Month: May 2010

Crowds need a leader

This month’s Admap magazine is all about the “Wisdom of crowds” and examines how brands have successfully harnessed the creative power of their consumers to not only generate compelling creative work, but to get those same consumers to engage with, spread and evolve the dialogue that the brand had started. There are some interesting case studies in there and it is definitely worth a look if you have a copy floating around your office.

The thing is, for a lot of us in the media industry, we don’t need to be told of the benefits of crowd sourcing and user generated content, we need to be warned about rushing in headlong and just getting it wrong. Best case scenario is that you waste a lot of time and effort, worst case is that you actually damage brand perceptions and are seen as “Dad at the disco”

Today however I saw this which is a really useful example of how to get it right.

This is part of cmon and kypski’s One Frame of Fame project and it is one of the most engaging and entertaining pieces of crowdsourced content I have ever seen (Thanks to Chris Stephenson for the inspiration)

So what makes this so engaging and natural and fun when so many crowd sourcing attempts feel forced and awkward and naff? for an example of the latter see the T-mobile “Josh’s Band” effort

I think that there are a few rules that we can learn from the contrast of these two musical collaborations.

1) Crowds need leadership – you can’t expect them to just come up with a mind blowing concept just out of the blue. In Kypski’s video, the band give quite a prescriptive brief as to what is required if you want to get in their video. This give people clear parameters to work within and so they can pre-judge their own efforts according to those criteria

2)Thinking outside of the box first requires a box. If you ask people to come up with crazy and innovative ideas they are often paralysed by the potential choice of what they could do and so end up doing nothing. If instead you apply constraints to that choice it is easier for them to access their own creativity within set parameters. Small rebellions from those parameters will also then potentially lead to something that is innovative, clever, but most importantly usable. The human mind is its most innovative when presented with a problem to overcome. When you remove all barriers you remove the need to innovate.

3) Keep it simple – I shouldn’t have to point this one out, but it is amazing how often brands start to complicate matters when they are trying to generate consumer involvement. The barriers to entry must be so low as to be invisible otherwise they won’t bother. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that they are dying to get involved with your brand campaign, they are not and they will only get involved if it is easy and fun.

4) Allow them to engage on their terms – Just because you’ve got a facebook page or a microsite or a twitter feed that you want populating doesn’t mean that your consumer wants to engage in that way. Maximise the options for them and worry about the aggregation later.

I’m sure there are lots more to think about, but if more campaigns stuck to just these rules they may well be significantly more effective.

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Objects of Desire- the value of marketing post sale

So, if you’ve read more than a couple of my previous entries, you’ll know that I’m not a big fan of the Apple monster. I won’t go into my reasons now, (there are loads of people with similar blogs out there – it gets boring)

Given my antipathy towards Apple however, it was a source of some consternation recently when my wife wanted to upgrade her old Nokia and get herself an iPhone. I regard it as a significant triumph then that I was able to persuade her to get the latest <a href=" .”>HTC Desire
The Desire is the latest in a line of Google Android phones that have been challenging for the iPhone’s crown and it looks like one has finally made it (well until the iPhone 4 comes out later this year)

Now this post isn’t meant to be a Geek-off about Google vs Apple etc, it is to do with how marketing can affect someone’s satisfaction and loyalty towards something that they have already bought.

I kept checking with my wife that she was happy with her phone and she does really like it, but her enjoyment of the phone is tempered by the fact that other people don’t know how good it really is and so aren’t obviously envious of it. In her words “I wish their marketing was better so that people would admire it more”.

For her the value of marketing was just as much about making her phone an object of desire for other people as it was to make her want it in the first place. Whilst functionally she has a phone which commentators agree is better than the current generation of the iphone, the one function it cannot perform is to actually BE an iphone with all the status that entails.

HTC really do need to sort out their advertising so that it causes some down and dirty gadget lust amongst a wide population rather than just amongst the knowledgeable gadget geeks.

In this instance the considered opinion of the early adopter is less important than the admiration of the masses.

Critically panned ad has great success – whaddyaknow?

So I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while and a piece of new news today prompted me to get my thoughts down.

Hopefully you’ve seen this ad from Greenpeace

It’s a pretty graphic, and fairly clumsily made ad to highlight the fact that Nestle uses palm oil in its chocolate that is produced by companies that are destroying the last habitat of orangutangs to get it.

In a word, it’s pretty gross and initially I agreed with the assessment that I read in Campaign that said it was too clumsy, too long and too unpleasant.

But then a funny thing happened, advertising actually worked on me. I quite like Kit Kats, but everytime I went to buy one at my local newsagent, I had an image of biting into Orangutans fingers. Not only that, but every time I saw a Kit Kat ad (and the latest world cup ones are emphasising the “fingers” parallel which is particularly unfortunate) I was reminded of the image of the orangutan fingers. I haven’t had a Kit Kat since I saw it.

I have fairly strong attitudes towards conservation, particularly with regards to protecting endangered primates, but I’m no activist, so it was strange that I then went and signed the petition on the Greenpeace website and forwarded it to a number of my friends. I believe that

I was really pleased today to see that Nestle have now completely changed their policy see here