Thursday, March 22, 2012

Intern See Intern do? Who is your online brand manager?

Social media is your company's brand face on the web, Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Youtube, etc. but the questions is who is running this important face of your company? For many companies it's the person with the least amount of brand experience, the least busy, the least costly individuals. This means interns or the guy in the mail room, the receptionist or worse. Social Media is not so cheap when you do it wrong. It can cost you a huge price. Customer. image, even the future engagements.
Pay attention to who is skippering the social media ship. Yes everyone can help but someone has to be in charge and someone has to pay attention. Someone who understands your brand and the new media. So better to have someone who knows who you are, telling people who you are.  Right?
This can be as simple as having everything go through one person. One voice is a good thing. Don't rely on a cheap monkey to to the heavy Social Media Brand lifting, it's counter productive, possibly damaging to the brand and annoying to the monkey...

For more:

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Content is King but is it the Court Jester too?

OK we all know the saying that content is King but it has to be a couple of other things too. It has to play the part of Court Jester and Concierge. I know odd coupling but if it fails to entertain us we will never notice it. If it fails to help us we will be annoyed by it.

TV content can (depending on the brand) still get away with being just the Court Jester. TV has to be interesting and entertaining. The Super Bowl is coming up and that is the mecca (supposedly) of entertaining content. The Super Bowl ads I did a few years back were just that, entertaining. They created a buzz around E-Trade, this was the strategy and it worked. E-Trade is one of the old school .com's that is still around and still pretty strong. People talked about those ads, they competed with Budweiser, and with Bud they topped the USA Today polls. They were great Court Jesters.

Web content on the other hand still needs to be entertaining but it has to solve problems and be helpful as well. What I'm looking for on the web is sometimes different than what I want on my flat screen. I get annoyed by purely informational ads and boring content that appear on my screen while I'm cruisin the web. They had better be helpful, cool or entertaining and not too sales driven or I get pissed at the brand itself.

Just because you want to say it to the consumer does not mean they want to hear it. The days of talking at the consumer has been dead for a while now. You learn that lesson or you go out of business.

So let's modify the statement. Content must be interesting, entertaining and helpful to be King.
Content must be part Court Jester and part Concierge.

We all know what happen to unhelpful Concierge and unfunny Court Jesters. One gets no tips while the other loses his head.

Neither is good for us marketing advertising folk.

Good luck.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Let’s make a viral video!

Ok I’ve heard this one way too much. No I can’t make you a viral video but I can make you a cool youtube video. The viral part is not up to me.

It takes three things to get the sleeper hit or viral video giant. A great idea, a lot of luck and big numbers (oh and a million friends passing it around.)

Anyone knows that to get one “Napoleon Dynamite” you have to make a thousand horrifically bad films, none of which any of us has ever hear of.

Budweiser makes more than a hundred commercials and then picks a select few just days before the Super Bowl to see what tests the best and has the best shot at Super Bowl Fame.

Again to ensure you get a viral or sleeper hit you would need to produce many many pieces with multiple writers and directors and have a lot of cash. And even then it up to the igods.

My first questions when approached with this quarry is why? What do you want to accomplish? Who do you want to talk to? The great success of W/K and the terrific Old Spice stuff was done with a much bigger budget then most midsize companies have. They are selling the cool. They are not selling the deodorant. And they had to have a great ideas, a big director, special effects and talent. Then they did a crap load of them and threw them against the wall and some stuck and others did not. We know the ones that stuck. They were awesome, the others not so much.

Viral works great if they are very lame or very cool. Both hard to pull off well and harder to repeat. How many more movies have you seen the Vote for Pedro dude in?

The Trick is in the idea, in the numbers and yes still in a little luck. You can produce low budget youtube videos but harness your expectations and know what you want them to accomplish.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

What's The Big Deal With This SEO Thingie?

In a recent Google advertising blog, Google points to research which plainly shows that a large percentage of your Customers use a search engine to find you and find out about you before the make the big purchase.  OK you knew that right? But what does that mean to your brand?

It means that SEO (search engine optimization) is so very important for your brand and for your success.  When was the last time you bought a product with out doing a quick little search? OK maybe if you're buying a Twinkie and a Coke Zero you might fore go the search but products and service of any price consequence starts with a search more times than not.

Customers are even conducting searchs on their smart phones while in the store.  They search for reviews, information and even price points.  Advertising still has the ability to put your brand voice in the consumers ear but what use to be the whole battle (getting presence of mind) is now only the entry fee into the sales game.  The battle continues into the world wide web and getting your brand/product/service search engine optimized.
Can your customers find your easily?   Or are they finding your competitors more easily?  Scary scary.

Check out this video that walks you through the SEO  tools,  (They are paid services and I have no connection with either place.) They will help you figure out your own SEO and reveal a bit of what your competitors are doing.  It rocks pretty hard.  It's less geek speak but it cuts off mid sentence but it is worth the view.  Check it out and then dive in to your SEO and enjoy the ride.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Crowdsourcing -- What is it good for?

Absolutely everything? Maybe not. Sure, all of us are smarter than one of us, but managing all of us is a gigantic pain, not to mention that included in “all of us” is a lot of superbly untalented people. But thanks to Jeff Howe (see his video below), we have the label of “Crowdsourcing” for using the global community and taking advantage of all it has to offer. It's an open call for people who might have been our customers and are now our fellow collaborators.

What projects are best suited for this global orgy? I’ve seen many crowd sites for writing and many for design, some for viral videos and some for product development. The ideas, in my humble opinion, that work the best are ideas that are sans words. A great design is a globally accepted thing. Cool is cool, even if it’s not in your particular taste palette. Now of course there are many exceptions, but for the most part great design is great design. Check out www.thecoolhunter
.net/  <> to see great design from all over the world.

Viral videos that are crowdsourced are a bit more problematic. But that is because only about one out of every 50,000 viral videos are interesting or even in the ballpark of OK. There are a lot of bad videos out there. So as long as you know that and are looking to throw the dice, have at it. Some teenager in Singapore or cow farmer in Des Moines just might kill it.

Having the crowd write brand copy is even more of a crapshoot. The level of understanding of your brand is as important as the actual writing. I'd keep your in-house or trusted freelancers for that one. But again, out of the couple million people out there, someone could do a great job. Logo designing is your best bet for crowdsourcing. Try it and who knows, you might get something great. 

Again, all of us are both smarter and dumber than one of us. Be careful out there. 

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Social Media Audits and Strategy

So like buying a home is all about the location locations location so it is with marketing and advertising.  Strategy Strategy Strategy! Sure you have a message, sure you want to connect with your consumer but why?  First the WHY then the how will reveal itself.  Or you'll have to figure it out and we are glad to lend a hand.  Strategy is so important in any medium-- marketers know this but they tend to forget it when it comes to social media.  You would never spend TV money with out a strategy but you might then why do it with the Social Media?

Remember Facebook -- not a strategy. Twitter -- not a Strategy. Foursquare -- not a strategy. Gowalla is way more of a game and not strategy. But what these things are is tools.  And they are only as effective as your strategy and the workman swinging the hammer.  So to speak.
"What kind of relationship do you want to have with your customers?"   To quote Jay Baer on this video. What do you want to accomplish?  Remember, be of help to your consumers, don't be the Amway salesmen dude.  We all hate him. lol

One of the things I’ve been involved in recently is a Social Media Audits.  We do some research to discover who is talking about you and where they are talking about you?  Where is the right place to engage your customer and what are they saying about you today and during the last 30 days or so.  You need to know this before you dive into the very necessary strategy development.

But remember Social Media is only a part of your marketing plane.  Interactive reaches your consumer where they play and shop and TV and Radio might be right for your marketing plan too.  But above all you have to continue to be interesting to entertain or to assist or you will never reach your consumer in any medium.  They will ignore you and you will be sad.  lol

Enjoy the interview with Jay on Social Media.

Jay Baer Interview from Michael A. Stelzner on Vimeo.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Change perception, change your brand.

Here is a great little speech by an Ad Guy (Rory Sutherland), who makes the case for perception change over real change.  In advertising that is what we do.  We don't reinvent the product, we don't do the R&D, we rely on the companies to do the real product heavy lifting.  We are happy to do the whole change perception thing. Call it candy coating or a spoon full of sugar or what ever but it is just words, music mixed with (on good days) ideas that can change perception of a brand. 

So marketers and CEO's and CMO's  taking care of how your brand is seen and perceived is the expertise of the ad guy.  Making a product that is worth changing perceptions for, is yours.

It makes what we ad guys do seem a little shallow but it is what we do. We help clients change or perpetuate perceptions.   It's branding. If your brand is a energy drink, a car or a 15 year old boy who needs a date to prom.  It's all the same.  Affect the perception of your brand and the consumer (or 15 year old girls) will follow.  

Ad value with out changing the product?  The Shreddies "case study" in the video below is gut busting.   (TED now has an iphone app you can get to see all of your favorite videos.) 

Mr. Sutherland is right "poetry is when you make new things familiar and familiar things new."   that is what we do, or at least try to do again on good days :)

So take a Listen and get ready to smile then figure out how right  Mr. Sutherland is.