Archive for August, 2012
Hoe ziet de stad van de toekomst eruit? Is het een stad waar je kinderen veilig over straat kunnen en waar jij niet hoeft om te rijden voor gezond -lokaal geproduceerd- voedsel?
Of is het een lerende, creatieve en ondernemende stad? Dat lijken in het Westen nog onze beste kaarten om een concurrerende plek in de globale economie te behouden.
Anderen spreken over de smart cities; steden waar technologie het gemak van de mens zal dienen. Dat het grote stedenbeleid niet het exclusieve terrein is van de politiek blijkt ook uit het feit dat veel intiatieven door bedrijfsleven en start-ups worden gelanceerd. Denk daarbij aan de zelfrijdende auto van Google (die inmiddels is goedgekeurd in de staat Nevada), aan de leegstaande kantoorpanden waar aan urban farming wordt gedaan en aan hotelconcepten als CitizenM spelen die zich richten op de wensen van de global nomads.
Maar we zijn er nog lang niet. De stad van de toekomst heeft jou nodig. TEDxAmsterdam reikt dit jaar een prijs uit voor het beste idee voor de nieuwe stad, City 2.0. Stuur voor 15 september jouw idee in.
Ter inspiratie alvast een filmpje van Eduardo Paes, burgemeester van Rio de Janeiro. Na een kort Rio PR-praatje geeft hij 4 basisbeginsels van zo’n stad van de toekomst. Een interessante manier om grote problemen aan te pakken, zonder beroep te doen op mega-budgetten. En als hij het heeft over de 6,5 miljoen inwoners van zijn stad, kunnen we best net doen alsof hij spreekt over de inwoners van de Randstad.
Content marketing is all the rage, and brands of all shapes and sizes are focusing more time, effort and budget dollars on creating entertaining, useful and relevant content that audiences will want to share. Some brands, however, still stand at the water’s edge, not so sure an always-on commitment to social media and content creation is right for them.
Even the most successful marketing efforts have their detractors and doubters, who hold tight to the traditional methods: interruption and overexposure of their brands. They cling to the past and continue to invest in telemarketing, direct mail and pricey television spots and billboards. Even the London Olympics, which were praised as the most tech-savvy and social-media-supported games ever, were heavily supplemented (or, rather, dominated) by traditional advertising.
While those methods have their place, it’s about time we set the record straight and started to challenge those who insist that content marketing isn’t yet an established brand communication strategy.
Here are some of the reasons brands are abstaining from content and why they’re on the wrong side of history.
1. We don’t have the budget
A common misconception is that content marketing is something layered, or added, on top of the marketing efforts that are already happening, so bigger budgets are required. Instead, content marketing will actually save you money by moving dollars away from big-ticket paid media toward far more cost-effective content efforts as part of a paid-, owned- and earned-media strategy. Content marketing fuels the earned portion of that strategy: helping bridge the gap between paid media (ads you pay for, like TV spots) and earned media (people actually talking about your brand). Achieving earned-media success can create new customers at little or no cost to you.
2. There are too many channels for us to manage
You’re right. There are a lot of channels (we outline a bunch of them in our intro to social media e-book), and every day a handful of new ones pop up. There’s no rule, however, that says your brand has to be active on every social and content channel. Instead, focus simply on creating custom content and being active on the channels that are relevant to your audience. There are content-marketing agencies (notably Story) that can help your brand act like a publisher.
3. You can’t measure content marketing
I could take a card out of Gary Vaynerchuk’s deck and ask naysayers to measure the ROI of their mothers (which I do appreciate as a metaphor), but we’re at a point now in the evolution of technology where content marketing can be measured effectively and held accountable for meeting certain goals. Not only are there countless social-media and content-publishing tools that optimize and track where, when and how your content spreads, but there are also easy-to-learn manual methods for tracking your content efforts with the use of free tools, like Google Analytics and Bit.ly.
4. That’s for B2C brands; we’re B2B
So as a B2B company, when you call to talk to a prospect or customer, you’re talking to a human being, right? Those are the same people who make up the C in B2C. Of course, there are fundamental differences between B2C and B2B marketing, but ultimately all marketing boils down to connecting to people—and people don’t want a generic sales pitch. Nobody wants to be interrupted or held hostage by advertising. They want to be engaged. They want useful content that addresses their needs. They want to hear a compelling story at the time they choose on the device they choose.
Regardless of the reasons brands come up with not to do it, there’s no disputing the impact of branded content marketing. According to Forrester, branded content is a key driver of brand differentiation and influence for 43 percent of U.S. consumers. Brands that refuse to listen to the needs of consumers (less interruption, more value) are going to see their marketing effectiveness continue to deteriorate.
If your brand isn’t producing any content, why not? If you’re a content-marketing agency, what other reasons have you heard for not doing so? Let us know in the comments.
Do check out this article which came out of my presentation at Natural Beauty Summit Americas [NBSA]:
I’d love to hear your thoughts.
For this Miguel is making use of a code with simple symbols, the ColorADD code that he developed on its own – nothing less than 8 years of research to come up with that result. Schools, public services, organisers of big events… today Miguel disseminates his findings. The colorblind people have found their messiah.
A color = a symbol. Miguel took as a starting point for his research work the idea that a shape can give a sense, in the same way than color does. Thus, he sought to translate colors into simple symbols. This is the ColorADD code.
One estimates that 10% of the male population is colorblind – male quasi-exclusively since this eyesight hereditary defect hits mostly the gentlemen. This disorder is quite difficult to describe, let’s say to keep it simple that it affects the perception of colors: either the colorblind person does not see at all the color, or he sees in black and white only, or he is confused and e.g. sees red while it’s actually green. In everyday life, it can become really upsetting like the case of this police cadet at his graduation parade dressed with his perfectly ironed uniformed… and his pink shirt! For sure one of this special moment where you feel soooo lonely.
Miguel noticed that we mainly find our way thanks to colors, the best example being in the public transport with the subway lines. Today, Porto subway, his hometown, is testing the ColorADD code to ease the users’ orientation, the Sao Joao city hospital is doing the same. Textile companies and painting manufacturers are displaying the code on their tags and on their product catalogues. Miguel is also in negotiations with the subways of London and of Sao Paulo, while the graphic designer is also in touch with the organisers of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. ColorADD is selling an operating licence which price is varying depending on the size of the wallet of the company that is buying it – and for schools it is free of charge.
“90% per cent of visual communications is made through colors. Despite this fact, problems with sight alteration in viewing colors are never taken into account. I wanted to find a graphic solution that is helping the community,” declared Miguel Neiva to the French daily Le Monde. For sure the colorblind people may say thank you to the altruistic graphic designer – their wifes too!
To go further:
“Pour les daltoniens, la mer n’est pas bleue, elle est belle” (For colorblind people, the sea isn’t blue, the sea is beautiful), Le Monde.fr, 22 June 2012
The awesome marketing cartoonist Tom Fishburne’s commentary on social media strategies:
It’s important to consider not just the merits of social media in general but also how social media can be used in particular. Social media is not a magic bullet. It’s an enabler. Social media won’t make an antisocial brand suddenly social. But it can facilitate and amplify the role that brands play with their audiences.
Which strategy are you employing?
I think you will enjoy this article about the critical art of juggling, and how to connect with customers:
I’d love to hear your reactions.
At some point, every user of data fantasizes about an over-the-top command center (it’s not just me, right?). The emergence of the social media command center concept is creating an excuse to indulge that desire for a NORAD/NASA/DOT mission control, replete with a constellation of flat screens and constantly updating charts. If you’re thinking of jumping in, you’ll want to read Jeremiah’s lengthy post on the topic. But what if your needs—and budget—are more modest? What if you’re looking for one very nice overview for a public place?
If you go out into the world as a customer, it’s hard to avoid televisions in public places. The trendy business equivalent is the live dashboard that shows how things are going, from web traffic to sales to the stock price to online chatter. We’re past the days of a single-column TweetDeck in a conference session; these offer tweets, pictures, metrics and more. If you want a live picture for the reception desk, team area, conference room, or trade show booth, it’s now easy to put together something worth looking at.
Here are a few I find interesting:
- Liveboard (Twingly)
Liveboard is all about the tweets, combining live-updating metics with sample tweets. The top-level metrics (total tweets, unique users, retweets, etc.) are animated with an analog odometer effect that serve as a sort of pulse for the display. Its charts list the top tweeters and hashtags associated with the topic, and visualizations depict volume by day and hour.
See the live demo, and be sure to click on the screen and move it around; there’s another visual off the right side of the screen (or make it fit your screen by reducing the height of the window).
- Multitude (JamiQ)
Multitude is a moving timeline of a Twitter search, illustrated with the images people attach to their tweets. JamiQ describes it as a wall, which would be a good use for it. The design is simple, clean, and not interactive, so it makes a reasonable backdrop or lobby display. The updates can move quickly, so it benefits from being shown on a wide screen.
See the live demo.
Tickr combines the summary on the wall with the combined-source analytics dashboard, creating a live-updating view that can be tailored to different purposes. Load it up with sources of performance data—business, operations, or technical—and it’s a constant reminder of how things are going. Point it at social media sources, and it’s another candidate for the trade show display.
Buy, adapt, or build your own?
The wall-mounted dashboard plays a different role than the analyst’s interactive view. Once configured, it’s meant to run without user interaction, and a clean, no-controls interface design makes it look more like TV than computer software. As always, it pays to start with some thought to what you want to accomplish with the display (beyond scratching that desire to show off your data). Even eye candy should have a purpose.
Realistically, many dashboards might be configured for this kind of use. If you can configure the widgets on the screen, and if they update without user action, you have the raw ingredients for this kind of application. If you’re using a social media analysis platform, you might be able to set up a live view of people talking about your company or event. The newer dashboards that combine social media data with other sources could be set up for this. Leftronic, for example, seems to specialize in big-screen, non-interactive display applications.
Is this something you’re doing? Have you seen an unusual use of this type of display? Where do you want to see live data?
And, as always, who have I missed?
Update: If all you need is a tweetstream, HootSuite’s new HootFeed looks nice.
I bought the special 15th Anniversary edition Mizuno Wave Riders. I’ve been running in Wave Riders for a while, however these are a bit ‘bright’ so need to find the right time to wear them
An article recently published on Fast Company has caused a bit of a stir in the content marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) communities. Written by Veronica Fielding, CEO of Digital Brand Expressions, it explains how the recent Panda and Penguin Google algorithm updates mean that social engagement rather than search engine trickery yields top results.
While her heart is in the right place (encouraging active, useful social engagement by brands), neither the algorithm updates nor Fielding’s interpretation of them reveals a direct correlation between social activity and SEO relevance. Though extremely important for an effective content marketing strategy, simply interacting with your fans on Facebook, sharing relevant tweets, and uploading useful videos won’t (in and of itself) boost your brand website’s SEO ranking.
Let’s take a look at what Panda, Penguin and social media really mean for brands.
Panda and Penguin
The 2011 Panda update aimed to remove low-value websites from Google rankings. These are the sites that repurpose (or copy word for word) content from other sites and those that are used solely for linking: in other words, sites that a user couldn’t or wouldn’t want to interact with. The update affected 12 percent of listings, penalizing, for the most part, overly optimized sites that provided a poor user experience. Since Google wants users to use its search engine repeatedly, that users have a positive experience throughout the content search, including when they click on a result, is paramount.
The 2012 Penguin update was driven more by users’ experience. The update, which affected only 3 percent of listings, focused on eliminating the sites that use black-hat web spam SEO tactics, like keyword stuffing, cloaking and link scheming. Together these updates cut the legs from under those sites that weren’t offering searchers any value, leaving the high-quality, content-rich sites still standing.
This is good news only for brands that are continually focused on creating highly useful and relevant content across a variety of channels.
Social Media and SEO
Social media, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube and LinkedIn, also plays a role in the updated algorithms but not in the exact manner Fielding described in her Fast Company article.
First, some social-media channels weigh far more than others, mainly because of technical barriers that search crawlers see when indexing them. The weight of these channels are based on how much information Google can crawl without being stonewalled by the social channels.
For example, because of privacy constraints, what you post on Facebook isn’t seen by Google and has no bearing on your Google SEO listings. Google sees just your Facebook profile and info tab. And if your description on your FB profile and info tab has keywords and links to your other brand properties, you have used that channel for SEO.
?When you use Twitter, the keywords in your user handle and bio, as well as the link included in your bio, help searchers find you. What you tweet can be seen by the engines (not Google as much as Bing, because of a partnership deal), but most tweets by brands that tweet often may never be seen by an end user, because search engines display only a handful of their latest tweets. ? ?YouTube is a lot like Twitter, except that its individual “posts” are videos that have a longer shelf life than that of a timely tweet. One can optimize YouTube profile pages as well as individual video clips that are seen by the engines (especially Google).
Ultimately, no one knows (or at least, nobody has proclaimed publicly) how significantly these social channels are affecting search results. Only a handful of Google employees even know the algorithm at this point. ? ?
The Strategy is This:
Create useful, relevant and shareworthy keyword-optimized content, share across other owned properties, and don’t worry about what Google may or may not do. As long as your brand always keeps the end user in mind and commits to putting out great content, it will be fine.
Social media has emerged on the marketing landscape and quickly helped redefine how brands market to today’s always-connected consumer. Tools like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram have created two-way avenues of communication and media sharing between brands and their audiences. The possibilities seem endless, and many brands that have yet to embrace these tools are peering down off the edge of the diving board, ready to make a big splash. But it’s not that easy.
Many social-media tools are free to join, simple to use and growing in number of users every day. But that doesn’t mean they come without cost or that they don’t require strategy. Effectively introducing your brand into the social-media universe means first knowing your brand’s story, establishing goals, understanding your audience and committing to always-on content creation and audience management.
There’s no single road to social-media success. This e-book will help you define the path that works best for your brand.
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