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From Content Marketing to Story Advertising?!

Managers around me get confused about the trend content marketing. What exactly is, and where does it start? A promoted tweet? A long branded status update? An advertorial? Promoted or sponsored content? A commercial that does story-telling? I have decided to discuss this a bit when I came across a great commercial yesterday as Pepsi turns the tables these days again.

But let’s start with another commercial that AUDI launched at Super Bowl this year called “Prom”. Watch it first, so you know what we are talking about. Cool commercial. Nice story. Well thought. No doubt…

Many digital experts defined this in posts or in their presentations at marketing events as content marketing. Somehow, they might have been right as it is telling a story with a beginning, a turning point and an end. And it is not just a well-produced commercial highlighting a product. It is not focused not on pure selling or promoting it.

Former commercials from Volkswagen “Star Wars”, Old Spice’s “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” or Blendtec’s ongoing series of product tests on Youtube already went towards the content marketing direction. In their line of mention, they were evolving from a traditional commercial into some form of viral advertising series. These clearly differed from the AUDI commercial as their story-telling was neither epic, nor f(r)iction.

Now, Pepsi comes up with some really clever advertising approach in my eyes. And the question I would like to raise is: Is this content marketing or story advertising?

Most of us have seen the movie “Blues Brothers”. In that film, Elwood must reunite the old band and go on another “Mission from God”. Based on that plot, the Pepsi MAX commercial series gets their food.

After introducing Uncle Drew in the first commercial, the second series starts with a conversation between Uncle Drew and basket ball legend Bill Russell (well played by Morgan Freeman) who sends him on a mission “Get out there and get your team together again!” He shall teach the young boys how to “get buckets” – the claim of the series.

First Commercial

Second Commercial

The third commercial just recently came out and takes this form of story advertising to another level. Uncle Drew visits an underground jazz club in downtown Chicago to convince his old point guard “Lights” to re-live their glory days on the court. Although his wife disagrees, he gets his friend to go out again. What happens thereafter? Just watch it…

Obviously, players and spectators at the basketball courts in all three versions were told that they would be filmed for a “basketball documentary”. However, they enjoyed some special show of basketball magic by Kyrie Irving.

Spot On!
Story advertising could become a new form of content marketing. Pepsi MAX doesn’t even play a supporting actor in these films. It is a series around a brand, but the brand is not the star. It is there but just doing what it’s meant to do: Max taste – sugar-free. Pure enjoyment. By creating a series of commercials with main characters coming back, a real plot around a team reunion, and some really extraordinary testimonials doing what they can do best, consumers feel like being somewhere between the movies and the sports stadium. Illusions made real. They will be waiting for the next part to come out, and hope they become part of it. It’s branded content but not in a traditional way. It is like “24” or “Mad Men”, just in the commercials. It creates excitement for the next version, engages the audience to talk about basket ball (the sports that Pepsi MAX spends their marketing bucks “buckets” on), and will become viral. This is a new dimension. This is what I would call: Story Advertising.

PS: Maybe they could have left it open until the last version when the team is together again, how Pepsi did this human transition. But that is my view, how about yours…?

Hey MINI! Not interested in brand advocates?

My MINI Paceman - So much fun with it!

My MINI Paceman – So much fun with it!

Listen BMW and MINI! This is not a story made up. This is real. This is me.

When the MINI Paceman was first promoted at the Detroit Motor Show in 2011 as a concept car, I said and wrote to my fans, followers and friends: “This is gonna be my new car!” To some of them, it came as no surprise. Some knew of my passion for the MINI brand. Some recalled my words from brand strategy workshops, from keynote speeches or marketing seminars. Some remembered pictures of me in front of my former white MINI Cooper, and they were surprised I am selling it. Some responded and asked questions about features of the new Paceman; even I could not answer those days. Today I can.

But… Many of them did not even know of the new concept, the new brand, the new design, the new small SUV category that MINI kind of invented, and so on. I did. I saw the potential. I just got infected by the brand. I wanted a new MINI Paceman. I loved the outlook: Getting the keys handed out for a MINI Paceman.

I have thought a long time about writing this post, or just forgetting about it. But I am a challenger…

Today, the IAA 2013 is opening their doors in Frankfurt. Car brands are proudly presenting their latest auto concepts. Managers posing in front of their new innovations in modern steel or carbon. They are shaking hands with those that make them look good. But who does really make them stand out? The technical suppliers? The revenue driving resellers? The social influencers? Or those who hold up a sign in the streets without being incentivized or getting cash saying: “I love this brand!” Those who stand out, and those who make stand out: the brand advocates?

Maybe today is the right time to write a blog post and tell a story that to many of my fans, followers and friends sounds unbelievable – but MINI, I tell you, it is the absolute truth. I write it in the night when other people are sleeping. My clients tomorrow won’t care whether I had enough sleep, or not. I write this, when there is more important things on the desktop than leveraging a brand that does not listen, nor understand. Am I mad? Am I not clever? No, I am honest. I am what I am. I am a real MINI Paceman advocate.

Beginning of February 2013, I sat down with my MINI car sales representative and told him that I want to buy a Paceman. I wanted to be one of the first in Munich. I wanted to sign the contract. Now. And I asked whether he could open doors to the marketing, PR or social media department at MINI when an idea hit my brain just in the minutes when I sat there: Two of my clients have called me their “pacemaker”. The word transition from pacemaker to paceman was not too far off for me. So, some brilliant thought (at least in my mind) awoke in my head: Why not call yourself “Mr. Paceman”?

A concept created in a brain flash: Website domain. Web space. Web blog. Unique content published in a Paceman. The life of a Pacemaker in a Paceman. Lifestyle. Design. Speed. My life.

While the reseller configured my MINI Paceman, I bought the website domain, set up the blog with a little help of a friend and scribbled the whole concept on my smartphone. I told my MINI sales rep about the idea when I had signed the contract. He was enthusiastic about the concept and saw a lot of other potential cooperation opportunities.

I was ready to start publishing. Publishing about the pleasant participation for my MINI Paceman. The color. The design. The coffee holders. The changing interior lights. The engine. And so on. Publishing about the pace of my days, my experiences with the new Paceman, my life in a MINI Paceman nutshell. I wanted to share pictures of MINIs. I wanted to post design ideas of other MINI freaks, and find the first MINI Paceman pics, I might come across. And a lot more…

Now, obviously I knew about brand protection and brand rights. I knew that -before I started buying the domain- I should get in touch with some MINI brand contacts and get some formal permission to use the brand name. I thought: “Just do it!”

So, I wrote emails to MINI, their PR department, their marketing department, their social media people, and their agencies. I even contacted strategic partners from MINI. I wish I hadn’t done it. I felt like a little unloved kid being pushed from one corner to another in order not to cause any trouble for anyone, in order to shut up. MINI did not move. I continued. The answers I got where just some lines making clear that I am not allowed to use the brand for my purposes.

Hang on! My purposes? Is that the power of a big modern brand, is that arrogance, hubris or simply ignorance?

If I promote a brand I like, invest time, offer to wear their branded merchandising clothes and have even bought the brand product before (and maybe a far too expensive brand product), why should I not be allowed to do marketing and PR for that brand to my fellow peers? A target-group that MINI is chasing with banners, print ads, wallpapers, outdoor marketing, newsletter mailings and a lot more.

Doesn’t this mean, I am actually doing what MINI pays others for; marketing agencies, PR people and media houses with the old “quid-pro quo” game: editorial coverage for advertising dollars? Those institutions that create corporate publishing products for brands which cost these brands a fortune?

Shall I then be happy and not get crazy, when I get the feedback: “We might consider that you are writing a guest post on our official MINI blog.” Hurray! What an outcome of my activities! Sorry MINI, you missed the point! I am not just a buyer. I am not a normal influencer. I am more. I am a MINI Paceman brand advocate, if you know what this means MINI. If not, you might just read the study by Ogilvy)?!

A brand concept. Still waiting for MINI to understand the value of brand advocates.

A brand concept. Still waiting for MINI to understand the value of brand advocates.

More than seven months later, the blog is still online – online without any content at MrPaceman.com. The case has been mentioned by me in at least 20 seminars and on several stage appearances at events. Events where even the BMW marketing departments or some of their agencies participated. I saw people shaking heads, heard their words asking how ignorant and un-clever brands can be, and read their tweets and updates trying to get reactions to this case from MINI. MINI did nothing. For seven months now, the MINI brand managers did nothing.

Yesterday, some silver surfers passed by my MINI Paceman. One of them, a man in his seventies approached me when I got out of my Paceman: “Great car. Cool design and colors. Is this new? Have never seen this car before…” His wife replied: “This is one of these new SUV cars but just in a MINI format. Nice high access. Like it!”

Would this make up for a really cool advertisement? Now, just imagine, I had written about such stories, shared a picture with these older people and spread the word around the world about my life in the MINI Paceman. Don’t you think these stories, these emotions, these experiences might have made a difference in the way the MINI Paceman gets positioned, promoted and had pulled sales leads?

“Advocacy goes deeper. Advocacy is emotion-driven. Advocacy is loyalty. Loyalty is commitment. Loyalty is passion. Loyalty let’s forget the rules of logic, of facts, of the rational. Advocates drive on the streets of loyalty and breath it’s air.” Martin Meyer-Gossner on brand advocacy, September 2013

Did I make the benefit of brand advocates clear to you, MINI? Ok, then get into the next MINI Paceman and drive to me. Let’s speak!

PS: All of you out there who think MINI should make a move towards brand advocacy, share this post and maybe that will make them clear what opportunity they might have missed. And let’s hope some other brands learn from this case…!

ABM Study: The impact of B2B media on purchase decisions

It is one of these questions many B2B marketers would love to get an answer: How many of the B2B business professionals that can be reached by B2B media and live events are involved in purchasing decisions or supplier selections?

Well, a recent study by American Business Media’s “Value of B-to-B” report, which was based on 6,682 responses from business professionals, 74 marketers and 111 business publishers and released Wednesday, gives an answer: Of those purchase business decision makers responding to the survey 74% can be reached by B2B media and live events.

The web plays a critical role here. The study states that 87% of those use industry-related websites on their customer journey and research in the decision making process. What they predominantly use is print magazines (65%), industry conferences and trade shows (58%) and e-newsletters (55%).

ABM B2B Resource Usage 2013

However, we all think the world is completely digital these days, the study makes clear that 74% use both digital and traditional media to get latest best practices and get the right information for their business. The industry-related focus of the print publications is relevant for (68%) as they spend more time with those publications than with mainstream business or consumer publications.

PS: There are good signs for the media industry, too. Almost half of the responding marketers (45%) expected an increase in B2B advertising budgets for the next 12 months.

Study: Increase in marketers social spendings expected (Infographic)

With their recent study The Creative Group predicts that the majority of advertising and marketing executives (62%) expect an increase of their company’s spending on Facebook marketing in the follwoing twelve months – 9% more than they predcited one year ago.

Not surprisingly, the advertising spend on Facebook leads the list of social ad spendings. However, the majority of executives will also invest in other channels more than last year: LinkedIn (51% up from 38%) and Google+ (50% from 41%). Twitter is also on the plan for a budget increase with 48%, as well as Youtube (40%), Pinterest (35%) and Instagram (32%)

Although this shows a great breakdown of all industry sectors and job titles in an overview, the different industry segments and job titles varied in their view on budget increase:

Facebook
– Large companies (100+ employees): 74% of marketers expect an increase in Facebook spend
– Smaller companies (100-249 employees): 60% predict an increase for Facebook spendings

Twitter
– 57% of advertising executives expect an increase in spendings
– 48% of marketing executives expect an increase in ad spends
– 12% of marketing execs expect a decrease in spend
– 6% of advertising executives expect a decrease

The study was based on a US survey of 300 marketing executives and 100 advertising executives.

How about your marketing budget planes with Facebook, Twitter and the likes? Increase or decrease?

Forecast-Social-Media-Spend-2013

How the viral video web world is emerging (Infographic)

Audio-video content and video content networks are on the rise. Not one company in the FMCG industry that did not try to start their own initiative around their brand or product in the last two years. From the hype of Social Media another hype was creaping up that many have not yet fully understood but think it might change the world of the advertising industry in the future: viral videos.

The advertising business hopes to make money through Youtube channels and the Google AdSense business. Google invested 100 Mio. US Dollars in the launch of new and original TV content for their Youtube platform, plus they built production studios in London, Los Angeles and Tokyo which might build up Google’s audio-video channel to become one of the main challengers for TV.

Next to the increase of vimeo traffic, more and more video advertising companies arise that produce content, media houses create content hubs as well as PR agencies. Obviously, social advertising companies like Unruly, hallimash or ebuzzing are doing their best to get bloggers implementing and writing about viral ads that their brand customers create. And in the end, the Social Star Awards will make all marketers happy when their virals have made it to become a “viral star”.

The following infographic by the Masters in Marketing Degrees offers some statistics on how the viral web video industry has emerged in the last few years.

The Economics of Going Viral

Study: Consumers prefer mobile apps to mobile websites

After yesterdays moderation of the dmexco Night Talks in Hamburg on “Mobile – The new first screen”, a recent study grabbed my attention this morning. It makes clear that users really are more into apps rather than mobile websites. According to the findings of the global study from Compuware Corporation, a technology performance company, 85% of consumers responded that they prefer mobile apps over mobile websites.

Although the latest InMobi study gives insights how people react to mobile advertising and why apps get into the centre of attention of the mobile user, the study from Compuware states that the reason why apps become so popular these days. The respondents said that they are “more convenient, faster and easier to navigate.” Furthermore, it adds some more findings…

“Mobile applications are thought to make life easier by streamlining calendars and grocery lists (…) offering entertainment while in line and making it easy to collaborate with co-workers. Consumers now associate apps with banking, paying bills, shopping, booking hotels and travel, as well as with staying productive and connected with both home and office tasks.”

The 3Rs of the social customer also become apparent in the choice of which apps will be downloaded to their mobiles. 84% of users say app store ratings are important in their decisions to download and install a mobile app. And there are some obvious reasons how apps need to deliver in order to be be benefitial…
– Easy access to product and store information
– Help planning and navigating trips
– The ability to communicate in real time

However, the benefits seem quite clear, there are also some complaints about mobile apps. The mobile users mentioned that they had…
– 62% a crash, freeze or error.
– 47% slow launch times.
– 40% an app which just would not launch.

Still tolerance is high when the app does not work immediately. 79% said, they would retry a mobile app only once or twice if it failed to work the first time. Still, companies and brands should be aware that the competitor is not too far away with their mobile app offering.

Compuware - Consumer reaction to bad apps

“With consumers expecting greater experiences with mobile apps now more than ever, fulfilling those expectations doesn’t just happen — it takes a conscious effort throughout every stage of the design and development process to get it right. Performance is a crucial contributor to providing a dependable mobile app user experience, so performance should be considered a key driver in the design process. Mobile applications need to focus on a core utility, and they need to be fast and reliable in order to be valuable.” Stephen Pierzchala, Technology Strategist, Compuware APM Center of Excellence.

It would be interesting to get your expectation on a good mobile app or website? What is your normal reaction when mobile apps don’t deliver to your expectation?

InMobi Global Study: Mobile media consumption outpacing TV, mobile ads drive sales

In prepapration of the first dmexco Night Talks moderation in Hamburg on “Mobile: The new first screen: reach, engage, measure, monetize”, sometimes studies fly into my mailbox which are reaching me just at the right time.

InMobi released their second wave research report on Mobile Media Consumption at Mobile World Congress. It covers some on-going overview on 14 countries on how we consume mobile content these days, and it obviously underlines the rapid growth of mobile media and the benefits of mobile advertising around the globe.

From a global perspective, mobile has reached the sweet spot in media consumption. It will generate its growth in the coming year predominantly via social media, search/download apps and search activities. In the 14 countries, humans spent from 7 hour media consumption (apart from other channels)…
1. Mobile 1,8 hours
2. PC 1,6 hours
3. TV 1,5 hours

The research piece shows that 50% of the average global mobile web users primarily use their mobiles now to go online. The average mobile web person uses 6.5 apps throughout a 30-day period.

But what does this mean for marketers?

The study states that globally, 54% of users discover mobile ads via apps, 40% on a search engine, 27% on a retailer website and 23% on a video website. It also makes clear that mobile is the touchpoint for finding new products and services. 3 out of 4 say mobile advertising has opened doors to something new. Almost every second say mobile ads have influenced them to buy mobile (46%) and almost the same amout (45%) say that mobile has mobile ads have influenced their purchase decision.

When seeing mobile ads, it is not that users don’t take any actions. It is actually the other way round. Mobile ads let users downloaded an app (80%), visit the advertiser’s website (67%), visit the store/retailer/business for additional information (52%), locate an advertiser on map (45%), or even take an immediate phone call (37%).

Mobile Media Consumption InMobi 2013

Spot On!
While I still have some marketers from media houses and brands in my ears, saying that apps and mobile ads don’t seem to be the right marketing approach, it seems they just did not find the right content approach to their users. The mobile commerce world is growing at speed of light and innovative retailers and brands should be well-prepared for it – and ideally have at least a click-to-call solution on their mobile website. It is not surprising that in these 14 countries 80% retailers say they plan to get the right approach to mobile in 2013.

How about you? Are you prepared for the mobile sales and marketing development? What experiences do you have so far with mobile ads?

PS: If you are interested in attending the dmexco discussion in Hamburg, please book your seat here.

Nielsen study: People trust in peoples' word of mouth

Now, I have used this Nielsen graphic in seminars and conferences for two years and always wondered when the next study is going to be published.

Finally today, I came across the latest Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising report. And again, the results are similar to what they where back in 2009. People still don’t trust advertising. Well, let’s say… at least not as much as they trust recommendations from people they know like friends, family and peers. However, it is still somehow scary to bear in mind that people trust consumer opinions expressed online… very often without verifying who say what in which scenario and which stage of life.

According to the Nielsen findings, which surveyed over 28,000 Internet people in 56 countries, 92% of the respondents said they trust recommendations from friends and family above all other forms of advertising. This equals an increase of 18% compared to 2007. Consumer opinions posted online come in at the second place of most trusted source. Of the consumers surveyed globally, 70% indicated they trust messages from online platforms. This makes up an increase by 15% in the last four years.

Publishing houses and platforms still get a lot of trust from their users. Editorial content (58%) finished in the thread place, just before branded websites (58%), and opt-in emails (50%). The traditional platforms for advertising like print, television, and radio are significantly lower from a trust point of view. The drop in value since 2009 goes down by 24%.

Spot On!
The results show the importance of content marketing carrying the truth about your company, brand or products. Openness, authenticity and transparency are still rated very high amongst your customers. They want to “know what they get”. They want to engage with you but also being told the truth if there is something bad or uncertain to say about brands and their development. And above all they want you to respond to their input. They want you to give them some attention, some feedback, some credit for the time they spend. Then you will earn their trust, and then they will share your voice.

dmexco 2010 – Flashback in Tweets & Quotes

The main message of the dmexco 2010 can be concluded as follows…

Marketers have to face the fast dynamics of a changing advertising industry. The new topics they will be tackling in the future are predictive behavioral targeting, multiscreen targeting, augmented reality as well as mobile device advertising and … of course Social Media.

Facing the social web challenge, this means marketers have to look for conversation with their clients, whilst still being authentic, honest, human, friendly, open, conversational, responsive. Business relevant topics are not meant to cross their minds such as contact management and generation, quantitative ROI measurement or sales-driven aspects – and I am not even talking of lead nurturing. At least from a social media user-perspective…

Respect to all marketeers who can make this challenge happen in the future!

My flashback…?
Doing the co-moderation of the conference program was a very exhiting and interesting job. It gave me the opportunity to talk to great marketers (Sidney Mock, Spil Games and Manish Mehta, Dell Inc.), real thought-leaders of the Internet industry (Russell Buckley, AdMob Inc. and Tom Bedecarrè, AKQA) and just fabulous web personalities (Harry Huj, Pepsico Investment and Dean Donaldson, Mediamind).

As there was not much time to look around the halls and the booths, I would like to summarize the event with the 10 tweets and quotes that represent the value, the mood and the atmosphere of dmexco from my perspective.

Future
1. dmexco 2010: The vision of the leaders http://bit.ly/bRyrlQ via @MkDirecto

Augmented Reality
2. Never heard of “augmented reality”? Check out the Museum of London case study http://bit.ly/aucZ4Y via Kaizenadv

iPad
3. Study #iPad Effects: “80 per cent use the iPad predominantly at home” #dmexco #research (translated) via tomorrowfocus

Gaming
4. Sidney Mock, Spil Games, counts 650 million online gamers worldwide via dmexco (More gamers than Facebook users…).

China
5. Harry Hui (Pepsico): “Los consumidores chinos se mueven a otro ritmo”. http://bit.ly/czFA8x via lpittol85

Social Media
6. Great interview with @ManishatDell (my boss) about the value of social media for #dell from the dmexco conf. http://bit.ly/9pjxaF via DennisMSmith

Facebook
7. Joanna Shields: “Marketing develops from a one night stand towards constant connection and ongoing conversations.” #dmexco #Facebook via dmexco

Mobility
8. Dean Donaldson shows the relativity of the mobile progress, reading out a SMS he received during the Mobile Debate. It tells him how expensive roaming is and explains how ISPs limit mobile opportunities like in the AOL age some years ago.

Future Media
9. The future of the media is mobile. Shame *none* of the world’s design/PR agencies have realised: http://cot.ag/dolCIO via Adam Westbrook

Summary
10. Tom Bedecarré, #AKQA, is excited about #dmexco: “What a high energy event with so many people!” via dmexco

Spot On!
After sharing my view, I would appreciate to get your ideas and thoughts. What did you think of dmexco 2010? How did you like the conference program or the debate hall concept? What was positive and negative? Did any of you use the blogger lounge? If so, what did you like or miss? Looking forward to your feedback…

PS: Next dmexco?: Cologne, September, 21. and 22, 2011 !

Foto Credits: Horizont

Are contextual social media creatives a good idea?

Today, an agency friend of mine (who is not on Twitter or Facebook) send me a link to a contextual ad campaign she found at the Eyeblaster Creative Zone. The ad is from Vodafone Italy and promoting their 360 degrees campaign. It is an experiment which reminds me of this year’s Volkswagen attempt.

So, what is happening in this campaign?

Interaction 1: Once you click the banner, the ad expands and you can connect to Twitter or Facebook inside the banner…

Social Media Creative 1

Interaction 2: The banner app takes out your surname and creates a nice picture of it by using all your Twitter friend pictures.

Social Media Creative 2

Interaction 3: With a mouse-over, you can see the latest Tweets of a specific followers.

Social Media Creative 3

The final click leads you NOT to your friends account but to the landing page of the Vodafone 360 campaign. That’s it…

Spot On!
Now, we could discuss about the creative idea, or the stickiness value or “clickiness” factor. Or we could talk about the fact of the staying time and branding factor… and who “wins” customers with such banners in the end – apart from amusing them for a while.
When I saw this campaign for the first time I was disappointed as I thought I will be coming straight to the follower’s page – but had to realize that this is a campaign and follows some different purpose. It’s marketing, it’s a campaign and the old commercial approach. No conversation – limited engagement.

And now I am asking myself where the benefit in such creative campaigns is – for the user and the advertising company.

What do you think?

PS: If you want to test the interactive banner, please visit the Eyeblaster Creative Zone.