Sunday Roundup – May 4, 2014

Day one of Social Media Camp 2014 was a blur of returned smiles, and an auditory cacophony of “good morning” and “welcome to Social Media Camp 2014!” – I volunteered as a greeter (I recommend that to anyone working on interacting with strangers). Day two was eight hours of information intake. The final keynote speaker, Julien Smith stands out amid those hours.

He pointed out that change is constant. It doesn’t stop or end – like death and taxes it is inevitable.

To paraphrase Mr. Smith: Life is not just about what you want to be, it is about what you want to be plus what the environment demands. Change to be what you want but never forget that you do not exist in a vacuum.

The short game, the long game and the infinite game

The infinite game is not one that can be won. It has no end. The game itself must be the reason for playing.

What you want to be needs to be an infinite game. Julien Smith, I believe, is playing the infinite game and is asking us all to do the same. The purpose is to evolve, not to “win”.

Ep 2 of Vogville Presents Conversations with Brian Thompson and Chad Brownlee

Chad Brownlee says it well. Going from hockey to music is a drastic change. He also notes that one must be in a constant state of evolution – to play the infinite game.

To borrow from Mr. Smith again, “the you that you think is you is temporary”. Mr. Brownlee realized that he wanted to be something else. His current self – a hockey player – gave way to the singer-songwriter, and eventually the co-writer. He makes a living, I am sure, but it sounds like he makes it in a constant state of “becoming” what he wants to be (another infinite game).

“There are not enough professionals to help with suicidal individuals, so it is up to us to care and help”

Speaking about suicide and mental illness is a change everyone can make. Chris Holt opened the second day of Social Media camp on that note.

Open and honest conversation are worth doing for their own sake. Helping another human work through the pressures of life is worth even more.

Over to You…

What is your infinite game? What part of the environment has shaped that game for you?

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Sunday Guitar Adventures

Free-Guitar-Body-PreUpgradeI acquired a free guitar earlier this month, so I spent a few hours pulling it apart yesterday. It is a Squier II Stratocaster, which is a licensed-by-Fender clone made in Korea.

Its body shape is different from a standard Stratocaster. I don’t know if that is normal for Squier II’s. The end of the body (left side of the picture) is angled toward the top bout, the top bout itself seems to be a centimeter or two closer to the headstock, and the rear bout is about as far away from the headstock. The whole thing looks 1% sleeker than a regular Strat. It is also covered in stickers.

I like to breathe new life into free instruments, so these images are the beginning of a longer project. First, I want to get rid of the stickers and replace them with something painted (I accept proposals: Tweet me and we’ll arrange something). Second, I intend to replace the pickups with one Seymour Duncan Custom Custom that needs to be used. Finally, I will replace the bridge and tuning pegs; with what I am not certain.

The first step of that process is opening it up and see what the guts are like. What I found is well-arranged, though I cannot be certain of the component quality. See below:

Does that mean I will reuse the guts? Possible. The Volume potentiometer is so easy to turn that it does not stay at full volume, though the Tone pots are stiff enough to stay still. One of them may become Volume pot.

The neck is clean and ready to re-use. I am not sold on its profile (thick for my hands) but there is no immediate need for replacement. The bridge is floating – meaning that it does not touch the guitar’s body until the strings are relieved of tension – and I do not like floating bridges. Whether I will simply block the existing bridge or replace it is open to debate.

I’ll leave you with the last two relevant pictures: the back of its body and its neck. Look forward to more photos of this project as I tear it down and then build it back up!

Free-Guitar-BackBody-PreUpgrade
Back of guitar, bridge cavity open
A clean neck
A clean neck

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…

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!

Branding, Marketing, and some Queens

One of my favourite podcasts is the Rock Star Branding podcast put together by Brian Thompson, Michael Brandvold, and Greg Kihn.  This week’s podcast focused on the difference between branding and marketing.  These terms are often used interchangeably, and as a marketer myself, I find that confusion to be dangerous to entrepreneurs and business owners.  Brian, Michael and Greg did a fantastic job of explaining the difference in the podcast, so what I will do is show you my current favourite example of each.

First of all, let’s start with textbook.  The 3rd edition of Marketing An Introduction defines it as “…the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, partners, and society” (Armstrong, Kotler, Cunningham, & Buchwitz, 2010, pg. 7).  A bit of a mouthful.  

The same text goes on to define as brand as “a name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers” (Armstrong, Kotler, Cunningham, & Buchwitz, 2010, pg. 328).  Less intense than the first, though not as all inclusive as I would like.

Queens Branding & Marketing

I’ve been on a Queens of the Stone Age kick for the past month.  The marketing campaign for their new album, …Like Clockwork, has driven me into a fanatic, frothy-mouthed frenzy of desire to purchase the album, and while the record will be released by a new record label (QOTSA was signed to Interscope, now signed to Matador), the band’s brand has remained in tact during the course of the campaign.

When I think of Queens of the Stone Age the words I associate with the brand are “mysterious”, “blunt”, and “uncompromising”.  Lead singer/guitarist Josh Homme is notorious for not divulging more information than he has to.  Given that he never gets asked about his personal life in interviews, I have a hunch that he has a long list of rules for an interview (and yes, those are a real and normal thing – ALWAYS talk to the journalist before the interview and lay down the rules).  Homme and the band are well-known for being uncompromisingly blunt to the point of being rudejust plain silly, or accidentally explaining his rude outburst at Norwegian Wood.  Regardless of your personal opinion of Homme’s behaviour, you understand how forthright he is and that the band is an extension of how he brands himself (though his branding may just be personality over purposeful choice).

Homme is a representation of Queens of the Stone Age’s brand: an image created and maintained across every medium the band uses to communicate to and with the public.  Marketing is about campaigns designed to encourage purchasing the upcoming album.  As I already mentioned, the marketing campaign promoting …Like Clockwork is a brilliant example of how branding and marketing interact to enrapture fans and non-fans alike.

Clockwork Campaigns

I picked up most of the album’s marketing campaign via Facebook, though it campaign utilized FacebookTwitterYouTube, the likeclockwork.tv website, and an iPhone application called Vine.  By using short, assertive sentences with ambiguous or meaning, the mystery, bluntness, and uncompromising image of the brand is maintained and the marketing campaign rolls on.

Below is a gallery of the Facebook posts that are part of the marketing campaign.  Read the text and take in the images.  To me, each post reads as a mysterious and blunt – just like how the band has branded itself.  The images are bleak and mysterious.  The copy and images are branded content that are part of a marketing campaign.

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The Take-Away

Branding: How a product(s), service(s), person(s), and/or company are presented and what they stand for.  Think of it as the image or words that come into your mind when you consider the product, service, person or company.

Marketing: Campaigns meant to spread awareness, encourage purchase, build brand loyalty, maintain brand image in the customer’s mind, and/or any other objective related to building at business/brand.

Does that make sense?  Comment below, email me, tweet me, just make sure you tell me if this still doesn’t make sense.  I am more than happy to help you understand the two concepts discussed above.

All images are copyright of their respective owners and publishers.