The trouble with Australian politics these days is it has become vanillarised. There is little to distinguish policy or party. But more important than that, there is little distinguish soft leader from soft leader.
Unfortunately there seems to be an ambivalence towards making a a true difference. A difference that shapes identity and bridges the great divides. Racism, wealth and poverty, indigenous health, climate change and innovation.
Politics, it seems, is charged with the task of retaining the status quo while wrapping it in many colourful, yet transparent layers. Safety is the new currency of governance and leadership is scripted, not imagined.
Australia needs visionary, courageous individuals who don’t just speak on behalf of their party, but lead it. Julia had a right to overthrow Kevin. It’s politics. But even the “real Julia” is a carefully manicured campaign from the engine room. Tony is so scripted he should apply for NIDA. His off-the-cuff comments were conceived 3 months ago.
Tony, I’m not interested in hearing about the govts failed projects for the 100th time. I’m not stupid. I don’t need to be belted over the head to understand the potency of a poorly executed project. And I can decide for myself whether it’s enough to inform my vote on Saturday.
And Tony, the stimulus worked. Own it like the rest of us do. But Julia, turn off the Work Choices broken record. It isn’t coming back but you should know all too well that industrial relations is an ongoing and changing beast that will need reform from time to time.
And both of you…Boat people represent such a small number of illegal immigrants that the time spent debating it deflects debate on other more demanding issues like mental health care. And climate change, well, obviously there was an agreement not to make it an election issue, and…see above for all the other issues that have been silenced.
The too hard basket is overflowing this time ‘round. Epic fail J-Gilly and T-Rabbit. Vanilla belongs in milkshakes and toilet spray - not politics.
Most newspaper and magazine video is consumed between 9 and 5pm, but the trend for viewing online broadcast video is trending towards traditional prime time periods.
This is not unexpected but it has a lot of Telly people sitting at the edge of their seats in anticipation of what the future holds. Most online broadcast viewing occurs at a time when we would typically be watching CSI, Two and a Half Men or even our local fare of Underbelly and that wacky 20 To 1 with Bert!
This has some implications for those who argue that online video and television programming share different viewer times and audiences. It might also suggest that humans are becoming increasing adept at watching two things at once. The incidence of dual media participation (ie watching the telly and watching the laptop) is increasing after all!
I’ll have to dig through my link library but I believe that the latest US figures show that 30-35% of television viewers are watching with their laptops perched in front of them begging for their divided attention.
Prime-time viewing may soon have to be redefined - depending on the device chosen to consume the content.
Top 5 Reasons to Invest in Video Content this Fin Year
Planning the annual marketing budget is often a roundtable affair with plenty of heated debate and opinions. Every executive at the table feels justified in their requests for additional funding, some willing to concede, others willing to fight to the death.
It is the latter that should be employed when the suggestion of producing video content is tabled. (Okay, so I run a video production company!)
Here a my top 5 reasons for your company to invest in video content to help your bottom line and improve your brand awareness.
1. eCommerce According to a recent report by eMarketer, 42% of online retailers who are planning to redesign their website this year confirmed they will be including online video into the mix. That’s second behind social media tools. WHY? Because online video is a proven winner in converting browsers into buyers, helps reduce the number of abandoned shopping carts and returned product. 94% of Ad Executives in a Brightroll survey said they would be spending more on video content than ever before.
2. Video is a Creative Way to Solve Your Communication Challenges The Internet is a powerful and intrinsic tool for most businesses these days. Without it, many businesses would grind to a steamy, shuddering holt. Video is fast becoming just as potent to Internet users. The latest figures from comScore reveal that YouTube topped 14.6 billion video streams in May. Video is a powerful way to deliver information in a creative, coherent and engaging way. How-To videos are a great example of this. Video puts your product in motion. It adds personality to the person. It convinces, reassures, empowers and entertains in ways the written word or still imagery cannot. We have many success stories of clients who weren’t convinced that video could help their communication challenges. They now use video exclusively for a lot of internal and external communication because of the engagement and retention of message that video achieves.
3. Measure Your ROI with Video I worked in commercial radio for 15 years as a Creative Director. One of the biggest challenges that I faced in that time was skirting around the issue of ROI and metrics. Radio is a very hard medium to measure, particularly in terms of branding. Video allows for instant measurement. You can access up-to-date figures on the number of viewers. You can measure conversion rates with new interactive video tools that take viewers directly to your online check out. You can track the viral journey of your video across the Internet. You can listen in to the conversations wrapped around your video content and respond immediately to positive and negative comments.
4. Websites Perform Better with Video Firstly, I never assume that the mere presence of video on a website means that that website will perform better than its competitors who don’t have video. But a well produced video placed carefully on the website has shown to be highly effective in driving conversion rates. Read the case studies (below) from EyeView in the US where they claim that video helped increase conversion rates by 80% for some clients, who also achieved ROI within the first week of the video campaign. http://www.reelseo.com/video-accountable-roi/
5. It Doesn’t Have to be Expensive or Time Consuming Time and Money are the two biggest obstacles for most companies when considering investing in video content. I could spend a lot of time on these two points, but essentially, it really boils down to your communication objectives, weighing up the options of communication channels, considering your budget and knowing how to get video produced. Whether you produce your own video, or outsource it, make sure you at least cover off these three absolute must-dos: 1. Develop Your Content Strategy. 2. Define the Purpose of your Video Content. (ie To increase traffic to our website) 3. Invest in the tools (cameras, editing software and audio) to ensure your content reflects the quality of your brand
Internet Video to Grow 4 times in the next 4 Years.
According to the latest information released in Cisco Systems Annual Visual Networking Index Forecast, it appears as though Internet Video in the AsiaPac region is set to grow by four times by 2014. On a global scale, 91% of consumer traffic will be online video, which will include both traditional web video and video-on-demand provided by television providers. With online video providing the bulk of the growth in Internet networking traffic, surpassing even BitTorrent and pirated content, you can be sure that video sites such as YouTube, Vimeo and Hulu will be only growing in popularity as well as burgeoning technologies such as video calling.
Many of the client meetings I have often wind their way around to the subject of viral videos. Like the Holy Grail, viral videos have worked their way into our collective conscience as the be-all-and-end-all of video content.
I watched Monty Python’s The Holy Grail more times than I attended Economic History lectures during my uni days. The coconuts got me every time. That scene is worthy of being viral. But the journey that the Knights took to find the Holy Grail is perhaps more relevant here than the manner in which they traveled!
All journeys start out with a plan, a roadmap that guides us to our destination. And every journey should have a purpose. A video campaign is no different.
Creating relevant video content for your target audience cannot start with the premise of virality. The premise must be based on virility. The power of your video content comes from the message and how it resonates with your consumer or audience.
Just What is Viral? Viral videos can be an extremely effective and cost efficient way of distributing your message to a large audience. And yes I use the word ‘distributing’ with intent. A viral video only becomes viral when it becomes viral. It doesn’t become viral because it was conceived with a viral genome that ensures its position at the top of the video food chain. The message, the creative execution, the big idea, the way it resonates with a broad audience or taps into the zeitgeist – these tings make a video become viral.
The question I always ask clients is, ‘does your message need to have such broad appeal?’ That is, will your video be relevant to people outside your business community, or sporting club, or cottage industry or cause?
Some of the client videos we make at Catfish are designed for internal communication. Executives wanting to ensure that their staff or stakeholders are properly informed of critical business issues. Even in these instances, we are often asked about the option of creating a viral video campaign. A smile always cracks on my face. “We can create a viral video, as long as you’re happy with the fact that it will be viral around the office, not around the world!”
It leads me to the most important step in developing a video campaign.
Know Thy Purpose. By agreeing on the purpose of your video campaign from the start, you can more accurately measure the success of your campaign based on the number of views from your intended audience.
Most business videos are designed to share information, create awareness of a product or service, change perceptions of a brand, add value to customer service, or, of course, convert viewers into customers or members. Essentially, that covers the full spectrum of traditional marketing, above and below the line. And as we know, most of this activity requires careful planning, creative input, quality production and…a fair whack of money.
Global brands are the obvious players in the viral video market, because their audience is broad and dispersed. Here’s one of my favourite brand-driven viral videos from Samsung
Viral doesn’t mean Cheap Have a guess how much this video would have cost to produce? I don’t actually know, but looking at the number of people involved, the time it would have taken to plan, choreograph and execute, on-location costs, catering, post production, management consultation and approval time, agency fees… I’d say in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Global brands are on the viral bandwagon because they can afford the ride. Take a look at the Top Ten viral campaigns on the AdAge site and think about how much was spent on each of these viral videos: http://www.visiblemeasures.com/adage
My point is that many clients believe that viral videos are ‘accidents on purpose’. They are convinced that the quality of the video is irrelevant in order for it to be a hit. Sure, a cat clapping its paws in time with a Beyonce song shot by a five year old kid on an iPhone can boast 12 million hits. But we’re talking about your brand here. A cat is cute. I bet your brand isn’t. A cat is adored by half of the world’s population. I bet your brand isn’t. A cat clapping in time with the music is freakish. I bet your approach to marketing isn’t. This is why big brands spend big bucks making big ideas happen on video.
Think Global, Act Local I’m all for clients being brave enough to think BIG. It’s an important part of the creative process. In many cases, I urge clients to set up a YouTube Channel if they have enough (good) content. Even if their videos are for a niche audience, that audience might hang around sites like YouTube. As long as the content and social network are relevant to your core audience (and the content is not audience sensitive) then go for it! Upload your content on as many free video platforms as you can. One of the easiest ways to distribute your content and maybe help it become viral is to post it on www.tubemogul.com
Viral is not a Strategy, it is an Affirmation That was quick – I didn’t mean you had to post it on tubemogul like right now!
When a video becomes viral, it’s a sure sign that the message has captured the attention and/or imagination of a large group of like-minded people. It is a validation of an idea or a concept and it brings many warm fuzzies to the originator of the content. Maybe even a pay rise.
For most business applications though, the best outcome for any video campaign is that the content impacts on the audience that matters most. Reach, therefore, is not as important as relevance. My advice to you is to make sure you have a clear purpose with your video communication.
Develop a content strategy.
Know your audience.
Craft your message, and
Execute it well.
Yes it takes time and money to develop great video content, but it is an investment upon which you can expect a great return.
When you have a video that is virile, you have a much better chance of it becoming viral, if that’s important. For many businesses, it’s not. Perhaps it’s a case of semantics. We have adopted the term ‘viral’ when what we really mean is ‘successful’ or having great ‘impact’.
At the Connect Now forum in Sydney earlier this month, Gary Vaynerchuk presented his thoughts on the evolution of the new business imperative. He claims that the business that cares more will win.
When Amazon bought Zappos.com for $928m in July last year, it surprised a few in the industry. Zappos, an online shoe retailer (and other stuff), does not compete on price. There are plenty of other online retailers offering similar product for less. But Jeff Besos wasn’t looking at the pricing structure. He knew the essence of Zappos.com was about how much they cared for their customer.
I admit upfront, I have a personal affinity with Zappos. I have been a fan of CEO Tony Hsieh for a while. I heard that he had written a book on the culture of his company so I went to the Zappos website to see if I could get a copy. I had to nominate a US state for delivery so I wrote a note in the comment section saying I lived Down Under and was a big fan and could you please send a copy to lowly old West Footscray. Two weeks later, the book arrived.
Says Gary Vaynerchuck, “No matter what you do, you’re going to be beat by the person who cares more.” Well, I don’t need a pair of stilettos but I became an even bigger fan of Zappos that day. I encourage you to discover the Zappos philosophy for yourself. It’s almost impossible to replicate it in an existing business culture, but it will influence the culture of many companies in the future I am sure.
That’s not to say that companies today cannot begin the cultural transformation required to care more.
As a copywriter of 15 years, and well versed in the principles of traditional marketing, my script has changed dramatically even in the past year. I no longer pretend to know better than the consumer. I no longer write as if the client owns the brand and the customer ‘buys’ into it. I cannot assert an untested truth about a product, even if it is a logical conclusion made by the marketing manager. Social media has changed the rules of engagement - like it or not. But here’s the pay-off for everyone: If we all care more, about the people we engage and the products and services we offer or consume, it has the potential to transcend more than just business. It could be the evolution humanity has been trying to reverse for decades, if not centuries.
Social media now affects every step of discovery, purchasing and buyer’s experiences. The language of social media is almost a slingshot back into time, well before all the business books were written and the smooth business rhetoric was coined. The new language is about realness, authenticity, truth, empathy. It’s emotional. It’s human.
This language is critical to your social media strategy. The language you use is what helps you connect. Brian Solis suggests that every business needs a Social Media Conductor to manage these connections. The Conductor is the person responsible for setting the company’s social media strategy including the rules for engagement, the tone of voice, the personality and the behaviour of the brand across each network. The Conductor, he says, doesn’t have to be the only person engaged in social media for the company, but it is their mandate to ensure there is no brand dilution. When you consider the number of social networks available, and the number of people across the company who can potentially contribute to the brand’s impact, it becomes clear the Conductor’s role is vital for the success of your social presence.
But for many businesses, we’re jumping the gun. There can’t be a Social Media Conductor if management isn’t convinced that a social media presence is required at all. Most discussions at ConnectNow started with the question: “My boss doesn’t believe in social media, so how do I…” It’s a common question, and a difficult one to answer given the myriad scenarios.
If you take Gary Vaynerchuck’s advice, you’ll totally ignore those who need to be convinced of the need to build a social network and spend your energy cultivating positive relationships with those who do. If you can’t find any people who share your vision, he says, leave the company!
Yep, easy to say. I’ve got a mortgage too. It’s often easier to put the blinkers on in order to keep their jobs, and hope like hell that the boss will come around one day. Others simply can’t ignore the opportunity social media offers, and pursue it at any cost.
Here are my favourite conversion tactics for social media atheists:
“If you’re not involved in social media, you’re not engaging your audience and you’re no longer relevant.”
“We now possess the ability to shape and steer perception and conversation. Why wouldn’t we want to do that?”
“Social Media is word of mouth advertising in an online environment. Word of Mouth closes 80% of sales. Traditional marketing closes 14%. Which one should we use?”
And this cracker from Gary Vaynerchuck, “ Silence is deadly – with business and farting!”
I liked Brian Solis’ observation that we are not yet thinking about the engagement that comes after the initial engagement. This to me invites the question – what about return on effort? Sure, tweet your heart about your new product, or award, or retweet your customer’s favourable comments. But then what? Where does the conversation go after that? How do you continue the engagement? This is, for me, is where success is won or lost for business engaged in social media.
“Shit’s changed!” Those words closed Gary’s presentation and summed up the essence of Connect Now for me perfectly.
Image is from a t-shirt from http://www.origin68.com/#. Very cool tees. Buy one!
I don’t think there was anything particularly revolutionary or unexpected with Twitter’s announcement of the new Ad model yesterday. It’s similar to Google’s own model which means it will be familiar to most of us straight up.
In essence, advertisers buy keywords on Twitter that link to their ads. This will first appear in Search, but will soon also be seen in the Tweet stream of users.
That is, in my own understanding, a very mild case of spam. Just like when I saw the doctor last week and she said I had “a mild case of something like a flu.” Let’s just call it what it is.
The living, breathing consequence of this ad model is that Twitter users will see tweet-relevant advertising messages in their stream. Not that they ever chose to follow X brand. It appears because the ad is relevant to the tweet you send me, or the tweet I post to my followers.
Traditional media marketing has always battled with the intrusiveness of advertising, particularly on free-to-air telly and radio. I spent 15 years writing radio commercials, I know all-to-well the intrusiveness of what I produced. People often commented “You’re the bastard who interrupts my music!”
I can only wait with antici…pation the conversations that will start circulating around the water tank or the Tweetdeck about this level of intrusiveness in social media. Isn’t this ‘our’ space, ‘our’ conversation? We create the content - Twitter is just the host. The notion of disintermediation seems to have been interfered with when a network chooses (on our behalf without our consent) what we see in our Twitter stream.
John Battelle makes a great point in his blog: “Will that which they see be relevant, useful, valuable?” If it is, as it is with Google AdWords, are we more likely to continue as we were, content with the content we see before us, and willing to use our own discretion to follow and engage in whatever we find beneficial.
There is an imperative for Advertisers to get the message right, too. Twitter is calling it Twitter Resonance, which takes into account nine factors including clicks, retweets and replies associated with each ad. It means the message will have to be Twitter-friendly - using the language and rules we have already fashioned for the network.
For me, it’s a matter of wait and see. Those with the cashola to buy their way into my tweetiverse can do so without my consent. The door is open for them to walk right in. They could well have something that I might be interested in. Or not. As long as Twitter is the landlord, I have no choice. They have jimmied the door wide open.
There were many great insights shared last week at ConnectNow in Sydney. A theme that most of the speakers touched on was the need to set goals and to engage audiences with a real purpose. A simple but timely reminder for many of us!
Not all of us started out on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn with a purpose - a goal we hoped to achieve through interaction and engagement in a social networking environment. For some, it was, or still is purely a social connection, and so tweeting about their missing sock or morning ablution seemed a worthy topic. Guilty!
But when social networks are used for commercial purposes, whether it is promoting your personal or company brand, or driving traffic or conversions, then setting clear and achievable objectives is just as important as a traditional business plan or communication strategy.
Firstly, it’s vital that you know where to play. There’s no point fishing in a puddle. Learn which social networks your customers or audience use and join them. That’s so simple it’s almost insulting. So try a few of these other tips from Darren Rowse (@ProBlogger) to add purpose to your engagement:
· Decide how to be useful. Ask yourself… “What problem can we solve?” Once you identify this, make it your focus. Be the solution.
· Decide on what outcomes you want from every interaction. Is it to entertain, to inform, to inspire, to persuade? Before you publish or press the Tweet button, ask yourself, “Does this really matter?”
· Decide where to call home. Have you created a Home Base? This might be your website, a blog, a Facebook Fan page. But have a base and spread out from there, and bring them back to your base.
Another important message that seemed to carry a lot of weight with all the speakers was that social media is an emotional medium. Look at those you actively follow on any social network and they are most likely the ones who are generous with their ideas, feedback and content. Remember, our engagement in social media is communal. The conversation might be one-way to begin with, but we follow and are followed, we hug and bite, we like and comment, we even send gifts like cows, bricks and horses to fellow farmers, all in the name of social interaction. (I don’t, my wife does!)
The essence of sociability does not change because we move from intimate relationships to internet relationships. The traditional characteristics we find most attractive in others – trust, personality, humour, passion, compassion, and generosity are the same qualities we seek out and embrace in social media environments.
Social engagement, without emotion, is purposeless. Emotions are connectors. They are what we trade in order to access each other. Generosity is a quality that seems to carry the most influence across social media networks. Gary Vaynerchuck puts it beautifully: “You’re going to have to love your community first.” That sentiment, I believe, sums up the value proposition of any social media strategy. Generosity is often confused, or at least correlated to ‘giving away’ content. Many companies that I know of see generosity as the antithesis of good business practice. ‘Nothing is free’ is perhaps the most overused dictum in commerce. Maybe it’s time for a re-think.
If you want to succeed in this new “Trust Economy”, according to Brian Solis, you better start giving your audience something of value, something relevant, before you expect to earn anything in return. “What we call a relationship is changing,” he said, and the nodding of heads from the ConnectNow delegates seemed to confirm it.
Gary Vaynerchuck of winelibrary.tv often promotes wines of which he has only limited stock. For him, it’s not about selling wine, but building trust. “Creating content and speaking to the world is the only game. It’s the honey to the bee.”
Darren Rowse wrote an eBook called 31 Days To Build a Better Blog, where 90% of the content was already available in his free blogs. Why did he write the book? His followers asked him to, and they were happy to pay! Trust, in this case, proved a powerful, purposeful tool in building Darren’s success as a blogger.
So before you engage your followers, consumers or audience again, ask yourself: What is the purpose of my conversation? What am I offering, and what am I expecting in return? Be honest, be authentic, be yourself and be generous. It seems as though this is the new currency of social engagement - currency that humans are more than capable of trading, if we remember how!
Apologies to the speakers on the third day, I had to fly back to Melbourne on Thursday night!
I thought it was worth putting together a summary of the key take-outs from the event. I didn’t attend all of the sessions so apologies for not referencing some of the speakers in this post.
There were some familiar themes that started to develop straight after Gavin Heaton opened proceedings. Listening was one of them. Not so much in terms of what we the audience was expected to do, but we as social media users.
Listening in social media is about stopping your own noise to hear the other ideas, opinions, suggestions and objections that come from your audience – your customers. Without listening, we can soon become obsolete even if we have finely crafted our own social identity and environment.
Listening is, of course, not specifically an aural exercise when it comes to social media. Gary Vaynerchuck is taking time out to ‘listen’ by restricting his professional speaking engagements around the world. For him, it’s time to go back to learning, reading, following conversations and trends and almost building a new phase of enlightenment for his own business. Here is a man who has built multi-million dollar businesses by converging offline business and online social environments. He lives and breathes passion for what he does. He’s also a man who openly admits to his many contradictions. And here’s a beauty: he’s the first to tell you that it’s imperative to listen to clients, and hearing what they have to say, but never lets the customer dictate the direction he takes in business.
Darren Rowse, one of Australia’s leading bloggers, was just as adamant about the importance of listening. He advises that you listen to what your customers or followers are saying about you or your brand via Google. If you’re a blogger, make sure you listen to what is and isn’t working in your blogs by engaging your readers and asking them. Design some polls or follow the comments and reply to both good and bad posts. In his words, have “time-outs” where you stop talking and spend time following others within your blogosphere.
When Darren first signed up with Twitter, he spent the first 2 weeks just observing the friends and peers he followed. He learned the language, the nuances and the conversational patterns before he sent his first tweet. Why?
This leads to the second theme of Purpose, which will be the topic of my next post.