Monday, December 14, 2009

Yaris brand Fail

The last 24 hours has been a Titanic disaster for the Toyota brand. Some say any publicity is good publicty but I say getting publically slammed (pun intended) in the media (The Age, Herald Sun, mX etc) cannot do much for one's branding.

In a Mumbrealla thread, Micha McDonald creator of the ad (below) defended the 'short film' saying it was not made for TV but I really don't think this is the point dude.

The fact is that the communication has Toyota branding on it. It has now been seen by over 20,000 people (as of today) on Youtube and hundreds of thousands more on news sites around the country / around the world. That's a lot of people pal. As Toyota is a family brand this is TOTALLY inappropriate. Social media is another platform just like a TV ad, magazines and billboards and there can be no case for going against brand values in any.

When it comes to social media execution, brands like with any other communictions channel have to abide by their branding style guide. This may have been a great execution for a nightclub but as a brand this turmoil is about as good for Toyota as "SRS airbags are to throw your head into."

Unfortunaetly for Micha, I think he would have been the one to be "on his back well before 11" this morning.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Are we living in a social media bubble?

This week we received the sad news that Australia's most well known purely social media strategy agency has shut its doors due to, well lets face it - a lack of business. I must admit I write this with an embarressing image of Carrie Bradshaw sitting on her bed by her laptap after just taking off her new Manolo Blahnicks. As I hear my own voice in my head however there is a very real question being asked for all of us social media believers...

"Are we living in a social media bubble?"

Are we, those in the industry, so consumed by our own tweeting, blogging and Facebooking that we think everyone else is and sees the same value of potential social media campaigns as we do? Yes we can all see the stats of Twitter, Facebook and blogger / wordpress increase by the month but then why can't the people who make the marketing budget decisions see the same value as we do? Are we deranged or just ahead of our time?

Not too disimilar to Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda sitting around a table trying to solve the problems of their world (bar the physical conversation and Cosmopolian), an interesting discussion unravelled up on Mumbrella with some of those involved believing that social media is an in-house function with others taking the position of social media needing to be integrated into a fully serviced agency, which is ultimately what has happened with The Population morphing into their sister agency C4.

Ultimately I don't think the Australian market is ready for a stand alone social media agency just yet. We need Australian case studies of successful campaigns before companies in their masses will be completely comfortable with throwing tens of thousands of dollars at a campaign. And unfortunaetly for The Population, at this stage the Australian market hasn't produced enough solid results to qualify the need for a specialist agency.

So are we living in a social media bubble? Perhaps Carrie. But I think the mass take up and continuous use of of web 2.0 via Twitter, Facebook, blogging etc is reason enough to believe the bubble is a legitimate marketing tool. That makes us ahead of our time :)

As I I have discussed in an earlier post it will take time for a social media industry to develop. And for this reason, only time will illustate the need for special social media agencies.




Monday, November 23, 2009

Say Cheese - Flash Mob on Bondi Beach

Almost an extention of my last post, I liked this flash mob a lot better! I don't know why, maybe it was more authentic, had more character, more genuine personality? It just didn't seem to try as hard...

Looks like I might be alone in thinking the Bondi flash mob was a failure though. And when I take my marketing hat off and see that the video as of today has received over 400,000 hits on YouTube, it is clearly a vial success, make no mistake.

But I still can't look past the fact that the Bondi Flip flash mob was clearly created for marketing purposes and yet out of the 400,000 people who viewed the video I reckon the only people who have walked away from it with brand awareness are those of us who read blogs and other marketing press. So whilst it is a great viral success story, it is still in my opinion a terrible failure from a marketing perspective.

But enjoy this...Very funny!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Is the Flip Flash Mob a successful marketing execution?

Now I love a flash mob. From a social perspective they're underground, they're thought provoking and they challenge social norms. And from a marketing perspective they're a communication medium that, if done correctly, can send your message to millions and millions of engaged consumers for a cost that would make a TVC producer cringe.

But if a brand is going to pay for a flash mob execution to be created, surely it is with the intention of brand exposure? You know, the reason why marketers are marketers. ie to get their brand in front of the right audience in order to sell more products. If so (and please correct me if I'm wrong or out of line here) then I don't understand why 'Flip' (which is a handy instrument for mobile videography that I have had first hand experience with) wouldn't capitalise on branding in the viral video below (thanks Mumbrella).

Am I the only one who thinks this is a wasted opportunity? Considering the hope is that this video will generate millions of views like the flash mobs underneath, it doesnt make sense to me that there is no branded pre roll or post roll to the video nor anyone in the crowd subtly demonstrating the use of the flip?



Anyone else agree or disagree?

If you can't get enough of flash mobs like me then see below for some of the most impressive examples I've seen (branded and non branded). Enjoy!

The T-Mobile Dance at Liverpool Station (15 million views) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQ3d3KigPQM

Trident Unwrapped, Beyonce, Piccadilly Circus (2 million views) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OLj5zphusLw

Frozen in Grand Central (19 million views) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jwMj3PJDxuo

Sound of Music Central Station Antwerp (2 million views) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7EYAUazLI9k

Michael Jackson Tributes (4 million views) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVJVRywgmYM&feature=fvw

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Kasabian's use of social media

Here is a fantastic showing of how some bands are making full use of the potential of social media.

This video was undoubtably created for viral pentration. It is a great example of what makes a good viral video. Very simply - an innovative and entertaining idea.

Since launching 6 days ago, the video has had nearly 200,000 views. What a great way to to help pick up the sales of their album'West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum'
which was released on June 9 this year..


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Case Study: Coles Group & Myer blog marketing campaign - Part 2 of 2


Yesterday I discussed the results of the Coles Group and Myer blog marketing campaign, and today I’d like to share our key learnings. These findings can be broken up into three main areas; engagement, positive associations with the brand and qualitative data.

Engagement – Bloggers really took to this campaign because it was a fun way they could compete with their fellow bloggers. It created a level of interaction where the brand was at the core and bloggers built content around it. Furthermore it created an environment with positive influence for the brand, negating negative sentiment. The key in creating a positive environment for brands is to allow bloggers to tell their brand story from their perspective. It doesn’t have to BE about the brand but the brand to be PART of the conversation.

This is also very different to a traditional competition based campaign Ie a person enters, someone wins, game over... With a blog competition each entry is a broadcast of your brand into the blogosphere as each entry is its own blog post with its own set of readers.

Blog campaigns create positive associations with the brand –As can be seen in the examples in the previous post, bloggers invest time to participate in the Brand’s campaigns. This very positive association with the brand flows into the bloggers’ community of readers.

Qualitative data – There was some incredible qualitative data that was generated for this campaign. One of the great things about a blog campaign is its ability to show how people are taking in your messages. We had comments such as:

“I thought $3.47 for two chicken breasts was a bargain. Then, I discovered chicken wings for $2.09 - - - Bewdy, Mate! And . . . I ended up getting more for my money, too.”

AND

“Luckily, Coles had some good specials, including these 98c crackers!! Bargain”

AND

“It was interesting to shop in a different supermarket. The lanes are different but most products sold are the same. Actually, the lanes are wider at Coles.”

In addition to this there were 260 Coles branded photos broadcast into the blogosphere, creating further positive associations. As these broadcasts are user generated brands are building up a certain trust with the brand which is invaluable. I can’t think of any other medium that can do this…?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Case Study: Coles Group & Myer blog marketing campaign - Part 1 of 2


I have come across some posts about the marketing impact of blogs (Check out "Case Study: Dosh Wallets - Blogger Outreach" from Julian Cole and "Woah, A Blogger Mentioned You" by Zac Martin) in the Australian market and thought it was an opportune time to share some of my own learnings on the topic.

For those who don't know, Nuffnang is a marketing blogging agency who match advertisers up with bloggers. Since November 2008 we have built a database of 1100 of Australia's biggest bloggers and work with them to develop engaging campaigns for Australian brands. Pleasantries aside, Nuffnang has recently completed its first round of campaigns so I can now subsequently…drum roll…….ting!... roll out some red carpet and provide some very interesting findings on how we have managed to run a successful blog marketing campaign. This post ended up being too long for a quick read during lunch or short gaze in between Outlook and powerpoint so I have decided to split it over 2 posts.

The brand we worked with for this campaign was Coles Group & Myer.

Objective:

To generate awareness and buzz for the Coles Group & Myer gift card within the blogosphere.

Strategy:

We sent out a $10 Coles Group & Myer gift card to our bloggers and asked them to take up one of two challenges. The winner of each challenge won a $100 gift card;

Challenge 1: Spend your $10 in the most creative way

Challenge 2: Spend your $10 in the most frugal way.

We promoted the competition on our own blog (which our bloggers frequently access to see what competitions we are running / products we have to give away) and via an EDM to our entire blogging network which at that stage in August was 882 (today we have over 1100).

Results:

We were not sure how the Australian blogosphere would react to such a campaign so it really was a toe in the water for us as well as Coles Group and Myer, but the client was pleasantly surprised, as we were. Note that these numbers do not take into account any sponsored posts (advertorials) which would normally be included in a campaign. Therefore for a larger campaign using our biggest bloggers, reach would be significantly higher.

Number of bloggers participated: 25

Total blog views: 44,512

Comments / reactions to these posts: 142

User generated photos: 260

Challenge 1 (most creative post) winner:

http://violetlebeaux.blogspot.com/2009/08/how-to-turn-10-into-about-700-nuffnang.html

Challenge 2 (most frugal post) winner:


http://www.nointrigue.com/blog/2009/08/31/a-three-course-meal-for-two-for-10/


This ends the first post, tomorrow I will discuss our key learnings from this campaign which will help us, and hopefully you, run a more successful blog marketing campaign in the future.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

telecommuncations, ill-communications

Dear Virgin broadband, you unhelpful, incompetent, uncaring outsourcing pricks,

I hope this email finds you well.

It was never a question of which broadband I would choose becasue I just love what Virgin stands for. I mean you're such a fun loving brand. It's really brands like yours that just make me want hug the stranger next to me. You love life and you really do live it to the fullest! And thanks for your letter after I signed up, it was so genuine.

Unfortunately due to an experience of late and to my great surprise my views have been somewhat tainted. It is so fucking unfortunate. I will now have to put aside these feelings of admiration and gratefulness (for just being you!) to tell you that whilst your boss is off buying tropical islands and formula 1 race teams, wearing wedding gowns and jumping out of aeroplanes he has unfortunately overlooked the importance of service.

Sir Rich, I am glad you are able to afford all these things and live such an amazingly adventurous lifestyle but perhaps you want to look at cutting out these business expenses rather than fucking outsource your customer service to "Cherry" in Banglafuckingdesh. She can't pronounce my surname and has never heard of the suburb I live in. Most importantly Sir Rich, whilst Cherry is such a pretty name, she, like the Virgin brand itself, gives off a great perception of approachability and serviceability, however she can't solve my fucking problem. Ya dig?

Rich, maybe it's time to save some money and sell Virgin Galactic (hundreds of millions of dollars to send businessmen into space?), purchase a call centre in a place called Australia (It's on earth) and get someone to call me on my phone to get my internet sorted. It's not a huge problem and I'm sure that if you really were using my recorded phone calls (any one of the 4 I have made in the last month) for "quality and training purposes" rather than legal reasons, you may actually be able to solve this little situation we have.

Rich, perhaps it's a good idea to take a leaf out of the books of Optus and Telstra in this country who have realised the importance of social media in speaking to their customers. Both have people sifting through Twitter on a HOURLY basis (not to mention blogs, Facebook, Myspace, Flickr, Wikipedia and the like) and addressing any customer queries and complaints. Unfortunately creating a Facebook page in 2007 and then not even acknowledging the scores and scores of complaints on your wall since does nothing for your customer service and even less for your brand.

Thank you for not even reading this.

Yours sincerly

David Krupp

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Hats off to Ed Hardy!

Ed Hardy has caught my eye lately due their very effective branding strategy of bad boy / bad girl celebrity outfitting.

The clothing brand, designed by legendary designer Christian Audigier who has bought the rights to the work of iconic tatoosit Don Ed Hardy has been splashing itself all over our TV screens and print media, literally on the backs of some of the most famous celebrity rebels Austalia as to offer.

I first noticed this strategy whilst watching Sam Newman wearing their t-shirts during the Street Talk segment on "The Footy Show" in Melbourne. Newman is one of Melbourne's favourite bad boys and his own brand fits the Ed Hardy brand to a tee (excuse the pun?)with his long list of public misdemeanours. I again noticed the very unsubtle Ed Hardy t-shirt on Australian Idol last night, worn by Suzi Quatro,America's bad girl of rock of the 70s and 80s.

After some further digging I have found many more examples of the great bad boy / bad girl celebrity branding of Ed Hardy with Madonna, Brittney, David Beckham, Lenny Kravitz and Paris Hilton all donning the conspicuous t-shirts.

This is a great example of the power of celebrities as opinion leaders. Their mass media exposure provides brands like Ed Hardy with significant and swift penetration into the marketplace.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

MySpace Recharge takes off!

In partnership with ANZ and Visa, MySpace has just released their pre-paid recharge card which is a very promising step forward for the brand.

The reloadable prepaid Visa card allows MySpace users (you have to have a profile to sign up for one) to create an account with up to $1000 (transfered via BPAY) and then use that credit to purchase online and at over 500,000 Visa prepaid merchant locations Australia wide and many more overseas. The smartest element of this innovation is the main reason why MySpace developed it in the first place - To allow users to purchase their phone credit via MySpace. Purcahse loyalty will then be rewarded with giveaways and MySpace exclusive offerings.

So users will now be able to log in to MySpace, chat with their friends via chat, send a message to their friends' inboxes, check out the latest music and then purchase their phone credit all in one session. Very convenient. I like the way MySpace is not just about social networking but focused on providing an experience for their users.

The card is a great initiative for MySpace which is still to launch the much hyped MySpace Music. No doubt the recharge card will also be a great hit when MySpace users are allowed to purchase their concert tickets and merchandise etc.

The recharge initiative is great for the MySpace brand as it is not only providing a good reason to join the site but it also provides more value for being a part of the site and MySpace community. It actually makes Facebook look completely one dimensional if you ask me. In addition to that it provides a potentially very solid extra venue stream for MySpace.

Kudos to Nick Love and the team on this one, long time coming but I'm sure it will be wiorth the wait.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Nielsen not good enough

For as long as I have known, I have used Nielsen as a tool to measure a website's traffic. Now with today's revelation that Nielsen's sample size numbers have increased from 3,500 to 7,000 it seems more clear than ever just how inaccurate the tracking of Australian uniques has been.

With the increase in the size of the panel all of a sudden Google's unique audience has grown by 16% to 12.4 million and Ninemsn has grown by 27% to 9.7 million visitors per month. Imagine the increase in traffic numbers if, god forbid, the sample size of Australian internet market was 20 million people?

All throughout the industry the data from Nielsen is taken with a grain of salt but we have no other way of measurement? Now I am no back end specialist, but surely being the greatest search engine in the world Google can provide a greater insight on unique visitors? This is the same company that has provided Google Maps, Google Docs and SEM!

Have we not reached a stage in the industry where we can demand greater accuracy of data?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

best practices for blog advertising


I often get asked what is important for a marketer to remember when it comes to advertising through blogs. With blog marketing becoming such a hot topic in marketing circles I thought I'd put together a list of lessons I've learned along the way...

They need to be part of the conversation.
In other words, their campaign needs to engage the blogging community, not talk at them. “Try our new Nokia phone” will not work. “Create a new tagline for our new Nokia phone” will. Your objective is to create buzz so you need to give bloggers and their audiences a reason to talk about you.

Don’t be afraid to let your hair down and have fun with bloggers and their readers. Blogging for the most part is light-hearted so a brand needs to get down on the same level as its audience and join the party! You wouldn’t drink Pepsi at a pub would you? So don’t be too straight and rigid when marketing to a blogging community or you will be ostracized.


Be prepared to give back to the community. In all blog advertising endeavors, a brand should look to give blog communities the opportunity to trial their products. You create chatter about your brand this way and therefore more buzz throughout the blogosphere.

There you have it! Blog 101...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Young Advertising Minds


Big thanks to Julian Cole for including the rants of young man from South Yarra on his international list of top Young Advertising Minds under the age of 27.

Appreciate the support over the last year Jules and once I have the time to work out how to slither my way up to the higher places on that list I most certainly will!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Brilliant move Gold Coast football club

Not a rant based on social media but one on marketing. This event is one of the greatest and most innovative sports marketing moves I have ever seen.

It has just been annouced in the Herald Sun that the new Gold Coast franchise have signed Rugby League player, Karmichael Hunt to the football club for 3 years. Hunt has played AFL football for a club in his youth and the Gold Coast believe he will add a dimension to their midfield.

What a coup. What a marketing move..

Gold Coast need a drawcard. They need someone with some credibility in the Queensland market to bring numbers to the Gold Coast games. He may not turn out to be the best player in the league but imagine the dollars he will bring through the gate with curious, non-AFL loving Queenslanders coming to check him out. This will ultimaetly (hopefully) get Queenslanders hooked on the game and build the market up there.

I think this is a very impresssive move by the Gold Coast...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Just who's blogging in Australia?


The blogosphere in Australia has been growing exponentially for the last 5 - 10 years. But only now is a clearer picture of the demographics of those who blog being documented and expressed to the mainstream market. And therefore it is only now that advertisers are being presented with metrics that they can sell in to clients and finally take advantage of this lucrative market.

In Australia according to the Nuffnang database (the only guage of Australian blogs), bloggers are 78% female. This is great news for advertisers especially considering that 70% of the biggest bloggers (ie those who drive the majority of the traffic) are over the age of 25. In other words those who are the most prolifferic bloggers in this country are grocery buyers.

Throw into the mix that these guys are influential and you have a great equation for advertising effectiveness. BlogHer Survey and Compass Partners, 2008 published that over 40% of women consider blogs to be reliable sources of advice and information and 50% say blogs have influenced their purchasing decisions.

As this database grows demographics are certain to change. And of course there are many big bloggers out there that we haven't managed to reach. But for now at least the puzzle is starting to form a bit of a picture.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Reviving Myspace


According to Hitwise General Manager Bill Tancer, in 2006, MySpace used to provide over 35% of worldwide traffic to websites in the Entertainment-Multimedia category. Ultimately, its contribution to music and band websites specifically was over 10% in 2007, a reflection of its strength at the time.

New figures now show that MySpace has slipped down some pretty slippery slopes. In just three years that 35% contribution has slipped to just 9.4% (Thanks Mashable). Sure just a % figure and doesn't reflect true traffic numbers (ie the pool of websites available has grown), but the diminshing of this figure together with declinging uniques (down to 1.7 million in Australia this month) still shows that the brand is losing its grip on it's value in the entertainment world.

That said, MySpace has a very exciting launch in September of this year which I think will provide some much needed, and much deserved (hey they were the first) street cred. MySpace Music will provide users with a one-stop shop for streaming music, purchasing concert tickets and merchandise, checking out band information and tour dates and more! This will hopefully reposition MS as the cool brand that for many doesn't exist anymore. It should also help drive more traffic to bands' websites and thus help it climb back to the top of the online entertainment world once again, where it belongs.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Michael Jackson Flashmob

What a tribute!

video

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The idea is still king!

This fantastic viral video came across my desk today. So far it has gained over 500,000 hits on YouTube (not bad for an unknown band)with many more surely still to come. We can learn a lot from this execution in terms of how to run a sucessful social media campaign. Some lessons below:

1 - Be unique in your execution. Don't just do whatever everyone else is doing. You won't get much cut through this way.

2 - Create a campaign that will generate some buzz within your social community. One of social media's greatest strengths is its ability to virally get you in front of an expodential amount of people.

3 - The idea is still king. No matter how far the world of marketing has come, this video still shows that great campaigns are the result of great ideas.

Now check this out!

video

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Why advertising through blogs will work!


So you would have noticed that in the last week I have finally put some Nuffnang ads on my blog. No surprises there considering my role at Nuffnang is to help brands integrate into Australian blogs. The question is, can this platform work for advertisers?

Advertising on blogs throws up some pertinent questions. Does advertising contradict what blogs are about - honest views and unbiased opinions? Will people lose faith in a blog with a sponsored post the same way they might lose faith in a musician the minute they sell their song to an Sportsgirl commercial (I used to love you Lily..)? Ultimately if people do lose faith in a blog, the advertising will not be effective and therefore there is no point in advertising there in the first place. On the other hand if blog advertising does work then it becomes a goldmine for advertisers, giving them the opportunity to reach the influencers, those who can spread the good word.

Following are three reasons why the blog advertising model will work:

Sponsored posts are highlighted
- At Nuffnang we make it mandatory for bloggers to section off sponsored posts and highlight that they have been sponsored for writing about that product. This protects their integrity whilst at the same time allows brands to reach those important eyeballs.

We encourage honesty
- If a blogger thinks a product is poor, he or she will say it's poor. Yes we also ask them to find and blog about the positives (so money is not wasted) but by giving bad feedback as well as good, their personal reputation is preserved which allows the continuity of the advertising's effectiveness.

The importance of giving something back
- Blogs want readers, readers love to get something for free and brands want to reach the right people. So if a nappies brand runs a competition to giveaway nappies to those readers of parenting blogs who tell a story of the most embarrassing time their child pooped the poo, the brand is reaching the right audience and starting the conversation. Tick. The blogger is giving something away which means readers will be more likely to return. Nice. And the readers are winning nappies and probably don't even realise that they are being advertised to - Why? Because it is relevant!

It will take some time to learn how the Australian market responds to brand integration through blogs. But if our bloggers in Singapore, Malaysia and The Philippines can be any benchmark, Australia might also have some full time bloggers earning some very big money in the very near future!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I'm just a small business, how can social media increase sales?"



Can small business increase sales from social media? How? What is the process? If you follow the premise that any business will increase sales if they increase traffic to their store then I would argue the answer is a resounding YES.

The following is a process that a small business needs to follow in order to ensure they build traffic to their stores:

1 – Build a community

As the world of social media now expands to MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr etc businesses need to set up a community across all sites. You’re not going to necessarily catch a fish if you only fish at St Kilda pier but if you make sure you go to Sandringham pier one week end and then go out on a boat another week end you’re increasing your chances of success. So step one, make sure you have a presence across all sites and incentivize members to join by promoting it on your website and offline.

2 – Keep users engaged

Through these communities promote content to keep your users engaged. Make sure this content is consistent with your brand image. Ie If you sell coffee there is no point in putting a funny video up about Barack Obama. Unless he is spilling coffee all over Michelle perhaps?

3 – Create offers to get users in store

Right so your consumers know who you are. Tick. They get a funny video about your brand frequently. Check. So they like you. Bloody fantastic. But now you just have to create an offer that will drive traffic. This is the most important step and this just comes down to simple ideas... "The third person to come in on Monday and say “I love your coffee” gets it for free. Or even is it’s a simple awareness campaign,” come in today for 15% off shorts and T-shirts.” As long as the offer is worthy of getting your community in store the strategy will work.

4 – Keep the conversation going

Don’t forget about your customers once they leave. Evaluation is key as you have to know how you can do things better to create more sales in the future. Hey, if you tweet about us and tell us how your coffee was or how the sales people treated you in store you can get further discounts when you’re in store next. Brand advocates are the people who will keep spreading the important word so make sure they are out there and happy!

Happy socializing!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Viral success = ...breasts?

So what makes a good viral? One that has entertainment value, what that isn't longer than about a minute, one where the product that is being advertisertised is clear to the person watching?

Ahhhhh. Well I guess this one ticks all boxes!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MX6QBOcSur0

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Are you a 'follower', 'a friend' ..or neither?

Why do we have friends or followers in the online world? If someone called me my friend and I didn’t even know what they looked like I’d be very worried and if someone started following me and I didn’t know what they looked like I’d be even more concerned! But in today’s online world this is perfectly normal..

I am quite ashamed to admit that I have over 600 friends on Facebook, 100 friends on MySpace and over 100 followers on Twitter. And out of all these contacts I’d say I probably only see or speak to about 2% on a monthly basis... yet in today's world this is not abnormal and for today's generation quite standard. But how does today's marketer take advantage of this?

For marketers and businesses social media friends and followers has created an entirely new chapter in their history. The availability of these ‘friends’ and ‘followers’ means that brands today can reach out to more people, more efficiently and in more cost effectively way. In addition, these friends also form a free audience sample which can be used for a very cheap research project!

A genuine goldmine yes they are but marketing through social media has to follow some very important guidelines:

1 - Don't be too aggressive

Marketers need to remember that these networks are very personal for many users and as a result campaigns cannot shadow their consumers’ every move. Marketers need to give them space and let consumers find them. Build an offer and if it’s good enough, “they will come.” One can do a lot of damage to their brand if they are too aggressive. As they say it can take a many years to build a reputation, and one minute to ruin it.

2 - Give so that they may grow

People naturally need a reason to give up their time. As a result marketers need to provide an incentive for returning friendship. "Come check out our sale", "mention today's key word and get a further 10% off" or "sign up for our newsletter and get a free sample of our product." The day a brand's community starts giving something back to their friends and followers is the same day the same friends and followers create a greater affinity with your brand and hopefully when you will start seeing increases in your sales.

3 - Use your social media for feedback about your brand / product

A an open forum where cosumers can give you feedback about product. Don't you have to pay big $$$ for that? Not in this day and age! Social media tools give brands the opportunity to ask questions and get answers that only research companies have been able to retrieve for you in the past. So why not use social media just for that reason? One will need to tie it in with a promotion eg 20% off for all those tell us their most favourite and least favourite flavour. But in the social world everyone love giving an opinion so all you have to do is ask!

If anyone else has any tips for best using a friendship base let me know!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The lifespan of a social network

Friendster is gone, MySpace is (gulp) going and Bebo was never really anything in this country. But are the past and current demise of these social networks a trend that will continue? Do social networks have a lifespan? Can a social network expire? Or is the market now maturing in such a way that social networks now know what their users want and as a result are now paving the way for a long and sustainable relationship?

Below is a trend (Nielsen Net Ratings June 2009) of the growth and decline of some of Australia’s biggest social networks within the last 13 months. Both MySpace and Bebo have seen consistent declines since May 2008 (Note Friendster, considered one of the original social networks does not even post a high enough unique monthly audience to a register a reading on Nielsen Netratings) whilst Facebook, Twitter and even a marginally, LinkedIn, have all continued to grow. But why is this?




In my opinion Facebook understands their market better than MySpace and Bebo ever did, LinkedIn in the same way and Twitter is at this stage still an unknown. The reason for Facebook’s success is because they know who it’s users really are. And who is that? Well it’s people who are really just interested in social networking, that’s it, there is nothing complicated about it. As such, their interface and functionality is simple enough for the internet novice to use with ease. That’s why it works and that’s why it has no expiry date. LinkedIn in the same way knows who it’s users are. They are businessmen and women. And again, as a result, their product caters for them and they don’t claim to be in competition with anyone because quite simply no-one really does it better. And then there is twitter. The baby of the bunch. The baby whose mother says it can be anything it wants to be. I think what will happen with Twitter is very similar to what has happened with LinkedIn. It will become its own market and cater for a very specific market of tech inclined users who want to share the love about interesting URLs they have found and a few people who want to share what coffee they are drinking. Not to mention those who want to market their businesses (Thanks to Martyn - How could I forget!)Once the media hype dies down it will settle in growth but never reach the heights of Facebook or MySpace. Why? Because updating your status is just one of the functions of MySpace and Facebook. Why go to another network that offers just one of the elements that you are currently enjoying on another?

With the industry only being in existence for 4 years it is probably too early to say with certainty whether social networks have an expiry date or not. But now that many networks are catering for a specific market and they know exactly what their market wants, the early networks may just be squeezed out.

Monday, June 8, 2009

The future of blogging


Today is my first day at Nuffnang (http://www.nuffnang.com.au/) - The world's only marketing blogging agency.


For the last two years the only potential channel of marketing and advertising has been within social networks such as MySpace, Facebook and now Twitter. But the network of Nuffnang blogs now means marketers have the ability to integrate into the blogs of some of Australia's biggest bloggers. It really is a new frontier.


Last night I sat down to watch a pirated DVD version of 'State of Play,' the recently released film wth Ben Affleck and Russell Crowe and it got me thinking. Besides hearing the chuckles and claps of the audience throughout, what else interested me was the attention brought to blogging throughout the film. In the film there was a subtle theme of the shift in readership from old media such as newspapers to new media such such as blogs. What excited me was the fact that blogging has now reached a level of global interest where is being included in big Hollywood blockbusters! With attention such as this (and much much more still to come), surely blogging can now be considered an effective way for brands to advertise?


It's no H1N1 but the uptake of blogging in this country has been massive and the future is bright. With over 1,000,000 national blog views every month blogging is no longer just causing ripples in the US, UK and Asian markets. And what is the future of blogging? Well it can only be up. Especially with generation Y in love with talking about themselves and giving their opinions, companies like Nuffnang are going to thrive.


Social media is now slowly becoming the industry it promises to be...

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Is social media an industry or just a channel?


Arguments have been raging in the past 3 or 4 months about whether or not social media is an industry ready to explode or just a nifty new media channel that marketers can make the most of free of charge.


To be able to make such an analysis its imperative to first define the terms 'industry' and 'communication channel'. An 'industry' can be broken down to mean a collection of like enterprises in a particular field that exist due to the generation of revenue whilst on the other hand a communication channel fits within an industry to promote a brand's marketing activities.


On first thought it would seem obvious that by the definition above social media acts only as a communication channel as it is simply a promotional tool. It does not seem that we are not at a stage yet where we have a vast collection of like enterprises and definately not at a stage where many are making much revenue let's be honest!


However any industry needs time to develop.


One can't forget that in the early days of the internet 10 year + ago, all businesses had was a website. There was no google to drive traffic to a website, there was now adsense to generate revenue for a website owner and no-one had heard of the term 'SEO.' Moreover there was no display advertising, no websites where yo could buy, sell or trade, nowhere you could buy a concert ticket over and certainly no such word as 'the digital economy.' Therefore an industry can devleop only with the progression of technology and the innovation of businesses. Hey, was there an automobile industry when Henry Ford first bought out a machine that can transport people at 10km per hr? Absolutely not.


So it is with time that industry grows and can generate revenue for itself. At this stage social media can only be called a communication channel becasue at the moment that's all a marketer can really do with it.. But in the very fast moving world of the digital economy it surely won't be long now before social media businesses are born and the genuis of these businesses transform the channel into a money making machine.


I'm ready to jump on!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

How can marketers make the most out of social media platforms?



So we are now living in an age where everyone is talking about the recession. How will the recession affect you? How will you affect the recession? How will we get through this recession? It seems that there is only one criteria for a PR agency these days to get their word out. Stick the 'R' word in your sell and you will be reading about your company in the following day's news!

With this is mind and marketers jobs' on the line, a new era of marketing thought is beginning to emerge with vigor. Its all about marketing your offering cheaply and effectively throughout what has been the print media's love child of the last 24 months - social media networks. There is no doubt that Social media platforms are the future of marketing your brand online but at this stage of the social media prodcut life cycle marketers are still scratching their heads and waiting for someone to take the lead.

At this stage MySpace is clearly the leader of brand integration whilst the others are still searchng for a unique advertising offering. For two years now MySpace have been penetrating the lives of their users via display media and page sponsorships. And now as pioneers of the industry they are giving brands the opportunity to integrate themselves in online video content. This ladies and gentlemen is the new frontier. With 2008's MySpace Road Tour already under their belts MySpace have now just launched the latest video series, Kiss or Miss (www.myspace.com/kissormiss) where brands can cheaply indulge in the quirky, flirtacious and fun environment of the dating series in a way never seen before. With the ability of product placement and further branded content pieces housed on the home page of the series, brands can now effortlessly and subliminally insert their brands into the subconsciousness of their target market.

The beauty with these integrations is that the brands are helping to create engaging and entertaining content which is the one of the key reasons why users log on to a social network in the first place. Another advantage of alliging with content such as this is that the content piece ingrains itself into the world wide web and will never be deleted, thus it has potential to be passed on virally until the day the internet is superceded by something with far greater reach. Dear God.

Internet users are driven to social networks as they provide an online world which is now becoming very realistic one to those who are addicted users. As this trend continues marketers have to find themself playing in this environment in a way that will encourage viral interaction and thus encouragement of further social networking. It ticks all the boxes for a marketer during these times. Its cheap, it's innovative and best of all - it's 100% measurable. These 3 criterion just may keep more marketers in the job in the troubled times ahead.