This is the next instalment of the intermittent Eat.Sleep.Blog conversation between Paul McEnany, Sean Howard and Gavin Heaton. ESB is an occasionally NSFW discussion on the current state of marketing and branding. (You can even join the ESB Fan Page on Facebook!)
Each year, the Starlight Foundation come up with an innovative campaign to raise money for seriously ill kids so that they can have a “wish come true”. This year, there are 182 kids with stories filled with hope and bravery. Feride’s starlight wish is to become an actress.
Through the Starlight Foundation, you really can make a child’s wish come true. Every dollar counts.
There are some great people working in the advertising and marketing industry. Many of them are super smart, more talented than a hatfull of Ogilvies and, my-oh-my they are prettier than a zebra on a prairie. Some don’t even have blogs to link to! But I am lucky enough to call these people “friends” (you know, the REAL kind).
However, there is this one chap that I have known for a while now who really defies classification. He has boy band good looks. He is generous with his time and his intellect. He is friends with more people than Robin Dunbar could possibly imagine. And it’s his birthday today. Have a good one, Ian Lyons!
During the recent US Presidential Election, Barack Obama made some welcome promises on the state of crisis in Darfur. The "unstinting resolve" that he mentioned was a strong statement that gave many people hope that the world's most powerful nation would, in fact, help bring peace and resolution to Darfur (learn more here).
If you live in the US, you can help remind your President-elect of these promises, by signing this petition. Please do so.
The social media world can be a surprising place. It can be filled with joy, snarkiness, horror and even insight. You can read blog posts that make your heart ache and others that will lift your spirits – but no matter where I look, I see all about me, a seething mass of creativity. I smell the stench of humanity.
In the last year I have had the great opportunity to meet some fantastic people. I have read their blogs, followed their conversations (on Twitter) and watched their online shows. I have spent time in their company and been endlessly entertained by their views on the world. But recently, two people have captured my attention.
They write with wit and charm. They make me gasp and laugh out loud – really, there is no affectation here. I am constantly bowled over by their candour and by their courage. I hope you find Annik Skelton’s blog as delightfully shocking as I. And trust Heather Snodgrass’ sharp personal observations will keep you coming back for more.
Almost a generation ago we, the public, started to twig that there could be a downside to smoking. A whole swag of research followed – about the relative merits of additives, flavours (remember menthol?) and so on. In the end, it was settled – the best approach would be to add a tip to cigarettes so that the very worst elements of cigarette smoke would be filtered out for us.
Guess what happened. Well, you know the answer – cigarette smoke still kills us every year by the thousand.
You see, we never went to the “root cause” of the problem. We fluffed around the edges. We talked up the health impacts and bombarded consumers with “the facts” – and while there has been some successes, millions of young people around the world continue to take up smoking every year. Facts don’t change our behaviour – feelings do.
We are now facing similar confusion around Stephen Conroy’s internet filter. There are plenty of facts floating around:
That the filter will slow down our broadband by around 80%
That it will impact regional community far more than the city
That it can be easily by-passed via peer-to-peer file sharing
That it will massively increase the size of the internet site blacklist which is ALREADY in place
As Holly Doel-Mackaway, adviser with Save the Children Fund states in the Sydney Morning Herald, the filter scheme is “‘fundamentally flawed’ because it failed to tackle the problem at the source and would inadvertently block legitimate resources”.
But there is a root cause issue here – the facts point out the issues but don’t address our emotional response. It is NOT a filter we need. It’s EDUCATION. It’s empowerment. Why should we allow the federal government to WASTE $40 million of our hard-earned taxes when it could be so easily diverted into education – training for kids AND their parents. And it is important that we let the government know our thoughts.
With this internet filter, we are just papering over the problem. There will always be material available in our communities that we would rather not see. There are problems that we would rather not be exposed to. But our challenge, and our duty, is to stand-up to such issues – not avoid them. What price can we put on the empowering of our communities and our kids? As David Campbell might say, it’s “priceless”.
(BTW you can listen in to David’s podcast feed here).
I always find it interesting that a great deal of thought will be put into the strategic planning of a campaign – but very little time will be devoted to creating a content strategy. After all, it is the content that will bring your campaign to life. And perhaps, more importantly, it is content that will feed your social media efforts.
Some time ago, I was interviewed by ethos3 – seven questions on storytelling – where I discussed the P-L-A-Y framework for brand engagement. I remember emphasising the importance of allowing people into the context of your world – like starting a story with “once upon a time”. For me, content marketing comes back to telling a story. It is using the techniques and devices of storytelling to change the way that someone relates to your business, brand or product. And it’s about allowing these people into the process of storytelling. For brands, that means changing the way that you think of your consumers. For businesses, it means transforming the relationships you have with customers. And for marketers, it means changing the very nature of the work that we do.
But if this is the case, where can you find out about content marketing?
Over the last 12 months, additional focus has been given to “content marketing”. The “Top 42” content marketing blogs have been tracked and compiled regularly on the Junta 42 website (servantofchaos.com is currently ranked #16), and Guy Kawasaki has recently created a new content marketing catalogue for his alltop.com site. Each of these sites provide a convenient listing of content marketing related sites – which is valuable for any marketer wanting to think through a content marketing strategy. (And while many people feel more than a little jaded about the relevance of lists with their rankings of “influence” or “authority”, I still feel that most lists like this listing of 150 social media blogs, can prove to be a great resource for all of us).
And in this interview with Bryan Person, David Alston shares his insights around the importance of content marketing. As VP Marketing for Radian6, David has a broad professional and personal interest in social media and the role that content marketing plays in lubricating our social/digital interactions. As David says, "Not everyone's a customer when you WANT them to be a customer" … so content allows you to offer value (not a product) to build a relationship. And in social media, it’s relationships that count.
So, tell me … what’s your story? Why is content important to your brand?