We’ve been watching the shift to video on the internet with great interest over the last couple of years. YouTube, being the only initial option, was strong out of the gate but was quickly tested by the likes of Google Video, Vimeo, MetaCafe, and the networks. Then came Hulu.
Hulu’s advantage? A central destination for great programming where their users can watch their favorite shows on their schedule – wherever they are. Miss an episode on TV? Head to Hulu and view it 6 hours after it has first aired. They’ve made brilliant strategic partnerships with most of the major broadcast networks and movie studios. In doing so, they have aquired a vast library of enticing content to serve their user base.
Hulu changed the game yet again yesterday - adding ABC/Disney to the porfolio to expand their offering tremendously. NBC, Fox, and now ABC/Disney understand the strategic advantage of serving their content through their network sites AND aggregating through a service like Hulu. CBS, when do you plan to join the party?
Advertising in this day and age needs to be innovative and unique to make the consumer stand up and take notice. Honda, working with Weiden+Kennedy(a creative agency based in my hometown of Portland, Oregon) has done this with their new Honda Insight “Let It Shine” ad campaign. They took a very innovative spot that was originally released on TV and ported it to Vimeo for an extended, and unique viewing experience. It’s the first instantiation of a rich media, HD, page takeover experience that I have seen. Not only is the ad spot unique – but the presentation on Vimeo transcends what I was originally expecting. This innovative approach for drawing the viewer in made me take notice and remember the brand, as well as the agency. Well done W+K. I’ve embedded the video in this post. If you want a better experience, view it on vimeo.com and see the making of the spot on their site as well.
Jeremiah Owyang’s recent report “The Future of the Social Web: In Five Eras” is getting a lot of traction this week. It should – and marketers must take notice of his findings. Jeremiah is spot on in his interview with CRM Magazine regarding the power shift from the brand to the consumer:
“The community will take charge, and that’s going to happen whether or not marketers or brands participate.”
Jeremiah goes on to outline the 5 eras of the social web – overlapping across the past, present, and future. His insight is predicated on substantial qualitative research with 24 of the top technology brands, enablers, and publishers that are leading in the social space (I’m biased – Intel, my employer, was one of the companies he spoke with as was Federated Media – a publisher whom we’ve had great success in partnering with). The overlapping eras are as follows:
The era of social relationships
The era of social functionality
The era of social colonization
The era of social context
The era of social commerce
I can appreciate this statement specifically:
“…focus is on community and the advocates within each community. Doing so will be the only way a brand can scale.”
Those companies that understand the power these communities represent in terms of advocacy for their brand, will be light years ahead of those that don’t.
It’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday…. Like Boyz II Men, Yahoo can look back at the last 90′s and wonder ‘What Happened?” In a 2 month span, Yahoo went on a spending spree that accounted for nearly $10Billion in cash or stock outlay. The largest ‘investments’? Broadband.com (somewhere, Mark Cuban is STILL doing this) and GeoCities.com. Last week GeoCities followed the lead of Broadband and was laid to rest. Like many others, I built my first personal web site there so it’s a little sad to see them go…
Tony Hsieh is one amazing CEO. How many leaders of companies with annual gross sales of more than $1Billion (having quadrupled in 4 years) are as open about their company, the product, and most of all – their brand, as this guy? He is very clear with his priorities in successfully leading Zappos, emphasizing 3 simple tenants that are all about one thing – the customer:
Your relationships are your brand
Deliver a positive experience
Mashable does a great job profiling him today. Inc. shows us how it all started. The unwavering theme? From the beginning, Tony has understood that the customer is king – and that no company survives without pleasing those that purchase their products. His tools to stay connected to the customer and give them a little insight on the man behind the shoes? Twitter and his Blog. When asked in a recent interview how the company look if Zappos was stripped of many of it’s social media tools, he gave the following answer:
“I don’t think it would look that different. We’re not really focused on social media tools specifically. We’re focused on forming more personal emotional connections with our employees, our customers, and our vendors.”
Smart man – he understands the important thing is the relationship – social media tools are just one way of enhancing those relationships.
As we move progressively faster into the digital world, where real time information is readily available through small screens (phones) and big screens (web enabled TVs) alike, publishers will need to focus on content that transcends the real-time web. Those that don’t, won’t survive. The Economist is a shining example of focused, rich content. Per a recent report in the NY Times, they are also leading a trend for publications increasing their subscription cost – even in a down economy. Their rationale? Loyal, involved, and interested readership – willing to pay a premium for good content. It’s paying off . Despite the dramatic increase in the cover price (60% rise in 5 years), circulation is up and purchases @ the newsstand have increased by 50%. From Alan Press, senior vice president for marketing in the Americas at the Economist Group:
“We get more money out of our readers than advertisers, and that’s a very different model….We’ll never discount the kind of content we have.”
In a time when we are willing to shoulder a higher cost for our cable subscription, over-priced concert tickets, or even a super-sized meal at our favorite fast food restaurant, it would be a shame to shun a slightly higher price for an avenue to actually learn something…
Great article in Advertising Age today discussing the fact that brands need to continue to be creative and open with paid media. Product advertising has evolved from companies ‘pushing’ a brand message to their customers through a one-way exchange to a model where the customer plays a formative role in a brand’s success. With adding the ‘social’ label/ability to traditional media and advertising, companies are giving their customers a ‘voice’ in the advocacy of their brand – thereby relying on loyal customers to continue to elevate the status of that brand through word of mouth and their personal network. In effect, by creating openness in paid media efforts, companies are leveraging unpaid customer advocacy to make those paid branding efforts work harder…Best said in the following quote:
“Putting the “media” back into “social media” allows us to reconfigure our priorities from merely reaching consumers with a message to providing them with enough value to augment that message’s quality. By rethinking our media planning and buying strategies, we can make initial impressions work hard to engage the consumer, while the secondary, organic impressions work even harder to create more organic engagements. And when we become comfortable with our paid media generating organic media, we will then realize that the social web is not the enemy, but the best friend we could possibly ever have.”
Done right, an advertising campaign that leverages the promotion of it’s customer’s ‘voice’ can scale the reach of a modestly funded advertising campaign to levels it never could have afforded through relying on paid media alone.
I referenced Oprah in my post yesterday… It appears that her influence extends beyond just the NY Times Best Seller list and has been a ‘tipping point’ for bringing social media tools (specifically, Twitter) to the mainstream.
From Hitwise: “So what was the Oprah-Effect on Twitter?…. Share of US Internet visits to Twitter increased 24% on Friday, April 17, the day of Oprah’s first Tweet. Comparing visits with the previous Friday, visits were up 43%.”
When you consider the increased ramp in traffic overall with Twitter this year and the report from Tech Crunch that they are ‘poised to double their monthly traffic once again’ – pushing their monthly uniques to more than 30M, these are very impressive statistics.
The New York Times sums it up best in their Freakonomics blog:
“Robert Cialdini has shown time and again that people like to conform their behavior to that of others…..Want to get hotel guests to forego daily towel cleaning? Include a message telling them that most other guests reuse their towels. Want them to recycle even more? Tell them that most people using their very room recycle.”
We are seeing that exact same behavioral phenomenon happening with Social Media. People you would never expect to be using Facebook, MySpace, or even more of a stretch – Twitter, are starting to do so in droves. Why? Not because they made the decision solely on their own or that it is even remotely connected to their historic pattern of internet usage. They are molded by the power of suggestion and may feel like they are missing out on something if they don’t join the ‘social revolution’.
I experienced this first hand this past week. I have two very close friends exhibiting completely opposite behavior. One, with more than 600 friends on Facebook, ‘freed’ himself of the burden of being so connected and shelved his account. The other, with significantly fewer friends and relatively new to Facebook, took it a step further and started a Twitter account on Saturday…. He must have watched Oprah on Friday. Reports have put new users of Twitter since her show @ more than 1Million… Do you think they’ll keep their accounts active or is this a short lived ’peer pressure’ moment?
He may not be the greatest actor in the universe, but Demi’s husband knows how to promote himself in cyberspace. Head to Head with one of the largest media outlets in the world – he comes out on top. And for a good cause. CNET summed up the ‘man against the media machine’ in this way:
“To be sure, the mixing of media is nothing new. But to me, and I’m certain many others who were watching the action live, there was something surreal about witnessing the urgency being expressed by both the guy in his living room and the guy on the professional news set, both being able to speak to theoretically unlimited numbers of people (well maybe not unlimited, but you know what I mean) and both standing tall for their medium.”
Well done @aplusk…you didn’t even have to ‘aquire‘ an account to get you in the race!