MIAMI –Thinking about social media as a network is crucial for brands to reach consumers, according to the “Life in Beta” session led by Allidura Consumer at the 2013 Global PR Summit.

“Change will never be this slow again,” said Tracy Naden, Allidura’s managing director, noting that as online worlds become more sophisticated, brands must be more direct and transparent with consumers.

For instance, when it comes to healthcare, networks used to involve patients, doctors, insurance companies, and perhaps, pharmacies. This now involves a complex mesh of of online communities and health sites. 

With co-presenter Danielle Dunne, the session explored how generational change has shifted -- boomers were defined by purchases; generation X and Y by discovery; Millennials are makers; while the NextGEN (ages 7 to 20) are digital natives. 

The session drew upon examples, like Chipotle’s “Scarecrow” campaign, to demonstrate creative ways that brands are communicating with audiences.