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why we ‘like’ October 23, 2014

Posted by nicholas gill in patrick mulford, social media, theaudience.
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PATRICK.001

I adore Patrick. We used to work together. He’s now in LA working for theAudience. I miss working with Patrick because he would tell you tales of the most amazing things, particularly his fascination with tattoos which you can explore in his book. And of course he was pretty decent as a Creative Director too. So it was a little treat to watch him perform on stage at Social Media Week in LA recently via the interwebs (you’ll need to register to watch which seems pretty anti-social and content equality but there you go). Why social media still needs a week is still beyond me. Direct mail never got a week. I still miss chromalin proofs. Anyway, Patrick’s argument is that social media just reflects what we do as humans. What we’ve always done. It’s just a new way of doing it.

He argues that social media is the new bedroom wall and given that we’re fond of sharing our associations and passions across social, he’s pretty spot on. And that we edit our own social content to project the ‘me that I want people to see.’ That memes and hashtags mitigate the risk of us normal people exposing ourselves and reduce the risk of sharing.

At theAudience, they break down social media into 4 things. Yes, only 4 –  a refreshing change versus the bollocks of the social world I shared yesterday.

1. It’s about communication.

2. It helps you create social identity through affiliation (to groups, people, stars, brands etc.)

3. It enables you to share life moments.

4. It helps you express mutual values and passions.

Common sense at last. No world-changing rhetoric, just a clear perspective on what social media does.

But put that aside because the real magic is the first 25 minutes or so of Patrick telling stories (and trying to hide in the shadows and wander around the stage). The story about Hemingway being challenged to tell a story in 6 words is beautiful. And one that every community manager charged with 140 characters should heed.

For sale: baby shoes, never worn.

The history and evolution of emotions explored by Robert Plutchick is staggeringly simple but also inspiring and helps the storyteller to shape stories to move between emotions seemingly at will.

emotions

And of course he references one of his tattoo journeys. Do buy the book, it’s not really about tattoos. It’s about human experiences and a very personal take on life. Although it was nice to see Patrick’s tattoos finally on display. And the neck scarf too.

Thank you Patrick. One day my friend, one day…

social media is bullshit October 21, 2014

Posted by nicholas gill in social media.
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social photo 1

We’ve all wondered this at some stage surely? Probably when we’re sat in meetings and hear the word ‘engagement’ used so often you start imaging doing horrible things to the person using that word. Or to yourself if you’re the one saying it (I have). I borrowed this book from my copywriter, Ian. The first half seeks to debunk the entire mythology surrounding social media and in effect portrays it as something that has been created purely to create revenue for the people who talk social media up. The author takes down the ‘cyber hipsters’ and the glossy social campaigns that have been touted before us in the style of the second coming and venting much furious anger particularly at the likes of Chris Brogan who styled themselves as some form of social demi-god and challenged everyone who wasn’t getting returns in social that they just weren’t doing it right (i.e. come to me, pay me a truck load of dollar bills and I will help you). It’s fascinating. And makes you re-think the language we all use when talking about social media. The book then loses its way a little and goes off on some kind of road trip example of how social just doesn’t work. I think the author could have stopped half way and saved me another train journey reading it but hey. I’ll forgive him this though because who doesn’t like an Arnie quote as a chapter heading?

social photo 2

The author is clearly tapping into the unease people feel about social media and how people make it seem so complicated and that actually it’s so completely different from other media that we shouldn’t worry too much about how it contributes to sales. Well, what is the point then? People glibly say that they have moved on from the ‘vanity metric’ of Likes and follower counts but they haven’t really. When challenged to run a survey to draw out brand advocacy, purchase frequency and to re-run this activity every quarter to track impact of the activity, some brands (and agencies) shy away from this. Why? Will it expose the fact that social may not be working? Tracked well – and of course with some tight content that is core to the brand – social can contribute to direct sales or lead generation. Not tracked, you’re just contributing to the vagueness of social and the beigeness of the platforms.

It’s interesting to listen to this radio broadcast (or podcast) directly after reading this book. I struggled with a lot of the ‘social’ese’ being talked about but particularly that the ‘old way’ is to pay for attention on a media channel. With social media, you can create your own audience. Erm… Facebook and Twitter and the likes are essentially media platforms. Hungrily sucking your media dollars to get your shiny social content in front of your followers. You don’t play by their rules, you don’t win. They are advertising platforms. They are not free. You have to pay to be seen. And pay people to create that content that gets seen. And you have to determine if the investment you’re making is worth the 4,500 people who participated in a competition to choose the Asda Christmas tea towel campaign. Or whether £20,000 you paid to a You Tube vlogger to make a video baking cupcakes using Asda ingredients is good value. It probably was when he says it attracted 500,000 views (4p per view) but how many went on to buy? Did the loop get closed? You can bet when they spend £500,000 on Michael Owen for a TV commercial that the media impact gets analysed to death and that you see an impact in sales when the campaign is running.

Social media is also rife with play books, tips, tricks and formulas for success. One talked about in this radio show was that you have to create 10 posts of ‘engaging’ content, which Asda chap described as “it can sound like nonsense” in order to get across your 1 post that you want to ‘sell’ with or ‘get them to do what we want them to do.’ While on the one hand that explains the proliferation of posts telling us that it’s Friday, on the other, it contributes to the attack of the beige. Think about it. In what other media do you produce 10 pieces of nonsense and then one ad that tries to elicit a response?

I don’t think social media is bullshit but I do think we need to be very careful about how it is used and how we talk about it. We need to show it can be effective in helping a brand deliver it’s objectives. I like the way this Lego social person sums up how they measure social:

We measure ROI in four different ways: direct Sales, brand affinity building, marketing efficiency and our ability to mitigate risk/damage control.

this is what excellence in integrated digital communications looks like August 2, 2014

Posted by nicholas gill in advertising, align technology, award, communique awards 2014, digital, Doner, integration, invisalign, social media.
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WINNERSme winner

We won an award recently and I can’t tell you how thrilled I am. It was for the work we’ve been doing for Align Technology to generate awareness and lead generation for Invisalign across Europe.

The award was for the 2013 consumer campaign, “Smile and the Whole World Smiles With You” received the Excellence in Integrated Digital Communication award at the 2014 Communique Awards on July 3.

The Invisalign Smile campaign ran across key markets in Europe, where a mix of appointment-to-view television programming on digital channels was sponsored with integrated digital direct response, social media paid advertising, social media community activation programs, Pay Per Click, and digital innovations such as Zeebox in the UK and use of the new Twitter Card lead generation functionality. This strategic approach was designed to get more target consumers to ask for Invisalign treatment at dental practitioners and leveraged an integrated consumer marketing campaign that engaged and motivated people with problem teeth to start Invisalign treatment.

The award judges summed it up nicely:

“The beauty of this campaign is its demonstration of what could be achieved outside standard pharma practice. It was a paradigm in terms of its integration of carefully chosen, appropriate channels and had digital at its heart. It’s also very in-sync with where the industry is going to have to go in terms of the breadth and connectivity of different communications channels.”

 

AWRD1AWRD2

AWRD3

And it also worked, here’s what Raph, the VP International at Align had to say:

“The Invisalign Smile campaign had a significant impact including driving prompted brand awareness for Invisalign and achieving 30% growth for Invisalign lnfo Kit downloads and Find an Invisalign Provider searches. Our social media community grew a phenomenal 140% (2.5X) year on year and the Smile campaign helped to impact our total business objective by increasing Invisalign case submissions.”

 

Really terrific stuff. I’m really proud of this work. It shows what can happen when a client and agency work together in a proper relationship to deliver great things.

 

Distraction and the Internet April 17, 2014

Posted by nicholas gill in distraction, internet, productivity, social media, Uncategorized, website, webtrate.
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Image

65% of us get distracted by the Internet. Distracted form doing stuff by doing more stuff like emails, general web surfing and of course, social media. 53% also admitted that the reduction in productivity caused them dissatisfaction and unhappiness.

I can empathise. I’m far too easily distracted at present. I need to switch off. And now you can with Webtrate. Despite the site looking like it’s come from the 90s – deliberate given the context of what they’re trying t do I hope – you sign up and get a number of options to turn off all these distractions and focus. Anything from a simple timer to a complete lock down. Splendid.

Image source.

i almost did it September 16, 2013

Posted by nicholas gill in productivity, social media.
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I’ve tried to switch off from email and social before. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. After changing a few holidays around due to work commitments this year,  I was determined to switch off from work this time round. And that also meant an opportunity for no tweeting, facebooking, checking gmail etc.

It’s a lot harder than it seems. I turned off the work email and realised that my weakest time is putting the kids to bed. When they’re in the little period between shutting their eyes and then properly in the land of nod. Sometimes this takes a few minutes, more usually about 10 – 20. Usually time to attempt the inbox zero challenge and catch up on the social firehose.

Easiest to not look at was Twitter. I went the whole week. No desire to check it. Next was work email. Turning it off stops the easy lapse. I only weakened by need rather than choice as I needed to extend my break due to unforseen circumstances. So had to quickly do this on the Sunday. In and out. 90+ unread a pleasant surprise and quick eyeball meant no horror stories on the return. Switched off. I did plop a few Instagram photos out. Mainly during the kids sleep time when I got frustrated playing Minion Rush (damn, it’s hard. I must be getting old).

I only Facebook’d a few times. To share our boy’s birthday and first day at school pictures.

It’s quite surprising how the urge to take a photo, tweet or update your status is subconsciously gnawing away at you. All the time. I didn’t miss Twitter at all. I think if it had not been a birthday/back to school occasion I would not have felt the need to Facebook either. And after two days I didn’t feel the constant need to check work email either. I only looked at the home email as we’re trying to move house and lots happening there.

As a result, I’m trying not to be always-on. I’m trying to do it in bite-size chunks as I get distracted too easily. I don’t need to turn the phone on in the morning and check. I find it more relaxing. We had our son’s birthday party at the weekend and I kept my phone firmly in my pocket. No tweets, no pictures, no status updates. Just an enjoyable afternoon out.

Image source.

does social media destroy productivity? November 6, 2012

Posted by nicholas gill in social media.
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Every time someone at work gets an IM, a Facebook message or a tweet, it takes them a whopping 23 minutes to get back on task. Here’s a nice infographic to illustrate how social can affect productivity.

Thanks to Kayla for sharing.

the future is uncertain October 12, 2012

Posted by nicholas gill in Economy, Knowledge Peers, Morgan cars, social business, social media.
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Last week I attended the Knowledge Peers Exchange 2012. Some of you may remember I presented to a select group of members a while back (just over a year ago having checked – yikes!) on social business so this was my chance to sit back and learn some things. Here’s some stuff and things I found interesting:

Challenges for business heading into 2020

We’re working against a backdrop of constant change, where knowledge/information workers make up over 80% of the salaried workforce.

Where IT/enterprise driven choices have created silos that are damaging business agility.

Where Europe is an ageing population and the emerging BRIC economies are flush with youth.

Where the US and European debt situations will take greater than 10 years to resolve.

Where the continued demand for energy will result in a supply gap.

Where greater consumerisation and socially savvy employees place business at a junction. Do they enable these new employees or do they hinder them with their current working practices?

The business of 2020 will need to:

  • Adapt to a changing world.
  • Understand the market evolution and composition (particularly emerging economies and SE Asia)
  • Exploit and harness the collective knowledge of the information wrorkers
  • Understand and balance the confidentiality, integrity and availability of data.
  • Deliver value-add.
  • Invent and innovate.

Bring Your Own Device (BOYD) is un-managed

57.1% of FTE’s globally use their own devices to access work data. This is not skewed to any geography (although Asia/BRIC is higher) or vertical.

Only 11.9% have a managed BYOD policy or guidelines leading to an opportunity where over 70% of BYOD are unmanaged. While clearly this is a consultancy opportunity, it also shows just how mobile has infiltrated our every day lives so seamlessly that we think nothing of accessing data on on our SmartPhones. Clearly the younger, agile businesses that are not held back by swathes of servers and IT rules will be ahead of the game here. While the panel talked about the security elements, a lot must come down to common sense too. As well as who owns, maintains and replaces the device if it is “personal” but being routinely used – and therefore an essential too – for business use. All this was wrapped under a banner of “Enterprise Mobility Management” which sounds very consultancy and clearly an opportunity to make money. Where’s my CV?

Morgan Cars

You can never repeat the past but you can be inspired by it

The quote is from the Cartier Chairman but one which Charles Morgan has adopted to explain his car company. Considering I work with one of world’s leading automotive groups in Fiat, I found Charles’ discussion incredibly interesting. How does a small player compete against global giants? The answer is not easily. Not when a typical safety testing programme sets you back £10 million. It would essentially be impossible if it weren’t for alliances. Morgan partner with BMW for engines, for example, and would not consider building their own engines because, as TVR experienced, it’s the way to ruin. But why would BMW be interested in a small, British car brand? Because German’s love British car brands. Remember they bought Rover. Charles said they do it because 1) they love it and 2) they learn something by placing their engines in smaller, lighter and more agile automobiles. Their leading engineer even screamed in delight on a race track that “I can hear my engine!!!”. Which given the excellent sound proofing and refinement in a BMW is something they’ve clearly missed. Morgan lets the engineers be petrol heads again.

Another key part of the Morgan business model is exporting. They make 1,500 cars a year and over 70% are exported. Nice that a British marque is appreciated abroad but sad too that we buy so much homogenous automotive design now that we don’t appreciate our own iconic marques as much. I loved Charles’ observation that modern cars are pretty much an extension of your living room; a car should excite you and put a smile on your face.

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Which is why they’re investing in social media. Not only does it cut across the stuffy old Morgan image that some may have but allows them to express that desire of driving excitement.

This is a nice video of Morgan.

Social Enterprise

The key theme here was that there’s still a lot of fear about moving to a more social business and adopting the cloud. What if? Why? Some examples included swapping email for social collaboration tools and just getting more noise back. The answer is (scroll back through previous posts on this) about context. Email is bad when used poorly. The same goes with any social platform. But they have the advantage of control, filtering and collaboration.

The link between social, mobile and the cloud is still unclear but companies like Salesforce.com are stealing a march with their offerings here.

The UK economy outlook

Barry Nesbitt, the Chief Economist of Santander UK, gave us an overview of the current and future state of the economy. There is no magic wand. The recession started in 2008 and the conditions are still challenging. It’s the longest recession we’ve faced where by this stage we haven’t got back to the levels of GDP output pre-recession.

2013 is predicted to show some growth but before you get excited, it’s small.

But they key theme was one of uncertainty. As the chart below shows, the economists have a huge range of expectations for the coming years for both GDP and inflation. It could be OK (although the growth is still small) or it could not be. Trouble is, the uncertainty causes subdued expectations. And with inflation still higher than our earnings, none of us are spending any money because we’re uncertain. There is a subdued outlook in the services industry and construction and manufacturing which traditionally drives GDP output.

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So, heads down.

every 60 seconds… August 6, 2012

Posted by nicholas gill in digital, social media.
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every 60 seconds...

… this happens

at work – behind the scenes June 15, 2012

Posted by nicholas gill in brand experience, Doner, pinterest, social media, social networks.
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Pinterest. The next big shiny object and must have in every presentation you give. And like I always say, you’ve got to try these things. So, I have. And have been for some time. But my own collection was a bit, er, well, a bit too me. So I decided to do a bit of behind the scenes at work. Not least because I seem to have collected a few images but people seem to like to know what goes on behind closed doors. So here’s a flavour of life behind the scenes at Doner.

social clean up January 16, 2012

Posted by nicholas gill in personal brand, social media, social networks, unfriend.
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January is typically a time for New Year’s resolutions. But I typically don’t stick to them so I haven’t made any this year. Instead, quite by accident, I found myself gaining much self-satisfaction from cleaning up the social media tangle I find myself in.

It all started quite innocuously by being bored of the same update from several people on Twitter. I mean, really, we ALL read Mashable and the like. Why re-tweet it? So I stopped following them. Then I figured I should review who I was following:

  • People who haven’t said anything in months? Unfollow.
  • People who I followed more out of faux fraternity of being employed together rather than wanting to find out what they were really doing? Unfollow.
  • People who post things that are just not interesting to me anymore. or ever. Unfollow.
  • And worst of all, people without a real picture! Unfollow.

And Twitter is now an easier place. I still follow people I like, can find inspiration and new things from and find amusing. It also takes less time to catch up. And there’s blissfully few repeats.

And then came Facebook. Similar rules applied. Although oddly I found this a little harder. Maybe in the Facebook frictionless sharing world I would be outed as a serial unfriender? But after a few test unfriends, this didn’t happen. So I carried on. The net result again is a smaller, more defined, more real social network. There’s still work to be done. Especially when I peek at Linked In and see updates from people I haven’t got a clue who they are and think, “hmm, must be a recruiter.”

I’m not the only one who is doing this. It all started out as a bit of a rush. Collecting people, with the “friend”, “followers” or “connections” number being directly attributable to your social worth. Of course this is, and always was, bollocks. It’s quality, not quantity that counts. And while I’m very much in the “don’t know well” category from the infographic above, there are many who are cleaning up their networks for a variety of reasons. The net result though, is I’m enjoying my social circles again. It’s also why I’m highly reluctant to start another collection on Google Plus.

So if I no longer follow you or appear as your friend, it’s not personal, it’s just business.

Image source.

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