I have to admit I agree with Seth that #followfriday has lost some of its usefulness. The problem as Seth relates it is simply that too many people string together a list of names in hope that those same people might reciprocate. For me the challenge is that names alone don’t give me a reason to follow anyone, even if the person is recommended by someone whose opinion I value.
Typically I’ve tried to post my FF’s with at least some soundbite as to who the person is and why you might be interested. But this week I’m trying something different and posting my recommendations here. It’s more work than making a simple list of names, and it may be visible to fewer people, but it’s less about quantity and more about quality.
So, here are a few of my suggestions, supported by something more than a hashtag
This 24 year-old self-made social media consultant may not have a depth of marketing or branding experience, but he knows as much about social bookmarking as anyone. His Lost Jacket blog is on the Ad Age 150 and got there just seven months after launch. And given that he probably reads 400 blogs a day (based on his prolific comments) chances are he’s got all kind of information you might find useful
A sister IPG agency, this perennial digital agency of the year, creator of Nike Plus, doesn’t do much social, or I should say, they don’t do much socializing – their feed shows little or no conversation or dialog – but it constantly posts links to useful and interesting content. Ironic that this digitally-centric agency uses Twitter as a broadcast medium, but still, given that it’s R/GA, you’ll find their feed a pretty good filter.
He doesn’t have a lot of followers, so you can get in on the ground floor. But I suspect that eventually a lot of people will follow Dylan Klymenko. A recent (last year) graduate of Emerson College, he’s one of the 100 creative folks who qualified for Ford’s Fiesta Movement. (He just squeeked in as the first alternate.) Here’s his qualifying video and his website and blog.
Erik Proulx has made helping, advising and encouraging the many unemployed advertising folks out there his cause. His blog, Please Feed the Animals, shares job opportunities ideas for freelancing, helps people network, and soon will produce a documentary about ad industry victims who have changed their lives, found new opportunities and gone on to do something more amazing than making a tv commercial.
Finally, you should obviously be following @sethsimonds. Then again, given how many followers he has, chances are you already are.
So, those are my four suggestions for this week. Got any you’d like to share? If so, a minimum paragraph as to why is required. Thanks for reading.
Once upon a time there was a Parisian baker who traveled with his wife to America. While visiting a remote town in northern New Hampshire, the baker and his wife fell in love with the countryside, the fresh air and the simple way of life. They decided to open a bakery in a tiny town called Colebrook. At first it was an odd match. The baker and his wife didn’t speak English. The town folk had never seen a baguette. But over time the bakery prospered, drawing locals and visitors and selling out daily its croissants and apple tarts.
Then one day, the big bad US government came along and decided to deport the baker and his wife, refusing to renew their visas because the bakery didn’t earn enough money. For the residents of Colebrook, chocolate madeleines were about to melt into memories.
But the little town was not about to give up. Instead the entire community rose up in protest. They organized, signed petitions, lobbied congressmen and wrote letters. They were not about to let anyone take away their bakery. And lo and behold, confronted with an outpouring of support, the American Embassy in Paris realized the error of its ways and did the unthinkable. It changed its mind and let the baker and his wife stay. And everyone in Colebrook lived happily ever after.
Actually, this fairy tale is a true story. But it still has a lesson. And that is it’s always a good idea to make your customers love you and need you. Think about it. If you had to close up shop, would your customers be devastated? How about sad? OK, concerned? Would they simply take their business someplace else and forget about you? Or would they do something as heartwarming and supportive as band together, combine forces and figure out a way to keep you going?
Well in likelihood if you had customers that loyal you’d never be going out of business anyway. But perhaps the best time to ask yourself if your customers or clients or community need your products and services and content that badly is before you need them that badly.
How would your customers react if you were about to close your doors?
Why does everyone feel so compelled to come to the defense of television? From blog posts to editorial columns it appears that the old guard is jealous (at best) and petrified (at worst) of all the attention the new stuff is getting.
In a recent MediaWeek column, Chris Rohrs, the president of the Television Bureau of Advertising took advantage of another “dead” medium – in this case a magazine – to come to the defense of the industry that pays his salary by reminding us that Nielson just reported that TV viewing is higher than it’s ever been.
Mr. Rohrs even made sure to rub it in (just in case an social media enthusiasts were reading) relating in no uncertain terms that the American male watches on average four hours and 49 minutes of TV a day. Of course I’m not sure reaching someone who watches nearly five hours of TV a day has any value to an advertiser other than beer brands and Lazyboy, but that’s another story.
But it gets even better, because guess what? The advertising on TV works. Really it does. According to a just released Yankelovich report, those :30 interruptions elevate awareness, interest, purchase consideration, not to mention store and website traffic.
Personally I have no doubt that TV and TV advertising are here to stay. What other medium allows us massive reach in no time? What other technology allows us to imbue a brand with as much emotional power? What other screen lets us disguise a sales pitch as entertainment and stick it right in the middle of your favorite live sporting event? TV will always have its place in the media mix.
But when I see all the TV advocates waving their research reports, crying “See, look at this, TV’s not dead,” I actually start to wonder. If it weren’t diminishing in influence would everyone have to work so hard to convince us otherwise? What do you think? Does all of this posturing sound overly defensive to you? Will TV as we know it continue to dominate? Do you believe the numbers?
It goes without saying that a brand’s behavior carries more meaning and influence than the words it speaks or puts in its advertising. This is especially true when it comes to cause marketing. Too many brands simply jump on the bandwagon for a cause that they think might win points with consumers. Just think about how many times you’ve seen the word green in an ad campaign.
So you might be impressed with a company called Dancing Deer Bakery. In support of the bakery’s favorite cause – ending homelessness — Head Deer Trish Karter recently cycled 1500 miles in 15 days, from Atlanta to Boston, stopping at shelters each evening, bearing gifts of ginger bread houses and icing, visiting with families less fortunate than herself, then sleeping at the shelter or in an RV in the parking lot before riding another 100 miles the next day.
Unlike many corporate programs, designed to call attention to the company rather than the cause, Trish’s effort – six hours a day on a bike, enduring rain, wind and exhaustion — felt authentic.
Dancing Deer believes in direct action programs that help homeless families establish more stable lives that can lead to homes of their own. So the company gives 35 percent of the retail price of its Sweet Home line of baked goods directly to scholarships as a pathway out of poverty to economic self-sufficiency. The program works so well that according to Dancing Deer “not one of the mothers who has completed the program has returned to a shelter.”
The ride itself demonstrated direct action. Not only did it present powerful proof of the company’s commitment, it offered a way for supporters to get involved, along with a platform for generating press coverage for both the bakery and its mission. It also served as a reminder to brands everywhere that living what you stand for is a lot more compelling than talking about it.
What are you doing to prove your beliefs? It’s easy to run an ad, lend your name to a cause, or write a check. But no doubt consumers will notice, and perhaps remember, the difference between brands that attempt to buy goodwill and those that contribute time, energy and perspiration. What inspirational corporate acts have you seen recently? Do you work for, or buy from, a company that makes action part of its mission?
Last Wednesday, I had the pleasure of hosting AdweekMedia Connects’s weekly chat. The subject? What else? Social media. We had folks from agencies — PR, advertising, integrated, and digital — all over the world join for an hour-long discussion. And while these things are usually out of control, we managed to keep it somewhat focused.
Here’s a recap of the conversation. It’s not quantitative research; just what marketers who are thinking about this stuff have to say.
There are still many challenges for brands
For those of us who live in the space, it’s easy to forget that most brands and marketers have yet to show up. Some in this chat related that, “It’s a challenge for many clients just deciding whether to participate in social media at all.” More than a few brands think they should get into social, but still consider it merely a means to “market themselves,” rather than a way to join the conversation. As a result they approach it wrong, if at all. Others struggle with how many resources (people, hours, money) they should commit to something they don’t really understand yet requires a lot of time. And finally, many simply can’t break old habits and expectations that have been honed on years of pushing out messages in paid media.
Fear of losing control remains an issue
We can all make the argument that there’s a conversation going on whether you’re there or not. We can point out Mad Men and Coca Cola , two brands that have let go, allowing consumers to create content and become a voice for the brand. But a lot of clients are still petrified. “Fear’s a big factor with my clients.” “Loss of control is a concern.” I can tell you I’ve run into the same reaction with some of my clients even after showing them negative comments and discussion that are already out there in part because of their absence. Seems we still have a ways to go on this front.
You have to use it to get it
This is a big one for agencies and clients. You can’t get social media it until you use it. No number of Powerpoint presentations, or charts, or growth rates, or user numbers can convince a reluctant brand of the value of social media. Nor can all the decks and data get anyone from a marketing agency to understand how to sell, advise or counsel a client on how to use social media. The best thing agencies can do for themselves is get out there: on the content sites, the networks, on Tumblr and Ning. Everyone needs to experiment, learn, try things, build a following, fail, recover. “The more you use the tools, the better you will be at incorporating then into your communications programs.”
What do CMOs need?
First and foremost: strategic intelligence. Some expressed the opinion that social media has to be done internally, so CMOs need to build teams and use agencies as consultants. Others argued that CMOs will need to build strategic partnerships among multiple agencies (easier said than done) in order to get best of breed SEO, PR, social, blog outreach, technology and branding. Some think it will all become one thing eventually. I’m still of the thought that the best agencies in the future will harbor all the capabilities, from branding to public relations to social media to user experience, or at least create seamless alliances with partners. Otherwise there will be no synergies or efficiencies across a marketing program.
Metrics, measurement, monetization
Finally, we touched on how to measure and what to measure. Clients want the metrics. But the fact is with all the moving parts, no one, from Radian6 to Techrigy to agencies themselves have mastered tools that can perfectly assess quantitative (clicks, followers, links), qualitative (feelings, thoughts, opinions), and the holy grail itself (sales). So there weren’t a lot of answers, just more questions.
Here are three other questions that I never got to ask. Feel free to answer any that you can.
Is it possible for brands and marketers to actually integrate their offline, online, mobile and social efforts so that they amplify each other?
Does creativity, originality, being inventive matter in social media?
How important is it for marketers and agency types to build their personal brand and social media presence?