Launching a Movement, Not a Product

We often forget, when we are launching a product, that we don’t just want sales. Sure, they are great. But for a launch to be successful, it means not just getting your product or service “out there” – you’ve got to keep it out there. You’ve got to ensure that it has fuel enough to sustain it until it does, in fact, reach a stable orbit.

In a social media world, this means launching a movement, not a product. In this presentation, the folks from We Are Social show how they went about launching Marmite XO. What can you learn from this approach?

Compare and contrast this with KD Paine’s new product launch checklist. What are the overlaps? What would you do differently?

The Marmarati – We Are Social's launch campaign for Marmite XO

View more presentations from We Are Social .

Internet Facts and Figures that Will Make Your Eyes Pop

As an addendum to my presentation on Videos that Explain Social Media, this video from the visualization guru, Jesse Thomas (aka Jess3), contains internet and social media facts and figures that may surprise you. Sure you may have seen this information before – but if that’s the case, pass it on to a colleague. After all, we don’t all read or care about the same things.

JESS3 / The State of The Internet from JESS3 on Vimeo.

Social Media in the Fortune 100

If social media is about levelling the playing field between businesses and consumers, then you would think that the largest businesses – the Fortune 100 – would be steering well clear. However, this infographic from Flowtown, based on a recent Burson-Martseller report shows that social media uptake and engagement is well and truly on the agenda of the world’s largest corporations.

Having said that, the uptake figures are quite low. These companies would obviously have more employees than they have subscribers to their YouTube channels. So perhaps there is some work to do around employee engagement/activation. It is good to see, however, that a certain level of experimentation is taking place.

How does these figures tally with your own experience? How engaged is your company with social media? Are you better/worse than the Fortune 100?


Chatroulette – It Isn’t What You Think

When Malcolm Gladwell wrote Blink, it changed the way that we think. It made us realise that first impressions really do count – and in fact, we only have the blink of an eye before our conditioning, our prejudices and our expectations kick in.

So it is hardly surprising then that a site like Chatroulette is generating a lot of buzz and, in the process, generating as much fear as excitement. It is a site that works on the level of the blink – randomly selecting two participants and allowing them to share their webcams. If you see something that you don’t wish to, you can click the Next button and skip to another, anonymous webcam.

When I first heard about it, there were various reports of voyeurism, exhibitionism and so on. It sounded like the early days of the internet – but with video. However, just weeks later, there is a certain level of “gaming” starting to take place – with participants seeking to surprise, confuse and even challenge others.

Take a look at this video. Think about the experience of the participants. What are they expecting? What are they hoping for? Is there a power relationship at play? What are the participants exchanging?

What we are seeing, already, is a maturing not necessarily of the TECHNOLOGY but of the PARTICIPANTS. Our capacity to work with and then transform the relationship we have with technology is accelerating (at least in pockets) – and those who are socially savvy on the web are engaging and challenging other participants. This is a trend that is not likely to end anytime soon.

The important thing to think about is not what the technology is doing, but which behaviours are these technologies enabling? Then you need to think about your business and whether there is a connection with your brands, opportunities for your products/marketing or a thin slice of innovation that you can apply to the way you do business. Platforms like Chatroulette may not not appear to have much value at first glance, but then neither did email 20 years ago. The challenge for us all is to find the value that lies underneath. It’s there. You just need to look below the surface.

Make Your Content CLEAN

We have conditioned ourselves to a certain style of thinking and a certain style of communication. We have overpopulated our collateral with jargon, strangled it with acronyms and leeched any remaining meaning from its thinning blood. Is there any wonder that we now struggle to deal with the immediacy and impact of social media? KeepContentCLEAN

Communications in the social world are a different beast entirely. Your blog posts, your tweets, your messages have to be full-blooded. There must be a pulse in the language and a beat to the message. This is storytelling of a new order or magnitude.

You have to think outside the content square. It means thinking and acting CLEAN:

Clever – Play to your audience’s intelligence. Don’t dumb it down. Amp it up. Create content that flatter’s your audience’s knowledge and understanding.

Layer – The advertising adage – tell them, tell them and tell them again – just doesn’t work. You need to layer meaning. Invite your audiences in. Wink at them slyly. Nod to their expertise. Appreciate their engagement. Remember they’re not here for you – you’re here for them.

Engage – Engage your audience as if you are entertaining them. Even the driest content can be compelling if you inject personality and passion into its creation.

Active – It sounds basic, but provide some form of activation. Can your blog post be easily shared? Is there a video that can be embedded? What about a book that can be downloaded and passed on?

Nervous – Does your content make you nervous? Do you get a small thrill when you write it? Do you worry that people will respond in a way that is unpredictable? If so, you may be on the right path. To produce content that is remarkable – you need to invest something in it. You need to have an opinion. The best content makes you a little nervous as you release it to the public.

Here is a great example from Marcus Brown. What’s he doing? Is he keeping it CLEAN? You be the judge.

Official Tweet Mime 2. Robert Scoble from Marcus Brown on Vimeo.

Attend the Tyranny of Change Workshop with Johnnie Moore

Here in Australia we speak of the “tyranny of distance” – the unmistakeable fact that we live thousands of kilometres from the cultures which spawned our multifaceted diasporas. And even in the age of international travel, the fact that you need to spend a day or two travelling to get to or from Australia serves to remind us that we are, as a country, a long way from everywhere.

Over the past 10 years or so, I have spent a great deal of time travelling TO other places – mostly for work. And while it can be interesting, hotels in Germany look pretty much the same as hotels in Shanghai. So when people from overseas offer to travel HERE, I welcome them with open arms.

In May, Matt Moore is hosting a workshop event on Innovation and Change. It features Johnnie Moore and Viv McWaters. They will be investigating the notion that “change is difficult and stressful, and that innovation is scarce and requires effortful management to succeed”. As Matt explains:

We’re going to explore how this is reflected in three tyrannies:

The tyranny of the explicit and the fear of not knowing.

The tyranny of excellence and the fear of not being good enough.

The tyranny of effort and the fear of failure.

We’re planning to explore these tyrannies and highlight some ways to bust them with a series of practical and impractical exercises. We’re going to reveal our own prejudices about facilitating change and innovation, which emphasize letting go of the effort to be spectacular in favour of being open to surprise and attentive to small ideas instead of chasing grandiose visions.

As a long term reader of Johnnie’s blog and an admirer of his work, I am particularly keen to participate in this workshop. And I only have to travel to Eveleigh. Will I see you there? Bookings and details are as follows:

Time: 09.30-16.30 May 13th 2010.

LocationAustralian Technology Park, Eveleigh, Sydney, NSW 1430.

Price: $150+GST for the day. Book here with Visa/Mastercard/PayPal.

You’re on Twitter, But Do You Blog?

Twitter appears to go from strength to strength, with user audiences continuing to grow. There are some obvious attractions to the platform:

  • Ease of use – it is easy and quick to setup and simple to actually use
  • Familiar format – we are used to SMS texting on our phones so are used to the 140 character format
  • Bite sized chunks – in an attention poor world, the bite sized chunk of information is not just necessary, but expected

But I wondered – how many people who use Twitter also have blogs? I didn’t expect it to be large. My discussions and casual conversations with people indicated that Twitter was preferred because it took a small amount of time to engage and create a substantial community – but blogging was seen as a much greater commitment.

So to get some clarity, I ran a quick survey via twtpoll, The results surprised me. At time of writing, almost 80% of respondents also have a blog. Interestingly, I got a response rate of 1% (which confirms again the 90-9-1 rule of social media participation).

But what do you think? Do the results surprise you? Why?

Stop and Think

You know what it is like. There are thousands of messages seeking your ever diminishing attention – email, twitter, advertising, friends, family, phone calls – you name it, it wants you. And the demands seem to mount ever higher.

Think about technology and social media. Think about the way the next new thing arrives and sweeps us along. Do you jump early? Do you sign up for the beta program so that you can brag to your friends on Facebook? Or do you wait … see what the early adopters say and determine where to spend your precious attention?

What’s your personal strategy?

To many people, the pursuit of the latest, shiny thing seems ludicrous. You can almost hear them thinking “don’t change what isn’t broke”. But it appears there is more than ego and self interest at play in our ongoing obsession with the new, new thing.

For those who are new to social media (or technology or even any other field of endeavour), coping with the constant change and innovation can be overwhelming. It presents as “noise” rather than signal”. But recent research in the field of cognitive fluency suggests that the very act of submitting ourselves to the unfamiliar has the effect of making the unfamiliar, familiar. Cognitive fluency is a measure of how easy it is for us to think about something. Where there is a “blockage” in our processing, we experience this as a “sense” of disfluency – we have to allocate our scarce cognitive resources to analyse and process the information. It triggers a sensory alarm which urges us to trust less.

The interesting aspect here is that cognitive fluency manifests largely as what we would call “gut instinct”. This means that almost any stimulus, from the shape of a face to the typography of a sign can cause us to intuitively TRUST or DISTRUST what we see/hear/feel.

The impact of truly understanding cognitive fluency (and its opposite) for marketers is profound. If we transfer a sense of “difficulty” to do with wording, typeface, design etc to a product, then this will impact our sense of the brand and its role (or potential) in our lives. Some DISFLUENCY may even be useful for some products or services where you really want people to think through and consider what’s on offer.

The interesting thing is that we can modify and work with cognitive fluency. We can employ marketing and communications techniques to transform the way that people “understand” our products ands services. We can work to change not just behaviour but also response and engagement.

All we need to do is stop and think.

Five Must-Read Posts from Last Week

There are a broad series of topics this week – each reminding us to find value in what we do (for ourselves, our friends and our businesses).

  1. What happens if you send an email and the person doesn’t respond within 24 hours? Do you follow up? On a recent trip to the UK, Chris Brogan was out of contact for less than a day and received a number of follow-up emails. As he points out – “none of us are performing surgery”. The beauty of the web is that it works asynchronously (or as Chris says, “anywhen”). Let’s keep it that way.
  2. Drew McLellan explains how social media has changed his world – he’s smarter, better connected, in demand – and a whole lot more. How has social media changed your world?
  3. Katie Chatfield shares her passion for visualisation and data – tell me and I’ll forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I’ll understand. There is a great presentation and a video included.
  4. Chris Jarvis writes about the three stages in the journey of a volunteer – explaining just how the volunteer-NFP relationship can go sour at any stage. Some great lessons here for anyone working with interns or volunteers.
  5. Think social media is a fad? Need some facts and thoughts to challenge your assumption – look no further than Mandi Bateman’s post – this is why you need good content. It’s not about your big idea – it’s about how your big idea spreads.