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Just came across a brilliant little tool called Wordle (thanks to Now In Colour). Punch in a URL or a piece of text and it will create a word cloud using the words appearing most often in the text. From the looks of things, we’re not where I originally thought this blog was going to go, but I feel like we’re moving in the right direction.
“A great brand is a story that is never completely told.”
I just clocked this over at TIGS, what a great quote. I was sitting having breakfast with a good friend yesterday morning and he was wondering aloud why some brands that couldn’t possibly have been bigger all of a sudden become tiny before disappearing completely. He was talking about a particular American beer (whose name I can’t remember) that was the Budweiser of its day (I couldn’t imagine saying anything more insulting about a beer, except maybe this).
This has me thinking about brand extension – do brands therefore extend themselves because they finish the story they set out to tell? Once extended, do they find their story wasn’t al that interested in the first place?
Thinking about the uber-brands, Cadbury certainly has story left to tell, as does Apple, Nike, Vogue, who else? Contrast that with brands that we perhaps know too much about, like Microsoft or McDonalds. Those are easy targets though, who else is out there that seems to have run out of things to say?
(This also has me thinking about luxury brands, how open would not beat closed in that situation, and how not knowing the story adds to their appeal…hmmm that’s another post entirely.)
Image courtesy of Mikey G Ottawa, with thanks to compfight.
My latest column is up over at Marketing Magazine’s site. I said a couple days ago I was thinking a lot about intent this week, call it a cosmic quest for something deeper than the window dressing. If I wasn’t in advertising, that would actually be a good thing.
There’s a lot of talk lately about brands and the voices they speak with. Be it through products or services, conversation is the new currency through which everyone wants to be measured. If what we’ve been saying for a while now is true, and our brands are to be imbued with human traits and personalities in order to inform the way they speak to their audience, then we need to look at intent…
The rest of the piece is over at Marketing Magazine.
- If you tell me you are an expert, I will not seek your advice, let alone believe you.
- If you tell me your product will change my life I will not believe you.
- If you tell me your service is the best thing since sliced bread, I will munch on my sandwich thinking “All in all I have it pretty good” and not budge an inch.
If however, a friend of mine tells me you’re an expert, have a product that will change my life, and a service that is the best thing since sliced bread, you will have my attention.
You are not what you say you are (even if you are). Nor is your product, offering or service. It is what others say it is via their experience interacting with you. The web unearths intent, and people strip away the bullshit.
Intent is a funny thing, I’m thinking a lot about that this week. Having said that, I intend to get over this cold, so I’m going to bed.
Image courtesy of Skate Everything, with thanks to compfight.
Innovations are just gimmicks you happen to like.
I thought that was an interesting statement to make. I don’t know if I agree with it or not, but that doesn’t stop it from being interesting.
Now…as you were.
I left open beats closed out of my marketing mantra the other day, largely because the 5 points circle around it anyway. On the back of that comes a couple items which illustrate it perfectly.
The first is from Fred Wilson, who writes while vacationing with his family in France:
If you look at this picture of my son Josh catching up on his favorite TV shows this morning before breakfast, you’ll see a flat panel display in the upper right of the picture. And yet Josh is watching on his laptop. That’s largely because we are in europe right now, where the shows he likes are not available on the local cable channel but are available “on demand” on the Internet.
Yes it’s true that Hulu and ABC.com and other web video services block IP addresses outside of the US, but we were able to hack around that pretty easily. Yet another form of DRM that won’t work, can’t work, and will eventually be removed by content owners.
Couldn’t agree more. On the flip side and very open is Garfield Minus Garfield, a comic which appropriates Garfield strips, removing the cat and…well…see for yourself:
Who would have guessed that when you remove Garfield from the Garfield comic strips, the result is an even better comic about schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and the empty desperation of modern life? Friends, meet Jon Arbuckle. Let’s laugh and learn with him on a journey deep into the tortured mind of an isolated young everyman as he fights a losing battle against loneliness in a quiet American suburb.
Happy Monday everyone.
Some of you may be familiar with Where The Hell Is Matt? from a few years ago. If not, check it out, it will bring a smile to your face.
The latest video in the series is now online, and to quote Faris Yakob over at Talent Imitates, Genius Steals:
Happy 4th of July to all the readers in the states. Have a great weekend.
Yesterday the inimitable Scott Drummond came to my rescue. Scott is my musical educator, always throwing me new tunes and genres to check out, in addition to being an amazing friend and weekend brunch buddy. He hit me with a world of great stuff, but I want to talk about one artist in particular, Girl Talk.
Girl Talk is a DJ who mashes up everything he can get his hands on. It is absolutely not for everyone, but I can’t get enough and makes it Saturday night in my heart when the calendar says Tuesday morning, so for this I am grateful. Scott hit me off with a link to a live bootleg which is absolutely off the handle (and on this Friday July 4th exactly what you need to get the party started).
The model he is going with selling his latest album though is perhaps more interesting than hearing Roy Orbison laced over gangsta rap, spun into Nirvana with Salt’n’Pepa over the top (in my ears right now).
Head to his MySpace page and you’ll see the below:
So the “pay what you want” thing in music isn’t new, agreed. Click-through though and you’ll be taken to a page which displays the purchase options:
any price grants the download of the entire album as high-quality 320kbps mp3s
$5 or more adds the options of FLAC files, plus a one-file seamless mix of the album
$10 or more includes all of the above + a packaged CD (when it becomes available)
Additionally below that it says the album is released under a Creative Commons licence, the same licence under which all the images I use on this site are licensed. Attribute the creator, don’t profit directly from the work, and you’re welcome to do as you please.
Now here’s the trick: you punch in the amount you would like to pay on that page, and then the files are available on the next page with a separate link off to PayPal to make a payment. The entire system is based on goodwill and honesty, as I punched in $5 and started downloading the tracks before the payment had gone through. I’m happy to pay as I really like what he does, but I’m wondering how many people will reach that page, grab the tunes and take off?
The ironic thing though is none of it really matters. If someone wants your music for free, they will take it for free. A model of a dollar is better than a model of no money, and by putting your music out under Creative Commons people can remunerate you based on the value you provide while giving them access to your music without the shadow of illegal downloading coming into it.
This goes back to what I was saying in my Life after the dip post:
Exposing what people want to engage with and burying the stuff they’re not interested in is key, and it is only an issue if your business model rests on the viability of the things people don’t like. Digital Rights Management for starters if a zero-sum strategy where nobody wins. I’m a big believer artists should be compensated for the work they do (indeed one day I hope to do nothing but), but in the interim we need new models that are malleable.
Seems to me this model is right on track
Ok everyone, on 3. 1, 2, 3!
2. Conversations happen around social objects.
3. Social objects are products or services that are remarkable.
4. Remarkable is not just something special, but something worth being remarked about.
Ok, with this in mind, last night as my house mate and I stalked people on Facebook, my shiny, tiny god was in my room and having been for a run I was feeling very lazy, so I grabbed her obelisk of a laptop and logged in.
As soon as the page loaded I was greeted with the below screen – and apologies to anyone whose privacy has been invaded, particularly those who now are forced to acknowledge they know me in real life – advising me the browser I was using was IE 6 and my Facebook experience may be compromised by this fact.
Now, I don’t actually log in to Facebook all that often these days, it has worn a tad thin for me. In this though I thought there was a great point to be made about the things you can and should do for the people who use your services or products. It is so easy for Facebook to know what browser I’m using and to suggest upgrades or alternatives (for the record, I use Firefox on my own machine). WHat are the other ways service just happens because people no longer need to ask, they just do?
– The cafe across the road knows I only ever drink long blacks, so they just make them, they don’t ask
– My favourite wine bar knows I don’t drink sweet wines, so they don’t suggest them when I go in
– My favourite record store knows the music I like, but they also know enough to suggest things outside my radar
Those three examples rely on a human remembering and caring enough to act. So if you’re in a service industry and there are things you can automate, letting the technology take care of the service so you can do the things requiring a human, what is stopping you? Oh, I just realised I left one of the most important things off my list at the top:
5. Good customer service is the most remarkable thing you can offer.
I’ve recently jumped on a productivity bandwagon called Inbox Zero in an attempt to a) get more things done, b) get the right things done, and c) make myself a little better to work with for the poor folk who have to put up with me. Inbox Zero is a concept created by Merlin Mann who writes the productivity website 43 Folders.
The idea of Inbox Zero is there are only a set number of things you can do with email:
1. You can respond
2. You can delegate
3. You can be reminded of something you need to do
4. You can delete it
It also advocates checking email intermittently, say once an hour. Those of us in service industries may have to check it a little more often, though in the great video below Merlin compares checking it too often to working in Subway and not actually making anything to eat (“Any sandwich orders? Yep good, good to see. How about now? Cool, more sandwiches, excellent…”). It goes for an hour, but he’s a funny and engaging speaker, after that you will be primed to make the switch.
I should add I’m a fan of the labyrinthine filing structure he suggests to avoid, something I am eschewing reluctantly. To see my virtual filing cabinet disappear and be replaced with a single folder called “Archive” makes me feel very uneasy. To whom much is given, much is tested…
**Update** I snagged the below image from a friend’s laptop, he keeps a piece of paper stick to it to remind him…