Looking Past the Facebook IPO

While many people are worn out from the media-frenzied Facebook IPO, and some even wearing out from Facebook itself, there's still reason for optimism in terms of Facebook's potential for connecting brands and customers. Whether its stock is worth $36 a share is another discussion, but consider these three views:

 1.  Consumers are on Facebook.   The data are overwhelming in terms of the role of Facebook in consumer's online "lives" (http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/175129/what-you-got-for-38...).The question is which (not just whether) consumers want to interact with brands and the degree to which they will engage in Facebook as a platform for brand relationships.With 900 million consumers, if you focus on the right ones for your brand, there is plenty of opportunity here in terms of sheer number of customers.

2.  Brands' strategy on Facebook.This is a function of how well marketers are developing and pursuing not just social but also fully integrated CRM strategies, as part of their overall marketing and business strategy.This again is a question of selectivity, as some brands (too few in our opinion) are reasonably well committed to CRM and customer centricity.Given such a commitment, then Facebook needs to be a part of executing such strategies given its size, scale and data-rich opportunity.

3.  Facebook itself.  The real value of Facebook is not just the number of active users but the value of the data about those users.Given that it's now a public company with a high degree of accountability, in spite of what Mr. Zuckerberg says, it will likely continue to focus on being good for customers and ultimately, brands and investors.Otherwise it will be not only the largest IPO but also the largest financial train wreck.

While Facebook, and its stock price might be increasingly polarizing, it's not going away.Just the opposite, and unlike Groupon, it has enormous potential to be a sustainable social platform and ultimately a valuable media platform.No small challenge, which goes well with a $100B valuation.