Posts Tagged 'branding'

Social Brands – The eBook

I’ve written a variety of blog posts and presentations about Social Brands over the past few months, so I thought it would be sensible to bring all that content together in a single eBook.

So here it is: Social Brands: The Future Of Marketing.

The SlideShare deck above offers a handy preview, but you can download the complete eBook here.

Please do let me know what you think once you’ve had a read, and feel free to share the PDF with everyone you think might find it useful.

Why is Better than What

I’m a bit late to this great talk from Simon Sinek, but it really resonated with me, so I thought I’d share it here for anyone else who might have missed it (it’s also worth watching a second time if you’ve seen it before!).

Simon’s overall premise is that people buy into compelling reasons more easily than they buy into specific functions.

His argument is very well put, and the logic is very difficult to dispute, but for some reason, marketers around the world still struggle to grasp the implications.

Brands that understand why people should care are far more likely to succeed than those who just push the what.

If you want to know more, check out Simon’s Start With Why website.

Social Brands & The Future of Marketing

“The best brands don’t just predict the future; they define it on their own terms.”

We’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about Social Brands in the We Are Social team, and we’ve been sharing those thoughts through our Social Brands series.

The SlideShare deck above brings all the individual presentations in the series together in one handy place.

The thinking extends well beyond these slides though, and you can find the full story behind each section in the following posts on the We Are Social blog:

Social Brands 1: Social Equity Drives Brand Equity

Social Brands 2: Communities Have More Value Than Platforms

Social Brands 3: From Ads To Added Value

Social Brands 4: Go Mobile Or Stand Still

Social Brands 5: From Big Ideas To Evolving Leitmotifs

Social Brands 6: From Selective Hearing To Active Listening

Social Brands 7: Experiences Are The New Products

Social Brands 8: CSR Evolves To Become Civic Marketing

You can also download the complete presentation deck by clicking here.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, so feel free to share them in the comments below, or on Twitter via @eskimon.

social media – global vs. local: can one size fit all?

This was my presentation yesterday at the Social Media World Forum in Singapore.

Despite research that ‘proves’ “local pages perform much better than global ones”, the reality is that the performance of any social media presence depends entirely on what you are trying to achieve.

There’s also the critical issue of whether you can afford to set up presences in each of your brand’s locations.

My advice is always to do what’s best for your audience, in the context of your brand and its objectives.

Doing so requires a solid understanding of what that audience uses social media for, what they hope to gain from a relationship with your brand, and how they’d like to get it.

That requires some careful strategic planning.

This presentation asks many of the important questions that will help you start that strategy, and offers some examples of different approaches to implementing it too.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments.

just did it

You might have noticed that it’s been a bit quiet round here for the past few months.

That’s because I decided to take my own advice.

Around this time last year, I made a commitment that 2010 would be about less talk, more action.

I’ve stuck to that commitment, but after this prolonged silence, I thought I’d share some of what I’ve been up to.

The context

I spent the first few months of 2010 trying to encourage clients to make better use of social channels.

It was a tough challenge; while most of them seemed interested, none of them seemed ready to commit to anything.

Their main fear was that these ‘new channels’ were unproven.

None of them wanted to be the first to take the plunge, so I was caught in a Catch-22: nothing could happen until someone changed the equation.

It soon dawned on me that I would have to be the first to do it – on my own brand, and with my own money.

So, exactly 5 months ago, I put a little experiment into action.

My ‘brand’ was my DJ alter ego, eski, and my simple objective was to share my mixes with as many people as possible.

It’s probably worth noting that, before I started this experiment, fewer than 100 people had ever listened to my mixes online.

That number looks very different today.

The Results

If you’d told me 5 months ago that I would achieve so much in such a short period of time, I probably wouldn’t have believed you.

I appreciate the irony of that.

Sure, I was less skeptical than my clients, but I didn’t realise just how powerful social channels could be.

But I now have tangible proof that they really do work – here are today’s ‘stats’ from eski’s facebook page:

Many of those 50,000 have found me thanks to this simple banner:

I’ve also promoted the page by posting on other related pages on Facebook, and through some basic twitter activity.

But aside from the numbers, what has this ‘little experiment’ taught me?

1. Time is your most valuable resource

I always knew time was the biggest ‘cost’ when it came to social media, but I was still surprised just how much time and effort it requires.

Sure, the media costs next to nothing, but the content needs significant commitment and dedication, and the surrounding conversations need constant fuel, even when the audience is passionate about the subject.

I spend an average of 10 hours a week creating content, and then another 15-20 hours interacting with people.

That’s the same number of hours as a full-time job.

2. Content is everything

People usually only do things when they see a personal benefit – even if that benefit is simply feeling good about themselves.

Again, no surprises there, but this experiment has shown me just how fickle audiences can be.

The only reason people ‘Like’ eski, and keep coming back to the page, is that they like the music.

If I don’t publish content for more than a few days, return visits drop very quickly.

3. Targeting is saving

The difference in cost-per-conversion between my targeted and un-targeted ads is about 5,000%.

No, that wasn’t a typo.

If hadn’t targeted my ads so carefully, I would have needed to invest more than $50,000 to achieve the same results.

Needless to say, I spent an awful lot less.

There’s no easy answer on how to do this – you’ve just got to spend time understanding your audience, what they like, and what they want.

But then, that’s true of any channel.

4. Just do it

It goes without saying that proof is considerably more persuasive than strategy and theory.

So, if you really believe something works, find a ‘brand’ of your own to prove it on.

And if you don’t have anything suitable to try your ideas on yet, create something!

If you think laterally about what you enjoy, you’ll probably find something relevant – a ‘DJ’ might not be the most obvious choice when thinking of brands, but ultimately it’s still the same thing.

You might do it with your own photography, cake decoration, or anything else – the trick is to choose something you care about.

The reason why doing it for yourself (i.e. your brand, your money) is so important is that your level of involvement changes everything.

I quickly realised just how much emotional involvement impacted my judgment; it coloured my decisions, and it brought totally new perspectives to my ‘marketing’ activities – especially when it came to how to spend my money.

But, as a result, I understand the whole process so much more clearly.

Now, I have a solid case study that shows how to grow something from nothing, but I can also talk objectively about the experience from both sides (i.e. client and advertiser).

I know what it feels like to take those first hesitant steps.

I know what the first tastes of success feel like.

I know what it’s like when you get things wrong.

I know how it feels when someone criticises you or your brand on your own page.

But most importantly, I’ve had lots of experience dealing with it all.

And that’s worth way more than any number of theory charts.

5. Stay true to your purpose

One of the starkest discoveries has been that numbers can be distracting and addictive.

Seeing a fan base grow every day can easily become an aim in itself.

But an overemphasis on numbers quickly destroys what you set out to do in the first place; growth for its own sake has no benefit, and will eventually destroy your soul (more on that here)

I started this experiment to learn how to use social media to build a brand, and that will remain the objective.

The fact that it’s been so successful simply means that I can now start experimenting in different ways.

6. Rinse and repeat

Like many other people I’ve talked to who’ve done something similar, I only wish I’d started sooner.

In fact, I’ve enjoyed building the eski page so much that I’ve already set up another 2 pages of my own (more about them another time), and I’ve also joined teams on 5 other related pages.

So, in the process, I’ve succeeded in another of my resolutions for 2010 as well (from here):

How about play rises instead of pay rises? More time to do the things that feed your souls, not just your bank balances (think Google’s 20%).

7. Never stop learning

Although I’m amazed at what has happened over the past 5 months, this is still just the start of the journey.

I’ve barely begun to optimise my activities, and I’ve only explored a fraction of the tools available to make things more interesting.

So, I’ve set an even more challenging objective for 2011.

But that story will have to wait until the next big milestone…

In the meantime, I hope you have a great festive period, and I wish you all the best for a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2011.

awesome or die

There’s been much talk recently about doing ‘awesome’ stuff.

Faris is a particularly strong exponent.

To many, it might seem hyperbolic – an excessive superlative used merely for effect.

But it’s not.

When it comes to advertising, we have two options: death or glory.

Which only leaves us with one appealing option.

Stuff that inspires people’s awe and wonder.

Sadly, a toned-down compromise that appeases a variety of different stakeholders simply isn’t going to work.

‘Good’ just isn’t good enough.

If you’re not looking at the work and thinking, “F**K yeah!”, chances are that the audience is simply going to pass it by.

In advertising terms, that’s death.

So don’t be scared of hyperbole.

Be scared of mediocrity and blandness.

Choose life.

Choose awesomeness.

one night brand

Too much marketing takes a ‘one-night stand’ approach to building relationships.

The brand does all it can to get people’s attention – to seduce and woo them – only to ignore them the morning after.

But most of us already know that such an approach rarely establishes meaningful, long-term relationships.

Sooner or later, no matter how clever the tagline, or how single-minded the big idea, successful brands need to progress from courtship to a relationship.

And that requires a different approach.

It needs regular, two-way communication.

It needs compromise and understanding.

It needs trust.

And all of those require something more than a flashy new campaign every few months.

Sure, they’re a big part of courtship, but courtship is just the beginning.

Moving from lust to love requires us to show our audiences attention; not just for them to give it to us.

Let’s get serious.

150 not out

Innocent Drinks – those masters of simple marketing – have just released a lovely new piece of activity:

“Hello… My name is Alex Horne and I’m trying to set a World Record to one day be the oldest man in the world. I have been attempting this death-defying feat non-stop for the last 31 years and 7 months and although I’m now getting tired, I am still confident that I can keep going.

So please get behind me, wish me luck and warn me of any imminent dangers. Keep checking this site for regular blog, video and twitter updates and watch me avoid the reaper for another century at least.”

Alex’s video tells more of the story:

Equally mad are his 10 reasons why he believes he’ll succeed in living to be the world’s oldest man:

The whole thing is totally daft, but (I think) that’s pretty much the point.

Overall, it’s a great fit with Innocent’s brand personality, but it doesn’t feel like they’re trying to sell me anything.

Obviously the concept of living to be the world’s oldest person fits well with a brand that promotes a healthy lifestyle, but there’s no overt mention of any Innocent products (at least for now).

Other great elements of this initiative include Alex’s blog:

His twitter page:

And the selection of random bits on the website:

Including this great little competition:

They’re supporting it on their wonderful Facebook page too:

Overall, a lovely bit of fun that successfully deepens my relationship with the brand.

I look forward to seeing how this one evolves.

See for yourselves at Long Live Alex.

great to share

It’s been a while since I posted something in the classics series, but I’ve found myself referring to this spot quite a lot recently, so I thought it was probably worth sharing here too.

This ad does a great job of extending the product’s benefit into a compelling new territory.

Up until this, most gum ads talked about ‘freshness’ and alluded to the romantic advantages this could bring.

But this ad reversed the allusion, putting the romance centre stage, and so making the overall benefit much more emotional.

This turns the promise into a more engaging story that people can relate to, and crucially, it makes it much easier to recall (20 years later I still remember it clearly).

I really like the way the final product shot feels like a natural part of the story too.

What about you – what do you think makes it work?

the marketing blend

A few years ago, I went to hear Sasha play at Fabric in London.

It was awe-inspiring.

I’d always admired his DJ sets – the way he managed to move so seamlessly from one track to the next.

But this performance was different.

Until that night, I’d been used to hearing him select a series of great tunes and play them one after the other, with no obvious disharmony or rhythmic mismatch.

But from the very start of that set, it was clear something was different.

I couldn’t tell where one tune began and where it ended.

The mood and power of the set still built and progressed, but the music all blurred together into a dreamy sequence of beats and melodies.

He was playing small bits of different tracks wherever and whenever he chose.

He looped small sections of a record – sometimes just single bars – for minutes at a time, tweaking effects and EQ to build the emotion until the crowd were in a trance.

He was chopping up tunes to create new versions and even new music, right there in the DJ booth.

And suddenly, in one night, my view of DJing changed.

Progressive obsessive

It was like Sasha had put his tunes into a blender, rather than merely putting slices of them next to each other on a plate.

I subsequently discovered that he’d achieved this in large part thanks to new technology – namely Ableton Live and a bespoke Maven controller – but that didn’t change the impact of that set (indeed, I became an instant convert to Ableton, and use it to create my own studio sets)

Sasha had totally changed the game.

DJing was no longer just about beatmatching, or harmonic mixing, or even playing tunes no-one else had.

It was about using everything at the DJ’s disposal to create the perfect musical journey for that club and that crowd.

The records, the turntables, the mixer, the effects… they all became mere means to the single, coherent end of delivering the ultimate club experience.

I think we’re about to witness the same kind of shift in marketing.

Marketers as DJs

Until recently, marketers have been been perfecting the existing paradigm.

We’ve incrementally improved our approach to the 4Ps.

And we’re pretty good at it now: our beatmatching is pretty tight, we know which melodic keys work with which others, and we can navigate the mixer with our eyes closed.

We’ve pretty much mastered the marketing mix, and differentiation now comes down to who has access to the latest or rarest tunes.

But what if we took Sasha’s approach and applied it to marketing?

What if we saw all those marketing Ps as fluid ingredients that we can blend together to create a truly seamless journey?

The Marketing Blend

We’ve recognised the potential of integrated communications for some years now, but few (big) brands succeed in integrating the full spectrum of their marketing activities.

Most still approach each element of the mix separately; aspects such as distribution, pricing, R&D, PR, and sales are often handled by different teams with different agendas, egos, and KPIs.

But maybe that’s missing the magic.

Rather than merely integrating communications across channels, brands could integrate everything they do – the full marketing mix – into a single, holistic approach.

Examples

We’ve seen a few examples of this already.

The Domino’s example from last year was an interesting communication and distribution.

Similarly, this initiative from Gap uses a sales channel to communicate a clearly defined message and inspire immediate action at the same time.

Brands like Ben & Jerry’s, Innocent Smoothies and Nike all seem like they’re blending multiple elements of the mix too.

However, I’m not sure any of them has achieved that totally seamless mix.

Yet.

But it’s only a matter of time…





Twitter

Other Distractions