Here are all of the posts tagged ‘advertising’.
A couple of weeks ago, I presented at the International Advertising Association‘s What’s Coming Next conference, joining a stellar line-up of speakers that included Bollywood superstar, Shah Rukh Khan, cricketing legend, Sachin Tendulkar, and the renowned yogi, Sadhguru.
The topic of my session was ‘The Disruption of Interruption‘*, and as you’ll see in the SlideShare embed of my presentation above, I explored a variety of ways in which social media is changing our understanding of – and approaches to – advertising.
As I stressed in my presentation though, it’s critical to acknowledge that social media will not ‘kill’ advertising.
In fact, social media may well be one of advertising’s greatest saviours, because the insights that marketers and agencies can gain from activities such as social listening enable us to redefine our approach to creating and distributing brand communications.
Mozilla Firefox users, if you realise your browser has been acting up of late, it may be because Firefox has disabled Adobe Flash from its web browser. This means that rich content, and animation (i.e., web banners) will cease to function.
After 8 years in Google, Vic Gundotra announced that he would be leaving the company, leaving the internet rife with speculation on where his departure will leave Google+ which is his pet project.
With mobile penetration rates increasing at a steady pace, WhatsApp has literally replaced SMS.
The app is as irreverent as it sounds. It’s been described as “Instagram blended with WeChat and Line stickers”, and it’s just launched in China.
Users of “Fork” get to edit photos with all sorts of outrageous, anarchic stickers to desired comic effect. It’s weird, rebellious, quirky, and of course like any good social media tool, you get to share these photos with your friends. Score.
India will have 500 million Internet users by 2017: new report
IAMAI-KPMG estimates a total of 500 million Internet users in India by 2017, up from 350 million currently. They’re attributing the jump to cheaper smartphones and more 2G subscriptions boosting Internet usage rates in the country.
Interestingly, even though India has the second highest number of Internet users in the world (after China), online penetration rate is still at 19 per cent.
Twitter removes background wallpaper from users home pages
No official reason was given for this.
Some are suggesting that this was done so Twitter would have more control of their ad display experience. For instance, if a company wanted to do a full homepage advert on Twitter, it would be able to do so now. Twitter backgrounds are currently completely blank, with “a very slight hint of blue”.
Twitter increases focus on Asia
In an effort to increase global engagement and revenues, the newly-listed social media company has gone on an aggressive hiring spree in Asia. The company has reportedly staffed five key marketing and communications positions in the last two months, and is said to be currently hiring for more than 20 positions in the region.
Possible LinkedIn integration on WeChat
The upcoming WeChat update could possibly come with LinkedIn integration and an Android makeover for the popular messaging and social media app. The following screenshots from a private beta version were released on Pingwest.
LinkedIn currently has more than four million registered users in China. Analysts predict that a Chinese-language version of the professional networking platform could be released soon.
Reverse takeover lands mig33 on the ASX
The Singapore and Indonesia-based mobile social networking company, mig33, is now listed on the Australian Stock Exchange. Australia-listed mining exploration company, Latin Gold, acquired it in a reverse takeover, which allows mig33’s shareholders to become majority owners of the combined group. Latin Gold will also take on mig33’s company name.
Wongnai, Thailand’s Yelp, grows to 1 million users
Thai restaurant review site, Wongnai, revealed that it has reached its goal of 1 million registered users since its establishment in 2010. Available both as a website and mobile app, the review site currently sees approximately 220,000 active users per month. Despite its success thus far, Wongnai has not revealed any plans to expand its services beyond Thailand.
China’s Weibo users decline while WeChat rises
The future of China’s Weibo platforms does not look promising as they have lost 27.8 million users over the past year following the Chinese government’s latest internet crackdown campaign against online rumours. However, as China’s most popular social platforms experience this dramatic fall, the number of users on instant messaging apps such as WeChat has grown by 64.4 million users in 2013 while the total number of mobile Internet users reached 500 million.
WhatsApp users double in less than a year
Private messaging’s popularity does not cease as WhatsApp reports an increase of over 200 million users since April 2013, now standing at 430 million active users as of January 2014. A staggering 50 billion messages are sent and received on the app per day.
The ongoing saga of organic reach on Facebook
Facebook threw another curve-ball this week when it revealed its latest alterations to the newsfeed. They will now show fewer text status updates from Pages, as the latest testing has shown that people are more likely to post on Facebook when they are exposed to plain text status updates from their friends rather than Pages. Facebook have been vague about what brands should do as a result, but they have recommended that when posting links, brands should use ‘link-shares’, as in this example:
Facebook is testing a mobile ad network
Rather than being content to just display ads to it’s own users, Facebook is testing showing ads to users of third party apps. Unlike previous tests, Facebook is working directly with a limited number of advertisers on its own mobile ad network rather than outside ad-serving platforms to display “sponsored content outside of its own properties”.
Watch your b-to-b-back, LinkedIn
Facebook is making room for job and b-to-b marketing as it plans to allow advertisers to start targeting users based on their employment details this March. This is expected to appeal to recruiters, placing Facebook in direct competition with LinkedIn.
Twitter lends a hand to brands and publishers
Twitter has revealed a shiny new dashboard called analytics for Twitter Cards that will allow brands and publishers to monitor how media-filled tweets perform. This dashboard will then provide companies with personalised tips to help them make more strategic decisions. These new set of tools are already being used by the likes of BuzzFeed, NBC News and ESPN.
Pinterest experiments with GIFs
GIFs may no longer appear just as static images on Pinterest, who are experimenting with a new play button that features on the bottom left of embedded animated GIFs.
Ajax helps you wipe away annoying social trolls
Scouring brand Ajax have develop a new social utility tool, ‘Social Wipes’, allowing you wipe your social slate clean. For Facebook, the tool allows you to unlike pages you’ve liked over the years. For Twitter, it scans all of your followers and people you follow for potential spam bots. Only a week old, Ajax has already helped clean up more than 200,000 page likes on Facebook and nearly 20,000 Twitter spam bots from social feeds. Oddly enough, the brand does not maintain a social presence on either social network.
JBL turns tour tweets into music
JBL has created a digital experience which transforms user tweets into a custom track generated by JBL’s Tweet Music algorithm, converting every letter, number and character into a loop of music. The popularity of the campaign is evident: in just one week of the promotion, JBL received 2,600 mentions using the @JBLaudio handle, compared to it’s typical average of 360. They have also accumulated 3,100 new followers with nearly 1,200 songs created so far. The opportunity to win an all-expenses-paid trip to the 2015 Grammy Awards is no doubt having a positive impact.
Thinking of buying a DLSR? Not after this campaign…
This week We Are Social launched the “why DSLR?” campaign for Panasonic, with a series of videos featuring a bodybuilder, an owl and a duel-style shoot-out between two cameras to promote its mirrorless Lumix cameras. We Are Social will also monitor social conversations surrounding DSLR cameras found on internet forums and across social platforms and will respond to questions about DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. Sarah Oliver, Account Director at We Are Social said:
Whichever stage of the purchase journey people are at – researching DSLRs on forums or searching to buy a DSLR on Google, this campaign will surface considerable and credible expert opinion with the power to change their decision.
OnePiece unveils #HackTheSale social campaign
The Norwegian clothing company OnePiece, is inviting customers to share its #HackTheSale campaign on Facebook and Twitter, to communally drive down the price of a onesie jumpsuit. Every time a customer uses the #HackTheSale app to share the campaign on either of the social networks, the price of a Lusekofte Onesie, which starts at £139, will go down.
Microsoft faces a fumble with the FTC
Microsoft didn’t know what they were in for when they signed a content deal with YouTube network Machinima. Machinima recruited YouTube creators to make videos about the Xbox One, however these console enthusiasts didn’t disclose that they were paid to promote the product. As a result, Microsoft has unintentionally disobeyed the FTC’s endorsement disclosure guidelines, which may result in intervention.
Brands’ Grammy Tweet Attempts…
The awards season is truly upon us, beginning with a bang last night with the Grammys. And, of course, that can only mean one thing; social media triumphs and disasters. Antiperspirant brands a plenty tried desperately to jump onto the Grammy conversation, but armpit puns and poor jokes fell on deaf ears. Others, such as Pizza Hut and Fitbit, tried to brazenly join in the conversations, with various jokes, ‘tips’, but alas, failed to win the hearts – or the RT’s – of the Grammy viewers.
However, some brands were right on the money. Pharrell Williams was trending on Twitter that evening, due to his questionable headgear at the awards. Restaurant chain Arby’s, whose logo looks a bit like Pharrell’s hat, was quick off the bat to tweet him just that. The tweet received over 70,000 RT’s, demonstrating the power of social if your timing is right, coupled with a genius comment.
For the past few decades, marketing has been dominated by a mass-media paradigm.
During that time, we’ve defined the ‘best’ marketing as that which makes the most efficient use of broadcast media, and as a result, we’ve spent decades perfecting an approach that’s all about reducing the cost of interrupting people.
The result is communications that have been distilled down to their lowest common denominators: a selection of sound bites designed to be shared as succinctly as possible across a range of media, repeated again and again in the hopes of eliciting a pavlovian response that will deliver optimum scores in campaign tracking.
But this paradigm is broken.
We’ve become obsessed with media efficiency, and as a result, we’ve lost sight of what effective communications look like.
[As an aside, effectiveness is about doing the right thing, while efficiency is about doing that thing right]
Back To Basics
The very roots of the word ‘communication’ highlight where we’ve been going wrong.
The English word stems from ‘communicare‘, a Latin verb meaning ‘to share‘.
Critically, therefore, real communication is about creating shared understanding.
So, at its essence, communication isn’t really about what you say; rather, it’s about what other people understand.
However, as part of marketing’s relentless drive to maximise media efficiency, we’ve become overly fixated on ‘the message’ (i.e. what we want to say), and consequently, we’re missing the huge opportunities that come with building a better, shared understanding of our brands and their offerings.
In Context: Brands As Social Entities
But in order to build a better, shared understanding, we need to get a better understanding of our audiences’ motivations, and the dynamics that drive our exchanges with them.
We’ve already explored motivations in a previous post in this series that covered the evolution from Ads To Added Value.
However, in order for brands to achieve their full potential, they also need to integrate more actively into the social dynamics that define the contexts in which they come to life.
Sadly, many brands still behave like newborn children: entirely egocentric, and almost totally oblivious to the needs of others.
However, studies have found that the traits we find most appealing in other people are those that are socially oriented (more on that here).
Interestingly, these appealing human traits are the same as those that define great brands:
Popularity is more pull than push, and trying to become popular through hollow flattery and false mirroring is unsustainable. Impressing people is much easier if you lead by example instead of screaming for attention. As a result, it’s far better to champion the cause than it is to ride the bandwagon.
People appreciate a good listener, so don’t talk about yourself all the time. Take time to hear what your audience wants to say to you, and not just to work out what you want to say to them. Embrace the everyday people as well as the celebrities.
If you want to build trust, give before you take. What does your audience want, need and desire? How can you help them achieve it through your communications alone?
Stay true to your ideals, but don’t force them upon other people. Strength, honesty, humility and kindness are far more valuable brand values than ‘dynamic’ or ‘cool’.
Conversations are as much about the social discourse as they are about the sharing of information. Avoid an over-reliance on monologue and one-line statements, and engage in dialogue as much to reinforce bonds as to establish new relationships. Treat others as you’d hope to be treated yourself, and always be ready with the proverbial olive branch.
For brands, this last point – Be Social – is perhaps the most important when it comes to building enduring success.
Of course, as a Conversation Agency, we’re biased here, but our positioning isn’t an accident; here at We Are Social, we genuinely believe that there’s far more value in dialogue than there is in the broadcast paradigm of a repetitive monologue.
But how do brands ‘grow up’, and evolve from their current communications infancy to become more socially engaged entities?
The Art Of Conversation
To start with, it’s important to remember that you can’t ‘win’ a conversation. Conversations should be about a mutual exchange of value; if you’re trying to win, that’s an argument.
A significant part of this mutual exchange of value is the opportunity to deepen bonds and strengthen relationships, at the same time as sharing information or knowledge.
This is one area where marketers often fall down: in our arrogance, we believe we have more to teach audiences about our brands and offerings than we might learn from our audiences in return.
However, it’s only the brand that exists in our audiences’ heads and hearts that has any value.
To this point, there’s a wonderful post on Wikihow entitled “How To Stop Talking About Yourself” – it’s a fascinating read, and offers this wonderful piece of advice that brands everywhere should heed:
Respond to questions without turning the focus onto you. When asked, “Did you see Survivor last night?”,
[Avoid:] “Yes! I never miss an episode; in fact my husband and I watch Survivor, American Idol, and Dancing with the Stars. Did you see how well Kristen danced last night?” You answered the question, but redirected the focus onto you.
[Try:] “I missed it; was it good?” Simply answer the question they asked you, and give them a chance to talk with you. After all, they like the show, and it was their topic.
In other words, making people feel like they’re an important part of your brand’s world, and welcoming them into your communications, are both huge opportunities to improve success.
Of course, for most brands, it’s still financially infeasible to have one-to-one conversations with every individual member of the audience, but channels like social media make such interactions much easier than they were when we only had broadcast channels to choose from.
Having said that, taking advantage of ‘conversational’ channels involves a very different approach to the lowest-common-denominator approach we’ve become used to.
Change Is Coming
It’s becoming increasingly clear that Big Advertising Ideas are not as relevant to social communications as they are to TV.
A single-minded comms approach may be the key to driving media efficiency, but it only works effectively if we get it right first time, and the reality is that most people’s brains work in slightly different ways.
This isn’t a new assertion of course; the wonderful Mark Earls has been challenging it for a number of years now:
One of the reasons why this approach is rarely the best option is because lowest-common-denominator messaging rarely delivers the highest possible value.
The challenge is that single-minded communications are only designed to convey that single message, and that’s only truly efficient if conveying that single message successfully establishes the desired understanding across the whole audience.
Conversely, in order to maximise effectiveness, we may need to convey our ‘message’ in a variety of different ways over time, and to different groups of people, before we can establish a sufficient level of shared understanding across the whole audience.
That wasn’t often an option in an expensive, TV-dominated world, but our media mix options have evolved.
It’s time to rethink our commandments.
Enter The Leitmotif
In musical theory, a leitmotif is:
“a musical term referring to a short, constantly recurring musical phrase, associated with a particular person, place, or idea… In particular, [it] should be clearly identified so as to retain its identity if modified on subsequent appearances, [but] it is transformable and recurs in different guises throughout the piece in which it occurs.”
If that all sounds a bit complex, this Star Wars explanation nails the concept beautifully:
“Each important idea [and character] in Star Wars has its own leitmotif. At the beginning of A New Hope, Luke watches the suns set, wondering what his destiny in the world could be. His leitmotif [or ‘Luke’s Theme’, if you will], is played wistfully and slowly to reinforce this idea. Later, when he is in the midst of rescuing Leia, his theme is stronger, more percussive, and rhythmic. Essentially, the same notes are being played, but the style with which they are played makes all the difference in the tone of the scene.”
Critically, a leitmotif does not represent the constant repetition that defines music like techno (and broadcast advertising); it’s about a theme that changes and evolves over time to add new value or meaning.
Adopting such a ‘communications leitmotif’ may hold the key to more effective marketing within the reality of today’s multi-channel media mix: rather than relying on repetition of the same message over and over again, marketers can adopt a broader, richer ‘communications agenda‘ which enables them to use a variety of activities to build towards success in different ways over time, engaging more of the audience in more meaningful ways, and ensuring a greater chance of success.
Evolving The Story: From Theory To Practice
There are a variety of different ways to bring a strategic leitmotif to life – here are some we’d advocate:
The Dandelion Approach
As Cory Doctorow asserted in this seminal post from a few years back, the dandelion doesn’t put all its eggs (or seeds) in one basket. Rather than investing all its efforts in nurturing a single offspring, the dandelion spreads as many seeds as possible in the hopes that at least some will fall on fertile ground. This is not about random dissemination though; despite slight variations in each seed, every one contains the DNA of its parent plants, and each one is designed to travel as far as possible. Critically, though, the ‘costs’ associated with producing each different seed are low enough that individual failures are not an issue.
The Tapas Approach
Meals comprising many small, shared dishes are popular all over the world, from Tapas in Spain to Dim Sum in the Orient. Each individual dish can be quite different, but they all ladder up to an overall meal ‘experience’ which is both reliable and enjoyable, even if not every dish is to everyone’s taste. This approach can work well for communications too: by harnessing a variety of smaller, disparate creative executions across a number of different channels, brands have a greater chance of delivering something that resonates with the different members of the audience, and shares the necessary understanding.
The Kaizen Approach
Kaizen is a Japanese term meaning “change for the better“, and is a central part of a continuous improvement approach. The same concept lies at the heart of effective conversations too: each time a participant in the discussion shares new insights or information, the other participants can refine or modify their opinions or approach, in order to reach an optimum, collective understanding. The Kaizen approach is a bit more direct than the previous two, but it has a clear role to play in a variety of brand situations, particularly where the topic is more complex, or where rational motivations dominate.
There will be many more ways to bring such an ‘evolving theme’ approach to life, but the ones that will win through will be those that deliver a new kind of efficiency: the ability to identify when the necessary understanding has been shared with relevant audiences, and when investments can move to a new communications task.
In order to achieve this efficiency, however, marketers will need to get much better at listening to – and measuring – audience response and reaction, and using these to refine and evolve their communications approach.
We’ll cover these Active Listening techniques in the next post in this Social Brands series.