Feedback is proud to join Worldwide Partners, Inc. in celebrating their 75th anniversary!
Bonus points: see if you can find Feedback’s own Jeff Thompson in the group photo! (A higher-res version resides here.)
Feedback is proud to join Worldwide Partners, Inc. in celebrating their 75th anniversary!
Bonus points: see if you can find Feedback’s own Jeff Thompson in the group photo! (A higher-res version resides here.)
Brand owners and service suppliers: sit up and take notice. ITV has just charted new territory by putting on a master class in how to use social media to build engagement in its programming and in doing so they go a long way to trashing sceptics’ arguments, which are fixated on the ROI debate.
ITV is the United Kingdom’s oldest independent TV station (est. 1955); in addition to buying and broadcasting shows, it also commissions its own material. In recent years ITV has been applauded for producing the highly acclaimed Downton Abbey and Britain’s Got Talent.
Eight weeks ago we were introduced to Broadchurch, a modern ‘whodunit’ drama based in a Dorset coastal village. The drama traces the hunt for the killer of schoolboy Danny Latimer, led by two detectives. Monday night TV will not be the same again. ITV drew in 9.2m+ viewers last night (33.5% of all viewers) – figures not seen since the nation was left asking ‘Who shot JR?’ It has been suggested that just 29 people knew how it would end and that cast members, crew and production teams had been kept in the dark. Its appeal has generated an estimated £15m in additional advertising revenue and has guaranteed the show international success. The seaside resort where it was filmed has been inundated with visitors flocking to enjoy its charm.
Feedback professionals are fans of the show and we applaud the broadcasters flawless use of social media to build engagement. ITV used social media to involve viewers in the story. The content released was carefully crafted to help build the story, and the timing of announcements helped contribute to the tension.
There are many lessons in this case study. The biggest though has to be that ITV understood the fit between the ‘whodunit’ format and social media. People were able to expand on theories, share filming locations and even place bets. The proximity of viewers to the show and its stars was closer than anything we have ever experienced insuring everyone’s investment had a payback.
If you didn’t see it, you had best check it out on ITV on demand or wait for it to come to your screens wherever you are and have your tablets/smartphones to hand so you too can participate.
Earlier this week we enjoyed listening into a fascinating web chat where Wendy Clark of Coca-Cola shared some of the principles that underpin their use of social media. To save you having to trawl through the six hour transcript we have summarized it and added a Feedback point of view.
Other key comments:
The way in which Coca-Cola uses social media is not confined to power brands, youth audiences or the soft drinks category. Everything Wendy was kind enough to share with us can be reapplied to just about any business, audience or category. These principles are simple but will be challenging to marketing organisations that have developed expertise around traditional marketing models. As Wendy points out though, the marketing environment has changed and with social at the center there are boundless opportunities to amplify, innovate and reinvent brands. Coca-Cola has created a culture that supports failure (so long as they learn from it) and in so doing has been one of the first in developing social media as a strategic tool that can improve ROI.
These approaches and the lessons therein are exactly how Feedback helps brands succeed through understanding the behaviours, differences and attitudes of your audiences, and helping your teams enhance engagement through strategic planning, ad testing, careful behavior monitoring and more… (And while we applaud Coke for their approach we think a dose of our human filter research would do way better than the 21% error rate of their machines.)
A short analysis of the Bonnaroo Lineup Announcement Megathon (B.L.A.M.)
I’m not sure if you felt it, but you might have detected a shockwave in the air as heads exploded at the thought of a reverse-procedure, modern-day telethon, held on the internet, using actual phones, conveying sensitive information the opposite direction while, of all people, Weird Al Yankovic pulled a list of musician’s names out of the butt of a paper mâché donkey. Okay, maybe that was all a lot to take in at once. But trust me, there was some method, some madness and actually some brilliance in the breaking down of true public relations and actual social media at work within an incredibly traditionally structured live event. But let me explain…
Bonnaroo Lineup Announcement Megathon (B.L.A.M.)
For a few weeks prior Bonnaroo had teased that they would announce this year’s lineup to their 12th annual four-day music and arts festival (held in June on farmland in central Tennessee, we’re fans) and telegraphed that comedian and song parody king Weird Al Yankovic would be a part of the big reveal. Bonnaroo was no stranger to unusual or gimmicky lineup announcements. In 2010 Bonnaroo unraveled the lineup slowly throughout a whole day via a cartoonish clock hosted on MySpace (of all places). But this year’s plan began to coalesce with the announcement of an hour-long internet TV-special on YouTube called B.L.A.M., hosted by Yankovic.
Nevermind whatever you think of Weird Al, who, with the help of other comedians like Chris Gethard and a vaudevillian lineup of stunts, live music (Portugal The Man), jokes, tubs of meat and more managed to at least captivate if not actually entertain during the special event. Some found Weird Al’s humor painfully annoying while others were at least charmed in the same way they were when Al used to do a takeover of MTV for a Saturday (or indeed his whole movie on a TV takeover, the classic UHF).
No, the real magic was in the clever and casual use of social and traditional – and not in the same staid “one promotes the other” cheap imitation of integration. In fact some of the ideas were so forehead-slappingly easy to pull off the real feat was that it all didn’t fall apart under the weight of what is a big news day for one of the bigger U.S. festivals.
After a montage of videos depicting what bands some people were hoping Bonnaroo to announce (which confused a few online who joined late into thinking these were the actual updates), B.L.A.M. hosted a mother-son duo who were chatted up and then given, presumably in the chat window below their private VOIP call, the names of the bands they could be the first to announce. This happened a few times during the event, putting a human face on the fans and allowing real surprise to show on the faces of fans also communicating a lineup to viewers.
But by far the most unique, and frankly brilliant in my opinion, move by Bonnaroo was this unusual reverse-telethon they hosted. After a number had flashed on the screen several times early on, viewers were encouraged to call in and talk (presumably) to one of eight phone operators, which included comedians such as Eugene Mirman). When calls did manage to get through the caller was given a name of a Bonnaroo artist in the lineup that had yet to be announced. That’s it. And yet, it’s brilliant. No embargo, no requirements to share. You could do whatever you wanted with that information – you could just be privately excited. You could just tell your friends by phone, email, Facebook, whatever. Or you could be the first person to tell the whole world an unrevealed nugget of news. If you wanted to reach the most people you’d use the #BLAM hashtag on Twitter – where you would no doubt be met with gaggles of new followers, hundreds of ReTweets. It was up to the caller. The truth would be revealed eventually whether you told anyone or not and so the onus was truly on the caller to make the most of the information. And the gem of news you were given was yours to do with as you please. It was a fantastic blend of the private hand-to-hand gossip world of social media and the opposite public desire to be a source to be recognized.
Love (and Information) Will Find a Way
Sure the whole, “let our audience announce it” bit has been done before, from white board photoshopped photos to even video clips – but Bonnaroo’s B.L.A.M. took it one crucial step further: they not only gave bits of info to fans directly but they gave them the freedom to use it too.
Timing was also on their side, theirs to mangle and play with like play-doh for the hour. No matter what happened, the Bonnaroo lineup would be revealed by 2pm. Countless media were no doubt ready to publish the list or at the very least would be sent it instantly. For an entire hour Bonnaroo (and Weird Al) could just screw with us. From a PR perspective the greatest weight was lifted with the concept that at 1:01pm EST if the whole thing unraveled it just didn’t matter. It didn’t matter if Paul McCartney was unveiled first in some ways (he wasn’t). It was a communications stress that lifted the moment the show started. It was play, it was fun, it was freeing. Yes, they wanted B.L.A.M. to be a success and be an entertaining hour but if the whole thing felt like a giant experimental theatre project that was perfectly okay. They had let the lunatics run the asylum and handle all the good china. In fact it was the best china Bonnaroo had: their precious and manically protected lineup before tickets would go on sale.
(At one point they had the internet live-vote through hashtag use to determine which envelope hidden in a poster would be open for the next reveal – one was Mumford and Sons, the other that Weird Al himself would be at Bonnaroo.)
The lineup content, or basic information in this case, was incredibly easy to separate and compartmentalize. Certainly some announcements were bigger than others, but not knowing how big a name was about to be revealed was part of the excitement (especially since, by many standards, Bonnaroo had managed to compile a relatively top-heavy lineup comprised of many other summer festival’s headliners and several unique ones all their own). There was more to B.L.A.M. than just reverse-telethons and you can watch the whole thing for yourself below.
Perhaps most refreshingly the B.L.A.M. stunt broke down the silos of not just “traditional” versus “new media” – but also the silos between channels. They had official channels that were all humming, but they didn’t try and make anyone use any channel they didn’t want to. With the exception of the live stream hosting exclusively on YouTube, fans of Bonnaroo could find out about the lineup a myriad of ways. The almost lackadaisical variety was nice to see – they weren’t getting worked up over how you revealed what whenever you wanted to. All control would still be theirs by the end. (Meanwhile I’m sure the entire endeavor would make many classically trained public relations professionals clutch their pearls.)
In the end, the important thing to take away from this isn’t how they utilized both channels and behavior to their advantage. No, it’s how they didn’t let a need for control get in the way of a number of smart ideas. Did everyone love every part? No. But as a series of tricks they managed to do more interesting things in 45 minutes than I’ve seen some brands do with an “integrated” strategy in an entire year.
Twitter and Facebook, as always, seems to steal the spotlight, but these two weren’t the only newsmakers this week. Here’s the rundown of some of the stories we watched this week.
No. Nope nope nope.
Sorry, Vine is interesting. It’s even “revolutionary” if you are a stop-motion animator. But in terms of adding to Twitter’s arsenal? It’s Sherlock to Mac OS8 – handy for a certain percentage but completely left alone otherwise. It’s not ideal for capturing anything as-it-happens (unless you happen to know it will only last 6 seconds or last long enough to plan it); it’s not great for just Gif making because of everything it DOESN’T do. And to me the most damning lack comes from trying to reinvent Tweet-video without allowing you to naturally use existing video. So if you take, say, 7 seconds of video in your regular camera, you can’t use that on Vine. You have to capture it natively on Vine.
So not only does Vine need to convince me (and the average consumer) to use Vine to capture video, it needs to convince me I should sacrifice capturing something in the moment with a normal camera in favor of a new interface, platform, etc. If you can’t plan out your moment, at least a little bit, Vine is an awkward waste. And if you CAN plan out your moment and take advantage of the hold-to-record artistic possibilities, then you will be thrilled as to what it can CREATE as an application… but as for an entire community all its own built around you? Um, good luck.
If Vine can 1) Allow editing of existing video and 2) Just let us record Vine(s?) inside the Twitter app than I feel like something can get started. Otherwise this is a fun test app. Maybe TwitterLabs is a thing and we can get excited about lots of things and innovations to come – or maybe they’re expecting way too much out of a tangential idea.
Well, that was fast!
Global contender Line enters the U.S. with the features of Facebook’s newly rejuvenated Messenger (complete with voice calls). Of course it also brings what Facebook DOESN’T have: stickers of bears “a shy balding man surrounded by little sparkles and flowers” – you can’t make this stuff up.
And Facebook didn’t just beat regular-old Google, but specifically Google Maps… which also shows how dominant THAT channel is (an important point for us as we beat the geolocation drum so loudly).
A slick tweak!
An important and helpful new measurement available to Facebook ad buyers!
A much deeper analysis than your typical “guru” might think about – but an important one. Look closer into that “Puppy” viral image you saw last week.
What can studying viral culture from 200 years ago tell us about viral culture online today? As it turns out, the impressions Cordell has formed studying a period so long ago are exactly those that would lead you to believe that Twogirlsandapuppy would have a chance at catching on, but would at the same time lead you to dramatically underestimate the velocity and degree to which it would do so. Nineteenth century viral culture is quite like today’s Internet culture. And then again, it’s something totally different.
This week’s news might have been dominated by Facebook’s two-days of announcements, but there’s plenty of other news to prove that other networks weren’t the only ones working on improvements.
Bringing MySpace back… Maybe more Walking Dead than full resurrection for now…more Justin than substance?
Facebook announces “Graph Search” which assumes that anyone outside of us social nerds truly understands the social graph concept.
“Web search is designed to take any open ended query and give you links that might have answers…Graph search is designed to take a precise query and give you an answer, not give you links that might provide the answer”
Is it a neat technical trick? Absolutely. But how practical is it? The majority of the examples Zuckerberg gave seemed like unusual questions for most people to casually wonder. EXCEPT for the potential impact on locations.
Here’s where it gets interesting… layer in the concept of “place” (which many of you know we love to think about here) and you start to see some cool spatial relationships that could be both powerful in influence (“man, everyone LOVES that restaurant”) and in practicality (planning for a vacation).
Facebook’s official news release on Graph Search
Gizmodo’s Kyle Wagner explains what Graph Search is
TechCrunch’s Colleen Taylor reports on Facebook’s Bing connection
Facebook’s Vadim Lavrusik suggests ways that journalists can use Graph Search
Wired’s Steven Levy tells the role that former Google stars played in Graph Search
Om Malik offers an explanation for how the new search engine works
Facebook in a way did make a phone – a software one. A powerful move for them that arguably will change things (sooner) than the Search announcement.
Meanwhile, Skype sends out a mass email reminding everyone what it does…
Combining tourism, check-ins, partnerships and groundhogs…
Feedback’s Danny Masting and Dean Browell, PhD have provided a discerning guest blog at Smart Insights discussing complacency in today’s social media marketing, both in the realm of insights and implementation:
Considering how fast social media came upon us, social media marketing has reached an interesting point in its evolution: complacency. Not in the media itself, nor in how users are behaving online, or in how quickly new spaces are popping up and evolving – but in how marketers are becoming comfortable in how they are using (and not using) social media.
This complacency is driven by marketers’ need to create short cuts in analysis and implementation without necessarily understanding the ground-level view of what it is they are analysing and implementing.
…We believe it’s important, as we face new social landscapes, that we do not immediately respond with complacency and a desire for efficiency and instead take the time to listen and seek out the right audiences.
So – please allow us to adjust the premise of this article… While they are looking for the snappy headline to polarize marketers, there’s a better way of approaching the very real issue they are laying out. They point out that only 25-30% of consumers they surveyed want engagement and that the other 70-75% just want coupons and deals – they use these stats to wag a finger at marketers for misunderstanding needs. But we would be remiss if we didn’t point out: Why not aim to have all of your “fans” be the 25-30%? When I look at a stat like that I would tell a brand with that kind of split that they should try and only attract those that fall into that 30%. The ACTUAL fans. This article presumes to paint all consumers as equal (they’re not) or at least that 75% of all consumers as coupon/deal-hungry zombies (absolutely not true). The real truth is, everyone’s fans are different. Every industry is different. Get to know the community you have, the one you want, then move to make those one and the same. But if you wake up and most of your “fans” are deal-zombies – you need to attract different fans — not risk alienating the super-fans by marginalizing their experience and input for junk mail engagement.
The next version of the Windows operating system will mark a drastic departure from fundamentals that Windows users have been familiar with since about 1995.
Windows 8 will give users a new core interface and design standards by including the Metro interface, a design spec initially deployed to Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 system, to its main screen. Instead of icons sitting on a desktop, applications purchased through Microsoft’s upcoming online store as well as some system-level programs will appear in an easily arrangeable array of tiles. It’s very reminiscent of the manner in which organization is done on a device like the iPad.
Windows 8 is a rather daunting advancement for PC users, and even to a reasonably experiences Windows 7 user, there might be a bit too much experimenting required for a firm grasp on the operating system is apparent. Tablet users might enjoy the gestures that Microsoft have developed for the system software, but there are no hints to what these operations are right out of the box, per se.
Ultimately, the interface has been redesigned for information efficiency, rethought for the always-connected nature of the PC, and reorganized to simplify common tasks using the software. When this modernized vision of Windows is combined with how app development has evolved, a significant new battleground emerges: the Windows 8 Start menu.
Seeing the Start menu in action makes the design decisions of the Metro interface clear: information is the new icon. A nice-looking sprite that represents a program does nothing but identify itself. Windows 8 allows for the entire tile space to be used to not only identify an application, but quickly convey a summary of relevant information.
Comparatively, a standard Apple motif allows for icons to have overlays with pretty universal numerical indicators which simply note how many notifications the app have for the user to review.
With its focus on displaying information, requests can be made to services like Facebook to get updates on the latest news in your feed directly on the tile itself, serving to alert the user that something has changed and needs the user’s attention–a call to action that entices the user to check his social responsibilities to respond to a message or notification on the service.
Social networking apps, in particular, might have to fight to do some heavy fighting and innovating to succeed with staying on the first page of the Start menu. Simply pulling details to publish on the tile from a timeline or a news feed might be standard fare, in the new Windows environment.
The operating system seems to be, at heart, designed for some manner of tablet deployment. Menus and toolbars in integral applications such as Internet Explorer and Mail applications are hidden in the top and bottom edges of the screen, requiring a swipe from the edge gesture to activate. Otherwise, a user might not know they were there.
For all of this, Windows 8 still has a ways to go, and many more improvements will be made to the system as time edges closer to its intended release date, most likely calendar Q3 2012.