Babies talk about Google’s +1

OK you should probably only watch this once, as it may get annoying, listening to it again, so here is an exposé about Google +1, “from the babies mouth” as they say:


“This is going to change everything”

“Talk to the hand bill”

It’s a translation version of the viral twin baby video…

Check out the original viral version here:

And if you are actually interested about what “us old adults” think the twins are actually saying, check the twins’ parents’ site and the twins being interviewed on GMA, or is that the parents or both ;)

Now is the time to start your company…

According to an article over at FastCompany, now is a good time to start a company. The article depicts the current trends and examples of the current profiles of entrepreneurs, far more people are sticking to their current jobs while only the “wild-eyed” ones are sticking to their guns and embracing the obstacles that didn’t exist a few years ago when creating a company.
While some are providing auditoriums with speeches that include the common “the Chinese word for crisis also means opportunity”, the braver and more operational ones are taking advantage of the current situation to start their own company and hopefully become the next Microsoft, LinkedIn or Facebook…

Are agencies no longer the flavour of the month?

Following on from the Twitterer is a mainly a narcissist article, the currently trendy term of “Consumer intelligence” seems to be giving clients the jitters (so agencies see it). Companies that understand the need for a consumer “pull” strategy where the emphasis is on the consumer, fits with the need to quickly respond and listen to the consumer, analyse new behaviour and habits. In a very interesting Ad-Age article the journalist explains that companies feel they don’t need agencies as much!

There is a great quote from the CEO of Unilever Paul Polman:

“Maybe the most extreme example of this is to be found in consumer-generated content, where we have invited consumers to develop communications for Omo and Vaseline as a complement to those generated by the company, and in the case of Peperami, we have even dispensed with the agency in favor of exclusively ‘crowdsourced’ content.
“However well traditional advertising agencies read the signals and recognize the need for radical change in their capabilities,” he said, “few agencies can address all the communications needs of a brand. … This is making the management of agencies increasingly complex, and raises challenging questions on how best to measure the value added by the respective partners and consequently how to manage remuneration.”

The current economic situation pushes clients to search for financially viable solutions, or at least good ROI you can present to your boss. From an agency perspective, we know this is without being prepared to accept a reduction in scope or speed to market. Although the speed to market aspect can often be better managed by agencies, the “same scope, with reduced budget” is just not always possible. Sure you can provide cheaper solutions but that generally implies a reduction in quality, even though clients may agree to it. Clients rarely anticipate the reactions from their project sponsors and hierarchy and it can fall back on the agency.
Clients who have previously externalized their marketing and branding requirements are now looking to internalize what they had given away to agencies over the years according to the above article. The likes of Forrester are pushing to get marketing and brand managers (sorry Forrester prefers Brand Advocates) to be use ‘invaluable’ Forrester insight and work in house rather than go through agencies as much.
Would this have anything to do with some of the larger digital agencies producing detailed market reports (ex: Digital Outlook) and complex dashboard systems that provide the same type of ‘insight’ Forrester is selling to clients?

I’m not sure Forrester is my idea of a company capable of seeking and identifying trends in the digital arena to serve as a catalyst for the client’s brand coverage but hey I work in an agency so I would be biased. Without denying the importance of the number crunching and analysis, it is just a small ingredient of the digital marketing mix.

Although the above article does not touch on the details or definition of an agency I think there is a tendency to consider them all to be the same. In the same way that Jon discusses how both Forrester and Gartner don’t go into enough details in their Content Management comparison reports, I feel they do the same when discussing and comparing agencies. Good digital agencies do provide support for the above areas mentioned by Forrester and far more. The intricacies and issues of implementing complicated technical solutions are part of a digital agency’s normal day. They also have a good understanding of all the other ingredients of the digital marketing mix, how it all works together down to the small details that Forrester don’t even touch on!

How many narcissist Twitterers does your product need?

…so Fast Company says in their article:
Attention Marketers: 80% of Twitterers Are Narcissists” (check out the illustration ;) )

Two Twitter happenings caught my attention. 1) The seismic effect of dear young Miley Cyrus deleting her Twitter account in order to “have a life”. 2) It seems to be a revelation for film studios; Twitter may affect box office results depending on the film, hey, they seem to be understanding what Twitter actually is!
It’s a global word of mouth booster, which kind of means that, yes you are not under the spotlight, you are under multiple spotlights, to the extent that everything is amplified at will. When a film is good, guess what, people talk about it, and I will trust (or avoid in some cases) a friends comments on a film far more than any journalist. Twitter just allows people to spread the word to lots of people quickly, maybe even people will tweet while watching the film…
So people that have thousands of followers, just cry out ‘narcissist’ for me, and are invariably comprised of celebrities telling people they have just been to the shop! The exception is the 20% that actually have something interesting to say, and funnily enough, don’t always have thousands or millions of followers.
A few articles about the Miley Cyrus Twitter account being deleted event also pick up the fact that Twitter is not really extensively used by her current target population / fans.

But the main thing is that the companies like Twitter, be they Facebook or Myspace have taken the same approach as Google:
– We will provide you with the tools and you (can) create the content.
– A footnote says “oh and by the way we’ll make money from selling adverts on your pages so don’t worry the service is free!”

‘Giving’ these tools to the crowds has changed the channels advertising agencies and marketing departments are used to. Listening to people who discovered the internet (and the web etc.) 2 or 3 years ago and explaining it to either of the above is at the moment like the blind leading the blind.

I’m astonished when I hear people saying that the social media technologies allow companies to engage the consumers. I think companies will find that social media technologies have given consumers a real voice. A voice that can get very loud. So if you are trying to sell a product that is not bad and your marketing team is promising to make it a success this is where the global word of mouth effect (like Twitter) may be waiting to bite you and any ‘engaging effect’ may only last a few seconds…

Sure you could find (or pay) narcissist Twitter gurus with millions of followers to say your product is great. But wouldn’t it be better to make your product around what consumers want. Not everyone can take the Apple stance of saying we don’t do user testing we make great products…
If you take a look at the article on All Facebook about Honda’s attempt to sway people towards the new Accord Crosstour you’ll see that the idea of using tools in a concealed fashion makes people think you believe they are tools! The big no-no of course is to try and erase comments perceived as an attempt to silence people. Being open to feedback (criticism) is in my opinion the sign of a company that is really trying to provide customers with the best possible service / product. Hey there are millions of companies that still pay enormous amounts of money to get customer feedback rather than using the web.

The social network with systems like Facebook have unleashed the word of mouth. Creating an interesting and valid buzz around a good product will unleash the crowds. Try to trick them and you will be drowned by the wave of mistrust. The same people that are creating the above events like the Accord Crosstour are often the same that complain the Facebook, Twitter et al. aren’t raking in the money because they do not understand the systems and are unlikely to understand their potential if used properly…

Joel Cohen, Warner Bros.’ executive VP and general manager, tells the Sun: “We may be putting too much weight onto the Twitter Effect. But you can see Twitter’s benefits as a communications tool that spreads the word about a film, and the negatives have yet to be proven.”

Legal note on retouched photos: call for legislation in France

An article in “Le Figaro” discusses a move in France by Valérie Boyer to request a legal note be added to photos that have been modified. Although this request is specifically with regards to photos that depict very slim to skinny women, specifically the fashion industry, other bloggers provide interesting arguments for this to be a general request. When photos are used in the news, in a completely misleading manner this type of annotation should be required to avoid it, check out this article over at 10 000 words.

The below video is part of “Le Figao”‘s article:

The first impressions of website designs

Designing sites is a great opportunity, especially when you are lucky enough to be surrounded by clever and experienced people. When you can combine extremely talented people at all the different levels you require to build a website the results can be amazing. Although traditional advertising agencies are starting to learn that they need to further integrate the technical implications of the production of a website into projects, user experience is just as important and often overlooked by so many agencies. Design is considered the Holy Grail but this can hide some ugly surprises when the user experience aspect of the website is overlooked. Experience architecture when used in a rigorous way can really help to understand what will help the end-users of a site will be looking for, how and where to include it in your website.

While reading an article on SearchEngineLand I was happy to see that the experience architecture aspect of a site build was nicely touched upon. First impressions count. It really does give you an extra insight into the way the site can be successful when you try to understand how people will react to a site, what they are looking for and how designing it differently can help you help them find what they are looking for quickly without compromising the design.
The gut feeling is an important factor with today’s fast moving generation Z, the same gut feeling can be tested with various personas you have identified as your key target population to make sure that you don’t alienate your other personas from previous generations.

360° Advertising: the lack of synergies online

I was just flicking through “The Economist” (An old edition from May 10th Edition 2008) and got stuck on the adverts. Well I work in an interactive Ad agency so I suppose that it’s a professional misfortune to make this type of comment. Even though this is from a year ago it still happens that you see ads like this with no URL or at the best a URL that is for the company and not the product. I can’t understand why, on so many adverts, which will have cost the companies advertising a fair amount of money, there is no continuity or synergy with the online, no link to a website. I checked 2 consecutive adverts with no URLs, (no links to websites). I then looked through several pages and many had URLs but these two were for HSBC and Chevron had nothing and I can’t understand why there would be an advert created for a magazine that could not/would not be relayed on line.

HSBC Premier

When I was working on an automobile account in a web agency recently I found out that less than 5% of the ad budget was spent for online advertising, the majority being spent for TV then outdoors with online getting below 5%. I know many people still spend a lot of time in front of the TV but is 5% a real fit for the Internet currently ? Can you really create an effective online campaign to reach the numbers that are currently spending a large amount of their time online with such a small amount of the overall Ad budget ?

Even if it is an appropriate reflection of how people spend their time, I still deplore the lack of synergy that occurs between TV and outdoor ads versus online. Triggering people’s appetite to engage and continue the experience of a well thought through campaign online is so easy and yet so few companies actually do it. How many full blown campaigns that really use the potential for intelligently using TV, outdoors, radio etc. and online come to mind. Very few for most people because that type of synergy between Medias is very rare. Search Engine Optimisation may be a buzz word at the moment as it provides increased numbers of visitors when done properly but synergies the 360° type synergies between offline and online are way more effective in immersing people in your message!

If you can think of some cool synergies in your country please let me know and share the examples !