Here are all of the posts tagged ‘This is Now’.
Yesterday evening the shortlist was announced for this year’s BIMA Awards. We’re pleased to say that we’ve been shortlisted 4 times, for the This is Now campaign we did with Ford and for our work with Skype, helping them listen and respond in social media.
We’re chuffed to be in such great company, with AKQA leading the field with 6 shortlisted entries, DDB in second place with 5, and us in joint 3rd with LBi, ahead of others like Wieden+Kennedy and Agency Republic. Keep your fingers crossed for us on the evening of the 19th November, when the winners will be announced…
Update: We’ve been shortlisted for the 5th time, this time in the Best Blog category, which is being decided by a public vote.
We had great news last week when we got the go ahead from Ford to continue into next quarter with This is Now, one of the pan-European campaigns we’ve been working on with them, meaning it will reach its 1st year anniversary in September.
Aside from being an amazing achievement for the team here at We Are Social who have been working so hard on it all of this time, it made me reflect on a discussion Sandrine had with Neil Perkin and Asi Sharabi in the comments of a post Neil wrote about the campaign just after it had launched.
Both Neil and Asi referenced Paul Isakson’s presentation on modern brand building:
Which has this killer quote:
Start looking at your marketing as a progressive story instead of as quarterly campaigns
Now this is something that all of us who have drunk the social media Kool-Aid take as gospel (and rightly so), but it’s often hard for both agencies and clients alike to actually implement in practice.
Although we’re finding progressive clients at all sorts of brands who get this, there are others who are perhaps more nervous of such a wholesale change in their marketing practices.
Then there are the structural issues to be overcome – Brand Managers typically change roles internally every two years and Marketing Directors don’t hang around much longer, which it makes it hard for any real long term commitment (especially if people new to the roles are keen to make their mark with a break from the past).
There’s also the question of the client’s other marketing activity (and their other agencies). It’s important that all of their marketing, from their advertising campaigns to their PR and experiential activity, works in unison and makes up a coherent whole and do not sit as isolated strands. Social media should be no different.
We have our own thoughts on this on how to deal with this dichotomy (and I have to say, we also have plenty of great case studies of successful short term social media campaigns), but it’s always more convincing to hear it from others. Over to Forrester’s Josh Bernoff:
Social [media campaigns] take a while to build, but last a long time. Think about the effort it takes to get people reading your blog, following your Twitter feed, viewing your YouTube videos, joining your community, or friending your Facebook page. They all start with zero viewers, but the more they grow, the more powerful they become.
Ad campaigns move at a faster pace. More importantly, they have a beginning and an end. You rent a chance to get some attention for a few months, then you see whether you moved the needle.
Since advertising people often get responsibility for social elements of marketing, this creates a fundamental disconnect. Marketers who tap into these two forms of communication can get whipsawed – the social builds too slowly, and the campaign ends too quickly, to make it easy to synchronize them. Even when they do succeed, there’s huge waste. If you’ve assembled 100,000 customers into a community behind your brand, what happens when you’re done with them? Send them a thank you email and say good bye? That’s a tragic waste.
The answer, as my colleague, Sean Corcoran, discovered in the research behind his report “Using Social Applications In Ad Campaigns”, means thinking of social fans as an asset that you can build with a campaign and then tap over and over again. To do this, you must also make sure you connect with and feed them between campaigns, to keep them interested.
Forrester have just released ‘The Practicalities Of European Social Media Marketing’, a report written by Rebecca Jennings who’s based here in the UK.
She covers a variety of different social media marketing programmes in the report, from Daimler’s corporate blog in Germany to Guy Stephens’ work at Carphone Warehouse in the UK. She also highlights the work we’ve being doing for the last 10 months in the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain for Ford on the This is Now campaign.
You can find out more about the report over at The Forrester Blog For Interactive Marketing Professionals. And thanks Rebecca – we really appreciate it!
In September 2008, Ford were launching the new Fiesta with an integrated pan-European campaign based on the idea of the Fiesta representing the zeitgeist, the moment, aimed at an audience in their mid-to-late twenties (who don’t tend to read either the motoring press or motoring blogs). We were asked to activate the campaign socially by encouraging members of our target audience to submit their own definition of ‘now’ to a Flickr group. Apart from the deal with Flickr, there was no media spend and we weren’t able to incentivise submissions.
After some very late nights and weekends in the office we came up with an approach that turned it into a unique European collaborative art project.
We spent a lot of time thinking about the cross section of online communities that both influenced and reached our target audience and would be interested in the project, and then even more time finding the influential voices in those communities and crafting copy that would get them interested. We also came up with the idea of the This is Now blog, which we’d go on to use to encourage contributions by highlighting some of the best submissions to the Flickr group.
We initially spread the news (and built link equity for the blog) by talking to the marketing community about the campaign. Then, over the last nine months, we’ve reached out to hundreds of influential art, design, fashion, photography, music and cinema bloggers from across Europe, giving them and their audiences a chance get involved by uploading images that define ‘now’ for them.
Between all of us working on the project here, we’ve written over 130 posts highlighting a variety of amazing images that the public have submitted to the group (some of my favourites are Driving home, Four and I want to rock and roll)
We’re using the This is Now Twitter account to extend the conversation around the project. If you haven’t said hi yet, come on in. I swear I don’t bite and we can enjoy a chat about the latest This is Now submissions (or perhaps even about some great new street art in Berlin). We are very proud of the community we’ve built and it’s a pleasure to spend every day following everyone’s updates and the exchanges on many different topics from the latest gigs in London to exhibitions in Paris or Madrid.
We’re also giving participating bloggers the opportunity to share their own vision of ‘now’ by becoming guest editors of the blog. We have had over 50 to date, illustrating what ‘now’ means to them and re-engaging their audiences in the process. You should check out some of the heartfelt posts, including English fashion blogger Aimee Marie, Spanish film blogger Manuel and French music blogger Julien Seveno.
How is the project going so far? Well, we’ve had over 150 blog posts written about the project such as La Petite Nymphea, Cajon DeSastre, or Zimba which together have reached an estimated 1,050,000 people from all over Europe. Over 40,000 images and videos have been submitted and more than 6,000 have been accepted into the group, making it the second biggest sponsored group on Flickr.
But what’s much more important than the numbers, for me at least, is the friends we’ve made all across Europe in a diverse set of communities, friends who’ve really got involved in the project. Without them, none of this would have been possible and the Flickr group would not be what it is today – an amazing crowd sourced collection of images that represent ‘now’ for the people of Europe. One that makes me draw breath every time I look at it….
eMarketer have released a new report, “UK Social Media: Joining the Conversation” which is a useful compendium of the latest stats on social media usage in the UK, along with some spot-on commentary and advice from the author of the report, Karin von Abrams:
No commercial enterprise can afford to ignore social media
As part of her research for the report, Karin conducted an interview with me which she’s been kind enough to let me publish here:
A few weeks ago Chris introduced you to our fancy new headquarters, but today’s blog post is all about people!
We have a team of five-star account executives that you probably all discovered through our Flickr photostream already but I thought today was a good time as any to introduce them properly.
Ladies first… Melina just joined us last week from Sweden where she studies communications for new media at the Medieinstitutet in Stockholm. Melina previously worked in a PR-agency in Sweden and likes to study social psychology as a hobby. Melina would have loved to be a tattoo-artist but admits she can’t draw so she’ll happily stick to social media. As she loves England, it’s a good thing she’s working for us here in London!
Nicolas has a BA from Paris-Dauphine University and is studying for his master in Management at Audencia Business School. Nicolas has an international background: he lived in Poland, France and in London and takes part in many students associations. He has been working with Peter on Skype.
Bertrand previously worked in an online marketing agency in Paris. Bertrand is passionate about music and shares his musical discoveries on his blog Sunday Mornings. If you want to listen to some brand new sounds, it’s the place to go! He has travelled a lot and worked throughout Europe including Iceland so he knows all about local delicacies like Kókómjólk. Bertrand has been working with me on Ford – This is Now.
So one final word. Despite what you could think of the picture Barack Obama is NOT our new account executive. Nicolas, Melina and Betrand are not convicts and they do not play in a film selected at Sundance 09 either.
Welcome to We Are Social!
The feature article in today’s Marketing, ‘Twitter enters the mainstream for brand communication‘ covers work we’ve done for three of our clients, with the obligatory introductory mention of Stephen Fry and his 130,000 followers, moving on to part of what we do for Skype:
Robin Grant, managing director of social media agency We Are Social, agrees that, if used wisely, Twitter can help reduce negative word-of-mouth online and assist with brand building. We Are Social client Skype, for instance, uses Twitter to ‘respond to people having issues with or asking questions about Skype’, according to Grant. ‘If we can respond, they tell their friends what brilliant customer service they’ve had from Skype.’
And then some of the work we’ve been doing with Ford:
Ford took more of a campaign approach to promote its latest Fiesta. It backed its ‘This is Now’ TV campaign with blog and Twitter activity encouraging consumers to submit photos and art and design-related discussion posts. Despite Ford’s Twitter activity, though, the car marque’s communications manager Lisa Brankin claims Twitter remains ‘niche in its appeal’. She adds: ‘By itself it is not strong enough but it can be valuable as part of a wider campaign.’
Twitter’s growth is heading in the right direction, but as We Are Social’s Grant argues: ‘Brands need to think carefully about what impact any commercial use of Twitter is likely to achieve before investing any significant resources in it.’
The cover story from Fiona Ramsay about Twitter’s plan to start charging brands (subsequently picked up by Techcrunch and others), starts from a quote straight from the horse’s mouth:
Co-founder Biz Stone told Marketing: ‘We are noticing more companies using Twitter and individuals following them. We can identify ways to make this experience even more valuable and charge for commercial accounts.’ He would not be drawn on the level of charges.
Stone said it could also create revenue-generating features to tap into the way brands use Twitter as a hybrid marketing and customer-service tool.
But Bob Pearson, vice-president of communities and conversations at Dell, said: ‘If it becomes complicated and costly, our instinct would be to move elsewhere.’ Robin Grant, managing director of social media agency We Are Social, said Twitter could charge for display ads or to access customer information for marketing.
I had quite a long philosophical conversation with Fiona about this when she was writing the article, and expressed my scepticism about Twitter charging for brands using Twitter normally (which is not entirely summed up with the quote she used, but it least got across the idea they’d look at charging for added value services rather than the standard free functionality). As I said in the comments of the article:
The challenge Twitter will face is that there’s such a grey line between personal and commercial use.
Aside from the celebrity issue, where they are clearly individuals, but using the service for commercial gain, it’s grey elsewhere too.
If I spend a lot of my time on Twitter talking about business related stuff, where does that leave me?
For brands overtly using Twitter, it’s not black and white either. Look at Ford’s Scott Monty for example (@ScottMonty), who uses his personal account to represent Ford. Even the account we run for Skype (@PeteratSkype) is as an individual not a brand (as is the same for most of Dell’s accounts). And of course Zappos famously have hundreds of employees on Twitter.
Let’s face it, one of the reasons that Twitter is popular is because it’s such an interesting mix of both your personal and your business life – in fact, unlike Facebook or LinkedIn, it lets you be the whole you. Twitter will be risking a lot if they try to change this.
Which has since proved to be correct, with Biz Stone publishing this clarification on the Twitter blog:
It’s great that both individuals and organizations are finding value in Twitter and there may be ways we can enrich the experience. In fact, we hope to begin iterating on revenue products this year.
However, it’s important to note that whatever we come up with, Twitter will remain free to use by everyone – individuals, companies, celebrities, etc. What we’re thinking about is adding value in places where we are already seeing traction, not imposing fees on existing services.