Five Must-Read Posts from Last Week

5 peso coin circa 2001 - frontI must admit to quite liking this early-in-the-week recap. And while there is plenty of material out there to be read, it goes to show how difficult it can be to create reliably compelling content. This week’s must-read posts each had something that stayed with me long after the initial scan. Hope you like them.

  1. Julian Cole explains why there is much interest (and opportunity) in Facebook with a nice case study about his own use of a Fan page to promote the band, Grinspoon
  2. David Armano reveals social media’s 10 dirty little secrets. Go on, own up to your own 😉
  3. Zoe Scaman shares “living pixels” – outdoor media made of living plants. Perfect for brands such as the Toyota Prius
  4. Great banner spotted by Ashley Ringrose – by IBM. Seriously.
  5. Interesting post by Iain Tait reminding us to think about the tone of voice that we use in our writing – and how it can sometimes, unexpectedly, change

Teen Commandments for Brands

46_very_dangerousI remember reading this great post by Ruby Pseudo late last year and thinking it was a great way to understand social media in general (as well as teens specifically).

One of my favourite of the ten commandments is this:

10. Finally, with Facebook and MySpace etc, please remember that you’re in their (digital) space: they didn’t ask you to be there, and they can’t very well ask you to leave, so talk nicely. And if you haven’t got anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all …

Interestingly, “if you haven’t got anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” sounds like something my Grandma used to say. I have a feeling she would have gotten on well in the social media world.

Planning in the Tenth Dimension

One of the challenges of planning is enforcing a linear overlay on your ideas. It is as if your campaign commences and then a whole bunch of magic occurs around some stimulus and then your campaign ends (with whoops and cheers hopefully). In this scenario, we focus on individuals or “personas” and attempt to create a change in their behaviour – we want them to give consideration to our product, purchase our service or subscribe to our newsletter etc.

Mark Hancock suggests, however, that we need to move away from this approach – to begin looking at emergent behaviour:

I believe that we will stop thinking about trying to change behavior at the individual level and more about how to influence positive emotional responses through the creation of shared interactions.

This correlates nicely with a conversation I had with Katie Chatfield recently. What we need to do is to plan for a multiplicity of outcomes and design our interactions around enabling these to occur in simultaneous streams – like a waterfall. After all, we never really know which idea will catch fire in a community – and I would argue that it doesn’t matter which idea DOES. The important thing is to make sure you are ready to fan the flames. 

The ROI of Social Media

One of the best things about social media is that you don’t need to “make it up” yourself. Yes, that’s right. There are thousands of very smart people sharing their ideas, expertise and knowledge – for free (just click on any of the links in my blogroll and you will be taken to the blog of someone whose ideas and abilities I respect). Your challenge is to take this vast amount of knowledge and contextualise it.

Olivier Blanchard has put together an excellent presentation on the ROI of social media. In fact, he has an outstanding series on the subject, but this presentation nails it down to a bunch of easily digestible slides. He explains exactly what ROI is (return as in $$) and what it is not (intangibles). He talks baselines and measurements. And importantly, Olivier shows exactly how you can measure the intangibles that come with social media to show how they are impacting the growth in your revenues or reductions in your costs.

So, if you are starting to get social with your marketing, take a flick through these slides so that when you are ready to talk with the bossman, you have the answers you will need. Because even if those questions aren’t being asked now, they will be in the future.

Brands are the Stories We Tell

This neat persona/profile tool by the clever folks over at MIT Media Labs allows you to visually construct your own persona. After you enter your name, it goes off and scours the web for any trace of “you”, sorting and categorising as it goes. Of course, there are bound to be errors as well as insights. Imagine, for example, if you lived in Campbelltown and your name was Seth Godin. You are bound to be swamped in the results by THE Seth Godin. But this tool does, nevertheless, yield some impressive information. In the end you end up with something that resembles Dr Who’s famous intergalactic scarf.

Persona Segments for Gavin HeatonBut what I liked most about this, was not the pretty, segmented ribbon. I loved the way that the “Persona Machine” captured story snippets and analysed them. It captured the stories that OTHERS have told about me – providing insight not into the things I write and my personal interests, but also capturing some sense of the context in which I live – as created by others.

Stories about Gavin Heaton

So then I thought, what happens if we apply this to brands? What stories would flash by as the Persona Machine trawled the web for, say, Coca-Cola? Some of the snippets I noticed include “the history of coca-cola is a story of special moments”, or “Mr Dealer: The 1912 advertising campaign for coca cola is on”.

Brand Persona Ribbon for Coca-Cola

But while the stories were most interesting on the individual level, it was the aggregated story – the brand persona ribbon – that most intrigued me for Coca-Cola. “Management”, “sports” and “fashion” segment strongly, with “politics” and “aggression” also appearing. It makes me wonder what the detail is underlying this analysis. It makes me think there is work to do on even the most famous of brands. And if that is the case – what appears in your brand persona ribbon?

Five Must-Read Posts from Last Week

There seems to be a little bit of a theme flowing through this week’s top 5 from last week. See if you can spot it:

  1. Mike Wagner talks us through his own nerves about taking risks in front of a live audience. How did it turn out? Read for yourself.
  2. Consumers don’t care about your strategy. It’s true. Just ask Kris Hoet.
  3. Some great advice from Olivier Blanchard this week, including “If a blogger says something negative about you, threaten to sue them. That usually shuts them up.”
  4. Who decides what is “influential”? Valeria Maltoni explains the process.
  5. Katie Chatfield shares a great, short film on design strategy. This 10 minute film will change the rest of your day.

Does Social Media Addiction Make You Smile?

What do you do on the weekend? Do you disconnect? Do you ignore your BlackBerry or iPhone? Or do you surreptitiously read your emails?

What about in the morning – do you check email before breakfast? Do you scan your Facebook feeds? Do you feel like you are addicted to social media? If so, this video may appeal.

Interestingly, this is the latest promotional instalment from the Sony Vaio folks. But is this going to “go viral”? Does this carry enough humour, humility or simple recognition to warrant a link or connection from the social media crowd? As Greg Verdino says, it does have a certain geek appeal, but I have a feeling this could be such an in-joke that it never carries outside of our immediate network of connections.

Sure, I’m sharing it with you, but who will you share it with?

Will you use the small links below to share with your networks? What about your Facebook friends? What about Digg? What about your parents?

What makes you share. Is it the same thing that makes you smile?

Make Your Own World Wide Rave

395004_cover.indd For many marketers, the holy grail of digital advertising is the YouTube video that “goes viral” – generating thousands, if not millions, of views for little, if any, cost. The challenge, of course, is that finding just the right piece, or having your “community” build something on your behalf is never easy. Nor does it guarantee success.

But David Meerman Scott’s recent book World Wide Rave, actually covers some of the things that you need to consider. It’s full of practical examples and ideas for you to riff off – all with the aim that you create your own “world wide rave”.

There are some great examples of how some daring folks have put their reputation on the line to test the social media waters. From Disney through to a local dentist, David shows that you don’t need to be big to have an impact – or to generate serious sales/business outcomes using social media. He reinforces that while influence can be useful, world wide raves are about trust – about igniting the potential of your story in the words of someone else (or what I call the Auchterlonie Effect).

But you know what? Don’t take my word for it! David is running a Social Media Master Class in Melbourne. Go along and hear him speak for yourself. It could be the best investment you ever make in your business.