What can the father of Mad Men advertising teach us about Social Media success?

I came across a blog on the Masterful Marketing success of David Ogilvy this morning and while reading began to ponder on how much of his “great marketing” lessons are still relevant to social media marketing today…

madmen_twitter

Here are the 5 big take away lessons from David Ogilvy as listed in the blog.  Below I attempt to put them within the framework of Social Media Marketing and to update them accordingly…

1. “Unless your advertising contains a big idea, it will pass like a ship in the night. I doubt if more than one campaign in a hundred contains a big idea.”

Social media is not a campaign — although you can create a campaign when executing your social media and while good ideas about content and the “market conversation” are still vital — more important is the conversation that allows for the “audience” to participate and the opportunity to promote them.  No longer is it just about your “big idea”, smart marketers today focus on building relationships first.

2. “In the modern world of business, it is useless to be a creative, original thinker unless you can also sell what you create.” 

Business in 2013 is the “end of  business as usual” — Brian Solis has shown us that. Businesses in Canada are in the bubble of a very old mindset, one that is risk adverse and complacent after having 100 years of resource based commodities fueling it. The only ones that are selling anything new are those consultants and marketers who have embraced social media and see a future where unless Canadian businesses become more human they are destined to become obsolete in the next decade. Canadian businesses are going to miss the opportunity to connect with their audience who being online have options to connect with global competitors, like our American cousins, who are focused on building social media relationships at all costs.

3. “I abhor advertising that is blatant, dull, or dishonest. Agencies which transgress this principle are not widely respected.”

In today’s market place the agencies still have control over much of the advertising space as together they and the larger businesses continue to support old school marketing and advertising campaigns. Small and medium enterprises, for the most part, have their heads in the sands and are trying to ignore social media in hopes that it will to away…

4. “Advertising people who ignore research are as dangerous as generals who ignore decodes of enemy signals.”

I wish all the advertising agencies in Canada would print this out and pin it on their walls. Most are still painfully ignorant about social media preferring to service the status quo with the tried and true ways of doing marketing — totally missing the reality that the “progressive” consumer has moved on and they are now just shouting at Dumb and Dumber with their one way mass media tactics.

5. “If we hire people who are smaller than we are, we will become a company of dwarfs. If we hire people who are larger than we are, we’ll become a company of giants.”
Amen. Don’t even get me started on the companies of dwarfs that populate the Canadian business landscape. Oh for the days of Giants. Even finding a business leader who has vision is rare. I am so grateful to my clients who have dared to have me activate their  social media and enrich their business!

Yes, the world has changed thanks to Web 2.0 and Social Media. Thank God, for Facebook and Twitter, as the world of business will never be the same.

Designing Data. “Help I am drowning in data and I can’t get back up!”

According to John Maeda, president of the Rhode Island School of Design, “who laid out his view of the future challenge facing leaders now that social media and technology have overturned the traditional company hierarchy. Fortunately, the solution to that challenge appears to be a applying good design to a lot of data.”

“He implied that this opens up opportunities for creative people to become leaders, but he directly stated that creative people could help make any leader in this new heterarchical structure more effective.”

Thanks to Social media and technology, it’s a level playing field in the business world today. Good news for Creatives. Good luck pitching a Canadian business owner on this one, still, as they don’t want to “re invent” the wheel any time soon, even though they are drowning in data. Looks like I have my work cut out for me when it comes to convincing them that the creative management of their data via Social Media will, indeed Enrich their business and save them from the pool of tears….

Re-Imagine. The Power of the Personal Brand.

Let me begin by saying that I love the new WordPress blog interface that I accessed via the new home page. Sweet. Looks and feels alot like Tumblr and yet I am glad I do not have to post only in that totally crazy mad world of the Creatives – I can still remain respectable and hire-able by posting to Word Press. 🙂 Thanks WordPress for being cool and creative and for still seeing the creative writing on the wall!

It has been a busy summer. mostly doing websites and managing some social media properties. As of late I have been away on yet another one of those client journey’s. It was the classic scenario. To begin they love that I am so creative and want to know what I think—even went so far to claim that they are “obsessed” by me. Not a good sign as obsession leads no good… but hey for the first few weeks I felt like I had just won a shot at the Olympic good metal round in Fencing, my favorite sport, and that someone was actually listening to what I had to say!  Then suddenly the honey moon was over and I am assigned to what feels like the position of “employee” as all my creative ideas are swiftly, with no explanation, swept under the carpet and we return to BUSINESS AS USUAL — even though we have not signed anything to that effect and I have from the start been no other then what my Twitter Profile states.

In an effort to cheer myself up I set about to read some good inspirational stuff on my iPad about what I do best  –which is communications. Early this am I came across a post that lead to an app for a guy who claims to be a MEDIA Futurist. Excited not so much by what he had to say, I am sure I have heard it all before after all I have been in this game for a hell of a long time now, both on the technology, creative and sales side and adore McLuhan but rather by the his method of engaging me I proceed to the Apple Store for a download. For me McLuhan, is still my main media man for 100 years after his birth he is one of the few intellectuals who gave credit to artists saying “I learnt everything I know from the Poets and the Painters”.   AMEN.

Anyhow, I downloaded Gerd’s app onto my ipad so I could experience my first personal brand app, that was the coolest part and I made mental note to blog about it later as it had the same mind blowing effect as a good cranial adjustment — waking up some nerve endings which have fallen asleep in the race to please offer appeasement.

So the guy is named Gerd Leonard — not an American as one would expect but a European – as all white people are anyhow…..a German actually – who lives in Europe, who of course, lived for some time in the United States and advocates – god forbid, some green solutions– probably a fan of that guy who wrote the book called The Solar Economy back in the day.  Thankfully, in the video I watch on my ipad app Gerd talks only about Media Ecology so I don’t have to worry about the thought police knocking at my door…

Alas I am trapped in Canada, a nation of bean counters, who simple don’t get what it is to be Creative when it comes to business —-even though they do try on occasion, which typically means paying lip service to some tired old ad agency in Toronto who still advocates a mix of media even as Gerd speaks to me via his personal app loaded onto my ipad in a You Tube Video posted at his channel about “The Future of Technology”.  He is cool school and apparently advises large fortune 500’s in Europe about change and employs 25 “Change Agents”. While I do feel a connection with him thanks to social media my ipad craps out half way through his talk due to a bad Bell connection.  While feeling uplifted I am quickly forced to go back to the reality of the day, one spent in a country where the dominant network does not know the works of Marshall McLuhan little lone some dude named Gerd who has his own ipad app and recommend that we all  “RE-IMAGINE”. One can only re-imagine what that means for the Future of Canada,eh?

UPDATE: Just went to like Gerd on FB and see that three of my Facebook Friends also like him. Surprise, one is Canadian – Don Tapscott, whose own writings are greatly influenced by McLuhan.

Social Media at its best is a communications model of Mutual Understanding

Visualizing New Media (ART & Telecos) Meta Data from 2 decades ago —- still relevant today!

Last night I was offline going thru old papers in storage when I came across a saved article from 1991. Back then Artists interested in technology were reading about New Media from the likes of MIT’s magazine called Leonardo. We were contemplating what the future would hold with the inevitable convergence of Computers, Telecommunications and Video and we were not sure what the new model of communications would look and feel like once they came together…

In my sorting I found an xeroxed copy of a 5 page article entitled: Art and Telecommunications – 10 Years On. I immediately stopped, got my ipad and googled the title and author with this question in my mind – Would the article I held in my hand have been relevant enough to be mentioned 20 years later?

Not only was it mentioned it is archived and for sale online for $16.00 USD!

I began to re -read the article for relevancy sake, curious to see how the caliber of thought around the issues of Art and Telecommunications two decades ago would hold up in the light of Social Media. This is a knee jerk reaction due to the fact that I am constantly told that I bring nothing to the table as an Artist – except some crazy notions about design…and while I try to argue differently I see eyes glaze over when I mention media theory. What people fail to realize is that it is the artists who inform the great thinkers on communications and thereby contribute greatly to the thought leadership that trickles down to the scientific community, hackers, IT and Marketing consultants and eventually into popular culture. McLuhan said that everything he knew about Media was informed by the poets and the painters.

I learnt alot about Social media 2 decades ago from the Artists who were exploring technology and communications and writing on it. My mind is well prepared for the quantum shift we see today in business, technology and culture.

The biggest take aways? The adoption of the convergence Model of communications AKA – Social Media and the Call to Artists of the urgent necessity to “enter into a dialogue with, as well as a critique of, our technological culture”:

“to avoid embracing contemporary technology is to opt for voluntary cultural fossilization: an an art practice that becomes quaint and irrelvent to all but a “cultured” few. To embrace technology is to live and work in the real world, to grapple with the forces that are shaping our world, perhaps to some productive end”

How Social Media is begining to change “the face” of Hard Core Gaming

When I was a kid I hated to “play games” – mostly because my brother always had to win or else he would cry. Winning is Happiness after all. Most male games have been based on win or lose, do or die. War. Strategy. Tactics. In essence – The 33 Strategies of War.

I would argue that women play a different type of games– as we rule the emotions and therefore the heart. What is the line from the popular Eagles song say? “The Queen of Hearts is always your Best Bet”… Women tend to operate more in the sphere of influence. “Behind every great man is an even greater woman”.

Today Zynga launches a new game. While the exterior trappings might reflect the same old same old there is a new psychology behind it. INFLUENCE. i.e. How to win friends and influence people. Now there is a twist that belongs to the old boy Dale Carnegie. Mind your P’s and Q’s and be nice. The aim of the game is changing. Be social for people, Get Social for Business. Long overdue for all of us who seek new way to win at the game of life.

Utilizing more traditional combat gameplay, the title places you in the role of an island leader looking to expand their influence through military might. While that sounds a far cry different from a game like “FarmVille,” for instance, “Empires” still tasks you with familiar Zynga features such as resource collection and visiting “neighbors.”

Desperado - The Queen of Hearts is always your best BET!

What does it mean for Business to “GET Social”?

Is there some sort of conceptual idea behind this question? Yes, there is an idea that one either gets or not. Let me attempt to briefly explain the hidden ground of social media. After posting my last blog back in April I got very busy with some personal matters and started work with a new client who has American businesses interested in their Social Media Solutions. What a difference it is speaking to American business owners over Canadian ones with respect to their social media plans. Canadian business owners still don’t see why they should “Get Social” and since they are not prepared to explore the economic theory behind it is more about education than doing — making for long sales cycles — while the social media world continues to evolve at breakneck speed.

Clearly, most they don’t get it. Refining my pitch and presentations to Canadian business owners recently has really made me think about what it is that they do not “get”. At the end of the day it is this. They do not get the quantum shift that occurred back in 1998 based on the idea of a new networked economy replacing the existing one. I remember reading Kevin Kelly’s book New Rules for the New Economy at that time and It changed the way I thought about the future. Ironically Google was just starting out on its journey to make a business model based on the user at the centre and a wide distribution of it applications. Now 13 years later Google rules search and its only competition in the Web 2.0 space is FaceBook – the world’s largest social media network. Yes, the word is NETWORK.

Guess what– that future is in full effect right NOW. While sorting out old papers and notes last weekend I came accross a single sheet from a sketchbook on which I had written a short version of Kelly’s 12 rules for the new Economy, 13 years ago. It was like unearthing an ancient text. Now – if I could only find business owners who will take the time to study this book, make a list and memorize it like I have — then perhaps we would be speaking the same language. Until that day, most Canadian busineses will continue to stay on the surface never going deep enough into the foundations of social media to justify investing —instead dreaming of the “good old days” when they could get return on old media advertising, dismissing social media as a fad that will soon be replaced by another one. Those who just don’t “get social” probably are not going to become social anytime soon. To demonstrate how social media is leaving it mark on all – including big companies like APPLE I found this blog post yesterday that makes suggestions regarding companies that need to get social. Imagine the nerve of suggesting that Apple “Get Social”……lol…..

Forget Facebook & Twitter-Small Canadian Businesses are still waiting for Google

Today is Google’s day! When I re-branded myself last fall (2010) as a SEARCH & SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGIST after 10 years as a Sales and Marketing Consultant with a background in New Media I thought long and hard about my offering and arrived at Search & Social Media. For me it was never an either/or scenario like so many of my peers….rather it was about helping small businesses with the Social media basics and working over time to develop an online marketing strategy that embraced both Search & Social Media.

Since then I have heard very little talk about Google in my discussions with clients about my services. Those who are savvy are fascinated by social media and then shocked that I would actually charge anything more than minimum wage for my services for engaging, listening and monitoring their social media pages. This of course following their confession that they have no time or inclination or skills to engage online themselves – but admit that there is “something happening there” that they need to pay attention to, but they cannot identify what. It is called a new way to communicate, people. IBM calls it Social Business – it requires experimentation, investment and williness to take a business risk and exhibit leadership. The banks call it Innovation – but will NEVER lend to you, so I feel your pain–they will continue to hoard their funds and look to small business to mortgage their house instead…. A real catch 22, eh??

No sense dilly dallying over the Economics of the old school media world — I then move on to talk about Twitter or Facebook and there is more shock when I tell them that Facebook is “the” space in which to build a community or customer service portal – but since one needs to drive potential clients (traffic) to the FB page and engage them to like it before you gain access to their news feed the suggestion that they invest in online advertising in the form of Google AdWords goes over like a lead balloon even though I tell them it is a great idea as the typical user is actively seeking information on select keywords and the potential for a good lead or purchase is much higher they clutch their hearts and ask how much THAT is going to cost? I say the more you spend the more leads you get. Sales 101. In the sales world we call this a qualified lead. I see their eyes glaze over as they long for the day when they could hire a sales rep based on commission only. It is a different game online – they call it Marketing something that small business never really did. So, even though Google ad leads are much warmer than Facebook ad leads – at least for now….they don’t get it…

Over the last few days Google has re-positioned itself. Now that Larry is at the helm announcing that they will embrace social media, synchronizing themselves with the consumer who are currently using Facebook and Twitter type tools to connect with friends, family and oh yeah — ambitious innovative businesses…. They will also reach out to specific markets in an attempt to meld Search & Social Media with a new product called Google PLUS one.

What really hit home for me today is the fact that they will focus on the Canadian market as they have long identified it as being underserved with respect to the number of small businesses who do not even have a website. Some 1.2 Million — who are doing what? — “waiting for Godot”….

Note: A Tragi/Comedy in 2 ACTS

Having worked as an Account Executive some 13 years ago selling the “concept” of having a website to small businesses I have been down this road before. After the tek crash of 2000 I had to sell a lot of stuff besides “technology” but it allowed me to hone my sales skills and learn the sales process like the back of my hand. So now here is the Sting – about a month ago Google ran an ad on Craigslist (for FREE) for Sales Reps and I applied cause hey small biz is simply NOT getting it in spite of my brilliant White Paper download entitled – A 21 C guide to Online Marketing for Canadian Business.

Living in the most expensive City in Canada while waiting for the Search & Social Media Boat to come in is no JOKE. I have been literally and figuratively treading water for 13 years!

Reflections by Robert Freeman

Treading Water

Now I am going under and the only offer I have is to work for a Chinese Insurance Start Up company in a Management role….yes, Toronto is all about BAY Street. So I bit the bullet for the second, yes second time and applied to Google in the most creative manner I knew – I submitted my white paper as I never graduated with a MBA, a high GPA in the USA. I am Canajun, eh?
Did I hear back from Google? Of course not. Having a background in ART and Media and high-tech sales, excelling in B2B business skills that are very attractive to Chinese Entrepreneurs in Toronto is NOT what Google is looking for….

Pray tell, what might they be looking for? A piece of the Canadian small business market for sure. What could I possibly know about those 2.2 M small business owners mindsets? Google is proposing that they will assist small Canadian businesses set up their websites. Good Luck and Heads up guys as you will be competing with the high school kid who does it for fee in his basement….lol. But seriously, may the force be with you – because the sooner you get em set up the better for the both of us. In the meantime I am going to continue to educate and hold the hand of the small business owner who does not understand why they should pay a professional any money to set up their Social Media channels. AMEN.