Monthly Archive: February 2012

Drop The What, When And Where. Let’s Talk About How and Why You Do Business.

Every company is a media company. EC=MC. That includes business-to-business companies in non-sexy categories. Like Indium, a global supplier specializing in solder products and solder paste for electronics assembly.

According to Erika Schnitzer at Digiday, Indium is a big believer in content marketing. In fact, the company has launched a network of 72 blogs that are mapped to keywords. For example, type in “soldering to Nitinol” into Google and a number of top search results bring you to the related Indium blog.

Schnitzer reports that Indium didn’t want its interns or marketing managers to produce the content. Instead, it had its own engineers create the content. “This all boils down to people,” said Rick Short, director of marketing communications at Indium.

Via their agressive content strategy Indium has been able to boost customer contacts by 600 percent.

Short said the key is, Indium knows what it is and who its customers are. Put another way, when you’re comfortable in your own brand’s skin, and you’re busy building relationships with customers and prospects, the idea of conversational marketing isn’t foreign at all.

The brand can still carefully craft it messaging, as in days of old, but today a brand also has to engage in real time marketing on socially driven sites, in the mobile space and at events. Because brand image does not equal brand experience. Brand image is but one component (an important one) in the brand experience mix.

For decades, brand managers and advertising practitioners focused on brand image. The job is considerably more complex today. Which is either terribly frightening or exciting, depending on one’s point of view and ability to roll with the changes.

The Formula For Viral Advertising Success Will Definitely Blend

Thales Teixeira is an assistant professor at Harvard Business School. According to Harvard Business Review, Teixeira and two colleagues used eye-tracking scanners to determine exactly what people look at when they watch video ads.

After analyzing thousands of reactions to many ads, second by second, and tracking exactly when people stop watching, we found that keeping viewers involved depends in large part on two emotions: joy and surprise. To maximize viewership, it’s important to generate at least one of these responses early on. Traditionally, though, advertisers have constructed narratives that escalate toward a dramatic climax or a surprise ending. Such commercials may have worked on TV decades ago, but today’s online viewers need to be hooked in the opening seconds.

To repeat, today’s online viewers need to be hooked in the opening seconds. Quite a challenge, no?

The good professors also suggest that “advertisers need to briefly terminate viewers’ feelings of joy or surprise and then quickly restore them, creating an emotional roller coaster—much the way a movie generates suspense by alternating tension and relief.”

Personally, I am not a fan of formulas. There are always counter examples that prove there’s no one way to viral advertising Nirvana. Will it Blend?, for instance, does not abide the roller coaster rule. The new object either blends or it does not, and we know it will blend, so even that suspense is tamed. Yet, we tune in my the millions to see how it blends.

To Do In 2012: Find (And Share) Your Brand’s Live, On-Camera Voice

YouTube has been busy partnering with brands, media companies and other content providers to roll out its new Original Channels offering. According to Mashable, the Google-owned company is spending $100 million to secure the deals for its original channels.

One deal YouTube secured is with Thompson Reuters. The media company is offering up business writer Felix Salmon, and others, on its dedicated channel called ReutersTV. Personally, I feel like “Felix TV” is a good illustration of just how different video is from text. And it’s important today to have fluency in both, whether you’re a journalist, or a brand banking on video to tell your company’s best stories.

Let’s take a look at Salmon’s on-camera style, shall we?

I like the tough questioning on the FICO scores piece.

And here’s a goofy promo from Salmon:

Salmon, who is mostly serious in print, recently told a reporter from GigaOm that video challenges him to make his stories more accessible.

“I have this idea that if someone is reading my blog and doesn’t understand something – they are already on the Internet and can use it to look it up,” Salmon said. “Video is necessarily a lot less wonky. You have to be short, you have to be sharp, you have to be punchy.”

Like this offering from Bleacher/Report, I presume:

Of course, not all brands will go with the on-air personality approach to video content. Vice, for example, prefers to make documentaries.

What’s Your Why?

Simon Sinek starts with why. Not what.

The author, marketing consultant and motivational speaker best known for developing “The Golden Circle” shared some of his thinking at a regional TED conference in 2010.

Sinek says we communicate from the outside in. We go from the clearest thing to the fuzziest thing (in other words, from what to how to why). But inspired leaders and inspired organizations, regardless of their size or industry, all think, act and communicate from the inside out. For example, Sinek says Apple Computer begins everything they do with an answer to the question why.

Why: In everything Apple does, they believe in challenging the status quo. They believe in thinking differently.

How: The way Apple challenges the status quo is by making products that are beautifully designed, simple to use and user-friendly.

What: Apple just happens to make great computers. Want to but one?

He adds that “people do not buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” Which explains why we’re comfortable buying a computer from Apple, as well as an MP3 player, a phone, a DVR, etc. We’re buying Apple’s reason why, and we trust that they will disrupt the market with a better product or service, every time.

Naturally, this got me thinking about Bonehook’s reason why and AdPulp’s reason why, and also my reason why as a literary writer. When you start with what, there’s the fact that I am a professional writer and thus can be employed to produce various pieces of writing. But start from the why, and the story deepens.

Here’s Bonehook’s “Why | How | What” rundown:

Why: There are noise makers on every corner — we help brands make meaning.

How: By exploring the mutual points of interest that naturally exist between a brand and its prospects and customers, we’re able to create something better than the flat, one-way messaging of old.

What: A professional services provider specializing in brand identity and content marketing.

Who Are You? The Answer Will Never Be Found In Code Alone, But It’s A Start.

I was talking to a new friend the other day and she mentioned to me how she perceived another agency in town through the lens of the agency’s website. She felt that they had an inflated sense of themselves, largely based on the artsy portraits of staff that feature prominently.

I asked her what she saw in Bonehook.com and she said, “I see a straight forward approach.”

Maybe she was being nice, I don’t know. Let me ask you, what do you see here? Is it crystal clear what the offering is? Because it has to be crystal clear, for this site to be an effective part of the Bonehook brand strategy. For the record, the offering is two-fold: “we” build brands for small businesses and “I” write copy for agencies and brands.

According to Google Analytics, a fair bit of traffic to this site comes from Bonehook’s listing on Portland Creative List. From that listing a number of people inquire about jobs, which we do not presently offer. Bonehook is me (a copywriter/creative director/brand strategist) and the perfect mix of contractors for any given project. Or it’s just me, writing copy for you. You decide.

Portland Creative List also serves up unsolicited Requests for Proposals. And direct mail from printers, cold calls from various service providers, and so on. You hang a shingle, people knock on the door.

Last fall’s Adweek article about strange agency names — Bonehook’s first major earned media score — continues to deliver a number of curious clickers too. Gotta love evergreen content.

Wherever visitors migrate from, or soon bounce to, I hope they pause long enough to consider these offerings of text. Words. Copy. Content. I’m a writer and I like to put the product on display. I also have faith in the the form. By reading these words, you get to know me a bit better, and after a while you may come to trust me and my advice more.

In addition, I see Bonehook as a journey and and a journey is something to joyfully share. A lot of agencies are too busy or too scared to open up and showcase their process, or total lack of process, as the case may be. Instead, they rely on tightly packaged case studies, white papers and/or instructional pieces on the agency blog meant to showcase expertise. I understand the need for that kind of formality, but I also believe there’s a need to loosen up when it comes to one’s own narrative. Therefore, I’m making an effort to expose our practices here, our victories and our stumbles. I don’t know if I can make the mundane interesting, but that’s the goal.