Posted on May 2, 2011. Filed under: Marketing and Public Relations | Tags: advertising, brand, brand personality, branding, buy in, co-branding, documentary, film, integration, meta movie, Morgan Spurlock, Pom Wonderful, product placement, sell out, sponsorship |
Not much, if you’re documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock, whose latest movie, Pom Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, explores the world of branding, advertising and product placement.
It’s Spurlock’s personal statement, albeit an irreverent one, about how we’re pummeled with advertising throughout our daily lives.
Just because it’s obvious doesn’t mean you can’t make a point
The point of this flick is admittedly obvious, however, Spurlock likes to examine the obvious in unexpected ways.
The film that first brought Spurlock to national attention, Supersize Me, is about how eating lots of McDonald’s food is unhealthy and leads to obesity. In it, the filmmaker serves as a human guinea pig who only eats McDonald’s food for 30 days straight. That he gains weight is to be expected; what’s surprising is the drastic dangerous toll the dietary experiment takes on Spurlock’s health and psychological well-being.
With Pom Wonderful, the director gets super cheeky: He’s making a film about product placement and advertising that’s all about how he’s financing the film solely through product placement and advertising. He calls hundreds of brands, and 22 sign on. In return for their money, the brands get to have Spurlock shamelessly promote them throughout his movie. The biggest sponsors have full-fledged commercials inserted right into the documentary.
Spurlock records the meetings where he tries to get companies to support his concepts. He’s an energetic pitchman who’s full of ideas. Some of his most outlandish ideas get shot down. No matter: Spurlock is a paid shill who gladly lets the brands control their message (though he delivers these lines with a big sly wink).
Along with the mischievous encounters with sponsors Spurlock delves into the world of manipulation, er marketing. He talks to experts in brand integration, co-promotion, brand collateral, brand personality, media placement and neuro-marketing. He chats with movie directors, TV execs, Donald Trump, Noam Chomsky, as well as Ralph Nader, who comes up with one of the movies more memorable lines when he says the only time we can avoid branding is in our sleep.
Two examples on the extremes of advertising (or not)
For the most part, Spurlock’s tongue is set firmly in his cheek, yet there are exceptions. Like when he heads to Florida’s Broward County to investigate how sponsors have infiltrated its public schools — an area even the educators agree should be off limits, but with budgets being cut to the bone, the school system is forced to find money however it can.
It all begs the question, where do we draw the line? For the right price, will we let consumer culture infiltrate every aspect of our lives?
Apparently, at least one place on earth isn’t buying in: Sao Paulo. The Brazilian city passed a law banning all forms of outdoor advertising. City officials say they passed the law to rid Sao Paulo of “visual pollution,” and when the camera pans its streets, we see what the city looks like with nary an ad in sight. In interviews with Spurlock, shop owners and residents all agree that Sao Paulo is now more attractive and they “notice a lot more” without the “distraction” of ads.
Powerful personal branding
Spurlock is transparent about irony of his efforts. He’s clearly practicing what he’s preaching against. Or is he? He claims he’s not selling out, but rather, buying in.
Of course, the biggest product placement of all in Pom Wonderful is for Mr. Spurlock himself. It’s an inspired piece of personal branding.
The movie has sparked demand for Spurlock’s bon mots. Fast Company featured him in a lengthy piece called I’m With the Brand and Forbes did a Q & A with him called This Space for Rent. He did a talk for TED called Morgan Spurlock: The Greatest TED Talk Ever Told and wrote a guest column for Entertainment Weekly called The Filmmakers Guide to Making the Perfect Pitch.
Spurlock even got the city of Altoona, Pa to change its name for 60 days, to Pom Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, in exchange for $25,000. Altoona is the home-base one of the movie’s sponsor’s Sheetz, Inc. The name change is ceremonial, still the city figures to get publicity out of the deal.
All of which goes to show, as is stated in the movie, “At the end of the day, marketing works.”
Wanna peek at the picture? Here’s the movie trailer
Your Comments Welcome
What do YOU think? Have you seen Spurlock’s latest movie? Is he really buying in, or selling out?Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
Posted on January 9, 2011. Filed under: Marketing and Public Relations, Video | Tags: advertising, best practices, iPad, iTunes, LaDiDa, marketing, Mishka, online video, puppy love, singing, Social Media, talking, tips, Video |
It’s cliché marketing advice to suggest that you “think out of the box” in order to “cut through the clutter.” Maybe so — still, it’s good advice.
Of course the trick is in the doing. How do you come up with a creative idea that sets you apart from the crowd?
I’ll answer by showing, rather than telling. Watch this video, Husky Dog Sings with iPad Better than Bieber!, which has more than 2 million views and serves to illustrate how you can break out of the pack.
Can you really learn marketing tricks from a dog?
How does this video cut through the clutter? Let’s count the ways…
1. The video falls into a favored category. Videos of pets doing a cool tricks are incredibly popular. Right from the get-go, this one plays to the crowd in the space in which it’s offered — in this case, YouTube.
2. It has a catchy keyword rich title. The video is named Husky Dog Sings with iPad Better than Bieber! This title is clever on its own, and if you parse it out, between “dog sings,” “iPad” and “Bieber” you’re picking up on a few popular keywords for web searches.
Including the words iPad and Bieber helps attract viewers who are ultimately searching for something quite different than what this video is about, yet plenty of people may click on the link in their search results just because the video sounds like it could be fun to watch. Random entertainment opportunities are one of the many aspects that make the web experience special.
3. There’s no obvious sales pitch. There’s an embedded hat-tip at the end of the video for LaDiDa, an iPhone app. The app is not by the person who made Husky Dog Sings, so this mention appears to be just a nod to the technology that helps make its concept work in the first place.
Meanwhile, there is a direct sales component here. Under the video screen (when viewed on the YouTube site) there’s a link to Mishka on iTunes. Turns out, this singing dog is named Mishka, and she has her own iTunes single.
Click on the link to video’s creator, Matt Gardea, identified on YouYube as gardea23, and you go to Mishka The Talking Husky’s YouTube channel. Here’s where you see that Mishka is a canine celebrity. Her channel has more than 84,000 subscribers. She’s been featured on news media throughout the world and she has a thriving Facebook page, Twitter account and line of clothing.
One channel feeds into the other and if you read the posts to Facebook or Twitter you’ll note there’s plenty of personality behind it all.
4. The tone is homegrown. Husky Dog Sings vibe is warm and welcoming. Mishka’s owners are clearly out to promote their pet, however, they go about it in a friendly down-to-earth way. Most any dog owner can relate to Matt’s friendly encouragement of Mishka as he repeatedly says “good girl” to coach the husky through her duet with the iPad.
5. This is the real deal. Social media presents a particular kind of environment where hard-sell flashy marketing falls out of favor. After all, being pushy isn’t social. You want to be real, and this video is genuine. When Mishka is doing her thing, a child and another dog briefly enter the picture. There’s no attempt to hide this extraneous action, which only adds to our amusement.
More tricks to come?
Hmm, wonder what she’s got up her paws.
- Deni Kasrel
What do YOU think? Your comments welcome.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Posted on November 23, 2010. Filed under: Marketing and Public Relations | Tags: advertising, attention span, brand, brand story, branding, marketing, marketing communications, media time, Social Media, Social Networks, story, storytelling, time, Video, YouTube |
Truly effective marketing hits on emotional touchpoints that make us believe what you have to say, enough so that we’re persuaded to buy what you’ve got for sale. We need to see ourselves in your story.
It’s no accident we have the expression, “I don’t buy that story for one minute.”
How much story can you tell in 15-seconds?
How long should your brand story be?
This thought came to mind when I was chatting last week with Glenn Holsten. Glenn is an independent filmmaker who is well known for his documentaries, but he also does commercial work. We were catching up prior to the world premier screening of his film Seductive Subversion: Women Pop Artists 1958-1968 and somehow got on the subject of social media. Glenn said he had a client who wanted a 15-second video to use for social media. “How can I tell in story in 15 seconds?” he asked.
I mentioned the tale, perhaps an urban legend but nonetheless oft-cited, about how Ernest Hemingway won a bet by writing a story that was only six words long. I’ll now share this story, in it’s entirely:
For sale: Baby shoes, never worn.
Glenn agreed that’s one heck of a short story, and he assured me he’ll whip up that 15-second spot his client wants for social media. Meanwhile, I’m intrigued by the fact that his client perceives the need to create a 15-second video, simply because it’s for social media.
Is there an ideal story length? Does the media matter?
I’ve seen two and half-hour movies that seem to fly by and watched three-minute videos that feel like they take forever.
TV commercials are usually 30 or 60 seconds long. Much of that’s due to the cost of buying time on television. There is no equivalent cost with social media.
Regardless of your expense, whatever the length of a marketing message, there’s a cost to your audience in terms of time and mindshare. Even 15 seconds of wasted time can be annoying.
YouTube is a social media channel and YouTube has in excess of 100 million videos, pretty much all of which are longer than 15 seconds. The fact that a video may also be a form of advertising doesn’t matter. If the content is worth watching, you can exceed the 30-60 second convention.
Prime examples here are the Will It Blend? spots featuring Tom Dickson, who rose to online stardom thanks to a series of videos where he proved the power of his Blendtec blender by using it to pulverize all sorts of objects, including an an iPhone, a Bic lighter, golf balls, a bag of marbles and a crowbar. Nearly all of the Will It Blend videos are between one to two minutes long and they’re super popular — the iPhone video has in excess of 9 million views. Blendtec also promotes its videos through a Facebook page , which has a more than 56,000 fans, and through Twitter.
The evolution of storytelling… to be continued
You might say your story should be as long as is required to tell what needs to be told while also holding the viewer’s interest. That’s true, and also highly subjective.
There’s no hard and fast rule here. Still, it’s interesting to consider how much social media, and the way in which we consume it – via mobile phone, desktop computer, computer tablet or TV – influences the art of brand storytelling.
Open question: Is there a difference in our attention span toward marketing messages when we receive these messages via social media, as opposed to a company’s website?
Could be. I wouldn’t be surprised to see research down the line on this very topic. Time will tell.
What do YOU think? Is there an ideal length for a branded video that’s distributed through social media? Please share your thoughts.
Posted on October 5, 2010. Filed under: Best practices, Social Media | Tags: advertising, ambient intimacy, appvertising, best practices, book, branding, Business Strategy, Clara Shih, customer engagement, cyberbranding, Internet, marketing, online community, online marketing, reference, small business, social business, Social Media, social networking, Social Networks, sociology of social media, The Facebook Era, web, web marketing |
If you want to know how tapping into social networks can help your business, then touch base with Clara Shih. After all, she wrote The Facebook Era: Tapping Online Social Networks to Market, Sell, and Innovate (2nd Edition), which is chock full of case studies and practical information for creating strategies and tactics to help you succeed in the new world of social business.
I recently enjoyed a conversation with Clara. My prior post, How Social Networks Are Changing How We Do Business, features Part 1 of our conversation, and here’s Part 2, where we get into things like ambient intimacy, appvertising and how Clara wisely decided not to go with the book title originally suggested by her publisher.
Interview with Clara Shih, author of The Facebook Era, Part 2:
Much your book talks about how businesses can use social networks to gain more information about customers or prospects, and their connections. But it can also work in the other direction. Customers may use social networks to decide whether they want to do business with you. They may want you or your business to have a referral or a seal of approval from someone they know.
Clara: Yeah, I see it going in that direction. It happens to me all the time, with people that haven’t bought my book, they’ll go to my page and they’ll see two of their friends are already a fan of the page and it helps them make up their mind… It’s really interesting.
That’s the most important thing to keep in mind for understanding social media. Because once you get this then everything else is easy. All the tactics you can pick up, and they’re changing all the time because Facebook and Twitter are always changing. But this is a fundamental paradigm shift that’s changing and creating these new business practices.
If you were to encapsulate the paradigm shift how you describe it?
Clara: It’s the idea of ambient intimacy. People sharing more about themselves than they ever have before. There are implications for business development, marketing and targeted advertising.
One of big challenges many businesses have with social media is that it’s 24/7, but most businesses don’t operate 24/7. So they run up against issues with time resource allocation and providing an adequate response. Do you have suggestions to help a business manage its social media presence?
Clara: Well the first thing to consider is that people are talking about your company 24/7 whether or not you’re on social media or not. So better to be there and to be monitoring than be in blissful ignorance.
Beyond that I think in terms of setting the expectation of timeliness. And I’ve seen this — companies will have something on their Twitter or Facebook page that says, if we don’t get back to you in 72 hours or whatever the timeframe is — put out what to expect, so everyone is on the same page.
You hear a lot about how in social media you can’t do the hard sell, you have to do the soft sell. But people know why you’re on there — your purpose is ultimately to sell, if you’re a business.
Clara: It is ultimately to sell. And that’s OK if you acknowledge it. But it’s also to show that you care about people.
Right you can vicariously create tighter connections. Still, a customer can always write an email if they want to get in touch with a company Yet there’s something different about expressing yourself through social media.
Clara: It’s very subtle psychological things — like seeing your profile picture next to a comment you made on a businesses page… it makes you feel important. Like you have a voice. And I think people really resonate with that and people are drawn to that. Because you feel heard. Your comment is public. People can link back to your profile and possibly interact with you and like or comment on your comment.
In your book you talk about appvertising. I don’t know how many companies are aware of it, or the benefits. Would you mind giving a brief overview how companies can be smart with it?
Clara: Sure. Appvertising came about when Facebook started opening their platform to other developers to create applications on Facebook. And the idea is that with traditional advertising you get only that split second to interact with the audience. People basically see your ad and they decide to click or they don’t.
With Facebook apps, instead of giving people a onetime offer, you’re engaging them with a game or some sort of other application that they would want to come back to again and again. You can brand those games. You can sponsor applications, or you can build your own applications that really touch upon your core business and be able to deepen your relationship with a customer and engage with a customer over a longer period of time than you would with traditional advertising.
How do you do it so you’re not just creating a commercial that just happens to be a game? Even though that is essentially what appvertising is.
Clara: The key part is the branding is more subtle. One of my favorite examples is, there’s a General Mills brand called Cacadian Farms, where they promote organic foods. If you play Farmville you can buy blueberry seeds from Cascadian Farms that are all organic, non-genetically modified blueberries. That’s a fun way to engage; people are getting exposed to the Cascadian brand, and it’s good for the players because it’s good for their farm.
Still, companies must be careful about what apps they’re in and how they choose to be in that space, right?
Clara: It’s very important to find out with the apps, are they really reaching the core audience that they want to reach? There was a big controversy about a year back where Offerpal partnered with Netflix. The idea was if you were playing Texas HoldEm inside of Facebook you could throw out an offer for a 30-day trial to Netflix in exchange for chips. They got a ton of response because that’s a really popular application and people wanted the virtual chips. The problem was the end-value to Netflix was ultimately very low, because these people all cancelled within a few days. They weren’t interested in Netflix; they just wanted the chips.
As an advertiser and as a business you really have to think about are you achieving the goal that you want to achieve? How much will this interest last? Is it a short-term win or is it really a long-term gain where you can acquire these users?
OK, last question: Why call your book The Facebook Era; even the first edition is about a lot more than just Facebook.
Clara: I’ll tell you something funny; my publisher wanted me to call it the MySpace Era, because at the time MySpace was significantly bigger. I just thought there was something about Facebook that was different. It was really the first social network that encouraged us and supported us in reflecting and extending our real world networks, versus trying to replace those real-world relationships. There’s something that’s just much more lasting and more inherently valuable about basing it on true identity and true relationships.
And we continue to call it The Facebook Era because Facebook is still the largest and fastest growing social network, not only here in the U.S., but worldwide… I believe that no matter where you are in the world you want to be connected, and often times that includes people in your county and beyond, and that’s the deal with Facebook.
Many thanks to Clara for being so generous with her time and thoughts. She gives us plenty to ponder.
- Deni Kasrel
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Posted on January 13, 2010. Filed under: Marketing and Public Relations, Trends, Web 2.0 | Tags: advertising, Beth Harte, building online community, communications, content filter, content strategy, from monologue to dialogue, Google, John Lichtenberger, knowledge curation, marketing, marketing trends, mobile strategy, online community, PR, public relations, Social Media, social search, Strategic Communications, tools, trend, Trends, Valeria Maltoni |
And what about those resolutions? Now comes the time to see if we really intend to keep them.
Per my recent post, Why You Should Make A New Year’s Social Media Resolution, one of my goals is to be more engaged with cyber pals, through real conversation, and perhaps meeting up in person.
Also, I plan to step up commenting on other blogs and share more space on my blog for people whose ideas and opinions I admire.
To get the latter resolution rolling, I asked several Twitter pals for thoughts on what they foresee as top communications trends for 2010. My friends could respond however they liked, and this included our speaking via Skype.
All brought up good points to ponder. Ideas offered cover various dimensions of the communication continuum. So much so, I’m breaking things up into two posts. Here’s Part 1:
One-way communication continues to fall by the wayside
The rise of social media continues to rock advertising, marketing, and public relations. Foundations that have stood for decades are quaking, as channels shift more decisively from monologue to dialogue. Here are forecasts from people in the thick of it.
Marketers must build trust and relationships
“One trend that I expect will accelerate in 2010 and beyond is the continuing paradigm shift away from delivering one-way advertising/marketing messages to using social media to promote a company and its products. Marketers will continue to find out that it is much more effective to establish dialogue and relationships than it is to attract attention in the old way – via traditional advertising. In fact, they will probably have no other choice but to embrace this new medium. Consumers are spending more and more of their time on social media – old-school advertising simply is going to miss out on reaching them.
As we enter this new decade, marketers will need to learn how to effectively use social media to communicate trust first – and worry about sales later. It is not a medium that is at all conducive to the “hard sell”. Some marketers will find this fact out the hard way. But many more will surely learn how to become more adept at using social media effectively. It will be interesting to see the evolution of how businesses will use social media to communicate their company message in the months and years ahead.”
Wider and deeper engagement is essential for marketing and PR
Direction for all communicators (marketers, PR people) in 2010.
“You will need to become actively involved in facilitating the active participation of the whole organization to the company’s branding efforts. If you’re not already, it’s time to become engaged with curating industry conversations and analysis to provide senior leadership with insights about market and customer demands.
From learning about what to listen for, to figuring out how the company needs to engage in the knowledge flows, you will need to have sharp focus to zero into what matters and soft eyes to see the big picture. Because customers, prospects, partners, and employees are spending more time online, you will need to become adept at observing and synthesizing trends, building community, and translating that information into action plans.
Communication is the exchange of information that connects to common goals. From multimedia content creation and story telling to value creation through context and calls to action, you will need to become the most adept at spotting opportunity, digging deeper, and bringing the right people to engage in the dialogue and deliver results – as outcomes and contribution to the bottom line.
Time to step off the comfortable side lines and get in the game. You will be accountable at every step of the way. That is good.”
Power to the people: PR goes back to its origins
“In 2010, public relations will revert back to its origins and there will be less focus on media relations (i.e. publicity). The origins of PR include building mutually beneficial relationships with the publics that can make or break an organization’s business and brands. With more publics using online tools as a mechanism for word of mouth (positive and negative), networking with like-minded people, and product/service/organization information it’s imperative for organizations to focus their attention to building those important relationships. Public relations will include things like: online community relations, proactive issues management, and less pitching and more strategic placement of content.”
Searching and sorting through content on the web
A growing number of tools enable us to publish content, to include blog posts, videos, photos and more. We have many ways to project our voices and engage in virtual conversation with any number of participants. Consequently, it’s getting mighty crowded out there on the web. Which brings us to these next few trends, which by the way, were conveyed in conversation over Skype:
New ways to manage and search content
“Mobile will be much more like a laptop and in the end it won’t be just a social web but a social mobile strategy. It will be a little bit different…. Geotagging is a step that we are beginning to see slowly entering… You will see much more news and social sharing by mobile.
We will see the boost of social network search. It will be less important to be on the first page of Google results, but it’s going to be more important to be on the first page among your community, your social circle.
You can see already that Google recognizes this. Google has the power to collect information for all social networks… I think what Google will do is when you open a Google profile account, and then every time you open an account on a social network you add it to your Goggle profile, Google will collect the information from there and will show it on your social results.”
Tamping down the fire hose: knowledge curation
“People are overburdened with information overload… It’s definitely a fire hose. The amount of content has grown exponentially and a lot of that content is just crap and you need to sift through to find the gems.
That’s where tools that enable us to filter, and human filters, like you and me for each other, can help. So I see knowledge curation as a trend, both the need and the tools for doing it. And if there is a tool that you can put in the hands of the average user… so that’s it’s as easy to use as Twitter or Facebook, I think it will be hugely successful. The need to make sense of an ever-increasing amount of content will continue for business and the individual consumer.”
Many thanks to John, Valeria, Beth, Avi and Bill for offering your insights. And readers, I recommend you follow these folks on Twitter. Each one is a great source of information and conversation.
- Deni Kasrel
Do you agree with these thoughts on communications trends for 2010? What other trends do you see for the coming year? Please share. Comments welcome.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 2 so far )
Posted on December 7, 2009. Filed under: Commentary, Social Media | Tags: advertising, Albert Einstein, brand, brand awareness, brand management, communications, Communications Strategy, double-standard, marketing, marketing communications, measurement, metrics, profit, public relations, reputation management, return on investment, roi, show me the money, Social Media, social media profit, Social Networks, word of mouth |
Today, at a networking meeting, I met someone involved in marketing and branding. We got to talking about social media, and quicker than you can type a tweet, this guy brought up return on investment.
He asserted, unless you can clearly identify the monetary payback on social media, many brand managers won’t give it the time of day.
Now, I understand that ROI and the bottom-line matter; a lot. Nevertheless, it’s curious how when the subject of social media comes up, you can often count the seconds till ROI is mentioned. Why is that?
What’s with the double-standard?
I’ve not heard a hue and cry over what’s the absolute dollars and cents return on investment for numerous other aspects of marketing communications. Like a sales kit. Or a press release. Or an event sponsorship. Or even a website (unless the site is e-commerce based, though for the sake of this example, I’m referring to a corporate/brand website).
And I shall defer from quibbling over what the exact definition of ROI is — used in this context, the general understanding is that it relates to how much profit are we going to make?
The point isn’t what is or is not ROI, but rather why you must know from the get-go what’s the end-measure for a social media program, when other types of marketing and public relations are not all held to this same standard.
“Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted” – Albert Einstein
No one’s come up with a formula to accurately surmise the precise profits gained from buzz, brand affinity, or word of mouth. It’s iffy to assign a cash value to a news story that appears about your company, product or service. You don’t necessarily know how much money is generated by a TV or print campaign, either.
I’m not suggesting there’s no reason to gather metrics for social media. There are ways to monitor social media activity and impact. You should benchmark and keep track of how the program is going, and, where possible, identify the return.
It’s more that I’m baffled by this tendency to immediately raise a “where’s the ROI?” beef at the very mention of social media. Which, for those who don’t already know, can drive sales as well as do wonders for brand awareness, customer service, reputation management and search engine optimization (among other things), when properly executed.
A smokescreen tactic?
I wish I had a buck for every article I’ve seen in just these last few months about the ROI of social media. I could take a nice vacation with the windfall.
My hunch is show-me-the-money-or-forget-about-it brand managers/marketers are comfortable with how they’ve been doing things for years. They like the old ways; which are one-way. Social media is two-way. They’re unaccustomed to direct engagement and are terrified of what might come back at them. They fear losing control of their brand.
So a smokescreen gets thrown up due to fear of the new, aversion to risk, and an inability to admit you just plum don’t understand something.
Looks like it boils down to oh-me oh-my rather than ROI.
- Deni Kasrel
Is ROI truly a relevant measure to determine the effectiveness of social media? Do you have experience in calculating the ROI of social media? Please share your stories. Comments welcome.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 6 so far )
Posted on November 7, 2009. Filed under: Books, Business Strategy, Communications Strategy | Tags: advertising, book review, brand, brand assets, branding, business, business book, buzz, communications, Communications Strategy, consumer marketing, digital marketing, Internet, marketing, mass media, media format, Mitch Joel, monetize new media, new business channel, new market dynamics, new media, online word of mouth, opportunity, podcamp, podcast, Six Pixels of Separation, Social Media, social network, Social Networks, Strategic Communications, traditional media, Twist Image, Twitter, YouTube |
In Six Pixels of Separation: Everyone Is Connected. Connect Your Business to Everyone. Mitch Joel recounts the tale of how in the 1500s the Spanish explorer Hernando Cortez captained 11 ships carrying more than 500 soldiers to Mexico on a mission to conquer the Aztecs. Many fell ill along the way and others were intimidated while in foreign surroundings. When worried soldiers asked their leader about his plan for returning home Cortez responded by burning the ships. There was no going back.
New channels, new ways
Today, entrepreneurs and business marketers must contend with foreign territory, in the form of new channels, new platforms and new audiences that are upending old ways. Mitch Joel believes you can either cling to the past (a surefire route to eventual failure) or you can burn the ships and learn how survive in the new world.
There is no going back
The challenge is for marketers to connect with consumers in these channels in ways that are honest and meaningful and that enable businesses to monetize their efforts.
Losing control is a good thing
Change occurs so rapidly in the digital era we can’t know where it’s all headed.
While uncertainty unnerves some, Joel adopts a seize-the-day attitude.
He believes a world where anyone can say whatever they want about your brand or business is a good thing. After all, he declares, “You will see and hear the types of insights and comments you never normally have access to.”
Convert consumers into marketers (for your brand)
Brands have many options for building communities and Joel stresses that in the end it’s the quality not the quantity of the relationships that matter. Focus on creating an engaged community rather than simply going for heavy traffic.
Successful communities instigate word-of-mouth that builds exponentially through the power of networks. This scares executives who are afraid of losing control of their brand.
Joel argues that while you can’t control the conversation “You can control whether or not you take part. You can control whether you will encourage your consumers to be so passionate they actually start marketing your company for you.”
Dare to be bold: Open up your brand assets
One of Joel’s suggestions for how to instill passion in consumers is sure to raise eyebrows from old-school brand managers — he advises to openly provide “the tools they need to change your brand.” This includes access to logos, text, audio and video.
The old way is to control all those assets. It’s dangerous to let consumers have at your brand willy-nilly. Joel reckons consumers are going to do whatever they want with your brand anyway, so you might as well be a part of the process. By freely giving your assets you send a message that you stand behind your brand.
Mitch Joel walks the talk
New market dynamics shift communications from mass media to mass content. Joel’s view on how to create effective content that clicks with consumers is spot on.
With those digital avenues, and with this book, Joel is an astute observer of human behavior. He understands how people think and react and knows how you can connect and contribute in order to get people to care about the same things you do.
Joel also runs a marketing agency called Twist Image. He’s an enterprising entrepreneur and a fair portion of his book offers insights into how self-starters can become their own media channel; and not just in the obvious ways, like starting a blog (though he does cover that). He explains how to create a credible personal brand, and how you can make that brand come alive in the real world by leading offline activities, like a PodCamp, a kind of self-organizing “unconference.”
Engage with a spirit of adventure
Six Pixels of Separation helps you recognize how moving from mass media to mass content is like exploring a new world rife with opportunity. It helps you gain the confidence to evolve with a spirit of adventure.
It’s inspiring, and yes, contagious.
- Deni Kasrel
What do YOU think of the ideas presented in Six Pixels of Separation? Do you agree with Joel’s burn the ships attitude? Maybe you have your own example of how you created a successful community and/or a personal brand. Please share. Comments welcome.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )