Archive for May 2009
Lately, I've been thinking a lot about the utility of ad placement on social media sites, and whether it's the most enlightened way to monetize services like Facebook or Twitter. I'd posit that there are two broad, and somewhat mutually-exclusive schools of thought on the subject: one looking forward, and the other back.
Over the last several years, the problem of attention has migrated right into the center of our cultural attention. We hunt it in neurology labs, lament its decline on op-ed pages, fetishize it in grassroots quality-of-life movements, diagnose its absence in more and more of our children every year, cultivate it in yoga class twice a week, harness it as the engine of self-help empires, and pump it up to superhuman levels with drugs originally intended to treat Alzheimer’s and narcolepsy. Everyone still pays some form of attention all the time, of course—it’s basically impossible for humans not to—but the currency in which we pay it, and the goods we get in exchange, have changed dramatically.
In the days of old: circa 2007, social-media marketing meant monitoring the blogosphere and managing forums, but today marketers are jumping in by actively creating and managing brand communities. Dave Balter is the founder and CEO of BzzAgent, a word-of-mouth media network headquartered in Boston. His company recently launched BzzScapes, a network of brand-centric communities, created by advocates and dedicated to the collection and ranking of the most relevant digital content for each brand. I asked him what it takes to create a truly exceptional brand community, and these are his top ten tips:
Have you seen Starbucks new campaign? The one designed to remind you of the "Starbucks story?" From the announcement video to the ads themselves, Starbucks is making the first mistake of modern advertising - they're telling you when they should be showing you.
As books make the leap from cellulose and ink to electronic pages, some editors worry that too much is being lost in translation. Typography, layout, illustrations and carefully thought-out covers are all being reduced to a uniform, black-on-gray template that looks the same whether you’re reading Pride and Prejudice, Twilight or the Federalist Papers.
Cisco, Corning, IBM, Intel, and Schwab have weathered worse economic storms. Five strategies to come out of this one even stronger.
The press release is over 100 years old and for the most part, its evolution is mostly stagnant for the majority of its lifespan. However, the press release has evolved more in the last decade than it has over the century thanks to the proliferation of the Internet and most notably, the Social Web. The tired and oft disregarded press release is finally tasting reinvention as it transforms to chase the new channels of influence as well as adapt to the rapidly shifting behavior of content discovery, consumption and sharing.
How much would you pay to read this page? At about 2,000 of the roughly 50,000 printed words in a typical copy of the Financial Times, it should in theory be worth about 4 per cent of the newspaper's cover price - 10 US cents, 17½ euro cents or eight pence. To readers particularly interested in the subject, perhaps, it may be worth more. To others, though no journalist would like to admit as much, it will be worth nothing. Similar questions are being asked with growing urgency in boardrooms across the news industry and the wider media sector, as stalling economies challenge the foundation on which most content owners' digital strategies have been built.
Why do human beings spend so much time telling each other invented stories, untruths that everybody involved knows to be untrue? The obvious answer to this question -- because it's fun -- is enough for many of us. But given the persuasive power of a good story, its ability to seduce us away from the facts of a situation or to make us care more about a fictional world like Middle-earth than we do about a real place like, oh, say, Turkmenistan, means that some ambitious thinkers will always be trying to figure out how and why stories work.
There’s been lots of talk about the “death of advertising” and the increasing ineffectiveness of the media. There’s a tremendously well-researched, insightful and informative Bob Garfield post in Ad Age, with lots and lots of numbers supporting his version of “Apocalypse Now” for the ad industry. There’s no doubt that there’s agency layoffs, and client cutbacks and fear and uncertainty. So who am I to be the bearer of even an ounce of good news for the ad industry?