Marketing Monday

Happy Monday, everyone!  Last week, I tried an experiment; writing a blog every morning.  It was a great experiment, but I am not convinced that I should continue.  As such, I am trying a twice-a-week schedule: a Monday-morning catch up on news from the Marketing industry and something else on Friday which will likely depend on the events of each week.  Stay tuned!

Onwards!

Instagram Video

Facebook has added video to Instagram.  Yup, it’s happening.  Twitter’s app, Vine, has propelled the other social media giant to create a competitor.

Instagram’s co-founder, Kevin Systrom, may have said it best:

“This is the same Instagram we all know and love but it moves,”

The Instagram feature allows for 15 seconds of video, and includes the filters that Instragram is so well loved for.

I like the upgrade to 15 seconds.  Vine seemed like a cool idea, but 6 seconds is very limiting.  15 is the same length as a short commercial on radio, so marketers and advertisers will be able to adapt quickly.

Details Count  

Mountain Equipment Co-op has changed its logo.  Scary stuff.

Apparently the change is due to a change in customer demographics.  Though there was one comment, by Mountain Man, attached to the story on Marketin Mag’s website that made this point:

From iconic to unremarkable.

Personally, I don’t know how well the change will go over.  The new logo reminds me of GAP’s logo, though the transparent elements of it  could be perceived in a variety of ways.  Only time will tell.

Ogilvy & Mathers Does it Again  

The marketing giant’s New York office has created an equally gigantic campaign for Coca-Cola.  At the least, I must give them points for creativity and ambition.  You’ll see what I mean:

The scope of the campaign is incredible.  I’m impressed that they managed to pull it off.

A Canadian Icon Takes Back Ground  

Canadian Tire sells more than just tires, and they’re more than happy to show it.  Ottawa’s Scotiabank Place is going to become Canadian Tire Centre.

Oh, and Canadian Tire is taking over almost everything at the arena.  Sport Chek will be supplying the hockey team, Mark’s work Warehouse (now just Mark’s) will supply staff clothing, the kitchens will become the company’s personal test kitchen, and even the in-area bar will be rebranded as the Sport Chek Bar & Grill.

All of those subsidiaries are relatively recent acquisitions for the Canadian company.  I have heard that Canadian companies are not aggressive enough in how they do business, at least compared to their American counterparts.  This kind of wide-ranging deal is a strong move for a Canadian company, and hopefully the start of a reversed trend.

Online Ads Pass Traditional Media

Online advertising is taking over the media buying landscape and providing solid profits.  This is no surprise to most of us.  The online environment allows for more targeting, more tracking, and generally better spend ad dollars.

Thought there is one surprise that I touched on last week: radio advertising spend is on the rise, which is likely due to radios ubiquity, low entrance price, and availability of “hot” stations.  By “hot” I mean that listeners are paying attention.

As always, the media buying landscape is evolving.  Pay some attention to the advertisements you encounter over the next year or so, including what medium you receive the ad.

So!  What did I miss?  What are you watching in the world of marketing?  Let me know in the comment section.

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Sexuality is Not a Game

I deliberately stay away from publishing things that are negative, because I believe that this blog is a positive space and should stay that way.  However, today I am not sure if I can stay positive.

There is some things in this world that need to be stopped.  Sexual assault, rape, and the objectification of women is one of them.

Recently, it has been alleged that a book project on Kickstarter advocates all three (Thanks to @normandiewilson for Tweeting about it; I probably would have missed it if she hadn’t).  Oh yeah; the project met and exceeded its funding goal.  Links to the project’s Kickstarter page lead nowhere, so I cannot link you to it, however, there are excerpts on Reddit (link below).

The author has released a statement about the allegations brought against him.  After reading some excerpts from the book on Reddit, I am not 100% convinced that it is as bad as some people say, though there is one part that I do not agree with.

Before you read on, please read the excerpts on Reddit yourself.  I have made up my mind about the book, but you are entitled to your own opinion, free of influence.  I do not want to influence your opinion any more than I may have already.  

Feel free to stop reading my post at this point and add your thoughts to the comment section below.  I promise that I will not cut you down for whatever opinion you have; however, I will ask questions about you opinion.  I’m curious like that.

The project is a book designed to help men pick up women for the purpose of having sex.  I understand why these books exist; there are many lonely people out there.  I am aware the sexuality can exist outside relationships.  There are those who have lovers, and this arrangement works for all parties involved.

I am also aware that pushing a person into a purely sexual relationship when they want a more mentally and emotionally intimate relationship is the definition of “slimy douchebag”.  The one part of the posts on Reddit that I already mentioned bothers me because it suggests a level of dominance that would make it difficult for a woman (or any person) to make her own decisions.  It also suggests sexual contact that would overwhelm a woman’s brain with hormones that trigger sexual arousal, eventually leading to a state where rational thought is impossible (this can happen in men’s brains too).

In the author’s statement linked above, he does note that what he meant is that making the first move is the right idea, but to back off entirely if the woman is not interested.  I appreciate that he said that, but at the end of the day, the book excerpt still seemed more about controlling the situation than allowing a mutual decision to lead to sex.

It is almost impossible to parallel the level of physical intimacy that comes with sex and sexuality.  Surgery is the only thing I can think of that comes close, and the results are not as pleasurable, nor is there a mutual exchange of tension and release.  Because of that physical intimacy, the decision to make sexual must be mutual.  What the author suggests in the “sex” section of his book is not mutual.

Perhaps the final copy of the book will account for that mutual decision making process.  I cannot know that, nor can anyone except the author himself.

Until the book hits shelves, all I can do is hope.  Oh, and use crowdfunding platforms other than Kickstarter.

Self Leadership and Me Incorporated

Hello everyone!  This post is going to be a conceptual one.  I tried to wrap it up in a metaphor and to provide analogies, but my mind was not cooperating.  I know you’re all smart people, so if you have any metaphors or analogies, share them in the comment section!

Onwards!

Last fall, a professor introduced me to the concept of self-leadership.  He said that that a person cannot lead and organization or group if that person cannot lead their own life.

The same professor also introduced me to the concept of Me Incorporated.  As a person, you are the owner, operator, marketer, R&D department, front-line staff, and product of a company called “me”.

Those two concepts are permanently entwined until the end of life.  Without leadership, Me Inc. will operate inefficiently, market itself poorly, develop unsellable products, and hire the wrong staff.

Today, I am going to focus on the concept of marketing Me Inc.

The Lifelong Marketing Campaign

People already do this every day.  We prepare ourselves for the showcase of the world; we perform rituals for that showroom shine (shower, brushing teeth, etc), and present ourselves in the package we want others to see (wearing clothes, shoes, etc).

We bring our values, personality, and attitudes wherever we go.  There are things we can do better than the next person in line.  We interact with others, and they interact with us.

Leading Self and Branding

This is where self leadership begins; think of it as a marketing decision.  What are your values?  What is the image/brand that you want to project?  What do you do better than the other guy?  How will your personality traits affect how people see you?  How do you interact with people?

Punk rockers do this very well.  Black denim, metal studs, mohawks, piercings, and attitude combine into an image that stands out amid the everyday and average.

The most important point to consider is “If I market myself this way, will it help me reach my goals?”

For me, it boils down to two overlapping things; my personal image and my professional image (or brand; whichever you prefer).  I say overlapping because when (not if) an employer spots me on the street, I do not want my image to say something stupid before I even get an interview.  Conversely, when I am in professional attire, I do not want to hurt my chances of personal interaction.

So what is your image or brand?

Moving Forward

At the end of the day, you must lead yourself where you want to go.  It’s your life, after all.

Did this basic overview help you?  Did I completely miss the ball?  Tell me in the comment section; I’m always eager to hear your thoughts.

Being Mindful

Hello everyone!  Today isn’t going to be about marketing; there is a self-help technique that I would like to share instead.

There is a lot of talk on the internet about being mindful as a path to having better days and a better life.  I have been practicing it for the past nine-or-so months, and the results have been profound; I am happier, more energetic, and get more work done.  As such, I wanted to share one of the simple ways that I practice mindfulness that is also a great way to improve your writing skills.

Mindfulness and being mindful is the result of paying attention to your senses to the point of “not thinking”.  It relies on sensory input to be effective.

A Beautiful Space

My house is on a hill that overlooks the East coast of Vancouver Island.  Unfortunately, it is not high enough on the hill to be above the treeline.  However, there is a nearby trail that ends up at a bench that is well above the treeline.

It is at this spot where I am able to be mindful most easily.  I usually trek up to it in the evening, and there is so much sensory information that it is nearly impossible to think.   This is the view at about 7pm:

I can see rectangles of green and yellow farm fields in the valley between where I sit and Douglas Mountain.  I hear the surges of traffic on the highway, and the occasional siren of an emergency vehicle.  On these summer evenings, the breeze feels warm against my face and thick with the moisture given off by the swathes of trees between houses and roads (temperate rainforests are my favourite).

There are the blinking red and green lights of planes landing at YVR airport.  Red warning beacons pulse in the Strait of Georgia and a lighthouse on one of the islands swings its beam of light past at regular intervals.  I can see the orange glow of Seattle and Vancouver (especially when there is a layer of clouds), and I often catch glimpses of bats as they glides by my head, close enough that I can feel the air disturbed where they pass.  The lights illuminating Vancouver’s ski hills glimmer amid the haze of the city’s own lights.

Describe!

You can read what I did there.  I described what I could see, feel, and hear.

Description is one of the most important parts of good writing, and observation is one way to be mindful.  Marrying the two is the easy way to get better at both.

Make It Your Own (& a couple more suggestions)

I like to rely on an abundance of sensory input, but you don’t have to.   I know of some individuals who focus on a single sense, like the authoress of this article on Tiny Buddha, who explains how she practices mindfulness when kneading dough.  

I also practice mindfulness while walking.  It has become habit to pay attention to the sensation of each footfall; my joints flexing, my muscles contracting and relaxing, and even what the ground feels like.

However you do it, practice mindfulness.  Hopefully what I have written here can help you do just that.  

Give it a try and let me know how it goes!  You can use the comment section of this post, or email me (russell@rggraham.me).  

Jay-Z the ‘Droid, Ribnecks, Social Media followers, and Cannes

Jay-Z feat. Sumsung

Jay-Z has an album in the works, and he has teamed up with Samsung to promote the release.  Galaxy and Note smartphone users will be able to preview the album 72 hours before its release using an app.  it is unknown whether or not the app will be free.

When I consider buying music, I want to try it before I buy it.  A good example of that is Queens of the Stone Age’s marketing campaign for their new album, …Like Clockwork, allowed potential customers to hear the album at least three times long before its release.  It included videos, live concerts streamed online, and streaming of the album.

The partnership between Samsung and Jay-Z is more narrow.  Only specific phones and a specific operating system will be able to preview the album.

It seems like Jay-Z is targeting music reviewers with the campaign, as they may at least be able to find a co-worker with an Galaxy or Note smartphone.  Also, if the album is truly great, then users who download the app will begin to spread positive word-of-mouth, whether they are reviewers or not.  It seems that everything will hinge on the quality of the album.

Uh…Ribnecks?

Boston Pizza is rolling out a campaign for its new slow roasted pork ribs.  The commercial features a family of “ribnecks” who exclaim at how good the ribs are.  You’ll have to watch it to believe it:

The video relies entirely on a negative stereotype.  Lines like “These ribs are so good they make mama want to bang these logs together” do not inspire me to want the new ribs.

Some will find it funny.  I think it propagates stereotyping.  What do you think?  Tell me in the comment sections below.

Social Media Stereotypes

I suppose “archetypes” or “personas” would be the more appropriate title, but it wouldn’t be as good of a segue.

ReachLocal has put together a fantastic infographic is the 7 personalities they have run into on social media sites.  If you are doing any kind of marketing on social media, personal or business related, you should take a look.

It will be at the end of this post, as it is a large image.

Cannes Nominees

The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity honours creative uses of visual media, and has released their shortlists for Cyber, Design, and Radio categories.  Thirteen Canadian agencies have been nominated.

You can take a look at the shortlists here.  Search for some of the nominated spots; many are 100% brilliance.

The Wrap

That’s all for today, folks!  As promised, you can find the 7 social media personalities infographic by scrolling down a bit farther.

How well did I do?  Did I miss anything?  Leave a comment and let me know!

social media followers archetypes personas
Oooh…pretty colours…

Twitter Canada, Traditional Media, and more…

Hello all!  I have decided to add something to this blog: my summary of the morning’s marketing news that comes across my desk.  I will aim to have this published every weekday around noon.

If you have any suggested sources, please forward them to me.  I am always interested in new information.

Onwards!

Twitter Canada Open for Business 

The ubiquitous 140-character text broadcast service had opened its Canadian outpost.  It seems like their focus is on business; the article mentions several tools such as Twitter Amplify and Ad Targeting.

Amplify is video service that sends “real-time” video embedded in a tweet, and the Canadian office managing director says it will be useful for radio broadcasters.  I have no clue how it will manage to be “real-time”, but the concept is interesting.

Ad Targeting Isn’t quite what it sounds like.  It is a method of engaging people who have just watched a traditional television advertisement to create a community around a show or advertisement.

Both tools seem designed to enhance interaction with traditional media.  It is worth noting that the managing director, Kristine Stewart, used to work as the executive vice president of English Services at CBC – in fact she only changed jobs in April.  It is good to see a veteran broadcaster heading services designed to enhance traditional media, especially in an age when radio revenue is stagnant and television profits are plummeting.

Traditions

As just noted, traditional media is suffering.  Marshall McLuhan’s line between hot and cold media is beginning to blur.  The drop in television profit, according to the story linked above, is a decline in advertising sales.  Television has been hot media in the past, but YouTube’s on-demand entertainment is much more convenient than waiting for your favourite show to come on – and there space for advertisement.

Apparently radio advertising sales have increased, despite Canadian radio’s bottom line immobile.  News and newstalk stations are staying profitable because listeners are paying attention (beautiful words to any advertiser).  Ontario radio stations are the most profitable in the country – not surprising if you know what the 401 highway in Toronto is like.  Radio’s lower entry price than television and use as background ambiance in small businesses are also contributing factors to the medium’s continued success.

One interesting side note from the linked radio story: CBC alone employs about the same number of people as private broadcasters CTV, Global Television, City and Quebec’s TVA combined.

Why is Traditional Still Alive?

It isn’t surprising that marketers are sticking with what they know – and what is simple.  This infographic says it right: trying to keep up with the data provided by social media is like “trying to drink from a fire hose”.  Personally, I like my water in glasses; it’s much more manageable.

Media like radio are much easier to define.  A station will broadcast specific content that will (with some exceptions) attract a specific audience.  Television is the same.  When it comes to awareness campaigns based on advertising, a reliable audience is key.

However, that doesn’t mean that all new/digital media are hard to use.  Google has been busy beating the hell out of other advertisers when it comes to mobile ads.  That isn’t surprising: Google’s simple but effective keyword based advertising platform combined with their integrated services (Gmail, YouTube, search, etc) makes it easy to get the right message to the right person.

So…Why Should I Care?

Media literacy.  Having a perspective on the media landscape is important so that you – the consumer of media or a business owner using media – can make decisions about what is right for you.  Whether you are watching or creating the commercial, a little knowledge can go a long way.

Great Reads

What is the most important job skill of the future?  The ability to interact face-to-face.  

The press is tired of bad press releases.  Give them a break and get the coverage you want by reading (and memorizing) this style guide.

Foxy Foxy

I’ll leave you with an introduction to the head of Twitter Canada.  Other than working for one of my favourite broadcast companies (support public broadcasting!), the managing director is also a foxy lady.

kristine stewart Twitter canada managing director
Gaze into the eyes of Twitter Canada…

The Wrap

Did I miss something?  Is my sentence structure awful?  Send me an email: russell@rggraham.me.

4 Twitter management tips

I like Twitter. I’ve already said this once. Nonetheless, it can turn into a gargantuan stream of Tweets that you will ignore like a bad book.

That’s why I decided to create this guide on a few simple tools to organize your Twitter feed.

Hashtags

Yup.  The hashtag.  Twitter’s ubiquitous symbol.

So what the hell is a hashtag, anyway?  Twitter itself defines the operator as this:

Definition: The # symbol, called a hashtag, is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. It was created organically by Twitter users as a way to categorize messages.

I use them to refine who and what I want to follow, read, and talk about.  Some of my personal examples include #guitars, #marketing, and #music.  However, my actual use of hashtags is more refined than that.

The best part about hashtags is that they work like search terms, so it is easy to refine what you want by using multiple tags.  A more refined hashtag search (such as using #rock and #music instead of just using #music) will usually get more relevant results.

Saved Searches

Once you know what you want to watch and follow, you can use saved searches to find specific new content.  For example, you could save a search for #bacon or #driving or #shoes, or #drivingshoes or any combination of search terms (including those without hashtags).

Search terms can include users; however, I think that the following method is better for organizing Twitter users you follow.

Lists

Twitter lists are one of my favourite ways to find what I like and share what I like.  It’s easy to set them up while browsing Twitter and following users, but I find it’s easier to use Hootsuite or TweetDeck to display my lists (the next section will cover these platforms).

By using lists, I organize the users I follow into something like a text-based television channel.  For example, I created a list of the Twitter accounts associated to the CBC Radio shows that I listen to.  Other users can also create lists, and those lists can be followed.  I follow Alan Cross’ Music News-Biz list and Brian Thompson’s Music News list.

Publishing Platforms

If you find content online like I do over the course of the day and want to share it without posting 20 linked articles in the space of half an hour (or if you are using social media for your business), then platforms other than Twitter itself may be what you need.  Hootsuite and TweetDeck are well known and widely used for a reason.

Social publishing platforms like Hootsuite and TweetDeck allow for feeds of searched terms, lists, individual users, sent tweets, and every other action associated with the Twitter account.  They can also schedule posts for a later point in the day, week, month, or year.

I have used Hootsuite to manage all my social media accounts.  If all you need is a more organized Twitter feed, this is one place to start, though it does include functions that you may not find useful, such as link shortening and analytics.

I am still testing TweetDeck.  The interface is more straightforward than Hootsuite as it only covers one social network (Twitter).  It has more advanced functions like link tracking using bit.ly.  I will be testing TweetDeck over the next couple weeks and will report back with my findings. 

Does that cover everything you need to organize your Twitter feed?  Send me a tweet or use the comment box below if you would like help organizing your twitter account.  Happy Tweeting!

One Rule for Every Social Media Account

In the past three months, I have contacted many people using Twitter. It is one of my favourite platforms for reaching people because if you can find a company or person, they can be contacted.  The 140-character limit means that one must be concise.  To an aspiring professional like myself, Twitter is a fantastic networking platform.

However, it is not all sunshine and roses.  Some Twitter users seem to have forgotten the golden rule of a platform that allows anyone to send them a message:

REPLY.

It is called social media for a reason, after all.

I’ll share some examples.

The Lurker

Earlier this week, I noticed that someone had looked at my LinkedIn profile.  I reviewed theirs and found that the only easy way to directly contact them was using their personal Twitter account, so I sent a Tweet.

Hello! I saw that you viewed my LinkedIn profile. Is there any way that I can help you & [company name]?

No reply.  How long did it take you to read my Tweet?  Probably 2 seconds or less.  So this user has the time to lurk my LinkedIn profile, but replying to a Tweet is too much?  At least saying “no” would have been nice.

The Follower

Months ago, the Twitter account of a company’s CEO followed mine.  I checked the company’s website and was impressed, so I followed the CEO.  I also sent a Tweet complimenting him on his work and asking a similar question to the one above.

No response.  A “thanks, but no” would have been more than enough.

The Company

Google has many twitter accounts.  One for every product, as far as I can tell.  twice in the past year I have had some trouble with Gmail in Google’s browser, Chrome, so I Tweeted the company’s Gmail twitter account.

Nothing.  Not even a “we can’t help you on this account, but this is where you can get help”.

The Take-Away

Am I asking the wrong questions?  Maybe.  I can’t be sure.

Would I mind if any of the Twitter users above told me that I am asking the wrong question?  No.  I would love to know that.

Would I like to be shown a minimum level of respect in the form of an even one-word reply?  Yes, please.

Is my respect for the non-tweeting individuals/company diminished?  You bet it is.

If your company is Google-sized and has social media accounts, gather 10 people in different time zones to monitor and reply.  If you are an individual on Twitter, take two seconds to read the Tweet and two more to reply (especially if your company specializes in online/digital/social marketing!).

If you’re on social media, other users will expect you to be social.  So even if it is just two letters and a punctuation mark, take a moment to reply.