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.

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Why Search is a Waste of Time and Social Media allows us to Gain Time

“No matter how fast it seems, most search is a waste of time. In a way, we are using time (i.e., the time-based structure) to gain time.”

This quote is from a recent opinion blog in Wired Magazine online and it hits the target in clarifying what I have been trying to say to my clients for years now about the difference between Search and Social Media.

Yes they are two different animals. Why? because Social Media is Time Based and Search is not. The issue of time based vs non time based media is one dear to my heart as I studied Classical Animation. Animation is a time based media as is performance art, dance, music, new media, and some visual arts. “Usually time-based media are video, slide, film, audio or computer based and part of what it means to experience the art is to watch it unfold over time according to the temporal logic of the medium as it is played back.”

I know this to be true because of all the social media platforms, I have always loved Twitter the most. I knew that it’s “real time” communications and it’s dynamic quality were key factors in my love affair. David Gelernter goes on to state that this time based quality — which is inherent in New Media— creates new way of structuring time on the internet. This new structure re defines time on the internet, taking it from static websites and search results to the “streams” of data arising from your curated interests that constantly add into your feeds. As seen from the author’s sketch below we are at the intersection of the “now” and the “new”. We are now fully engaged and informed by Social Media.

“Instead of doing an endless series of separate searches, we tune the knobs on our stream-browser to continuously feed us just the information we need.”

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Unlike Search which brings up pages for you to review, having your social network set up to monitor people, topics and issues that are of interest, allows you or your business to always be in the moment and in the now of the conversation. This is the Zen state of being.

“But it’s about time: “Bring me what I want” is almost always more useful than “Let me rummage around and see what I can find.”

The other awesome point that he makes on this paradigm shift in communications is that this state allows for an abundance of creativity. Again for those of us who love to create content on the fly this is the best place to be as it allows for constant inspiration, insight and interpretation.  This is the state of artistic perception that McLuahn referred to in his definition of an artist as being one who “updates consciousness “. The Artist is one who lives in the moment and not in the past or the future.

“Yet it took us more than 20 years in computing to get here. The field has finally moved from conserving resources ingeniously to squandering them creatively.”

How true. I have been engage with new media studies for 20 years now and remember the MIT article that I zeroed and keep in my files up until today that speaks of the coming convergence of computers, video and telecommunications. Today we have the net, you Tube and smart phones. What matters most are not the devices themselves but the new real time communication channels of Social media that run across our devices via the internet and deliver great content to us. This in turn allow you to place that information, be it text, image or video, in a context that is relevant to your business – thereby adding value each and every day to your personal life or your business. Over time that value becomes enormous as your networks grow in influence and reach.

The Hidden Ground of Social Media

IN this graph of web traffic on The Atlantic —If one adds up the direct traffic from social media networks with the hidden traffic from social sharing via email, IM and secure sites one sees clearly how social dominates search.

The web is build on hyper links and social media is about sharing those links.

The ongoing activity of sharing links is what creates engagement, especially if the content shared is relevant to the interests of your target audience. I have had more than a few discussions with clients about the importance of sharing links on twitter in which I had to defend my preference to do so over what they thought should just be only a line of text that reflects their position on this or that. I argue that without that link no one is going anywhere to dig deeper into their interest in the topic mentioned—not to your site or to your blog or to a landing page with an offer or to another site or blog which might in turn mention you as being the referrer — thereby increasing your social capital.

In a recent blog post by the senior editor of The Atlantic online magazine he describes how he discovered that in addition to the stats that show a clear link to a social network like Facebook or Twitter there is often over 50% of web traffic coming from what he calls DARK SOCIAL. This category, he goes on to argue, is what I call the “hidden ground” of social media, he calls it DARK social —- the fact that long before the rise of the big social networks people were sharing links with one another through various online communication tools which in turn, were driving traffic to websites. These links continue to be shared through email, secure website and instant messaging.

Surprisingly, Search is also included in this category, which, to me, clearly shows how social media dominates web traffic and enriches any business found on the web today. The argument the SEO remains a key factor in the success of your business offering pales in comparison to the 50% of known referrals from social media platforms along with the additional 15% of the hidden, dark social links.  Add those two number together and  a conservative estimate is that at least 65% of web traffic these days is driven by social media efforts. If you are not doing social already is it not time you invested in Social Media to further enrich your business?

Old Media Fights back in grand old euro-centric style against new Social Media

Considering that the French were early adoptors of the RAPIER sword and that one of their great novels was Les Miserables which was about life liberty and the pursuit of happiness – i.e. the French peasant revolution —the old media guard does not seem to have learnt much from this colorful past when it comes to the new media of today! It could be a European mindset or maybe it is really just the old boys of french media who think that this is a good idea — but when I heard the news flash that the use of the WORDS Facebook and Twitter had been banned from French media while driving in my fossil fool car I hit the gas in fear of a slow down of human consciousness.

Advertising 101 states that if you can grab mindshare first on any new product or service you have positioned yourself above the clouds. Take the example of Kleenex. An established brand name that we go looking for to this day! And if you can’t find it—well you might just be inclined to GOOGLE for it! Oh…there I go again…my bad —–using a brand name to describe a thing we do or possess. Of course we all know that Media controls the world and colors our perception of it. Mass media like Radio and TV – from which Twitter and Facebook are now banned in France has to realize that regardless of what they do the user is now in full control — NOT the companies that create these applications.

What they are fighting against here is indeed, bigger than the French Revolution. It is a quantum shift in the way we communicate that puts the user right in the center and ultimately obsolesces corporations. Embrace the change guys cause your ship is sinking fast and there ain’t no one coming the the rescue..for you see, the rats, the masses, the unwashed, the unwanted have abandoned it long ago! En Guarde! Alle!

In which a loaf of bread STARS as a form of MEDIA

Social Media, Creativity and Innovation in Canada

I was watching the Lang O’Leary exchange last night from my comfy berger chair with my laptop connected to a twitter tool – when I heard the CEO of the Canadian Business Development Bank — discuss the dismal failure of small and medium sized businesses to innovate and it dawned on me that I could be facing a tough market for a long time simply due to the prevailing Canadian business mindset which is very conservative and risk adverse. As a single entrepreneur, I am not going to be able to shift that anytime soon. I did not do the survey or write the report that says Small & Medium sized Canadian business gets a D for Innovation. The fact that we are ranked 14 out of 17 worldwide for our lack of creativity and innovation is however, shocking. “Yikes”, I said outloud. The cat jumped up. I almost dropped my laptop. Could it be that bad? Way worse than what I had thought but totally in line with what a good friend, who works with Google insiders, said to me some time ago about the state of Canadian business – “They are doomed on their own local markets, if in the next 5 years, they don’t get connected with their consumers online”.

While Marketing is an integral part of business- its first role being to determine if there is even a market for a product – it never fails to amaze me the number of businesses who still think that they can rely on word of mouth as a viable long term strategy for marketing their product or service in a high technology city, province and nation.

Technology of course is the most innovative of industries as it relies on that “analytical computing machine” which has now connected the entire globe in a web of communications. Technology, Communications and Media have now merged in cyberspace and for the most part small Canadian businesses are nowhere to be seen along the information highway (remember when we actually called it that here in Canada?) while the virtual social media space is becoming more and more crowded with consumers, your friends, family and business associates, all piling on in search of information on health, wealth, love and stuff to buy – Canadian businesses are nowhere to be found….not in search, not in the social networks. They are lucky if they have a website, out of date, static, boring with a contact phone number.

I have been blogging on this topic for some time now. In fact, over a decade ago I was in much the same position trying to sell business owners on the idea of having a website. At the time they could see no advantange to cutting print costs or being found on the new medium of the internet. It was a hard sell. Much the same as it is today.

Now that a business should have their marketing focused online you would think that the need for those who are creative thinkers, indeed the creative class would to be embraced, employed and hired to work with them to create a new level of productivity and success. Sadly small businesses are missing in action and if you are tying to secure work a larger client make sure that you have a freshly minted undergrade degree in marketing from a University which did not even touch on social media or have you study the history of media aka MCLUHAN in Canada. Even though creativity (dare we say ART/Apple) and TECHNOLOGICAL (electronic/MS) innovation has transformed BIG business culture over the last three decades, heaven forbid they actually hire someone with the knowledge, skills and experience of this history who could base their innovative marketing strategies on the nature of media, someone who could engage in the type of experimentation needed to sail the uncharted waters that are the sea of Social Media.

With a virtual “tsunami” of tools, apps, methods, numbers, metrics, stats, strategies available today where even medium-sized businesses think that being creative means having a personal facebook account with pictures of the last party you went to or a blog filled with some sort of trivia that reminds one of a content farm.

Feeling depressed about the D GRADE Canadian businesses got on innovation, I googled for a quck fix – the phrase “quotes on innovation” for something positive and the search engine pulled up, guess what? — Quotes on Creativity and Innovation. It seems you cannot have one with out the other. Duh? And yet time and time again I am smacked down for being too creative and too innovative…

So while I stuggle to “sell” the idea of social media to small and medium sized business in Canada at least I now know who is to blame for the conflict. It is not me..it is not my problem, I have an ART SCHOOL Education, I know how to innovate, how to problem solve, how to imagine, how to visulize, how to be flexible, be open, be transparent, be engaging. The problem lies with the make money mindset that has no idea how to connect with consumers in the 21st Century when their is an oversupply of goods and a lack of attention from consumers who are now in control!

This time, I am on the side of the banks. While I may have very little capital in the bank since no one wants to fully engage me to execute any serious social media in Canada — they preferring to sit on the fence and watch their customers disappear down the information highway instead….I will do as I have done for decades now. I will ride out the wave working remaining in the moment of the NOW Revolution of Marketing.

It may be too much to ask for a “standard” small business to innovate on its product offering…but it would be nice if they had the vision to innovate in when it comes to their marketing strategy. Same old product, new way to market and sell it. Now there is an idea.

There are only two options here you either adopt social media or you are swept away. Time waits for no man or woman. Above us is the global connected techosphere where the big boys play. Learn the rules of the game and pay to win Canada. FYI, the name of the game is not HOCKEY – forget the pre meditated brain injuries in this game it is all about BRAINS, Creativity and innovation!

The writing on the Wall – Social Media and the Crisis in Egypt

After nine days of protesting in Egypt which began with large crowds taking to the street organized by youth using the social media tools of Facebook and Twitter we are NOW seeing images of people throwing stones at one another while a strange group rides through the crowds on horseback and camels brandishing whips and sticks…a grim reminder of the reality of the pace of change when it comes to its implementation…

Danny captures Facebook on the face of ancient Egypt

Danny captures Facebook on the face of ancient Egypt

I am reminded of the metaphor of cars driving down the road. The fastest car belongs to the young tech savvy man – let’s call him Mark Z. The slowest car on the road (a camel special??) belongs to a government worker, who, in this case, works for the Egyptian regime. These are the two extremes. When worlds collide – moving at two different speeds in two different spaces…empires can fall. The blogger Danny Ramadan took the picture above on February 2, 2011 on his way out of Egypt… For me it sums up the reality of Egypt written on the face of a sculpted lion’s pedestal – Facebook – the social network…the global citizen. As Mcluhan said “In the electronic age we wear ALL mankind as our skin”

Without a doubt the use of Social Media was a key strategy in the organizing and exchange of information for the initial protests. The government then shut down the Internet providers in order to stop the expotential growth of protesters and its world wide amplification. Within a week Twitter and Google and a team of engineers joined forces to create Twitter Speak. as an alternative work around so that protesters could continue to connect and express themselves. This demonstrates the “speed to market” in which social media platforms can serve their users – one unparralled by those who maintain a business as usual mindset in the face of social change.

One of the hardest lessons for those of us who are “agents of change” in the field of technology, art and business is that change does not happen NOW, it takes time. Humans are creatures of habit and old forms of behaviour die hard. Yesterday, the ruling dictator of Egypt asked for 7 months to pack his bags while The President of the USA said change “should begin NOW”. The gap between the two timelines will be filled with chaos.. sticks and stones, broken bones and loss of life.

The good news is that technology speeds up the flow of information and the change in Egypt will happen much quicker then ever before in the recorded history of mankind.