Friday, November 28, 2008
Especially when innocents are needlessly hurt.
I'm also keeping up to date with the amount of live, vast, graphic, and raw content that are out there. Everyday bloggers are feeding real emotions in covering the attack.
It's a contrast to how I had TV as my main source of news during the 9-11 event. Scripted and control tone. I still remember standing in my lounge room watching it live on TV when the 2nd plane hit.
Now I'm sadden by live Tweet by Tweet news and minute video updates from YouTube.
My prayers and well wishes to the families who are suffering from the Mumbai attacks.
We get intensely involved in the operations, revenue, sales, cost, and targets of the business that we lose focus of what matters most to the success of our business. Our Customers.
Idris Mootee once wrote of 4 modes of thinking patterns that we fall into.
1. Proactive Thinking
2. Reactive Thinking
3. Passive Thinking
4. Dormant Thinking
Proactive thinking forms the basis of econometrics and lateral approach where we use logical and mechanical thinking to manage future situations. This works in a predictable business events. It is what we use often doing strategy work.
Reactive thinking is the most efficient way to approach a situation. It is a cause and effect reaction to an event. This is largely found in large corporations where we deal with events as efficiently as possible.
Passive thinking is used when dealing with large amounts of data or work. It recognises patterns and situations. It relies on our sensing abilities.
Dormant thinking uses the meditation approach. The ability to filter out any noise, ill-will, negative people, worries, restlessness and cultivate qualities such as concentration, awareness, intelligence, will, confidence, clarity to lead us higher wisdom of the situation.
So maybe take an hour off today.
Enough Proactive, Reactive and Passive thinking for the week.
Spend some Dormant thinking time.
Maybe spend that time thinking about your customers.
Happy Friday and time to add your blog to Nuffnang? :)
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Boarding flight back to Melbourne now and the captain has announced we're stuck on the Tarmac because of a Brisbane storm that has just arrived. I had a great catch up and coffee with Cameron Reilly of The Podcast Network. Campos is a great little cafe with an intriguing fan made from real banana leaves.
I was reading the GW on Sunday which had an article covering celebrity bloggers. They wrote about bloggers such as Julia Allison and Emily Gould, how they are the "look at me" generation climbing the new media ladder to fame and fortune.
One of the interesting quotes made by Gould, in explaining the good and bad crazy power of internet fame, was "I wanted to take it all back, but to do that I'd have to destroy the entire internet. If only I could. Google, YouTube, Gawker... all gone." What we say online, our actions, our conversations are permanently stored globally. Read by all, judges by all.
Noah Brier led me to a post about ephemeral conversations by Schneier. He discussed the idea of conversations, such as face to face, over the phone, etc. use to be ephemeral... where what we said dissappears at the end.
In the new world, everything we say is digitally recorded.
Digital natives embraces and engage in deep conversations without acknowledging the future consequences. Take Stephanie Rice with her Facebook profile saga. Fairfax journos openly search through Facebook profiles... "a respected source."
Digital migrants, on the other hand, tend to email, post, or comment like an official press release knowing everything could come back to them. Take Telstra's and Malcolm Turnbull's tone on twitter.
Seth Godin also mentioned no matter what we say online, it's guaranteed to be misunderstood by an individual. He writes:
"It's hard to imagine how one could write something that 100% of the recipients will understood as written. If you overwrite to satisfy the last 1%, you're going to bore the rest to tears.
All of which is a way of warning you about [a potential pitfall of] microblogging (Twitter, etc.). If you've got 140 characters to make your point, the odds are you are going to be misunderstood (a lot). There may be nothing wrong with that, but you should be prepared for it to happen. And most of the time, people won't take the time to ask. They'll just assume you're an ignorant jerk and move on."
As a blogger comments, "Privacy, epic fail."
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
It's been a hot topic.
Marketers I believe don't fear conversations. Word of mouth has been going on for centuries. What marketers fear of is the negativity of their brand or product.
The traditional marketing approach has been aspirationsal. The brand being pinacle of all things. It's brand heaven. Buying my brand makes you feel good.
Brands were never built to be conversational. Now with the rise of digital, consumers are empowered to have a voice.
They now have an opinion and word of mouth is now spread over the globe. Positive and negative comments are being made. Could Brand equity be eroded... are we losing control of our brand? What tools do marketers have in tracking and reacting to conversations that are happening outside? Only the last 12 months we have seen the rise in blog tracking tools. Even I've looked at building one with AIMIAs funding due a need for one in Australia. I made it to the final round but decided not to progress. I'm not a technology person.
So the question is, what should brands do about these conversations that are taking place and should we have a dialogue?
Conversations are important and in todays markets, brands need to be nimble and have a rapid response strategy. Marketers need to engage their resources to start listening to their customers beyond feedback forms on the fast food counter.
Do we need to have a conversation? That depends on the brand. Depends on the business. And depends on your resources. Conversations are developed over time and involves a lot of trust and consistency. Do you have someone to speak to your customers on a daily basis? Someone who has experience beyond the Press Release. A Chief Community Officer.
Remember, Apple did not have direct conversations with their customers and are still successful. But Dell also grew their business through conversations.
Posted from my iPhone
Monday, November 24, 2008
It has been a great experience both in the type of work, client interaction and culture of the agency, FRANk. I have to consider myself lucky to have free range in implementing my thoughts on marketing strategy. I find myself constantly challenging and raising the bar. My partner in crime is Tamir Berkman who has been instrumental in pushing the boundaries with our agency. Our clients' feedback has been a testament of our achievemnts within FRANk.
12 months ago, I was working at a global media agency. They were great digital media buyers... and they are still among the leaders in online planning buying shop. However, I started to find myself challenging the traditional agency model. My passion and understanding of the strengths of digital (the rise of social networks) was in conflict of online media planning buying shops and traditional media shops. Hence my departure for greener pastures.
In my departure, I was vocal in criticizing how online agencies are "bolted" into traditional agencies. Separate. Disjointed. Old media vs New media. Old school thinking. Is this the best model for clients? Are we doing the right things for clients? And I have to admit on reflection, I apologise if I was a little too vocal and admittedly can be viewed as immature.
12 months on, digital has seen a further rapid growth of both digital media and social networks. And, we are still struggling with "Social" solutions for clients. An over simplified example is a large sales event, the fastest way to get a word out is through email, twitter, and a blog post. A media agency is built for profit, how can a media agency be involved in recommending that to the client without compromising it's bread a butter.... media buying.
So 12 months on, I still believe in my views. But I do also have a greater respect for digital media and it's valid role. I see the benefits of both approaches. Quick response media buying and Slower response social engagement strategies. Ben Shepherd's blog, showed me the value of media planning buying and it's great to see how my old agency is looking to evolve. A sign of a good agency is it's willingness to embrace change. It's no small feat for a global agency. I live and learn.
Through the year, I've also had a great pleasure to interact leaders in their fields like Ben Barren with the Australian blogosphere, Tamir Levin of three minds, Idris Mootee of idea couture, Tim & Ming of Nuffnang success, etc. In these people and through my favourite blogs of thought leaders, I take comfort to know I am on the right path. I also understand that my thoughts may be a challenge.
I hope you will continue sharing my journey of the future agency - experience, engagement, connection, innovation, transforming, people and results focused.
Friday, November 21, 2008
It's rough but generally flows like this. Most media campaigns are also structure like this. The largest advertisers in Australia follows this structure. Matching media to reach and message to speak to customers at the most relevant time of their decision making process.
TV gets the awareness, DR guides & influence, the Retail captures the purchase.
It's simple, it worked it the past, and it is proven.
But with the advent of digital and consumer empowerment, has this changed the funnel?
I believe so.
My thoughts is to upgrade the funnel. It's very one way. It's about pushing an elephant through the funnel and expecting the business to increase sales.
We hear this constantly - Driving mass reach and awareness. Big TARPs. TV gives me the most reach. What is my CPM rate? If I can get more people to hear about it, I'll get more people buying my product.
Digital has fundamentally changed the way we endorse products, purchase products, consume media. Everyone of us has a voice. A voice that consumers listen to. When we purchase any product, a simple Google search will bring a list of not only the Brand's websites but also past customer's experience of the Brand's product. Good and Bad. Google doesn't differentiate.
The funnel needs to be upgraded. It needs to be a dialogued approach with Brands and Customers. What are they saying? Am I even listening? Can I speak to them? Let's start evolving the funnel to a pipe.
A pipe can flow both ways. Brands and Customers can speak to each other at each step of their decision making process. It's also one to one. Personal. A Brand can have many pipes. Speaking to all their customers. Ability to manage different types of customers. If a customer is not happy, the Brand hears about it and fixes it.
But fundamentally, this is beyond media. It is a change of the Brand's business approach and culture. It will need to look at evolving their business model to be Rapid Response. Ability to listen, identify, and react.
Benefits? Rapid Response means remarkable experience for customers, drop fall out rates, high conversion rates, positive influence on customers, positive WOM from customer, customer retention, create better products, NPD, lower cost per sale and cost per customer = $$$ revenue.
It's a big cultural shift for Businesses so it's easier to do what they do. Like this Mac ad.
PS Have you signed up to Nuffnang yet?
Last week, my thoughts were confirmed with SEEK 2009 predictions.
A meeting with Carsales yesterday also confirmed my predictions. New car sales has dropped but private car sales will have it's record month. Great news as revenue for Carsales will continue it's strong growth through this period of downturn.
It's interesting to see how different dotcoms models can be resilient through economic downturns. They almost act as a barometer for market sentiment.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
I popped into Techcrunch.
5 mins later.
I've downloaded Ocarina for iPhone!
What is it? It's an interactive app that turns your iPhone into an actual Ocarina where you actually blow into it and turn it into real tunes! It's the first true musical equipment for the iPhone. Here's a demo:
I have to say, this is one of the most innovative and entertaining App ever!
What makes it even more appealing and quadruple the cool factor is the Social interaction. Clicking on the globe, I can listen to other people playing Ocarina from around the world!! There are some serious players out of London and Paris. Spain needs a bit of work! :P Not that I can barely play a tune and representing Melbourne. PS I found 3 people from Melbourne while I was playing.
My verdict: Go get one! Hours of fun!
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Site traffic to Nuffnang.com.au has jumped. My blog reached over 100+ visits for the post yesterday and am now sitting on 50+ this morning. Not bad since this blog is less than 6 weeks old.
On top of that, I've received numerous emails with congrats, can't wait to join, etc.
We're also registering a strong sign up rate too!
What has impressed me the most with Nuffnang is how well supported and loved the brand is among the blogosphere. A simple Google search of "Nuffnang" shows the level of passion of bloggers being part of this 60,000 plus community.
If you're a blogger, give it a shot! Sign up today at Nuffnang.com.au.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Well it's been a busy 2 months for me...
New business pitch
Went to Singapore and Malaysia for a week
Back in time for some client strategy sessions
While playing host to some visitors
With some client training sessions
AND having a new addition to my family!
But amongst all these, Martyn and I have signed a deal to launch Nuffnang into Australia!
In February 2007, two fresh UK grads from a strong economics degree decided to ditch being investment bankers and launched their own blog ad network, Nuffnang. Today, in less than 2 years, Nuffnang has acquired a mass of over 60,000 blogs in Singapore and Malaysia. Philippines which just launched 3 months ago is fast growing at over 3,000 bloggers in their network.
Their stellar success had Business week placing the founders, Tim and Ming, as Asia's Top 25 entrepreneurs in 2007.
So what is Nuffnang?
Nuffnang is a blog ad network where bloggers who sign up are served ads on their blogs. In many ways, similar to Google AdSense. Bloggers receives payment from running ads sold by Nuffnang.
The difference with Nuffnang model vs other blog ad networks is it focuses on locality and community.
Local in the sense each market Nuffnang is launched in comprising a local Nuffnang team. This ensures quality local advertisers are placed on the blogger's website. It is a strong leap from other blog ad networks who deals majority with international affiliates and CPC models.
Nuffnang also promotes heavily within the blogging community and run numerous events for bloggers. Bloggers have the opportunity to be part of this Nuffnang community through advertiser events, sampling, or just a simple Nuffnang sharing session. Blogger's websites are also promoted only to help drive traffic.
To advertisers, this presents an attractive model to engage with bloggers never previously possible. Advertisers previously found the blogging community to be highly fragmented, management intensive, and hard to find! Nuffnang provides a one stop shop to run display media, engage with blogger events, PR, advertorials, UGC, and many more.
Blogging in general has grown sharply in the last 5 years in terms of bloggers and readers. We believe Nuffnang has a unique proposition that is well position to provide a service for bloggers and Brands.
As such, I'm are proud to announce Nuffnang Australia launch today.
Please take the time to give us a shot, be part of our growing community, and sign up to Nuffnang. As our Australian blogger community grows, we are finding advertisers which we will match to your blog.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Advertisers give people the idea and ask them to remember it.
Design give people tools/activities and ask them to discover the idea.
The reason it took me so long to get one is because I was stuck on a Three plan. I had no problems with them, service was good, price was good, but no iPhone. So I've forked out $200 to cancel my contract and picked up my new toy yesterday from Virgin.
I had to get around my wife too. Some of the reasons were things like it'll let me spend more time with you, I'll play less soccer, and the iPhone will have aps that will allow me to give better massages. I gave a lot crappy of excuses but one of them must have worked!
Hopefully more posts from the iPhone to come. The keyboard is a struggle but getting faster. Still amazed at how proficient Ben Barren is on his Blackberry.
Posted from iPhone.
Friday, November 14, 2008
While posting a sorry comment on his blog, I noticed an interesting piece on Calling Social Media Out. His pieced focused on the point that all media is social.
"If all media is social, media must be inherently social and if we agree the web is inherently social then the Internet is, my friends, just a collection of media (we need to separate that idea from the business of media). We have created a new taxonomy in an attempt to somehow describe the “otherness” of this new space, which is itself not a recent development; we’ve separated movies and TV for years even though they showed us essentially the same thing (like FM radio and do now). Watching video online is no different, and soon we won’t treat it like it is."
So I had to respond...
Yes and No. Yes all media is social. But media inherently is still the same media... it has not fundamentally changed in the last 10,20,50 years. TV and radio still does the same thing, albeit introduction of technology with PayTV red button, etc. What has changed is the introduction of internet and how we consumed media. The rapid change in the way we consume media (consumer empowerment, etc) has ultimately changed the way we interact with media - ie. Socially.
So yes, we always look beyond social media and like all good strategy... it starts with Insights. Good insights (something RoyM can't give us). Understanding the consumer. Live the life of a consumer. Immerse ourselves to BE the consumer.
The consumer do not see which media is better. They still see billboards, listen to radio, go on facebook, do the dreamteam, etc. Yes, time spent has shifted and more media is being consumed today than 10 years ago. But what gets the message across is when a Brand coupled with good insights = positive reactions.
Media are just a marketer's tools.
Through fantastic insights, we've seen shifts in communications strategy to include product marketing (Apple), technology marketing (Asus), transformation marketing (here), experiential marketing, etc. Various strategies that are about stories, exceptional experiences, interactive, social and extends well into internet. Web, in my opinion, is a fantastic tool to share stories with like minded consumers.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
View Larger Map
Inspired by Faris Yakob, here are the other locations if you're interested in popping in!
The places - well....
New York [with me]: Obivia, 201 Lafayette Street from 6pm. [Happy hour runs until 8pm and there should be some free Ketel One splashing about too. Don't say I don't look after you.] MAP.
London [with Rachel and Co]: Will meet 6.30pm onwards at the Commercial Tavern, 142-144 Commercial Street, London E1 6NU. We've got the upstairs bar. See you there! Details.
Melbourne [with David]:Red Hummingbird, 246 Russell Street, just up from the corner of Lonsdale from 6:30pm. We’ll meet on the rooftop as I’m banking on the weather being lovely (currently predicted to be 29 degrees!), if you haven’t been there before you will see a red birdcageover the entrance. Map.
Shanghai - our host has been called away so this is no longer happening. Unless YOU want to host it...
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
This came in the news:
"Concern over the slowing economy has helped produce an unseasonable jump in the number of people visiting job board sites." - AdNews
"Seek downgrades profit outlook" - Smart Company
Monday, November 10, 2008
Today's a short quicky to promote Movember (one of our client). Leanne at FRANk is proudly representing us as a Mo Sista!
If you care, please kindly donate here.
The money raised by Movember is used to raise awareness of men's health issues and donated to the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia and beyondblue - the national depression initiative. The PCFA and beyondblue will use the funds to fund research and increase support networks for those men who suffer from prostate cancer and depression.
Did you know:
Depression affects 1 in 6 men....most don't seek help. Untreated depression is a leading risk factor for suicide.
Last year in Australia 18,700 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer and more than 2,900 died of prostate cancer - equivalent to the number of women who will die from breast cancer annually.
For those that have supported Movember in previous years you can be very proud of the impact it has had and can check out the details at:
[ Fundraising Outcomes ]
Movember culminates at the end of month Gala Partés. If you would like to be part of this great night you'll need to purchase a [ Gala Parté Ticket ].
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
But I did well with the office sweep. I had Bauer and only missed 1st place by this much:
This is the new Mac ad. Funny! I suspect this is a counter to Microsoft latest $300million Seinfeld ads.
Funny but also makes light of a fundamental issue for marketers. Is the money spent wisely on creating a huge advertising campaign to hide the problem or simply fix the problem? Sounds straight forward but it is an issue I often see marketers face. The product has gone so far down the track that rather than fixing it, they just want to launch it and starting bringing in revenue. This leads to a spiraling effect where more and more ad dollars are poured to increase poor sales performance.This also may have worked 5 years ago but with the rise of web2.0 trends, consumers now have the ability to research online on Google, read blogs on product experience, consumer review sites, aggregators which allows you to compare and buy products online with less than 5 clicks.
Now, there is the trend where Product is leading Marketing. An obvious example of this is Apple products. Their advertising spend is marginal to other computer brands such as Dell, HP, Microsoft, but they are experience strong sales growth.
But the products don't have to be sexy. If the products provide value foremost, and serves the customers needs and wants vs competing products... sales will follow. Customers are smart and will hear of it through their friends or online. Perhaps a shift in marketing fundamentals, Kotler's 4Ps - Product, Price, Promotion, Placement. Product more than Promotions.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Everyday I read the news online or in the newspapers (yes I still do read "press"), I'm reading headlines of the biggest falls in XX years or the biggest gains in XX years in the same week. I'm following with great interest because it is the first time in my adult life that an economy has taken a downturn. There was a downturn back in the 90s but I was in high school and was more worried about getting chicks than the economy. Priorities you see...
At my agency, we have a strong portfolio of leading dotcoms:
Seek - #1 job site
Carsales - #1 car site
Wotif - #1 accommodation site
All these sites were founded pre-dotcom bubble bust and have managed to survived through it with strong growth.
Now we're approaching a different sort of downturn with the credit crunch affecting every day people. Job cuts and tightening in spending will have a direct effect on purchasing cars and travel.
Job cuts will result in an increase of job seekers traffic but less job ads. A direct slow down in Seek's classifieds revenue model. The government is predicting around a 4-5% unemployment rate.
Job insecurity and tighter spending result in a reduction in car sales. Carsales.com.au's new car classifieds model will be affected though I believe the private car sales will remain strong with people shifting to low cost maintenance cars. I've read of young investment bankers selling their Feraris they bought for $550,000 12 months ago for $360,000. Their big fat cheques are no longer coming in and spending has to be cut.
A tighter spending will only benefit Wotif's model - cheap last minute bookings. History has shown even during a downturn, people still need a break and travel. It's about small wins. Eg. Lipstick sales increase during a recession as women cut spending on expensive dresses to $20 lipsticks. The need to have small wins and people still do travel. Likewise, instead of big overseas travel to the US when our dollar was strong, people will focus their travels to small domestic regions. Wotif is well positioned in the market to capitalise on that.
In the times of hardship, traditional or online businesses that help customers save and giving small wins will be positioned to perform strongly during a recession. BRW gave examples of recession buster business such as:
Small affordable wins that help customers enjoy life during a gloomy period.
And the bottom feeders during a downturn:
Lawyers - people losing houses, businesses, etc.
Gambling - chasing losses, quick $$ gains, etc.
We're running an office sweeps at work and I'm lucky to pick "Mad Rush" from the hat. According to Duncan Riley's blog, it's a sure winner!
What I do miss about the races is when I'm lucky enough to get tickets into the Birdcage. No luck this year....