Social media changed the relationship between audiences and experts. Individual experts surfaced like John Battelle and Danny Sullivan built successful businesses as experts based on their blog presence. Some of the most profitable arbiters of expertise are the market analyst houses like Gartner and Forrester Research and this change in relationship with experts is a potential disruptor for their business models.
The buzz around Forrester superstars Jeremiah Owyang and R “Ray” Wang joining Altimeter Group was several orders of magnitude larger than all the departures in the summer of 2008. Plus there is just the general increase in hype and fever around social media. This buzz is bound to percolate into the awareness of even the most heads-down, lost-in-his-work analyst at Gartner, Forrester, IDC, AMR and so on. This may be case even if the analyst does not cover the social media market. After all, Ray Wang covers the unsexy enterprise applications market. There was a lot of hoopla around how Charlene, Ray, Jeremiah and their non-analyst colleague Deb Schultz used social media to build up their personal brands giving them the platform for a potentially lucrative new career path. Also, all the analyst firm layoffs in the last year certainly have some analysts thinking that they need to hedge their employment bets. “Altimeter envy” then is a condition that strikes an analyst who uplevels his or her use of social media for a potential departure from their current employer.
Is knee-capping (a la Forrester’s new social media policy) a knowledge professional’s personal brand a step too far, given that there is no such thing as a job-for-life any more? This was originally published on my personal blog.
I wanted to expand on a couple of concepts around the article as I realise that it maybe read by many people particularly in the PR industry who don’t understand how technology works and how the sector works.
Firstly, Google’s Buzz problems and ‘real-world’ product recalls that other industries from toys to cars face are very different. Since Google provides a service and the ‘product’ never leaves the Google data-centre it is really easy to make iterative improvements fast.
When I worked at Yahoo! we could roll out normal, (not high-priority) changes every fortnight; usually during the middle-of-the-week. It will be a similar situation at Google. When you have something as high-priority as the privacy issue, you can bet that heaven and earth will be moved, so that once-a-fortnight schedule can be shrunk a bit and it has been with the first fixes rolling out within a few days.
Contrast this with Kryptonite who took months to rectify their lock problem when it became worldwide news six years ago, or the months of fixing braking systems that Toyota is going to go through.
One of the things that Mark Pack was concerned with was that Buzz was obviously an early ‘beta’ release, but not labeled as such. Beta release is a software term that traditionally means that your mileage may vary on a product. Features may vary, appearances change and the service may be flaky.
But with the advent of web services beta has become more than a label or a stage in software development: into a state-of-mind. Google has helped train at least some of the public into the into the beta mindset. Most of the time that consumers bet on Google has been rewarded with a product that provides superior utility; for example Google Search, Blogger and GMail. This earned Google their licence to innovate.
So what would it take to have Google’s licence to innovate revoked? Will Buzz have it revoked? No. Not by a long shot. Google has made some products that disappointed (Q&A, Wave, Jaiku, Orkut - big in Brazil is a fact, not an excuse) of which Buzz may be one of them, but the licence being revoked will be a cumulative ’straw-on-the-camel’s back’ kind of thing.
As a good rule of thumb, check out the way the world slowly turned against Microsoft. It wasn’t Microsoft Bob and Windows’95 was a ‘greater-than-Vista’ technical cock-up that turned into a classic case study into how you can make lemonade out of lemons. It was a number of things: the anti-trust case, the devastation of the start-up industry as no one wanted to start a business in an area Microsoft may want, the BSOD (blue-screen-of-death) that told you it was time for a coffee break, the ‘I love you’ virus and countless other Windows perils that ran the goodwill meter down.
With the first day of Mobile World Congress drawing to a close it seemed appropriate that I draw your attention to work that Marty McGough and his team have been doing about exploring the intent of mobile internet users. You can play with the data to explore it further here. If you want to talk about the data or work in the mobile space feel free to contact us.
The vast majority of these ads are from the USA and generally from Republicans. Like them or loathe them, they do campaigning very well, especially during the Karl Rove era.
First up however is one of Obama’s ads. He never created “great” ads, but a good deal of his involved just him, speaking directly into camera to the audience. This has the benefit of giving a personal message and engaging directly with the viewer. In this ad, he also personalises the story of his mother’s death and the extra pain of her death due to the insurance system in the US. He then brings that story back to the personal lives of everyday Americans which is vital for a successful visual engagement strategy.
If only he was still showing this ad in the last 6 months.
This Carly Fiorina ad is bizarre. Nick named the Demon Sheep ad, it has become the object of ridicule but also fascination. It is weird and out there and I guess that is its charm. I don’t think it will work, it’s too long, appeals to a fairly small part of the population (the Tea Party) and most importantly, it doesn’t actually target the candidate that is leading the race. This is an attack ad for a spot of the Republican California Senator ticket. Fiorina attacks Tom Campbell, who is a leading member of Governor Arnie’s Cabinet. They are both losing ground to Republican Chuck De Vore, a State Assemblyman who is know for his ultra conservative stance. No wonder she was rated as one of the US’s top 20 worst ever CEOs.
George Bush Senior’s attack ad on Michael Dukakis is one of the most infamous ever. Drew Westen describes it as “one of the low points in American electoral history.” Willie Horton was a felon of the worst order and whatever happened for him to be released was clearly a mistake. The ad however has become part of history. Using emotive, almost subliminal written messaging such as Rape, Kidnap, Stab, stuck in the heads of the public. Fear is everywhere in this ad, the frightening statements, the scary mugshot, the fact that you could be the person stabbed, kidnapped and raped under a Dukakis Government. It is enough to frighten anyone. In fact, this ad wasn’t even an “official” Bush Campaign ad. It was made by the Americans for Bush arm of the National Security Political Action Committee (NSPAC).
Hilary Clinton’s 3am ad made a big difference during the 2008 primaries and was one of the reasons why she stayed in the race so long. Questioning Obama’s ability and experience, she came up with a pretty powerful and effective ad. It preyed on the fears of parents and grandparents alike. It gave her a good boost in the polls, but let’s face it, the rest is history
Ronald Reagan put this ad out for his re-election campaign in 1984 and it is brilliantly simple. Patriotic, conservative and a vision back to the halcyon days of America. He doesn’t even appear or speak in it, but at the same time he seems both Presidential and grandfatherly.
Just like his father, Bush Junior wasn’t officially behind this ad, but it was paid for by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. There were plenty of memorable negative ads that hit Kerry hard, but this was particularly effective. Kerry made a big deal out of his Vietnam veteran status saying in a time of war, it was important to have a Commander and Chief who had proper militaryexperience. Kerry won two Purple Hearts and one Silver Star for his heroism, but there were controversial circumstances surrounding this award and this came to the fore in the 2004 Presidential campaign. Kerry also immediately came back to the US post the war and began protesting against it. His initial campaign strategy was to portray him as a war hero, but not long after, these swift boat vets came out and hit Kerry hard. Again, the rest is history
In response to the Robin Hood Tax ad, which is one of the best campaigning ads I have seen for a while, I thought I would post some historically very effective political and advocacy ads. I’m also currently reading The Political Brain, by Drew Westen that looks at the role of emotions in political campaigning. It has been an eye-opening read, so this also gave me some inspiration for this post.
This list is by no means definitive and if anyone wants to send links to some campaigning ads, that would be great, I’d love to watch them.
This post will focus on a few advocacy ads, starting with the Robin Hood Tax ad that has been the focus of the media of late. It is a very simple ad, two voices, one face but plenty of emotion. Bill Nighy plays a leading banker who ends up squirming in response to the questioning about why a Tobin Tax shouldn’t be created. Squirming bankers is something that reverberates with a good portion of the public at the moment. This campaign plays to the slightly divergent emotions of good will and revenge brilliantly.
This next ad scares the heck out of me, although I’m not sure how effective it is. Shock ads, as I have written before, have the tendency to decline in effectiveness over time simply because of people being desensitized. I’m not sure anyone would be able to put themselves in this guys shoes, unless they have been in the same situation.
This shock ad from PlaneStupid, the organisation that focuses on climate change issues caused by the global aviation industry, is different from the previous one however. Shocking - yes. Disturbing - definitely. Effective - most certainly. Polar bears dropping from the sky crushing cars and smashing into buildings may seem like an odd choice, but it is actually very clever. The stance is that every person on a trans-Atlantic flight creates 400kg of carbon. Most people can’t conceptualize what that means however. A polar bear, which is also an icon of climate change devastation, is imaginable. Therefore this appeals to our sense of wanting to save these animals, horror at their gruesome deaths but it also puts our carbon footprint into a physical and understandable context. It was filmed in Canada, but it could be any city, again personalising the imagery.
The final ad is one that has screened on UK screens recently and was the subject of a number of complaints, but is far more subtle that the polar bear ad. Act on CO2 is a non-departmental government body that is the public face of the Government’s climate change policy. This ad simply shows a father telling a bed-time story to his child, but it is a story of the effects of climate change and includes drowning pets and other disturbing results of unabated climate change. But this ad is clever in the fact that it appeals on a personal level to adults and children. This ad scares children, hence the complaints, but it also contextualizes climate change for them ensuring they understand the potential of doing nothing. It also will frighten adults on a parental level - how can I let my child live in a world like this, what can I do to prevent it?
As I said, this isn’t a complete list, but it just a tester. I’d love your thoughts and if you want to send me other campaigns, feel free. I’ll post the political ad blog in the next couple of days.
I have an obsessive compulsive relationship with Flickr. It powers the images on this blog and acts as a kind of visual diary for me. It powers the communications that I have with some of my friends such as my former colleague Bronney Hui. So it was only a matter of time before it was used to spam marketing messages out there. However, this spam is clever by nature.
The user signed up for a Flickr account, favorited one of my pictures and added me as a contact. With flickr this connection doesn’t need to be reciprocated. After a suitable amount of time they then notified me by Flickr of a set that they had created that they thought I would be interested in.
This set consisted of two trailers for “Shen Yun Performing Arts”. I was struck by how much more involved the process of creating this spam was compared to the usual email. This is cross-posted from my personal blog renaissance chambara.