The New Platform

I am constantly impressed by Rovio's ability to innovate. A long time ago, I wrote a post about what your brand can learn from Angry Birds. Today, Rovio continues to give us reasons to admire them. Most recently the Company announced the launch of a new cartoon series. However, unlike most cartoons, this one won't debut the traditional way ... it will instead debut on the app itself... and wherever that app can be found.



Fast Company has some good coverage of this news, you should give it a quick glance. In the article, there is a quote from the CMO of Rovio that really struck me ..

"If we want to distribute cartoons on Saturday mornings globally, we can do that. We don’t have to talk to 100 broadcasters--we can stick it on our own channels, and it’s there."

Take a second to re-read that.

This quote illustrates the future of both content distribution and content consumption. It may even go so far as to hint at the future of content creation. 

Content needs to add value to a consumer's life. Even if that value just comes in the form of mindless entertainment, it still has to be entertaining enough to be considered valuable by the consumer. Rovio's consumers are already receiving value. By downloading Angry Birds, they have given permission to Rovio to deliver valuable experiences to them. Rovio is now planning on adding even more value to that relationship. The genius of it all is that Rovio is using its own platform to deliver this new value.

How can you create a platform for your brand? What value will you offer on that platform?

Angry Birds is no longer just a game.

It's a platform.

The last 10%

Is by far the hardest.

Some people substitute 10% with 5%, 2%, 1% ... you get the idea.

I am certain there have been papers upon papers and blogs upon blogs written about this concept but I wanted to give it a shot. I don't write these philosophical posts all that often so forgive me but this is important.

A cartoon by @gapingvoid

A cartoon by @gapingvoid

Here is the life-cycle of a project as I see it:

Stage 1 - Excitement
Brainstorming. Crazy ideas. Planning. Deadlines. A general sense of what we want the end product to look like. We know there is a lot of work to do ahead, but we choose to ignore that for the time being because we're caught up in the dream of a new idea coming to life. It's a great feeling. You tell your significant other when you get home, even though he or she may or may not care ... you are that excited.

Stage 2 - The groundwork
The excitement continues, you begin to start scratching the surface of what needs to be done. You start to make progress and this makes you happy. You are coming closer to the dream that you had in stage 1. You start to see glimpses at the sheer amount of work that lies ahead but you're still running off a high that started in stage 1 so you decide to let those glimpses fade for the time being.

Stage 3 - The grunt work
This is a real kick in the chicklets. There is a LOT going on and you are just in the middle of it all. Time is not slowing down. This is what you signed up for though and you know that, you know what the reward will feel like when you get through this because you already had a dream about the reward in stage 1. Days and nights are long. Meetings at this point are just a sheer waste of time because every minute you spend in a meeting is a minute not spent doing your work.

Stage 4 - The fires
You've got something! Something even small to show off. The grunt work all amounted to this moment. Now you start to share things around. Then come the revisions, the changes,  the fires. Some work is wasted, some work isn't. Every change hurts you a little bit though because you've worked so hard on this in stage 3. Despite this, you suck it up and make everything right, after all you are almost at the stage of realizing the dream. What's a little more work.

Stage 5 - The last 10%
You're tired. There are things you haven't accounted for. There are things you realize you should have approached differently if the world was perfect and you could turn back time. There's is still a little bit left to do but it's pissing you off because you've already done so much. This is the stage that matters the most though. This is where you need guts. This is where you need to look through the haze to find that dream you had in stage 1. It's almost there, you just have to push for it and make it happen.

I was inspired to write this post because of a tweet (and a few years of experiencing this sort of thing):

"Here's the dealio - in our personal and professional journeys, strive for progress not perfection." - Alan Quarry

This is what the last 10% is about. It's about progress. The fact of the matter is, when you ship that last 10%, you have shipped something. Something the world didn't have yesterday. It doesn't need to be perfect yet, it just needs to happen.

Make it so.

Moment Hacking

During the Superbowl this past weekend, something occurred that caused a real disruption. A disruption to the way the game is played.

Of course, this had nothing to do with Football ... and everything to do with advertising.

Before we get into that, I would like to bring up a concept I came across a long time ago called, 'newsjacking.' I first read about it through the brilliance of Joe Chernov and began to understand how easily it could work into an organization's SEO strategy. If your organization has an active blog, newsjacking is an especially useful tactic. Here's how it's defined:

It’s [newsjacking] the act of redirecting the momentum from breaking news into your company’s favor by injecting a fresh perspective … in real time.

Now, let's return to the Superbowl this past weekend. By now, you have probably heard of and seen these (Warning: They are brilliant): 

A Tide Moment Hack.

A Tide Moment Hack.

An Oero Moment Hack.

An Oero Moment Hack.

These are examples of what I am calling: Moment Hacks.

A Moment Hack occurs when a brand uses a trending topic as its basis to ship a piece of creative work which reinforces a brand's message. 

In order to do this well, brands need to be agile. They need to be willing to take a risk. Let go of the red tape because in this game, speed is absolutely everything. Tide, Oero and even some others seized a very opportune moment and produced something remarkable.

Newsjacking and Moment Hacking are very similar concepts. In my view, Moment Hacking deals with the production specifically of a creative piece of work, it needs to be visual so that it can be easily shared. Moment Hacking can also occur in a much shorter time-frame and even has a shorter life-span because moments/trending topics sometimes don't last long.

In the coming year I am sure we are going to witness many more moments. Let's see how they get hacked.

The blank billboard

Imagine seeing this ...

The billboard of the future

The billboard of the future

Last week, I read an article about the impact that Google Glass might potentially have on advertising and it got me thinking about the picture above.

Google right now does not have plans for advertising on this device; however, this does not mean that the device cannot serve as a potential 'lens' to see ads through.

Here's a future I can imagine:

You're walking down a street and you see a billboard that looks like what's shown above. You may have on some Google Glass eyewear or else you simply take out your smartphone and whip out an app that can help you decode this billboard. The billboard can then be programmed to display a number of things:

1. An ad that is specifically targeted to you - Based on your search history or browsing history or +1s, Google may eventually understand you so well that it can serve you up a highly-targeted location-aware ad. The billboards will know what's around them. When and ad gets served, it can count as an impression so that marketers can keep track of conversion metrics too.

2. Something pre-configured by you - What if Google announced they were going to put these billboards out in the world and gave you the ability to pre-configure the content on them. You could log in to your Google+ account and set up some things that you would ideally like to see on those billboards and that way when you see them out in the wild, they may actually serve up some value to you. E.g. What if you selected a movie genre and said, I would like to see the latest movie trailer for this genre.

The possibilities are only limited by the geniuses that work at Google; therefore, they are practically endless.

A logical consumer will always choose to receive a message of value. This future will essentially make it easy and almost essential for marketers to deliver that value to consumers, exactly when they ask for it.

The day I see a blank billboard ... I'll be excited.

Dear Trevor

Direct marketing campaigns have always fascinated me. They are very expensive and can be very expansive, yet sometimes I fail to see how they bring value to a customer.

Occasionally, one will stand out.

photo 1.JPG

A colleague of mine named Trevor received this neat package in the mail a couple of days ago. As a curious marketer himself, he was very intrigued by the simplicity of the package and decided to see it through ...

photo 2.JPG
Upon sticking the USB dongle into his computer, a little program was executed which brought up an Internet Explorer window with the screen shown above. Trevor was also given a promo code as part of the direct mail package and after entering it in, he was taken to the screen below .. 
photo 3.JPG

Customized, clean and convincing.

What I really like about this piece of marketing is that it turned the usually passive act of consuming a marketing message into an active one. Some people may revolt at that statement because you may argue that we shouldn't spend our days actively consuming marketing messages; however, in this case ... there was actual value in the message.

Notice the box that says 'Trevor's offer' on the top right corner. Trevor actually showed me what this offer was and although it wasn't totally enticing to him at this time, it was still of some value.

Turn passive consumers into active ones by bringing value into their lives - this is what direct marketing should be about.

Actually, that's what all marketing should be about.

6 seconds or less

To share an experience.

On Thursday of last week, Twitter launched a new mobile service called Vine. It is an app for iOS devices at the moment; however, Twitter does have plans to expand it further.

Vine is simple, it allows you to capture and share video footage that lasts 6 seconds or less and then plays it in a continuous loop.

Although the app is only meant for iOS devices, people with other Twitter clients (including the web version) can still be exposed to 'Vines.'

As always, I'm curious about what this means for marketers:

Twitter has forced marketers to think creatively in the space of 140 characters. 120 if you include any kind of link to content. The really interesting thing that Vine has introduced is video. A picture is worth a thousand words. Marketers now have 6 one second pictures strung together with the opportunity to add a caption that can be up to 119-120 characters in length (a Vine link is about 21 characters).

I hope this will result in more storytelling. I hope it will allow brands to become even more human. Share things that allow consumers to relate to brands in new ways.

Time will tell how brands will take to this but for now I'm sure we can expect to feel a little more emotion when looking through our Twitter feeds.

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Continuing the story

The other day ... I came across this in my Facebook mobile feed:

photo 1.PNG

I always keep an eye on the ads in my Facebook mobile newsfeed because for the most part, they are not relevant.

This one was slightly different. It also has some well written copy and a compelling enough image so ... out of curiosity ... I clicked it (sorry for costing you money Digisocial).

Then I came upon this lovely screen:

photo 2.PNG

Notice the cat.

Did you see the cat anywhere in the first ad? I just thought it was interesting to see the cat as opposed to the image of the mic that was actually in the ad.

Anyway, the point of this post is not to talk about that cat. It's actually about storytelling.

Look at the first image again and read the first line of copy, "Still texting? You're losing life's exciting moments." Now look quickly at the copy on the app page. For some reason this copy doesn't seem quite as compelling as the original ad.

My question is, why not choose to continue the story? Continue the story through the copy on the app page too. Make someone curious. The app is free so don't bore me with the nitty gritty, tell me a story and make me want to download it for free.

Once I get there, the nitty gritty should make me want to keep it.