August 22, 2010
Room for Foursquares?
A few weeks ago, Shane Richmond published a post on The Telegraph's blog questioning the point of Foursquare. Having previously been searching for similar answers, I had suggested to him a presentation by US agency JESS3, on where location-based tools might change for the better. Shane very kindly credited us with the suggestion in his post as he searched for his answers (thanks, Shane!).
I have been playing around with location-based networks to further understand them and their relevance in business (if you stop by Omobono HQ, check in on both Foursquare and Gowalla!). There is a clear application for consumer facing brands but is it the same for business-to-business?
So, I put this question to you: what is the point of Foursquare, etc. and is there space for location-based networks in B2B's growing portfolio of digital tools?
August 21, 2010
Radio Silence: To 'Err' or Not to 'Err'...
The thing about talking on radio, and if you’ve ever done it you know, is that you spend the next 24 hours thinking about what you might have said.
For example, I was recently on BBC Radio 4's 'You and Yours' discussing the use of World Cup association with seemingly irrelevant marketing campaigns (you can read the whole story here). This is how it went, and how it should have played out.
Julian Worricker (presenter) – “You’ve said marketers are ‘a carbuncle on the sidecar of reality’, is that what you really think?”
Fran Brosan (yours truly) – “Err”
Fran Brosan (should have said) – “I don’t believe that specious connections to the World Cup help our industry build a professional image.” Or even ‘Yes, that was a bit poetic wasn’t it.” Anything but “Err”.
Julian Worricker (paraphrase) – “Do you think it’s a good thing to be doing Press Releases about the World Cup if you’re not associated with it?”
Fran Brosan – “It depends on what you’re trying to achieve – waffle, waffle – so it depends on what they are trying to achieve.”
Fran Brosan (should have delivered on brand message to emphasise Omobono’s expertise) –“Identifying what you are trying to achieve is really important. All good communications start with good planning which is a really important part of what we do for our clients at Omobono.”
Also completely forgot to tell them we were Marketing Agency of the Year (although they probably wouldn’t have said it).
At least I managed to get out a reasonable definition of marketing when he asked (phew).
Then just as you are beginning to get into your stride the interview ends.
So if you agree (or don’t) - especially with the carbuncle bit - let me have your comments. "Err" is fine.
August 20, 2010
A while ago, I was reading Management Today and was struck by their article ‘Crash Course in Communicating in Clear English’. Somehow something than enjoins you to ‘have a look at all your written communications’ seems a bit quaint in these days of digital communication and blogging your heart out.
Like most things MT, the tips stand up to scrutiny. One thing is missing however. In order to communicate something clearly you actually have to have something to say. Perhaps it’s worth remembering Jeremy Bullmore’s great adage 'The only time it’s worth advertising is when you’ve done something worth advertising’.
Far too many of us spend a lot of time rearranging words without thinking of what it is we are actually trying to communicate. Advertising was actually really good at this. You had to get your message out extremely succinctly. Since more and more forms of communication (PR, online) now allow you more and more space we’ve stopped valuing the finely honed word which actually carries a message.
Maybe we’re in good company though. Even TS Eliot had problems making words work. See Burnt Norton Verse V.
A Rose By Any Other...Logo
A few weeks ago, Communicate Magazine asked us of any visual identities we thought missed a mark. Our Creative Director, Chris, stepped forward and shared his thoughts on the London 2012 logo:
“It isn’t clear what the identity represents. That’s a big trick missed when the purpose of creating a visual identity is to represent a brand by evoking emotions.”
What do you think – how much weight does a logo hold in brand perception?
August 19, 2010
What Works for the Workers...
We had a discussion in the office around internal communications and the role digital can play in helping build staff awareness, engagement, enthusiasm and loyalty.
A handful of key (and very useful) ideas came of it but perhaps the most interesting identified the challenge of internal communications in the need to become a habit without becoming stale. Inconsistent messaging is almost as damaging as no messaging at all and battling the two-headed monster of Shrinking-Time-and-Attention-Span doesn’t help.
Internal comms teams, then, must create relevant, succinct and engaging communications for staff that are often so busy working hard they forget to eat lunch. So how do you get their attention and how do you keep it?
A few interesting case studies across a spectrum of approaches arose in our discussion. From Deloitte’s engaging Film Fest competition to a College's mandatory internal landing page and all the intranets software and web apps in-between (Chatter, LinkedIn groups, MOSS, etc...). Some shared experiences with internal comms that didn’t work as result of information overload, irrelevance, disinterest and/or miscommunuciation (the most recent and public being Vodafone).
August 18, 2010
I'll Tell You What I Want, What I Really, Really Want...
At the beginning of the 'recession' I was interviewed by BBC Radio 4's 'The World This Weekend' about what we wanted the Chancellor to do in his first recession budget. I said nothing.
I don't mean that I didn't say anything, I mean that I said could he please leave us alone. Instead they increased NI to a laughable amount which penalises anyone like us who wants to hire people and put up taxes for high earners (great, thanks for that).
Before the last election, I asked my local MP (Jonathan Djanogly, Conservative) what they will be doing for business if we all vote for them. Answer? Reducing red tape for start ups, helping people in Social Housing start businesses and stopping the government foreclosing businesses because they owe small amounts of back tax.
All of which is good no doubt, but none of which helps our business as it's been going 10 years, we work in an office and (sadly) our tax bill is rather higher than 48p.
So what I want is this:
1. The cost of employing people to go down. NI is a shocker and I'd rather it went in the pockets of our employees.
2. The ability to move around the UK easily (particularly on public transport).
3. Uniformly high quality skills from graduates. Am fed up with interviewing so called graduates who can't spell.
4. An improved technology infrastructure. Annoying still to be in some areas of the UK and not be able to get a mobile signal.
5. A more level playing field for public sector contracts involving far less timewasting on the PQQ level.
Be interested to hear what other people in the business really really want.
August 13, 2010
New Photo Books Now Out: Faces of London and Post Apartheid KidsI've been working on a series of Photo Books of various eclectic and wonderful places around the world - from American cities and cafes to people, places, designs and architecture in Europe, Africa and Central America. The first two are now out: Faces of London and Post Apartheid Kids. Below is a little background and a sneak peak of each.
Faces of London shows the surprises you get from walking through the streets of London. If you spend enough time people watching, you'll notice a wide range diversity of cultures who now call themselves Londoners -- from countless countries around the world.
Did you know that at the time of the Roman Invasion, London was called Londinium? In Saxon times, it was referred to as Lundenwic, and during the Kingdom of Alfred the Great, the city was known as Lundenberg? It is a city rich in history, diversity and miraculous transitions.
Today, London represents countless cultures from around the world. Regardless of what part of the city you're in, the experience is always breathtaking, energizing and stimulating. Ask someone a question and be challenge and inspired at the same time -- again and again. Faces of London shows these transitions. It shows London's diversity through beautiful, colorful shots of its people in a wide range of neighborhoods throughout the city. From east to west and north to south, join us on this colorful and artistic journey.
Below, you can get a sneak preview of Faces of London:
Post Apartheid Kids takes you on a journey through various parts of South Africa - both rural and urban - capturing wonderful and surprising moments of children in a post-Apartheid world.
Take a journey through a post-Apartheid South Africa and see it in the eyes of its children. It's a visual story of one child's face after another -- their smiles, their eyes, and their energy. Because of deeply-rooted pains of South Africa's complex past, we don't ask to forget, but we do ask for a harmonious life for the next generation.
We meander from Johannesburg, the Transvaal and Venda in the north through to Natal, Swaziland, the Orange Free State, the Highlands, the Cape and the beautiful and desolate Karoo.
Below, you can get a sneak preview of Post Apartheid Kids:
August 12, 2010
CiscoSPice: a new Old Spice for B2B?
Well, I put out a call to action for B2B to be inspired by the Old Spice Guy and Cisco answered.
Earlier this month, Cisco launched its own ‘spice’ campaign called #CiscoSPice (Cisco Service Provider Interactive Communications E-thingy…). Instead of bare-chested Isaiah Mustafa, they’ve pulled in Ted from Accounting (in what could be a very visual representation of consumer v. business perceptions) to create personal responses to Twitter users who engage with Cisco either via the #CiscoSPice hashtag or through one of three Twitter accounts (@CiscoSP360, @CiscoMobility, @CiscoSPVideo).
The campaign has been met with some judgement and claims that it is a rushed, ignorable and uninspired parody that either didn’t do enough differently or didn’t mock enough of the original. Whether or not any of this is true, I give credit to Cisco for being brave enough to try it. Even Cisco will admit that Ted might not stack up to Old Spice, but they still gave it a go. And, it's got people talking (it's not all bad, there's also praise for the campaign).
What do you think – can a B2B campaign make you giggle and still be effective?
July 26, 2010
Getting Creative with B2B
A few weeks ago, Marketing Magazine published an article exploring the challenges in B2B marketing today. It was a well-intentioned article with some valid points (agreed – relationships are the heart of B2B) but the gist of it expounded that B2B marketing just wasn’t creative enough.
Then I wrote a post on Omobono's blog (and shared it here) about the game-changing Old Spice campaign and the validity of a fish hitting a piñata in business-to-business.
In the same spirit, I thought it would be worth looking at three examples, both for recognition of and inspiration in the creative forces of B2B. And, I should note: none of these case studies are our own – this post is about the industry as whole.
First, 10 Downing Street. Taking a cue from Barack Obama’s groundbreaking campaign, the team at Number 10 have developed a digital campaign, including social media and mobile, that is engaging, informative and integrated across platforms. PM Cameron even worked with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg on Number 10’s newest initiative: The Treasury Spending Challenge.
Next up: Cisco. From the rapping intern to Pass the Ball, Cisco has earned a reputation for pushing the envelope to offer both an entertaining and enlightening digital experience. Their Pass the Ball initiative is an ‘idea warehouse’ for collaborative creativity. Each time a user submits, comments on or rates an idea (using Cisco’s WebEx service), Cisco commits to a donation to Teachers Without Boarders. Brilliant way to promote an online meeting service (of which there are many) and increase goodwill around the brand.
And, of course, there’s the ever-famous Will It Blend? campaign from BlendTec, suppliers of commercial blending equipment (whose customer list includes Nestle, Ocean Spray and Starbucks). Blending anything from marbles to an iPhone, and even a vuvuzela, BlendTec proved the quality and reliability of their product with incredible creativity that was almost instantly viral and has boosted their sales 5-fold.
Each of these campaigns is engaging, relevant and accessible without losing the plot of what the business is about (this is, afterall, business). Perhaps most importantly, each of these campaigns use digital to create a user experience – there’s value for you as a customer to connect with the brand in their digital space. Give value, get value.
That’s how we see it and, like these brands, that’s what we do. Do you?
Any other examples we should add to the list?
July 20, 2010
New Lessons from Old Spice
By now, I’m sure you’ve all at least heard of the Old Spice Guy campaign and the immense waves it made this week. It is one for the textbooks – a case study that will be reviewed, recounted and revisited for at least the next year, I’m sure. And with good reason. On every level, it was exemplary of what a digital campaign should be.
It answered all the social media ‘rules’:
- Be engaging
- Be integrated
- Be human
- Be transparent
- Influence the influencers
The campaign, which began with a string of hilarious print and TV ads, moved into digital using YouTube to broadcast personalised video responses to people talking about or to Old Spice across social networks (primarily Twitter, Facebook and YouTube but also across forums like Reddit and Yahoo! Answers). With YouTube as it’s very well-branded ‘homebase’, the campaign took the brand into other spaces with similar, but space-specific, creative treatments, behaviours and tone of voice.
The responses were instantly popular. Hilarious and off-beat, they very rarely spoke about the actual brand or product (unless, somehow, smacking a pinata with a dead fish is somewhere in the Old Spice brand guidelines). The brand became human. It wasn’t Old Spice the brand, it was the Old Spice Guy with (funny) stories. And it was responding personally to us, the users, the ‘dearest and closest internet friends’.
While the Old Spice Man created videos for the ‘average joe’ (and did he ever - he actually even proposed for someone), he also responded to users with high levels of activity, followers and authority (such as Digg founder Kevin Rose and celebritweeters like Alyssa Milano, Ashton Kutcher and Ellen Degeneres) which helped the campaign grow exponentially. It brought the level to an accessible user level and found celebrity involvement without the celebrity fee.
Old Spice started by sponsoring a tweet to solidify their space in Twitter’s Top Trends and the campaign was trending across Twitter and the web within hours of the initial tweet (something that would have happened organically, without the sponsored tweet – but still a safe move on Old Spice’s part).
Throughout the campaign, the agency behind it all – Wieden + Kennedy – brilliantly kept an open-door policy about the whole thing, offering up behind-the-scene shots and tell-all explanations of how the process was working.
The campaign is a simple idea, executed well. It hasn’t reinvented the wheel, but it has defined the way we use it.
What’s the big takeaway that B2B marketers can take from this? That thisn't just a B2C case study - it is a case study for B2B, too.
Before this, Old Spice was not an exciting brand. For as long as I have known it, it has been ‘the stuff my dad wears’ (and my Dad really does wear it which he will now claim makes him a trendsetter).
Campaigns like this are what give brands new traction. B2B has long had the reputation of being less fun and creative than the consumer side of our industry. We know that’s not true, so let’s get out the dead fish and started beating the piñata with it!
July 20, 2010 in America The Free, Arts & Creative Stuff, Entertainment/Media, In the News, On Branding, On Video, PR & Marketing, Social Media, United Kingdom, Web 2.0 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack