Friday, June 26, 2009

fans or influencers?

Flavour de jour, from client enquiries at the moment, is around the question of how to connect with 'influencers'.

But the important point to note is that so called ‘influencers’ are not always brand advocates.

Yes, 'influencers' are often the people who people go to for advice while they are sussing out a purchasing decision and positive opinion from these sources is a benefit, but of course it can go either way.

How do you reach them?
You can’t, really.

It is virtually impossible to know who or how many influencers in any brand consideration or purchasing decision are.

If it's a toss up on budget it's far better to spend that money connecting with fans.
Fans are the top 20% or so of customers who totally love what you do.

Connect with them, connect them with each other.
Listening, rewarding, creating with and cuddling them is a far better bet in generating positive WOM.

David Bausola talks about purefold [vid]

In case you missed it, here's David Bausola of Ag8 talking about purefold - 'an open media franchise designed for brands, platforms, filmmakers, product developers and communities to collaboratively imagine our near future.'

Thursday, June 25, 2009

ritz crackers

Ritz Crackers (or rather the ad agency) spotted in comments on YouTube that viewers were trying to find out the name of the tune in their TV ad, but couldn't find it online or on itunes etc.

This was because it was a 30 second 'song' commisioned for the ad.

Ritz then responded by posting another vid explaining that they would turn the 30 second tune into a 3 minute song if the video achieved 10,000 views.

The song would then be available for sale on iTunes with all proceeds going to the artist.

They also invited the fans to a competition to create the itunes artwork.

Here's how it went...
Watch them in sequence.

thought on Demons and Primeval biting the dust

Earlier this month we heard that ITV was in talks with SkyB about switching its ad-funded digital channels (ITV2/3/4 etc) to subscription, meaning they would no longer be broadcast on Freeview.

Poor ITV are looking into this as a result of of the worst advertising revenue downturn since it launched in 1955.

Add to that the news this week that ITV are cancelling prime time shows Demons and Primeval. Stephen Armstrong in the Guardian calls it 'A budgetary ice-age...sweeping through UK television'

It's a shame that the crash in ad revenues means that less proper programming is going to be produced, and it's the viewers that have to suffer because the networks have been too slow to look at their business model.

But why should advertisers feel obliged to prop up commercial tv channels when it is patently clear that there are now far more efficient and measurable ways to reach with their customers?


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

theory of value

A bit more on Japanese educator and philosopher Tsunesaburo Makiguchi mentioned in the previous post, and whom I’ve been reading up on lately.

Makiguchi reckoned that the ‘lifelong happiness’ of students to be the goal of education, rather than simply churning out ‘knowledgable’ citizens.

His philosophy toward developing the value-creation potential of students can be summed up as being that each individual has the inherent ability to significantly influence the world (should they decide to) based on the notion of interdependence - between humans and the environment and also humans in their ‘social relations’.

Makiguchi said that the creation of value as the ultimate purpose of human existence, ie a happy and fulfilled life is one in which the ability to discover and create value has been fully realised.

According to traditional Western philosophy, Value is made up of three elements;
Truth, Beauty, and Good.

Makiguchi's theory of value, however challenges the notion of ‘Truth’ as a value.

For Makiguchi, truth is found in the ‘correspondence between an objective reality and the words and concepts applied by humans to that reality.’

In other words, value is ‘relational’.

To illustrate this, think about the a news report of some incident or other. The news report itself is either true or false.

But the truth or otherwise of the said report is independent from the concept of value, ie the value lies in its positive or negative impact on people's lives.

Makiguchi considers truth a matter of ‘qualitative equivalence’.

Value must then be viewed as the 'relational power of the object measured by the quantitative response of the subject'.

So value is derived from the interaction between humans and their environment. It’s relational.

So Makiguchi proposed a different three elements of value.

'Beauty' (or it’s opposite, Ugly?) relating to sensory response.

'Gain' extends and expands the total experience ('loss' is obviously the flipside).

is the ‘social’ benefit (ie in the same way that gain is to the the individual ('evil' being the b-side of that).

This philosophy of value, therefore, is an invitation to engage with and create beauty, 'gain, and good.

In this way individuals, organisations, networks or brands can create ‘potentially limitless value’.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

value creation #124

This one is from Tsunesaburo Makiguchi (1871-1944), Japanese philosopher and education theorist, who identified the 'central purpose of education as the creation of Value', formed around a belief in the unlimited potential and creativity of every student.

His emphasis on independent thinking and self-motivation challenged the authoritarian Japanese establishment of the early 20th C. They did not like that.

Among his proposals was one for an educational system combining time spent in school, home and the community, 'each of which had responsibility for a specific part of the educational task.'

This was back in the 1920's but still seems pretty innovative thinking today.

He noted; 'Humans cannot create matter: what we can create, however, is value and value only. When we praise persons for their "strength of character," we are really acknowledging their superior ability to create value.'

This mini-snippet inspired by Neil on Making Money from Social.

Mark McGhee versus the forces for mediocrity

I spent last week having a break back home in God's own country. The day we arrived up in Aberdeen was the same day that my beloved Aberdeen FC appointed Mark McGhee as the new manager. The same McGhee that pulled on the famous red shirt from '78 - '84 or so during the glory years of the mighty Dons domination of both domestic Scottish football and European competition (and referenced many times in this journal).

Much excitement among the faithful, as you can imagine, for those who were around during that golden period and for those for whom it is folk lore passed down through the ages.

Successive Aberdeen managers have found it difficult dealing with that legacy and the supposed 'expectation' of the fans as year on year we have slipped from the top and relinquished power in Scottish football to the great unwashed (C*ltic, R*ngers). So it goes.

But what really irked me was the coverage in the local media of the appointment, principally the comments of the 'director' of football, Willie Miller.

The ink was barely dry on McGhee's contract when we got a stream of 'managing expectations' quotes from Miller - and other directors - basically indicating that the fans should not get too excited, we have no chance of ever winning the league again, the best we can hope for is 3rd spot and maybe some success in cup competitions.

I'm reminded of this nugget from Mahatma Gandhi, which I've quoted previously in this blog.

“Carefully watch your thoughts for they will become your words. Manage and watch your words for they will become your actions. Consider and judge your actions for the will become your habits. Acknowledge and watch your habits for they will become your values. Understand and embrace your values for they will become your destiny.”

To Mr Miller and co. Be certain. If MEDIOCRITY is all you expect to achieve then that is exactly the best you can expect.
What is most disappointing is that you, Mr Miller, were also part of that team that dominated Europe in the '80's. I very much doubt that Sir Alex Ferguson told that team you were part of to settle for 3rd best.

Hopefully Mark Mcghee is made of sterner stuff. He did a couple of seasons at Millwall, after all.

“The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it”

Now bring on next season.

Monday, June 22, 2009

the future of magazines

An interesting take on how magazines can survive, and thrive, in the digital age by Canadian digital marketing chap Jason Dojc of sociallymediatedlife.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

The Coltrane Manifesto

Coltrane famously described his jazz as ‘a whole expression of one's being’.

If we agree that content, reputation and behaviour are also definitions of the brand it’s clear that things the brand does are more important than just what they say.

Customers are paying with their time and expect communications to be interesting,important and meaningful. If it’s not they will simply switch off. And move their business.

With purpose comes value and while we are still in the early days of the social web we’re certainly not in the early days of customer service.

The Coltrane Manifesto
A Love Supreme – (Customer service in 3 movements)

# Part 1: Acknowledgement
Value the customers’ time, attention, data, needs and opinion. Cut the up sell and cross sell pitches at every turn.
Let your customer talk and demonstrate that you are listening by thanking them, rewarding them and solving their problems.

# Part 2: Resolution
Answer their email, phone calls, and other messages as quickly as possible. Even if just to say, “we will get back to you within 5 working days’
And using some sort of auto-response robot does not fly. Human talk to Human.

# Part 3: Pursuance
‘the continuance of something begun with a view to its completion’
In a campaign or acquisition mindset there are peaks of activity then it all goes dark until the next campaign.

Think about committing to your customers and the lifetime value of these relationships.

'We run our warehouse 24/7, which is actually not the most efficient way to run a warehouse, but it gets the shoes out to the customers as quickly as possible. So a lot of people will order as late as midnight and we do surprise upgrades for our weekly customers and so a lot of them end up getting it eight hours later on their door step and that just creates the whole wow experience and it drives that repeat customer and word-of-mouth behavior.'
Tony Hsieh, Zappos.

A Love Supreme -‘a whole expression of one's being’.

Monday, June 08, 2009

why digital matters

This is my current 'roadshow' presentation which we take out trying to plant a few seeds amongst those who are starting to dip their toes into digital marketing/advertising. Hopefully debunking a few myths and showing that the best practice in digital marketing is essentially the same as offline.
Start with permission and purpose, then it all falls into place.

It's a featured pres of the day on slideshare, thanks to all who 'favourited' it.

Friday, June 05, 2009

9 nuggets on email marketing

Things should be a simple as possible but not any simpler, as Uncle Bert used to say.
Following these nine steps makes it as simple as possible to be able to email some people about your stuff.

If you can't be bothered with the ppt the 9 steps are:
# 1 Only send emails to people who have opted in to receive them.
# 2 Only include stuff the person has asked to hear about.
# 3 Be consistent with your mailings. Weekly, monthly – or as agreed with the recipient
# 4 Your messages should come from the name of a person. And keep it consistent.
# 5 Get the timing right. To be safe: know your customer.
# 6 To avoid spam filters ask recipients to add you to their contacts list
# 7 Always include both text and an HTML versions.
# 8 Go easy on caps or exclamation marks. They will trigger spam filters.
# 9 Encourage people to opt-in at every other touch-point.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

And not the words of one who kneels.

An important, yet often forgotten, point for marketers to note when building brand platforms, brand experiences, communications strategies, tactics and whatever, is this: 99% of the time no one really gives a shit about you. 

All I care about is me. MY opinion. MY data. MY privacy. MY preference. What's in it for ME? Why should i pay with MY attention? When are you going to listen to ME? You want permission to talk to ME?

I'll only share something if it says something about ME. If it makes ME look good, or there's a something in it for ME. Does this product or service fit in to MY life somehow? If I can do it MY way then I might be interested. Humans are pretty much always motivated by self-interest and selfishness, even in what seem to be acts of altruism. 

Even when people choose to help others, they do so ultimately because of the personal or reputational benefits that they expect to obtain, directly or indirectly.

 [The pic - poor Sid, God rest his soul - is the slide I am starting to use in pressos to illustrate]

Wednesday, June 03, 2009


Mark Earls should just show this video as his next presentation and be done with it.

People like do do what other people are doing. And if it's enjoyable (and authentic - thanks Giles) in some way - and the behaviour is easy to copy - even better.

HT to @sorl for the tweet.

UPDATE: Benjamin Ellis has a more in depth analysis on this over at redcatco blog.
'the very thing that causes the majority to join, will cause the innovators to leave and go to dance with someone else'


It's a sad truth that in many organisations the marketing is actually controlled by the legal department. As a result decisions are taken (or avoidance of any meaningful decisions) based on compliance with certain internal policies, with scant recognition of what's happening out in the world.

Yet despite having nothing of value to add, a lot of money is still spent saying nothing.

The inevitable upshot of this is total boredom. For customers , employees and everyone else.

I quote this nugget from Doddsy

'...the corollary [of saying nothing, if you have nothing to say] is the redeployment of some of the time and money you would have wasted by making a song and dance about nothing. A redeployment towards examining the pressing question of why your business is so uninspiring to you, let alone your potential customers, that you find yourself having nothing to say.'

The other oracle,Guy Debord says: 'Boredom is always counter-revolutionary. Always.'

Or in a meta sense, you know the scene is very hum drum.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

a digital media discussion starter in 9 tweets

This is the discussion part (end bit) of a pres I'm taking out to clients, or prospective clients. Whiles away 20-30 mins easily with lots of audience input.

Monday, June 01, 2009

monday morning nugget