How Advertising Works

When I studied theatre I loved producing what we then called a “multimedia” production – the type that literally included multiple media mixed in amongst performance.

Intellectually I was working with “intertextuality” and experimenting with the points of intersection between these different texts (this was back when we talked about everything being a “text” that was “read”). But emotionally I was experimenting with layered storytelling – presenting one point of view, accentuating or limiting that point of view through performance, voice and body – and then challenging all that with visuals – usually in the form of slides or sometimes video projection.

It was a lot of fun and hugely challenging.

And this is what good advertising does too. It tells stories on different levels. It allows us to connect these stories, flattering us in the process. It can say one thing and mean another – all the while giving us a sly wink and a nudge.

Unfortunately most advertising is one dimensional. It pokes at us. Interrupts us. Irritates. As does a lot of branded social media. It’s about time we saw some sophistication in the planning and strategy of advertising and social media (ideally together). It really is.

And don’t blame the dog, we all know who is responsible.

Kiva Lights Up the World with Microfinance

I’ve been a Kiva supporter for some time. I love the way that this microfinancing system allows you to effectively invest in the entrepreneurial dreams of those who live in a completely different world. It also allows you to choose where (and to whom) your investment flows. This means that you can choose to support education initiatives for women or to help establish a retail shop in a village in Nicaragua – and you can do so starting with $25.

When I first started with Kiva, I saw it as a donation. I never really expected to see this money returned. But 50 loans later, this has changed. You see, Kiva is not about charity – it’s about entrepreneurship. It’s about helping people change their lives … and supporting them to do so.

Kiva have field partners who provide supervision and support on the ground. They work to ensure the loan is successful. And repaid. In fact, the repayment rate for Kiva loans is 98.84%.

Take a look at the video below. It shows how, since 2005, more than $240 million in Kiva investments have been made to over 620,000 entrepreneurs. More than 80% of these are to women entrepreneurs. And as the video also shows, the vast majority of these are repaid – and can then be reinvested as you choose. Seriously, if you ever wanted to change the world – here’s a way to get started. Start with Kiva.

Intercontinental Ballistic Microfinance from Kiva Microfunds on Vimeo.

The YouTube Creator Playbook is Your New Best Friend

If you are like me, you will have done some experimentation with YouTube. Sometimes it works – and sometimes you have to delete your video before the world catches it and you become an unintentional (or unwitting) viral star!

But while there is no doubt that YouTube is an important part of your marketing mix – the question remains – how do you maximise the benefits and value of YouTube within your marketing framework? And how do you do so with limited (or no) experience in the production of video? Finally – what are the best practices that you can follow in order to not present yourself in a way that is a detriment to your brand?

If this sounds like you, then the YouTube Creator Playbook may well become your best friend. Check it out – and then send me a link to your most embarrassing video! (Oh and you may need to click the button to open the playbook in a new window – the resizing is not kind)

We’re All Talking, But Who Is Listening?

Social media can be amazing – bringing people together from all parts of the world, opening conversations and creating lasting relationships. Just look at Twitter – we can have thousands of followers and can also follow thousands back. We are told that there are 200 million tweets published per day. That’s a lot of talk.

But add this into Facebook where we can be “friends” with many that are close and also with many that we have not seen in years. There are over 750 million active users and we each have, on average 130 friends. We spend over 700 billion minutes per month on the platform with the big blue top bar. But with all this connection are we missing something?

Clearly, social media has a powerful impact on our lives. It can be used to bring us closer to people we care about, allowing us to connect, send messages, updates and so on. But while we may read these updates, that reading is often done in silence. Without acknowledgement. Occasionally we may “like” an update or retweet someone’s message. If pushed we may leave a comment on a blog. But even “participating” in social media can be a lonely business.

That’s why I am such an advocate of #coffeemornings. It’s a chance to leave the technology behind and to get up close and personal with those who we are slowly transforming from “Friends” to friends. You see, while I enjoy social media, I also see that it can also be a way to push people away – to keep others at a distance.

This morning I was shocked to hear of the death of Trey Pennington, well-known marketer and social media advocate. And while we had not met, the shock waves sped around the planet and hit hard. What could have happened? I wondered if it was a car accident. As Kris Colvin explains, it wasn’t. It was, however, a tragedy.

TreyPenningtonGoodbye Depression is a powerful illness. My friends taking the Black Dog Ride across Australia aim to raise awareness of depression and its impact. My own efforts with The Perfect Gift for a Man – a book and ebook with 30 stories about reinventing manhood – and Ehon Chan’s Soften the Fck Up both seek to amplify alternatives. And we have Movember starting up soon.

But while raising funds is important, we need to go beyond this too. We need to check in on our friends. Even the ones that seem fine. We need to make the time for a phone call or a coffee. Share the link to The Perfect Gift for a Man free ebook – or better yet, buy a copy for someone you love – after all, research shows us that sharing these stories has a significant impact on people.

I’m saddened to hear of Trey’s death. I’m sad for his family and friends. And I am sad that while we can be surrounded by thousands, we can still feel isolated and alone. It seems that we’re all talking – but please, do take time to listen. Carefully. Someone’s life could depend on it.

Rest in peace, Trey Pennington.

If you feel you aren’t coping – in Australia – you can Call Lifeline’s 24 hour crisis line on 13 11 14 for support or dial 000 if life is in danger.

Two Degrees for Africa #2degrees

We often talk about six degrees of separation – the idea that we are about six steps away from each other. But when tragedy strikes – serious tragedy – six degrees feels like way too far.

So what if rather than six degrees of separation we looked at two degrees of action? What impact would that have?

Take a look at the film below. This is not just tragic. In this day and age, it’s outrageous. The Two Degrees of Africa project aims to make an exponential impact. Very quickly.

My buddy, Jason Burrows asked 100 friends to invite 20 people to donate $25 to Save The Children. If this works, we’ll have over 42,000 people working together to raise more than $1 million. So what do you say? Can you make an exponential impact on the lives of kids in Africa? Sure you can. Start here.

Very Disturbing Footage of Drought in Africa from 2DegreesforAfrica on Vimeo.

Find the Gaps in Your Work Profile

I am always on the lookout for cool alternatives to the standard resume. Most, unfortunately, require a great deal of effort and creativity. And while the best of these really do showcase the skills of particular people (especially designers), what about non-designers? What about the design-challenged?

Well, may well be the answer.

After signing up for the beta test and receiving your invitation code, you can connect with LinkedIn and turn your resume into a funky infographic.

Interestingly for me, I realised quickly that my LinkedIn profile was not telling the whole story. There was an over balancing in some skills and an under-representation of others. At some stage I will need to go into LinkedIn to remedy this ( doesn’t update your LinkedIn profile – it just uses it as a source) – but it is amazing to get a new perspective on your experience and skill base. Check it out. Here’s mine – what do you think? How would you feel if someone sent this through to you as part of a job application?