderROI website. You simply make up your own price and get right to work, which is good practice for utilization of the tool. Those who use the Scale for a week receive a free “I’m a Full-of-BS Social Media Guru” certificate, suitable for scanning and posting on a blog sidebar.

Apart from a 975-work blog post on the subject, Olivier was reticent to share much about his next endeavor, the Nutella Channel, created to spread recipes using the new blanchard cooking scale. It is rumored, however, that a new micro-measure, the “Gill“, will be introduced when the upcoming Book of Blanchard and new on-line video channel are unveiled.


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About Steve Woodruff
Steve Woodruff is a blogger, a Connection Agent, and a consultant in the pharma/healthcare industry. He specializes in helping people and companies make mutually beneficial connections.

19 Responses to ROI – Solved!

  1. Sally says:

    That’s too funny, Steve!

    Thanks for the laugh, I needed that today 🙂

  2. Kris C. says:

    I have perfected the NU-CH and the Glop, but all clients seem to want is the Brogan or the Kaw. I am anxiously awaiting the Colvin YouTube views measurement (ICU) to become a standard, and for Olivier’s book (tentative title: How to Influence Others & Achieve RON (Return on Nutella) Through the Magic of Nutella Mentions)… then maybe this social media thing will finally pay off! 😉

    Thanks for the entire scale. Educating others like this is what we should all be doing. By the way, how’s that Nutella Shepherd’s Pie recipe coming along, Steve???

  3. Kellye Crane says:

    Is it my imagination, or are you becoming ever-funnier? This is destined to become a classic!

  4. Our worthiness has just be quantified… With much Meh-ness, followers will some day get us to a Blanchard-esque level, yet to eternally view the golden Kaw with optimistic indifference and … well, more meh-ness.

    It’s a quest worthy of any blogmaster. I thank you for defining it and I thank Oliver for being our sherpa.

    Keep Cooking!
    Andrew B. Clark
    The Brand Chef

  5. I bow to you, sir.

    Laughing my ass off. This is awesome. 😀

  6. Sonny Gill says:

    Olivier – hurry up with your book so we can introduce ‘the Gill’ micro-measurement tool for the naysayers 🙂

    Too great, Steve!

  7. Owen Greaves says:

    You mean the answer isn’t 42!!!!

    I feel like 10 year old that just found out his father isn’t perfect…..The Olivier Equation as told by Steve Woodruff

    Is there a book in the works 🙂

    Very funny!

  8. Kris C. says:

    Just got news from Steve in my DM that the ICU is a dream that may soon happen:

    “The ICU unit is now in the process of being defined, with a +/- 88% accuracy” he says!!

    Oh yeah…. we’re *THAT* good!!!

  9. As tweeted, deeply impressed.

    A couple of suggested revisions. The main one being to use three letter nicknames for the units. Much easier to use verbally, and easier to remember.

    CH – Love the the smallest unit being a Chihuahua, but for ease of usage (and preventing a new two-letter acronym) I suggest the common symbol become “YIP”. Oh, they’re not serious with only a 2-YIP rating!”

    NU – I’m thinking the NUs need to be NUTs (pronounced “NEWTS” by the Nuterati).

    That would help Social Media gurus do “NUTjobs” and make “NUTcases for their clients. And success here could be measured on each blog with a small chart called a “NUTbar”.

    BL – Easy. The unit is a “BLA”

    BR – Again easy. “BRO” (dude!).

    GUY – no change.

    Nice scale from “YIP > NUT > BLA > BRO > GUY”.

    ICUs could work as a side-element.

    RUF – Steve needs his own unit here. Perhaps a measure of left-field viral appeal achieved through sucking up to established bloggers (in a nice way).

    And although I humbly submit that I am not worthy. Perhaps a DEN could someday become a unit of measure for the obsurity of a given rant about brand strategy.

  10. @dennis – I like the proposed changes…a lot! In order to bring Ann Handley into the loop, perhaps an ANN (short for Annarchy) could be used, to describe those elements that sabotage a SM initiative (“I was going for a 3-BROer but we got hit with a couple ANNs from the legal team”)

    @owen – the answer is still 42. You just have to divide GUYs by a couple of BROs and add a NUT.

  11. Ann Handley says:

    Re the ANN: Oh thank god.. for a while, I was feeling totally irrelevant.

    I am a huge fan of the Blanchard Scale (BS), and use it quite often in everyday life, in almost any situation. You’d be surprised what a little BS can accomplish…

  12. Ike says:

    There is in fact a smaller unit than the Chihuahua, which as you know does not reach “long-tail” properties.

    It is the PicoOccam, measuring minimal impact along razr-thin lines.

  13. And actually, what about SM activities that achieve absolutely nothing – or negatively impact your brand?

    For small ones, perhaps the unit should be “URP”. As in, “well that campaign totally URPed out on us! (urp).”

  14. Jason Baer says:

    Truly inspired. There are times when I read a post and think “there is no way I can do that. Ever” This is one of those times.

    The genius of it is the scale is no more ludicrous than what many people are using to “measure” social media.

    Please make a poster of this!

  15. @IkePigott – I think we’ll have to reduce the PicoOccam to the much simpler IKE
    @Dennis – I believe that URPs may be loosely related to milliscobles. More research needed…

  16. Kevin Briody says:

    Fantastic stuff, but awfully hard to remember. I’m thinking it needs a mnemonic of some kind. In fact, I’m thinking of a song…something like this perhaps…

    YIP, a tweet, a tiny tweet
    NUT, a comment on my blaaaawwwg!
    BLA, some stuff we can’t describe
    BRO, the golden standard of it alllll!
    GUY, the one we all adooore…
    RUF, he’ll blog about them all…
    ANN, it gummed it all the wooorrks…

    And that brings us back to


    (pardon the bad lyrics, I have no rhythm)

  17. @kevin – all we need is Julie Andrews and we’re set!

    Hey, if we want to bring an automaker into this – should there be something above the GUY, called The Full Monty (MON)? @scottmonty might approve…

  18. Karen Swim says:

    ROFL! I dream of the double brogan and I really think I can use this BS in my work. I mean after all every good marketer should have a little BS in their toolbox and be able to promise at least one Nutella. 🙂

  19. Pingback: Basic ROI for Social Media | Daniel Johnson, Jr.

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