Archive for June, 2011
June 30th, 2011
Jemima Kiss (pronounced Kish) nailed the central issue with social media on Radio 4 today. Thereâ€™s no visible link online. And that reinforces what she said. Jemima has had a baby and that has changed her world, pretty much in the same that it does for every woman who has created new life.
She is making sure that she and her family will be free of the online imperative that insists, demands that we are connected at every moment.
We barely live in this individuated, atomised, bazaar-infatuated online world. We struggle at every moment to grab enough breath to get through to the next moment. We are always connected by choice, by device, driven by the next floating idea.
There are no links by Jemima to her views online but we know from her last Guardian post and todayâ€™s Radio 4 interview that she has fundamentally changed her views, or at least had them crystallised by the birth of her precious child.
Meanwhile, we have to engage at every moment. And thereâ€™s never a long moment to pause, reflect and then to respond or hold the idea. People will close down on this skank world without rules because at our root we need guides, formal and negotiable to work our way through.
The social media world where everything is open, and open to commercial bent, has gone. Facebook and every other uber-distributor of peopleâ€™s information will learn this lesson.
Their arrogance and extraordinary belief that they can make money, without negotiation, from associating and linking with individual, precious information that people freely and innocently share has a very short shelf-life
Every brand should know that there is an on-off switch, and an ethical way for working with the people they wish to engage with, and in the end the consumers they make money from.
Going close and being part of something real is a tough point for brands. Their natural arrogance prevents this type of association; rather they would want to run to dream and make the sale without any type of deep connection with the people who buy and buy into their dissonance.
But they will have to learn about this strange new terrain. Exactly at the point that brands have seen the point of social media, it has floated and reformed.
Being close is very good.
June 29th, 2011
(Glastonbury word cloud by Brandwatch)
It seems Beyonce’s appearance, which divided opinion at the event, was the most mentioned of all acts, with 19,969 out of the total 169,000 Glastonbury mentions in total.
Unsurprisingly mud was mentioned 3602 times, but the heatwave that hit on Sunday, and resulting mass Sunburn, didn’t seem to gather as much conversation. Although I promise you it was a strong topic for the attendees, as was the appearance (and mass cheering/applause) of the Sun on Saturday morning, after Friday’s rain.
This might also explain positive sentiment growing stronger throughout the event, as the weather improved. Overall it was 47% positive 3% negative and 50% neutral.
According to the figures, the only brand that made a real impact was Orange, with its festival app and chill and charge zones, which constantly attracted queues for all those unlucky enough not to have their car parked nearby and recharge their phones daily…(smug smile).
(Glastonbury bar chart by Brandwatch)
Personally I used Twitter and Facebook to see who was going to be making those special guest appearances, as well as the general feedback on acts throughout the event, of which U2 seemed to get the most abuse, both at the event and online.
Video clip/image sharing was also of course massively popular, and although my connection dropped off at some points across the festival site, generally I was able to stay connected throughout.
So was Beyonce that good, and did the headliners deliver? To be honest i don’t know, as I chose to watch the Queens of the Stone Age instead of Beyonce, Chemical Brothers instead of ColdPlay, and Primal Scream instead of U2, and they more than delivered.
For further information on the social conversation around Glastonbury 2011, see:
June 29th, 2011
Google+ has just been announced and has been the talk of the town ever since, and rightly so, but we are no nearer to actually finding out if it’s any good. We just hope it won’t follow in the footsteps of Google’s complex Wave application which is no longer in development.
However, something else has also been launched by Google, which could be just as important. Swiffy from Google labs, converts Flash SWF files to HTML5, allowing you to reuse Flash content on devices without a Flash player. Read the FAQ here.
According to Marcel Gordon, Swiffy’s product manager, the project was started by an engineering intern named Pieter Senster, who wanted to explore how to display Flash ads on devices like the iPhone and iPad, which don’t support Flash. “Pieter made such great progress that Google hired him full time and formed a team to work on the project.”
June 23rd, 2011
Apparently, thereâ€™s a global sporting event happening in the Year of Our Lord after 2011 â€“ The Unmentionables – centred on the capital city of an island off the coast of continental Europe. Thatâ€™s about as much I can share with you because the organisers of this global sporting event have grabbed rights to every essential word and expression around it â€“ location, names, dates . . .
Legally, I cannot use these words or expressions because that might create an association between The Unmentionables and me and/or Liberate Media in your minds. And that association has not been paid for, and so therefore is to be fiercely discouraged by legal means.
Basically, Iâ€™m nicked if I use any of these words. The organisers of The Unmentionables have already shown how fierce they can be by taking legal action against people and businesses in the capital city of this small island off the coast of continental Europe.
The organisers do not want us to talk about The Unmentionables. They want to ensure that the brands that have paid astronomical sums to be legally associated with this global sporting event are protected.
We know who these sponsors are but Iâ€™d not want to risk the wrath of the organisers of The Unmentionables by using their names in this post. I also would not want to risk death by lawyers by making the cardinal mistake of using any links. So I wonâ€™t.
Contrast this approach to sporting event delivery with that of the Tour de France, which starts in Liege in ten daysâ€™ time (Saturday, July 2nd 2011). I can use any terms I wish to describe this annual event â€“ the organisers encourage it.
And why wouldnâ€™t they? It makes good business sense for Le Tour and for their sponsors, who I can freely link to, whenever I want.
Le Tour is by some margin, the best sporting event in the calendar. For three weeks in July, professionals at the top of their game fight for three main prizes over terrain that is not for the faint-hearted. At stake are the jerseys that identify the very best cyclists of our generation: the yellow, the green and the King of the Mountains.
For the record, neither me nor Liberate Media have any association with Le Tour. But I did not need to say that because Le Tour organisers understand the benefit of free thought around their excellent brand. They also know that their sponsors will gain from this freedom.
The Unmentionables, on the other hand, are now defined by an ultra-conservative, negative and miserable approach that shuts down any free thinking and sharing around the sporting event. In my mind, the brands associated with this event are fatally tainted by this approach.
But I know that this yearâ€™s Tour de France will be thrilling, packed with drama and played out openly, honestly in front of a global audience. If I was a brand, I would die to be associated with Le Tour.
As for The Unmentionables, the organisers have told me to lose interest or be sued. Given these conditions, Iâ€™m more than happy to concur.
Le Tour is never an anti-climax. You will be engaged, thrilled and won over to Le Tour and its sponsors by its extraordinary narrative. And you can write what you like, when you want, using all the ordinary words and phrases that you need to tell the story.
Meanwhile, The Unmentionables event already has “underwhelming” written into its DNA. And brands associated with The Unmentionables are, willingly or not, being redefined by that dismal message.
June 22nd, 2011
For those that didn’t know, Mozilla has just released Firefox 5.
It seems the guys at Microsoft who of course build the IE browsers, are fans of the FireFox browser. How do i know this? because every time FireFox releases a new browser, Microsoft send them a cake. It’s more a bit of fun between rivals than anything else.
This time around the cake has significantly downsized to a cupcake reflecting what Microsoft think of the new features in FireFox 5. The message on the cake reads â€œCongratulations on shipping! Love, the IE. The FireFox team responded with this message â€œJust received the congrats cake,â€ tweeted Damon Sicore, Mozilla VP of engineering, with a link to a picture of the cupcake. â€œFrom all at Mozilla, thank you, Microsoft. We love you, too. â€
Check out some of the other IE cakes here
Read more about the FireFox 5 release here.
June 21st, 2011
Cancer Research Race for Life has raised the bar in fundraising tactics this year by going social.
We all want to know how a charity we support covers costs and then delivers cash that can be used to make a difference. Cancer Research has invested supportersâ€™ cash in a social media marketing campaign that would have raised concerns, simply because it is a brave action.
There are clues on the social media success and, I hope, some further detail about the results of the ground-breaking campaign after Russell Marsh, Group Strategy Director at Rapp, presented an â€œoutstanding case studyâ€ at the Institute of Direct Marketing this evening (Tuesday, June 21st). http://www.theidm.com/marketing-events/networking-evening-race-for-life-harnessing-social-media-to-optimise-engagement/
I would have loved to attend but client work prevented this so I do hope that the Rapp presentation will be available online so that Race for Life organisers can give us a very clear idea of how being social has worked for Cancer Research.
Race for Life defines the spirit of our times in so many ways. I lost my mum to the disease last summer and so have joined the millions who know the pain and anguish that cancer causes both sufferers and those around them.
I hope that the social tactics around Race for Life have delivered new funds and supporters to the campaign, given it an online home, and help us to make some sense of the canker corrosion in our lives. The case study will tell us.
The Rapp campaign was a trial of how a charity could harness social media to help it engage, promote and raise cash. It earned the agency a Data Strategy Award and was shortlisted for the Marketing Week Engage Awards. Rapp says that it â€œtook the charity’s marketing from a one-size-fits-all strategy to a one-to-one communication programme that brought new levels of engagement, participation and ultimately, essential donations.â€
Weâ€™ve been worked with charities In the past, most recently with Medecins San Frontieres, and know how naturally conservative the sector is in its approach to marketing and PR.
So the move by Cancer Research to embrace social media marketing is both astonishing and very welcome.
While we wait for more detail, itâ€™s a very positive development that we hope will encourage every charity in the UK to learn about and then use social media to raise funds, bind supporters closer and speed the process of winning new advocates.
Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life has grown from a single 680-participant event in Battersea in 1994 into the largest women-only fundraising event in the UK with 680,000 entrants and 272 events country-wide. It has raised more than Â£362 million.
Hats off to Rapp and Cancer Research for stepping outside the safe boundaries of direct marketing â€“ a brave move, maybe even a game-changer in the charity sector.
June 20th, 2011
You want to know the slow crawl to alternative-truth? By nature, brands leech. Itâ€™s natural; they have no intrinsic life of their own. We build and sustain them. Theyâ€™d die without us.
â€œThey want you to go to their website and submit your product ideas/surrender your business secrets (depending on whether you’ve taken out a patent) for a new five part series that seeks to ‘revolutionise’ the way we use energy.
â€œIt doesn’t matter if it’s for work or play, as long as your ‘next-generation technology’ will change the way we live.
“We really want to find new and original products,” says series executive producer Dan Adamson of programme makers TwoFour.Â ”The series is a great opportunity to give budding entrepreneurs a national audience for their creations.”
The programme makers expect people to have patented their ideas. It costs at least Â£50K to protect an idea in the UK alone. Investors in a really good idea expect spend up to Â£500K to protect their property in the courts worldwide. Itâ€™s a painfully expensive and time-consuming process.
But, at base, do you instinctively trust the E.ON brand? Me neither. There are so many things that I dislike about this marketingÂ shtickÂ but at it’s heart it is without an essential truth.
Maybe that has something to do with the brandâ€™s affection for pushing up prices year on year, way beyond whatâ€™s right and reasonable. And their lack of care for their consumers, balanced against their desperate need to appease their shareholders. Guess who wins.
As for â€œchanging the way we liveâ€, weâ€™ve been there, suffered and wonâ€™t get fooled again. Maybe
Against all that dark stuff, here’s truth and beauty:
June 17th, 2011
Yesterday’s announcement that The Guardian has made a Â£33m cash loss over the last year is yet more proof, if any were needed, that newspapers are continuing to struggle in the face of declining advertising and growing competition in providing news first and fast.
To be precise the results for the year ending 31 March showed that revenues at Guardian News & Media fell to Â£198m last year compared with Â£221m the year before. Recruitment advertising also fell by Â£41m over the past four years.
Newspaper publishers worldwide have taken different approaches to recovering lost revenue streams, ranging from the obvious option of charging for online content, which has worked for specialist publications such as The FT and WSJ, but not so much for those that are not differentiated from free competitors, i.e. The Times.
The Guardian’s response, or at least the Guardian Media Group’s (GMG) response is to focus on a “digital-first” strategy, with a view to doubling digital revenues to nearly Â£100m by 2016.
Guardian editor, Alan Rusbridger said: “By becoming a digital-first organisation, we’re taking the next natural step, one which we believe all newspapers will eventually have to take.”
This will inevitably mean job losses, but no details were given yesterday.
A digital first approach makes sense for The Guardian as although its hard copy may have a modest readership in comparison to competitors, its online entity is usually one of the top three in the UK.
Therefore, the Guardian’s focus over the next five years will be to reallocate Â£25 ($40.24) million investment to digital areas, which was originally earmarked for print. The direct affect of this digital focus will be to shrink the printed newspaper away from breaking news and in to a smaller, less resource-intensive edition that leads on analysis, all by March 2012.
This move is based on research that showed that half of readers read the newspaper in the evening, and the aim is to create a title that would be “as relevant at 9am as 9pm“, meaning news becomes less of a focus.
Quotes by Guardian Media Group’s CEO Andrew Miller, given to Paid Content, also offer a refreshingly honest insight into the issues facing newspaper publishing: “We now have a financial imperative we didn’t have before. The financial pressure all newspapers are facing through the shift is such that our losses are increasing and I can’t see a way of those not decreasing without first making ourselves digital-first.
“All newspapers will ultimately exit print. But we’re putting no timeframe on that. This is about repositioning the business to be digital-first. I don’t know if anyone’s said that before at a major newspaper. It’s about finding the right format for newspapers in our portfolio.”
So instead of going for the paid content route, The Guardian will try to grow its audience in the U.S where it’s New York readers especially have become important, meaning more ad revenue potential.
Andrew Miller confirmed: “In a digital environment, the trick is to generate lots of business. America will be a core part of that, but so will Soulmates (The Guardian’s dating service) … our digital revenue on recruitment now is greater than from print, we want to build on that. The corollary is a move in to U.S. classified ads, as well as the display market.”
The Guardian is also in a comparatively strong position compared to its rivals as it is owned by a trust and supported by two publishing businesses. To put that into perspective, GMG has cash and investment fund reserves of Â£197.5m available, which has grown by Â£12m over the last year.
This approach from the Guardian will be keenly monitored by its competitors, who in the main have simply thrown up a paywall in an attempt to stem the tide of losses, and with limited success.
A real focus on analysis in the hard copy and news and engagement online makes sense, and I hope this can be a viable future for a newspaper publisher that has consistently broken new ground online.
June 14th, 2011
Straight out of LinkedIn Labs, the experimental arm of LinkedIn, comes the LinkedIn version of the classic Tetris game called Dropin.
â€œRotate and stack your LinkedIn connectionsâ€™ faces, while discovering the fresh content theyâ€™re sharing online.”
How to play
Authorise the app to access your LinkedIn profile.Â Control the shapes with the keyboard. Use the arrow keys to move /rotate the shapes or press the space bar to dump the tile to the bottom. The right sidebar will display the shape that is next in queue.
June 13th, 2011
Measurement in PR is a long-ranging, and quite frankly frustrating debate that has been raging for many years, certainly as long as I can remember, but it has gathered more urgency over the last few years.
So what is the issue? Fundamentally, the issue has been how do we prove the value of PR to our clients? The many additional problems range from the scope of media that PR’s remit now covers and especially the ongoing evolution of Social Media, which has fundamentally changed the approach to how PR is developed and measured.
The one thing that everyone agrees on is AVEs are pointless, but i’m pretty sure that has been the opinion for at least the last 13 years that I’ve been in this industry, so it’s fair to say it’s taken some time to get to an alternative.
In recent years, the spotlight has turned to the AMEC European Summit on Measurement for a response, which had its third annual meeting in Lisbon last week.
In fairness, AMEC, or The International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication, which is the global trade body and professional institute for agencies and practitioners who provide media evaluation and communication research, has also taken it’s time to move the measurement discussion on, only agreeing on an agenda to answer in its second year (last year), which was given the title of the â€˜Barcelona Principles’, but this year it seems there has been much more in the way of movement.
To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much from the outcomes of the event, but I was fairly surprised when I saw that there actually did seem to be some progress. And not just progress, but a flexible approach to measurement that I for one support.
So, before we get to the measurement, I guess we should cover the background elements, or what AMEC has referred to as top priorities for the PR measurement industry, voted for by AMEC European Summit delegates and prior research.
These were selected out of a list of 10:
â€¢ “Measurement of PR campaigns and programs needs to become an intrinsic part of the PR toolkit”
â€¢ “Create and adopt global standards for social media measurement”
â€¢ “Institute a client education program such that clients insist on measurement of outputs, outcomes and business results from PR programs”
The research study also identified â€˜benefits of measuring PR’ as the most important need over the next five years, ahead of â€˜impact of PR program on business goals’, â€˜measurement beyond media clips’, and â€˜social media measurement’.
You can get a full overview on the finer detail at The Holmes Report
Onto the recommendations, which can be reviewed in the Slideshare ppt below (thanks to Arun Sudhaman)
In a nutshell, AMEC seems to have grasped that PR has gone way beyond the realm of a single measurement, or even group of measurements, to reflect the diverse tactics and outcomes that result from a communications campaign. If we also consider the convergence of PR with disciplines such as social, digital marketing, traditional advertising and other functions, the picture becomes even more clouded. Add that to a wider range of objectives from our clients, and trying to jam a square metric into a round campaign simply doesn’t work.
So, it was fairly refreshing to see AMEC suggest a group of what it calls â€˜valid metrics’. These were defined through the stages of marketing against PR activity, intermediary effect, and target audience effect, with case studies as examples.
There has already been some feedback that this is not a benchmark measurement that agencies can implement wholesale, and that’s the problem. I don’t mean that it is a problem that there isn’t a framework of measurements, but that agencies are still looking for the ‘missing link’ or the ‘holy grail’ of measurement, which simply doesn’t exist.
If you’re still looking for one measurement to replace AVEs, understand that AVE was never a valid measurement and therefore replacing it with another invalid measurement is irrelevant.
Our campaigns should be as diverse as our clients and the strategic approaches we recommend executed via a range of tactics. If these elements are unique to the client, how can we measure the same metrics for each?
I will certainly be reviewing the recommendations in more detail and looking to support our own measurements with any new learnings. However, the point of this post is not to support the recommendations specifically, but to applaud to notion that measurement isn’t a quick fix, isn’t a one-size fits all, just as campaigns are not the same and clients have different objectives.
At Liberate Media we’ve been measuring campaigns using metrics specific to each client for many years. We agree these with the client at kick off and try to integrate internal measurements and shared analytics to encourage client involvement as much as possible.
This means our reporting is different for all of our clients, and yes, that does mean we don’t have standard reporting across our campaigns, but who did standard reporting help anyway? Was it developed to answer the diverse nature of our clients? Or was it more about assisting internal systems within our agencies?
It’s fairly obvious that measurements built on an internal time saving methodology will not work. So, by giving measurement the attention it deserves we can finally move this conversation forward and begin to build towards the ultimate convergence of communications services that is probably the next big question the PR industry knows is coming, but is so far unwilling to address.