Toyota has once again tapped the kids of the world to share their ideas for the cars of the future. Toyota’s smart twist this year is to animate selected submissions and release one a day as Vines, as the “Dream Car of the Day” — fun, on-brand and eminently shareable content.
“The work that needs to be done is to create a product and a story that makes your customers want you to make the logo more prominent.”—
A spot-on spin of one of the most ubiquitous/infamous/cliché pieces of client design feedback: “It’s great, but can we make the logo bigger?” In a nutshell, as a social/content marketer, this is what I do.
This week at VidCon YouTube announced a slew of new tools for users, all designed to fuel the creative spark of the platform’s creators. TechCrunch has a good recap of all the new tools, but two of the most interesting are ones that will help enable more and richer #collabs.
Today the internet was abuzz with the launch of ClickHole, The Onion’s satirical answer to BuzzFeed and other sites who sometimes feature over-the-top, “click bait” style headlines. While The Onion’s team has, as always, nailed the humor and satirical execution — from the site’s name to article titles like "16 Pictures of Beyoncé Where She’s Not Sinking in Quicksand" — the site is a good reminder that for content marketers. it’s not enough just to juice the headline. There’s got to be good content behind it — otherwise it’s just a click hole that does nothing for your brand.
Think of the interaction at the deli counter or the pump or the bursar’s office or the alumni office or on the website from the point of view of the customer and the chain. Where are the moments where you might lose her forever? What are the key places where you need to intervene and invest in the relationship instead of milk it, or drag it through the mud? Assuming that your competitors are just as selfish and metric-driven as you are isn’t a great strategy, because you’re still losing when you break the chain.
Support is not a cost center, it’s a profit center. Treating customers with urgency and clarity and respect (maintaining the chain) is more urgent than ever. But companies are busy measuring time on the phone or cost per hour of support people instead of even trying to measure customer churn.
Last year on March 27th, more people searched for real estate online than on any other day of the year. Century 21 is looking to take advantage of that this year by adding puppies to the home buy-and-sell extravaganza.
Taking a big data insight and layering on puppies is almost guaranteed to drive lots of squee!-driven shares — and in fact, that’s a bet the brand is making with its entire brand campaign, ”in which clients compare working with a Century 21 agent to being surrounded by puppies.”
In some ways, data + puppies is the epitome of modern digital marketing — driven by virality and fueled by data and memes. And whether you think Century 21’s end result is dumb (puppies?) or brilliant (puppies!), it’s the approach that matters. Starting with data and an understanding of what users want, finding where it intersects with who you want to be, then developing creative that pays off that vision is the smartest way to approach marketing for today’s web.
According to a new study, these are the primary emotions humans feel — the ones that drive them to take action.
Other data shows that the top five emotions that drive people to share on social are amusement, interest, surprise, happiness and delight. And the New York Times found anger to be their biggest sharing motivator.
For marketers, this data says one thing, and it couldn’t be clearer: Happy, amused, or angry, to drive shares and action, our content needs to make people feelsomething. We need to touch those primary human emotions through powerful stories if we want to achieve the impact we (and our clients) dream about.
It’s about being human first, and a marketer second. (Not a bad idea most of the time.)
I was going to say that cause marketing is having a moment, but it’s really better to say that cause business is having a moment (with brand benefits to boot). Amazon recently launched Smile, enabling customers to build in charitable donations to their Amazon purchases, while Tom’s just launched a marketplace for socially responsible companies to sell online. And this visualization of the impact skill-based volunteering companies are increasingly sponsoring shows the difference we all can make — individually and as part of our employers’ organizations. Lots to like about the innovation here to make CSR a seamless part of the brand/company experience.
This is all great news for a lot of folks on both the giving and receiving end. Even better? Studies show consumers care more and more every year about the social impact of their favorite brands, so it’s great news for business as well.
The short version? Doing good is a good idea — and good ideas can make the process of giving even better.
Marketing good isn’t actually marketing good, not any more….Second and third order recommendations and word of mouth and the way we talk about the things that are ‘good good’ is the new marketing.
Your initial response rate, newsstand sales or first episode ratings are a measure of old-fashioned marketing prowess. Now, we care an awful lot more about just plain good. Or perhaps, if you really want to make an impact, great.
I know Seth’s blog can be a little insufferable sometimes, but this quote really resonated for me. Marketing is still vitally important. It can help you find and make a new connection with a customer, or strengthen an existing one, or help everyone see your company in a completely different light, or any number of things that help fuel a business. But with the radical connectivity enabled by technology, there’s no hiding behind it anymore.
So yes, do that great TV spot, and an innovative social activation, and keep your AdWords account running. To make all that really pay off, though, first you’ve got to make something great, do some good, stay engaged — and always treat your customers well.
“I do think this is one of the blessings and curses of social media. To fit in, you have to sound like a person, not an institution. And people can be so much more annoying than institutions. And also so much more interesting. I think that’s the trade-off.”—
Very true. And for brands, it’s tough to strike the balance between sounding human, and sounding too familiar. Following a brand isn’t the same as being a Friend — and the best brands always keep that in mind.
I’ll give you the most logical conclusion kids are ditching Facebook—one that none of the articles I read on the Great Teenage Facebook Exodus mentioned. And the evidence that supports the theory is right there in the Piper Jaffray survey. But first let’s define Facebook.
What is Facebook to most people over the age of 25? It’s a never-ending class reunion mixed with an eternal late-night dorm room gossip session mixed with a nightly check-in on what coworkers are doing after leaving the office. In other words, it’s a place where you go to keep tabs on your friends and acquaintances.
“It seems to me that this is native advertising as it should be. … The content is genuinely fun, just as it is fleeting and unobtrusive. … These are the sorts of native ad projects that help change some of the traditional polarity of the advertising and publishing relationship. This is where we really see marketers challenged by publishers on behalf of users to make their advertising more fun and engaging on the consumer’s terms.”—MediaPost: Tumblr Brings Its Native Ad Format To Mobile (via david)
“I was perfectly content before I was born, and I think of death as the same state. What I am grateful for is the gift of intelligence, and for life, love, wonder, and laughter. You can’t say it wasn’t interesting.”—
Fast Company has a really interesting article on the role of reason vs. emotion in marketing. The argument? Market researchers have been getting it all wrong for years, by placing reason as the primary mode of thinking, rather than emotion:
The most startling truth is we don’t even think our way to logical solutions. We feel our way to reason. Emotions are the substrate, the base layer of neural circuitry underpinning even rational deliberation. Emotions don’t hinder decisions. They constitute the foundation on which they’re made!
I like how this article, and the neuroscience it cites, focuses our attention on a paramount issue that sometimes gets lost in the noise of marketing: building a brand connection. Particularly in the cluttered digital environment, that primary relationship — an emotional one — is as critical to a brand’s success as the attributes of its latest product.
Social adds a unique element to building a brand connection, because, for the first time, it’s a two-way street. Brands can tell their stories, and engage with fans who want to tell theirs. This is connection — and at scale, it’s community. With emotion at the center of consumer behavior, these are powerful things indeed.
The article doesn’t ever refer specifically to social marketing, but if you want to build a strong brand connection in today’s world, it’s clear that social belongs at the heart. I’ll close with another quote from the article that makes the point better than I can (emphasis mine):
The left brain creates an intellectual understanding of “self” and a sense of separation from others. Our right brain creates a feeling of “we,” that wonderful sense of connection with one another and the ineffable awe of living in the moment—the essences of better lives and great brands.
I read an interesting article on VentureBeat the other week designed to provide startups with advice about brand-building, but it’s well worth reminding even the biggest brands of this simple truth:
At the core of every great brand is a company’s ability to deliver on the prospect’s expectations — or better yet, exceed those expectations.
The heart of every brand is its ability to make and keep promises, and marketing is the part of the brand that makes the promises. The article goes on to note that “startups often bake a ‘desired position’ into the brand that strays too far from reality,” but even big brands do this. When there’s too big a gap between the brand position and reality, you get a broken promise.
One of the most interesting things about marketing today is that with the rise of social media and, more broadly speaking, communication networks (e.g. email), broken promises are no longer isolated to one disappointed customer and his/her immediate group. Instead, they are shared, by lots of voices. If promises are broken too badly, and too often, conversation about your brand can get loud and negative. And that can directly influence how other customers feel about you (just ask Papa John’s).
“Taking your work live is energizing, invigorating and insanely risky. You give up the legacy of the backlist, the scalability of inventory and the assurance of editing. It’s an entirely different way of being in the world.”—
I wrote last week that real time social marketing was having a moment. It’s having another moment right now in the Oscars aftermath. Unlike the Super Bowl, there was no “:Oreo moment.” Many brand tweets fell flat, as Ad Age pointed out — and they also ran a piece on why not every cultural moment deserves a brand response. I don’t disagree with either article, but I thought Seth’s post was a timely reminder of what the stakes are. Thinking and being able to react in real time is risky — but it’s also energizing and invigorating. Not every moment is right for every brand, but when it is, the opportunity is huge. (And it almost goes without saying that day-to-day engagement adds up to huge opportunity over time, too.) On the flip side, sometimes there is a desperate need for restraint: you don’t want your pre-scheduled content or ads blasting out into the world, oblivious, while an unthinkable tragedy unfolds and the social web becomes a forum for shock and grief.
The point is, in today’s world, you have to be there — already living an “entirely different way of being in the world.” That is the essential piece. Make the moves you need to now so you’re ready later (which, of course, will soon be the now).
It’s something I’ve been interested in for years, and it’s really having its moment in the sun — real time reaching its real potential in social media. From Oreo, Tide, and others killing it during the Superbowl, to Twitter’s acquisition of social TV company Bluefin Labs to — a favorite example — The Onion hitting new heights thanks to its new focus on real-time/daily publishing, real time is truly having its moment.
For brands, this means being present and participating in real-time digital culture is becoming less of a luxury, and more of a must-have — a standard, like having a Facebook page and Twitter account. But here’s the thing: It’s not just about being there and saying something — anything. You have to see the opportunities that are right for your brand, and respond in a way that makes sense for you, your users, and what you want to achieve.
That’s strategy. And a smart social strategy needs to be absolutely ingrained in your team’s thinking if you want to play the real-time game (and spoiler alert: you should). It’s hard work to craft a social strategy that pays off where it needs to, harder still to ensure real-time responses adhere to it. But it’s work that’s worth doing for brands that want to keep up.