Updates from September, 2009 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • The digital citizen 3:32 pm on September 28, 2009 Permalink | Reply

    The future of Outdoor…. 

    lies in innovation. And I don’t mean technological advances here. Outdoor has a major advantage over all media: It can be relevant to all natural circumstances at all times.
    Sydney, Australia, was recently covered by an orange dust, a phainomenon residents and scientists had never seen before, causing, among other effects, sore eyes.
    Visine Dry Eye Relief saw the opportunity: they stenciled the Visine logo on pavements, shop windows and cars, promoting the product as the solution to the soreness caused by the mysterious orange dust:

  • The digital citizen 10:41 am on September 23, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Digital PR, , flickr, myspace, online advertising, ,   

    Social Media campaigns: Whose job is it? 

    A war has started in media land. Who is going to own the digital PR space?

    By digital PR I mean social media campaigns that incorporate the creation of content, organisation of events etc on social platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace or Flickr.

    Unlike most wars, this is a 3 way war, the parties being:

    • Traditional PR agencies
    • Digital departments of traditional media buying and planning agencies and
    • Digital creative agencies

    They all claim that this space belongs to them.

    PR agencies claim de facto rights, although they have, so far, failed to show exactly why they should be responsible for digital PR campaigns, other than they are PR agencies. Replicating offline campaign will not work with online and a better understanding of the power of social media is required, which I am not convinced that PR agencies have. Firstly an online press release will not work, it is not engaging enough, in fact it seems patronising within the social media environments, where dialogue is key. Secondly, when it comes to online, you need to be ready for the public’s reaction; this means that the responsibles for these campaign have got to be able to move swiftly towards any directions required by the users, being ready to respond to a great or a not that great public reaction. A great degree of proactiveness but a greater degree or reactiveness is requires when dealing with social media which I am not convinced the traditional PR agencies possess yet.

    Digital departments within media agencies were the first to test advertising, albeit display, on social media. They were the first to understand the importance of some sort of social media presence for their clients. There is no doubt that they have been great contributors to the growth of social media.

    However there is a clash between social media campaigns and what media agencies are employed to deliver to their clients, which is return on investment (ROI). The objective of dvertising is to sell. Social media should not and cannot be used as sales platforms. The results of advertising are scalable, social media are not.

    Also media agencies are strustured in such a way that the planning floors have got the last word on the budget splits. As it is rare to find planners with a sufficient understanding of social media, most of the money still go to TV and press.

    Finally, social media need a long term commitment, not budget coming out of a campaign PO. As long as social media is seeing as part of a campaign only, instead of a stand alone project which aims at engaging the brand with the consumers, clients will not be able to see their real potential.

    Having said that, some media agencies forsaw the growth of social media, creating relevant departments and employing passionate social media strategists. These agencies have got a good chance of winning this war, as long as their agencies understand that they cannot treat these departments the same way they treat their display planning and buying media teams.

    The last contenter in this war are digital creative agencies. Creative agencies need social media campaign ownership, as they predict that the need for display banners will decrease in the future, making digital PR a new source of income for them. However, there is a cultural clash between social media and creative agencies. Web designers tend to focus on how their creations look rather than engagement. Social media campaigns often do not require any creative at all. Creative agencies often fail to build websites that make the customer journey quicker and more pleasant; often they fail to reflect the brand’s culture with their creative executions. How can they be expected to draft social media strategies designed to listen to the consumer and to reflect the values and culture of the brand?

    If I could place a bet, I would put my money on full service digital agencies. There has been a lot of doubt on whether the niche digital agencies can survive at a time that clients consolidate their accounts to save money. Full service digital agencies can offer client teams that consist of creative, PR and media people that can work closely to each other to ensure the utmost consistency in their campaigns. They have a clearer picture of the effect of one medium on the other which puts them in a better position to draft future strategies.

    This is a great chance for the underdog to shine!

  • The digital citizen 11:09 pm on September 22, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: service, , strategy   

    Social media is King but it is not God 

    Have you ever thought that Dell, Whole Foods and all those great examples of social media campaign implementation have a very important thing in common: Great Customer Service?

    It takes time and patience for your social media campaign to drive the anticipated engagement with your audience, but only a moment for your bad, rude, uneducated customer service assistant to reap everything you so patiently sown.

    So before employing a social media guru or expert for your social media strategy, invest the necessary time and effort in improving your product and service. Once this is done, add a lot of honesty, proactivity and expertise and you are guaranteed that you have solid grounds to build a social profile that people will trust. And as you will learn in the process, no social media guru can engage better with your audience, as no one knows your product and your audience better than you do. People want to engage with the real you and not with a strategy.

    Here is a great presentation on why a social media strategy (alone) will not save you. Enjoy and comment.

  • The digital citizen 7:54 pm on September 19, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: online creative   

    Online Creative: Beauty is not enough 

    Recently I attended a series of meetings with online creative agencies to discuss creative executions for my upcoming campaigns. It occurred to me that the term “beautiful” to describe creative has come back to fashion. Phrases such as “beautifully showcasing the product”, “beautiful inspirational creative” etc were thrown into the conversation by the creative agency trendies making me wonder: when did beautiful become so important for creative? Are we still in 2001?

    Clearly we are not in 2001. But in the years since then online has changed, as online adverts lost their appeal and social media created a new demand among people, that demand being communication. However, some creative agencies have found themselves unprepared for this social revolution, promoting design over strategy, to make up for their lack of forward thinking.

    This school of creativity is also helped by the fact that not all clients are comfortable engaging in dialogue with the consumers, giving online display a new lease of life.

    So when online adverts are necessary, in order to make sure that they fulfill their role, they should answer the following questions:

    Does the creative represent the brand values? Is it is line with the brand vision?

    Does the creative showcase the product benefits ? In an honest and simple way?

    Why will the user want to interact with the creative?

    What will the user do after interacting with the creative?

    But remember: beautiful is subjective. It is an opinion, not a fact. Also is it decreasingly relevant nowdays and soon it won’t be relevant at all.

  • The digital citizen 5:35 pm on September 12, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Content, , Technorati   

    Original Content? 

    Thechnorati announced that it will start producing original content from next month.

    Technorati claims that this is a great opportunity for writers to get exposure, whilst the site is entering a new area of sharing content and of rewarding contributors for it.

    Many bloggers, new and experienced, will seize this opportunity and some great writers are soon to get the credit they deserve.

    But how original can this content realistically be? And if it is original, what impact could this move have on Technorati’s reputation?

    The answer to the first question is clear. Content cannot be fully original, because any site and especially one of the size of Technorati, has a social obligation and an obligation towards its users to respect the rules of journalism. Therefore, before published, the content will have to be checked not only for insulting or politically incorrect material but also for the the accuracy of any data given and sources quoted, for the site to preserve its credibility. Which brings me to my second questions.

    Robert Preston’s blog is my trusted source of information for business news, whereas for film reviews I choose Time Out. In the same sense, Technorati is a trusted source of information, learned opinion and analysis for its users. Their credibility was gained over the years by consistency, unbiased opinion and quality writing. Publishing original content on Technorati might have a negative impact on its credibility, with its users turning away from a site written by amateurs.

    As we are already seeing the impact of the revolution brought by social media, businesses (and Technorati is a business) should ask: where do we draw the line between quality and quantity? Between professional and amateur? Expert and having a interest?Business sustainable and unsustainable?

    But then…these are questions that only the public can answer, with its reaction to the content of the new contributors. And the public, albeit strict, is always fair.

  • The digital citizen 1:36 pm on September 6, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Business,   

    Business is people. Social media is people. Social media is business. 

    The man is a social animal, Aristotle said.

    For a business to flourish you need people. People to buy your product.

    Social media boomed because they offered an easy, fun and FREE way of communication. (They also offered freedom of speech)

    Businesses should engage with social media to be heard. This is where the people go. And they should do so democratically, by way of dialogue.

    We have entered the economy of social. Let the numbers speak:

  • The digital citizen 3:24 pm on September 4, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    A brand can’t be younger than a teenager. Before that it was a logo. 

    We are all talking about it. We want to build it, grow it, protect it, make others love it. What is a brand then?

    A brand is a the point where customer satisfaction becomes customer loyalty. Where the promise becomes an experience. The association of the experience with a product and not its alternative: Coca Cola drinkers do not compromise for Virgin Cola.

    For a name to become a brand, it takes time, patience but most of all consistency. Consistency in providing the public with a quality product or service. Consistency in delivering on promises. And as of lately, consistency in the communications strategies, via social media.

    Here is what I mean. We all understand why a good product is key. Furthermore the constant improvement and development of the product means that it remains capable to serve the needs of the society if targets. Innovative and practical products tend to gain the consumers’ trust earlier.

    Delivering on promises is an area that advertisers often fail. Although they recognise their products’ strengths and weaknesses, they choose to promote them advertising qualities that the products do not possess. This is detrimental practive for the brand and even more so now, that consumers admit to check reviews written by consumers, when buying  a product. Social media has also made it extremely easy to give an opinion a viral effect among the public. News, opinions and reviews travel faster than ever before and are deemed to travel even faster in the future, as a fastly increasing amount of people use their mobile phones to access the internet.

    Finally, consistency in communication. As more and more advertisers integrate social media in their campaigns, especially with the launch of a new range of products, how many of these social media campaigns live on and continue to engage in conversations with the members of the public who chose to engage with the brand or brand wannabe pas the campaign period? Not that many. Go on facebook and check it your self by typing in the search box then name of a brand. You will see that the last time the brand posted something on their fanpage was when there was a new product launch or a live campaign. With the end of the campaign, many brands suddently stop interacting with their fans, although, quite often, fans continue to interact with the brand.

    Becoming a brand requires a constant effort from the advertiser, because trust cannot be gained overnight. Understanding the consumer needs requires experience, evaluation and insight that often comes in a dear price.  Delivering a great product or service whilst staying ahead of competitors is harder in the age of dialogue that everything becomes old before the see the daylight.

    A brand can’t be younger than a teenager.It takes time to become a brand, to have a social value, to be part of a daily routine. Be patient, be consistent and one day you may even enter the English Dictionary. And this will be priceless!

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