Archive for the ‘Twist’ tag
Episode #318 of Six Pixels of Separation – The Twist Image Podcast is now live and ready for you to listen to.
Will businesses ever get it right? Will they ever be able to please all of their customers all of the time. It’s doubtful. While social media has put every company on the spot in terms of having to respond and do the right thing, not a day goes by when someone doesn’t have a complaint that is blasted on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and beyond. What’s a brand to do? On top of that, if we have customers complaining all of the time and everywhere, does it create a level of noise where, ultimately, there is no brand impact because of the sheer volume? It’s something that Scott Stratten has been looking at (and taking part in) for some time. He blasted out of the marketing gates by gaining a massive following on Twitter (currently approaching 130,000 loyal followers). He converted that popularity into a best-selling business book, UnMarketing – Stop Marketing. Start Engaging, and a speaking career. More recently, he launched his second book, The Book of Business Awesome / The Book of Business UnAwesome. As with everything Scott does, it involves humor and personal stories of how businesses are getting it right and getting it woefully wrong (you can flip the book upsidedown to choose your awesome or unawesome adventure). Here he is… the guy known as Unmarketing. Enjoy the conversation…
You can grab the latest episode of Six Pixels of Separation here (or feel free to subscribe via iTunes): Six Pixels of Separation – The Twist Image Podcast #318.
Everyone is all excited about content marketing.
While the tickertape parade and confetti may be over for the excitement about social media in business, there’s a cold, harsh reality hitting brands right about now: once you’re on social media and making yourself look busy, it’s all about the content. I’ve been a little sour on the fruits of this labor as of late (more on that right here: …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Content). Just yesterday, I saw a well-respected, known and loved brand post this to Facebook: "Like this post if you like contests." Really? Is the spring of fresh ideas that dry?
The trouble with branded content.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what has been troubling me with the majority of branded content. It’s something that is on my mind as I head off in three weeks to Content Marketing World 2012 (being put on by Joe Pulizzi and his team). It’s not that the vast majority of content is vapid of any insight. It’s not that it’s vanilla in its attempt to appeal to the masses. It’s not the thinly veiled marketing blather. It’s actually, the "branded" part of it. The truth is this: once the content is branded, it may be hard (very, very hard) to make it authentic.
There are some pearls.
Would we, as a marketing industry, say that this is true of every brand? No. The vast majority? It does feel that way. Why? Perhaps too many brands are confusing the power of content marketing with advertorial. There is a distinction and it’s a massive one. How valuable would this blog be if all it did was talk about the value and merits of Twist Image as a marketing agency? How valuable would this blog be if all it did was talk about how one marketing service was far superior to another one (and, it just so happens, that this superior service is one that we offer at Twist Image)? In the end, the content is self-serving – which is a world away from content that serves to add value.
The truth (it sometimes hurts).
Does this mean, that to be authentic a brand should promote the services of their competitors? No. Does this mean that a brand should do things that run contrary to their own brand narrative? No. It’s a new mindset that the brand will need to find. Instead of constantly looking for content that can be wrapped up in the brand, why not start looking at content within an unbranded mindset?
What does this look like?
Not every post on blog is about digital marketing. It traipses into different areas of conversation like business books, presentation skills, technology, personal development, culture, entertainment and more. As David Weinberger would say, these are small pieces loosely joined that cumulatively reinforce the philosophical DNA of how I think, how our business thinks and the way that we perceive work, in this day and age. If this blog is even somewhat successful, the feeling that you get – as a reader and active participant – is one that is unbranded. It provides value to you – first and foremost – and that value-chain links back into new business for Twist Image somewhere much further down the line. If content was supposed to be a direct response mechanism, it would be direct marketing (no need to call it content marketing).
The trouble is…
Content marketing looks, acts and feels very little like other marketing channels. It’s a much slower build and it requires a very specific and tactical skill-set that also looks nothing like the marketing departments that we have seen to date. In fact, they look much like editorial departments, which – historically – have been verboten for the advertising and marketing people to hang out in. Is this going to provide a massive challenge for brands moving forward? Absolutely. The lines have become fuzzy. The content we’re seeing being produced and shared through social media is unique – in and of itself – and so to think that we’re all going to close our eyes, make a wish and blow for this all to come to fruition is crazy. In fact, it’s not uncommon to hear that the content marketing initiatives are being run out of the communications department of companies, and not the marketing department. What does that tell you?
I’m really looking forward to Content Marketing World 2012. I’m hopeful that people much smarter than me will be able to demonstrate how these strategies are developed and – more importantly – how organizations (both brands and agencies) are being structured to produce content that is branded… but feels completely unbranded to the consumer.
It will be interesting.
iOS: Twist is a clever app that tracks your current location, as well as where you’re headed, and keeps your friends informed of your progress so they’ll know exactly when you’re going to arrive. Of course, it works the other way around, too—if you want to track your friends and they’re using Twist, you can find out when they’re going to arrive as well. More »
As many of my friends and colleagues will tell you, I’m someone who’s perpetually running late. As a result, I’m constantly sending out text messages that offer some variation on, “Running 5 minutes late, sorry!”
A new startup called Twist promises a smarter, easier approach to sending those messages. When you’ve got a meeting, you can enter the destination, time, and contact info of the participants. Then, as the meeting time approaches, everyone will get automatic messages about when your ETA.
Ideally, they’ll just get two messages — one when you start heading to the meeting, and one when you’re about to arrive. However, if you’re running late (say if you’re driving and there a traffic is unusually bad), everyone will get a message saying that you’re late, and telling them when you’re likely to actually make it. So the person running late doesn’t have to waste time trying to estimate an accurate ETA and then fumble with their phone to send the message, and everyone else gets an accurate sense of how long they’re going to have to wait.
At first, this may sound like a relatively narrow, specific problem. But it turns out that the potential audience is pretty huge. Twist hired Harris Interactive to conduct a national survey about this, and it found that 24 percent of Americans have sent a text or email while driving to tell someone that they’re running late.
Co-founder and CEO Bill Lee (previously co-founder of Remarq and Social Concepts) says that previous attempts at these kinds of notifications have focused on location rather than time (telling people where you are, not when you’ll arrive). He also says the team has spent more than a year working on the app, trying to deliver the most “beautiful and simple” approach to the problem. His co-founder and CTO Mike Belshe (a former engineer on Google Chrome, creator of Google’s SPDY protocol, and co-founder at Lookout) adds that the company has spent a lot of time refining the algorithm behind its time estimates, so that it can deliver the most accurate arrival times, whether you’re driving, biking, walking, or talking public transit — among early users and testers, the ETA accuracy is up to 98 percent.
Twist will personalize its estimates to each user. For example, if the app sees that it consistently takes you a specific amount of time to get from your home to your office, it will incorporate that information into its estimates.
Those algorithms could eventually be used outside the Twist app. Lee says that there’s no pressure to monetize anytime soon, but one possibility would be to sell the technology via API to any other business that wanted to incorporate accurate arrival/delivery times into its app.
But what about those times when, as Belshe puts it, we tell “little white lies” about where we are and when we’re likely to arrive? (Like when you say “I left on time, but the bus was late!”) Well, he says Twist’s goal isn’t to “change human nature”. Most of the time, people probably want to be upfront about their lateness, and if you really don’t, you can always disable some of the alerts within Twist. Belshe also says he’s that as we “all have GPS in our pockets every day” and share much of that data socially, it’s going to become increasingly difficult to maintain those kinds of deceptions.
Twist is also announcing that it has raised a $6 million Series A round from Bridgescale Partners, Eric Hahn (Inventures Group and former CTO of Netscape), Jeff Skoll (first employee and first President of eBay, founder of Participant Media), as well as Lee and Belshe.
The company didn’t provide me with an early version of the app, so I wasn’t able to test out its claims of simplicity and accuracy, but I’m eager to try it out. You can download the Twist app here.
Episode #311 of Six Pixels of Separation – The Twist Image Podcast is now live and ready for you to listen to.
Joseph Jaffe is widely regarded as one of the top Marketing Bloggers (Jaffe Juice) and Podcasters (both Jaffe Juice in audio and Jaffe Juice TV in video). He is the author of three excellent books (Life After The 30-Second Spot, Join The Conversation and Flip The Funnel) and his latest business venture is, Evol8tion. A long-time friend (and one of the main inspirations behind the Six Pixels of Separation Blog and Podcast), we’ve decided to hold semi-monthly conversations, debates and back-and-forths that will dive a little deeper into the Digital Marketing and Social Media landscape. This is our 22nd conversation (or, as I like to affectionately call it, Across The Sound 22.20). This week, we talk about Facebook and what’s next for the massive online social network? Can it continue to grow? Is there true value for brands within its ecosystem and how much bigger will Facebook become before it is an Internet unto itself? Enjoy the conversation…
You can grab the latest episode of Six Pixels of Separation here (or feel free to subscribe via iTunes): Six Pixels of Separation – The Twist Image Podcast #311.
There is a shortage of talent in the marketing pool.
Yes, the industry is filled with smart and talented people (some of them may even be out of work), but there is still a shortage. We need more people. Not just more people, but smarter and more informed people (think multi-disciplinary). As technology becomes the beachfront to the marketing industry along with great creative work, there is an ever-growing chasm of between digital, social, mobile, analytics and the professionals doing the work. It’s not something that I, alone, struggle with at Twist Image. It’s the same conversation I have with many of my peers… all of the time.
Blame it on Generation Flux?
The Fast Company cover story for January of this year was titled, This Is Generation Flux. The article defined Generation Flux like this: "This is less a demographic designation than a psychographic one: What defines GenFlux is a mind-set that embraces instability, that tolerates – and even enjoys – recalibrating careers, business models, and assumptions. Not everyone will join Generation Flux, but to be successful, businesses and individuals will have to work at it. This is no simple task. The vast bulk of our institutions – educational, corporate, political – are not built for flux. Few traditional career tactics train us for an era where the most important skill is the ability to acquire new skills."
Where does marketing fit into this?
There are few success stories in the digital marketing space like that of the agency R/GA. Bob Greenberg, the company’s Chairman, CEO and Global Chief Creative Officer sees the changing landscape with a very unique perspective. Here’s more about Generation Flux in relation to R/GA: "R/GA’s young GenFlux staffers are leaving at such a steady pace, sticking around for such short runs that Greenberg finds himself constantly replacing them, endlessly slotting one talented young person into another’s place. Many CEOs would react to this news with alarm: What are we doing wrong? Why can’t we keep our young talent? Greenberg talks about this intense transition with nonchalance. He’s not upset by it; he’s not fighting it; and he assumes this is the way life will be for the foreseeable future. But that doesn’t mean he’s standing still. Despite strong business momentum, he’s pushing R/GA into a radical reorganization – the fifth time he’s hauled the firm into a new business model. ‘If we don’t change our structure, we’ll get less relevant,’ Greenberg tells me. ‘We won’t be able to grow.’ This time, he’s integrating 12 new capabilities, from live events to data visualization to product development, into R/GA’s platforms. ‘People talk about change and adaptation, but they don’t see how fast the competition is coming,’ he says. ‘We have to move. We have no choice.’"
Things are moving faster than ever… and this includes the talent.
During this week’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, Greenberg sat down with Digiday to discuss how they attract and retain marketing talent. It’s a quick eight minutes that is worthy of your time…
What’s your take?
When Coca-Cola decided to teach the world to sing, in perfect harmony, I’m sure they hoped it would catch on and help them sell a few bottles of soda. They didn’t set out to create one of the world’s most iconic advertising images but that’s just what they did and forty years later we’re still talking about it.
Project Re: Brief is a Google-backed documentary that revisits those classic campaigns of the past with an eye toward inspiring a new generation of advertisers on the internet.
Harvey Gabor (Coca-Cola’s “Hilltop); Amil Gargano (Volvo’s “Drive it like you hate it”); Paula Green (Avis’ “We try harder”); and Howie Cohen and Bob Pasqualina (Alka-Seltzer’s “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing”) all come out of retirement to help reinvent the campaigns they were known for. Through the use of modern technology, these old ads get new life as interactive campaigns for the internet and the tablet.
Alka-Seltzer’s famous over-eater becomes a character viewers can play with, call and influence as he moves through his day.
Avis tries harder with a campaign that instantly turns customer stories into animated videos they can share.
The new Coca-Cola ad, literally lets you buy the world a Coke with the press of a button.
These reimagined ads show us what we can do, and what we aren’t doing, with the technology we have available. They’re about involving consumers in the process through the use of interactive features, video, and social sharing. But they also, and maybe more importantly, acknowledge where we’ve come from.
One of my great loves in life is film and TV production. And there is nothing that gets me more excited than talking to the pioneers who got it done with nothing but sweat and passion. Sometimes I think we let technology get in the way of creativity and you can see that in this documentary. Long before CGI, and digital cameras, and script software, ad men were turning out amazing works. Shouldn’t we be able to equal that and more with what we have today?
Watch Project Re: Brief and get inspired, because when it comes to internet and mobile advertising, we’re not even close to doing all we can do.
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Episode #310 of Six Pixels of Separation – The Twist Image Podcast is now live and ready for you to listen to.
Reid Hoffman co-founded LinkedIn – the very popular online social network for business professionals – in December 2002. With close to 140 million members in over 20 countries, LinkedIn’s IPO in May of last year made Hoffman a billionaire. Currently, he serves as Executive Chairman of LinkedIn and is a partner at Greylock Partners – a very popular venture capital firm. Hoffman’s passion is in understanding how these connected networks that we’re all creating everyday as we connect, friend, like, link and follow one another creates new business opportunities. He also believes that in these highly networked times, we have to start thinking differently about business and the work that we’re doing. Along with Ben Casnocha (an award-winning entrepreneur and author), they recently published the business book, The Start-up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career. Casnocha took some time out of his busy schedule to talk about the new value systems we should all be looking at when we come to work everyday. Enjoy the conversation…
You can grab the latest episode of Six Pixels of Separation here (or feel free to subscribe via iTunes): Six Pixels of Separation – The Twist Image Podcast #310.
Episode #309 of Six Pixels of Separation – The Twist Image Podcast is now live and ready for you to listen to.
Andrew Keen built the popular Audiocafe.com in 1995 (during the dot com boom) but has since moved on to become a media pundit. He is currently the host of Keen On – a video interview program on TechCrunch, a columnist for CNN and a regular speaker and commentator on Internet culture and digital technologies. Most recently, he released his second book, Digital Vertigo – How Today’s Social Revolution Is Dividing, Diminishing and Disorienting Us. His first book, Cult Of The Amateur – How The Internet Is Killing Our Culture, raised more than a few eyebrows for its contrarian view on the Internet, culture and social media. I’ve been following Keen for a long while, so I was thrilled that he agreed to have a digital media throwdown. Enjoy the conversation…
You can grab the latest episode of Six Pixels of Separation here (or feel free to subscribe via iTunes): Six Pixels of Separation – The Twist Image Podcast #309.