Posts Tagged 'fresh perspectives'

More Than Creativity, Advertising Is About Business

Dave Trott is a true master of common sense: he has a knack of explaining things you (thought you) already knew, in ways that help you understand them in a totally new light.

I learned so much from this talk he gave a while back at the APG that I feel compelled to share the whole thing here.

It’s an hour or more long, but make time to watch it all – sit down with a drink and give it your full attention.

And take notes – I guarantee you’ll want to refer back to things. I took so many notes, I ran out of space in my notebook.

Take it away Dave.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 8 [there doesn’t appear to be a part 7]

Part 9

Part 10

Thanks very much to Gwen for introducing me to this great talk

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.

always learning, never failing

Learn from your mistakes and you’ll never fail.

Simple.

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.

word up

Nicole, a colleague at BBH Singapore, shared this fantastic piece of activity yesterday:

[image © Gunther Gamper, used with thanks]

It’s an initiative for the Fondation pour l’alphabétisation – an NGO that aims to promote higher levels of literacy amongst the French-speaking population in Canada.

The fundamental premise is very simple: by ‘buying’ words – either from vending machines like the one in the picture above, or from the “words depot” website – people can make donations to the Foundation that will fund literacy programs for the 800,000 Québécois who are hindered by low levels of literacy.

[screen grab of the motsdepot website]

I particularly admire the facility to buy the words in your Facebook status update for 10¢ each, which the site then posts to your Facebook page with a link back to the initiative:

Developed by Montréal-based agency Bleublancrouge, it’s a beautifully simple, yet incredibly powerful way to make giving to charity more personal and resonant.

As the Foundation’s overview says,

“Imaginez tout le plaisir qu’il peut y avoir à posséder un mot qui nous plaît ou auquel nous nous identifions. Car tout est pos­sible lorsque nous achetons un mot. Avec un peu d’imagination, ce n’est plus « royaume » que nous achetons, mais un royaume. Ce n’est pas « amour » que nous offrons, mais de l’amour. Alors, redonnons aux gens leur attachement aux mots, redonnons-leur le plaisir de jouer avec ceux-ci.”

Loosely translated, this means:

“Imagine the great joy of owning a word you like, or with which you identify. Everything is possible when you buy a word. With a bit of imagination, you’re not just buying “kingdom”, but a kingdom. It’s not just “love” you’re buying, but love you’re giving. So let’s help people rebuild a relationship with words; let’s help them enjoy the pleasure of playing with them again.”

By taking the benefit beyond simply relieving people’s conscience, this activity makes donating fun.

CSR at its best.

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?





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