True story, real incident, genuine letter, brilliant response.
Okay, cards on the table. Social Media is a waste of money. Wanking in public. Fake engagement. Corporate flim-flam to pretend you understand the wily ways of the youth market and does nothing to drive bottom line profits.
So, there. I’ve said it. It’s out. Now i’ll show you why I think it has some basis in truth.
It’s all to do with the ‘Halo Bitches’ who spoil it for everyone else.
So, why don’t I define what a ‘Halo Bitch’ is?
They are the ones who hang out with your brand in all or any of the social channels. Not because they actually care about your brand, but because they care about being seen hanging out with your brand. They have no intention of purchase, they want to glory in the halo of being seen to be aligned with what you do. They clutter your feeds, with the occasional gracious share amongst their peers to remind others which brands they want to be seen as associated with.
But as the brand owner we have to get over the fact that we have fewer likes and far fewer followers than Peer X or Brand Y, but the ones we do have actually buy from us. They are genuine customers and have a value that is infinitely higher than any Halo Bitch. ever will deliver.
So my challenge is to you to hunt out the Halo’s and kick them out. Give yourself more time to truly engage with those who deserve it and warrant your love and attention.
It’ll save a fortune in the long-run and be fun doing it to. Go on, I dare you.
When you set out to create a brand you can design in certain criteria. By pricing it high, you exclude certain buying groups, by not even making XL sizes for women, you naturally exclude the larger ladies. They also place ‘beautiful people’ in a state of undress outside their stores as greeters. These decisions form the basis of the whole brand and who you target and appeal to. I am far to old/fat to be in their target audience (but so is their own MD!) and I am now quite proud to say I have never owned any of their products.
But Abercrombie and Fitch have taken this brand separation to a new level by destroying all damaged or returned goods rather than giving them to the homeless, as many other brands do. All very deliberate and all very elitist. the assumption being that seeing homeless people in A&F would embarrass their own beautiful customers.
But here comes the brand backlash. 7.5 million views in less than a month, and growing fast. Watch this space. It may be the next Gerald Ratner moment for the A&F brand.
Filed under: Brand Experience, brand values, branding, Life, Social media | Tagged: A&F, Abercrombie and Fitch, advertising, brand backlash, brand values, branding, Business, Gerald Ratner, Mike Jeffries, youth marketing, YouTube | Leave a Comment »
Advertising was never a very exact science, we all knew that 50% of our spend was wasted (but famously didn’t know which 50%), but that’s all changed now and changed forever.
I was lucky enough to be in a presentation from Lucy Arkwright of Rocket Fuel, who’s strapline is a rather cool ‘Artificial intelligence. Real results’. I haven’t seen a more amazing presentation in some time.
In short, what Rocket Fuel do is use single pixels on page to track a users real traffic. Then, using Artificial Intelligence (ie learned behaviour) they build up a picture of your real internet usage and shopping habits. It’s far more than just clicking likes, it’s about behaviours and real moves to action. So, less of what you say you’ll do and all about what you actually do.
As an example, with a traditional ad for a dishwasher, the agency buyer would just buy space in a magazine and hope enough people looking to buy their dishwasher wandered past and happened to want one at that point in time.
This was largely replaced by behavioural retargeting of ads (those ones that follow you around on the internet) which repeatedly show you dishwasher ads if you have ever clicked through to a site selling dishwashers or large kitchen appliances.
What the Rocket fuel system does is understand your specific behaviour. It begins to learn what brands you are most likely to buy and when you are really in the market to buy them. It knows to stop serving you ads when you have seen it more than a given number of times (your personal preferred number and not the rest of the worlds) and then stop serving you ads if you have actually bought a dishwasher from anywhere online. It’s like the Perfect Market, but all the sellers now have all the information. It’s a perfect, perfect market.
The AI bit is the really clever technology. This learned behaviour is done through a billion decisions per second that the system makes about how you like to think, shop and browse online. And this doesn’t just change the game a bit, it changes it completely.
I’ll leave you with a stat to prove the point.
The average click through rate (CTR) on a conventional online display ad is 0.03%, so all in all, pretty wasteful. and clicks aren’t anywhere near as good as actual conversions.
In one of the Rocket fuel examples, they showed that 40 percent of purchases of new BMWs in North America in the second quarter of 2012 were influenced by Rocket Fuel advertisements.
None of us had actually noticed that it wasn’t 50% of our ad spend being wasted, it was 99.97% being wasted. And it’s now with this system it’s back to being closer to 50% again.
When this technology rolls down to smaller users, it will change the way advertising is bought and sold completely. And forever.
Wow, just wow.
Filed under: branding, Economics, Social media | Tagged: advertising, Artificial Intelligence, behavioural retargeting, Business, gaming, Internet Advertising, Internet selling, Lucy Arkwright, marketing, perfect market, Rocket Fuel, videogames | Leave a Comment »
I bought a new printer for home a few months ago. An HP 8600 Pro. It uses big and expensive inks, but it’s fast and prints to a lovely quality – Particularly for photos. So I needed a source for genuine HP inks that wasn’t too expensive. I tend to buy a lot online and rely heavily on reviews to see who I can trust. GlobalApe.com weren’t someone I knew, but they had great reviews from Ekomi, so I thought i’d give them a go as they were miles cheaper than anyone else.
The first order took around three weeks to arrive and coincidentally landed on the day after I prompted them as to why they hadn’t arrived. I installed the one I needed and the printer immediately said it was faulty and possibly a fake. Hmmm. It did still seem to work okay though even though the printer wasn’t happy with the ink.
A few days later I got an email from Ekomi asking me to review my purchase with GlobalApe. Naturally I was less than impressed so gave them a one star review. Now Ekomi Don’t like this as it could mess up their clients near perfect 4.8 out of five score. Bear in mind they need to average over 4 out of five to gain Google gold stars and perform far better in Adwords searches – Which is how I found them.
So the mediation begins. I didn’t want to mediate, I just wanted to write a review and carry on with my life. Annerose Kennedy from Global Ape Support has done a perfect job and stalled and stalled and stalled. We are now up to 983 words of correspondence. Annerose has provided a replacement Cyan ink (which arrived in seven days) and still my one star review hasn’t appeared.
So what was the point of the review? If I can’t warn people that in MY experience, the ink took three weeks to arrive and then failed. It calls the whole point of reviews into question and I won’t be buying from organisations that display Ekomi reviews any more as I simply can’t trust them to be truthful. At the top of their reviews page, they claim the following:
- 100% Independent
- Absolutely Transparent
- From Customers for Customers
But it’s not. It’s full of positive reviews as no-one is actually allowed to publish a negative. Sorry, but this is completely wrong – however helpful Annerose Kennedy is and however much they try and mediate me into me withdrawing my negative review.
I’ve been thinking how much social media has evolved in its short life.
A like on Facebook for business has no value whatsoever. It doesn’t show any level of engagement, it just shows that people want to be seen liking your business as they believe it will make them look good to their own peer group, or they want to enter one of your competitions and this is your entry requirement. So, for example, if you run Vegetarian cooking classes for experts. Some of your followers will want to show how advanced their vegetarian cooking skills are and a ‘like’ positions them as this to their own audience.
In the same way none of us ever need to give to charity any more, we just need to share the tweets and articles of others who write about what they are doing for charity. The most cynical gain all of the charitable halo, without any of the hard work. It gives them the ability to show their peers how benevolent they are and never need to reach into their pockets.
So this is a the REAL battle for business. A like isn’t a friend. it’s an alignment. There must be a way of extracting value from this, but as a stand alone like, a favourite or even a share, it’s still only an indication of a position and not any form of buying signal.
I am convinced that today’s socially savvy have enough ‘friends‘. Whether they know them all or not is a different matter. So, as brand owners, we need to slowly allow them to get to know us and offer them the same courtesy in return. Don’t stick your social media tongue down their throat on a first encounter, but rather allow the relationship to grow and flourish and you’ll have a chance of becoming social lovers.
Try it, see what happens, but feel free to share this with your own audience and i’ll see how wise you really are.
It’s quite easy to say you like something these days. All you need to do is press ‘like’ on facebook and everyone can see you like it. But it’s quite meaningless and hollow isn’t it?
Of course I don’t like cancer, and of course i’m against racism, but clicking ‘like’ does absolutely nothing but give the person who started the chain of public pointlessness a warm glow and a stirring in their pants at their ability to move social media mountains. It doesn’t save lives and it doesn’t raise any money for the causes we are liking.
Does it mean a little more when you retweet, or favourite some else’s tweet? Probably. But not much more. Single button support is all too simple.
Next for me on the hierarchy is a text. it’s pretty easy and painless and doesn’t commit you to anything much really. It gives you a glow and them a vague feeling you’re there for them.
But if it really mattered or you wanted them to know it was important to them, you’d ring them wouldn’t you and tell them? With a mobile in every pocket, that’s ever so easy and ever so fast. It’s over and done with in a flash.
But at the top of my new social hierarchy is a letter.
If it matters, then write. By hand. The old fashioned way. Craft it a little and show people that what you think of them and that you care enough to put pen to paper.
Go on, see what happens.
A little while ago, I read this article called the $300m button. Whilst I took some of it with a pinch of salt, it made me think and change the way I advise clients on their Internet and social media behaviour.
But I’ve now discovered that I am living it myself. I have stopped wanting to become friends with organisations online, unless they are amongst my very few special online friends.
So there is a very simple lesson for all of us involved with brands, websites and social media strategies. Stand in your own shoes and see how you behave.
I probably don’t want to be your mate. if I do, I want it to build slowly and get to know you first, before I commit long term.
Ooh, that sounds rather like building a normal relationship doesn’t it?
So, the new lesson i’m sharing everywhere is that you mustn’t expect people to create a unique user name and password to buy, comment or login to your site. keep it simple, keep it slow and let them log in with their Facebook, Twitter or Google identity and you will make far more friends and build a far more active community. When they show they want to get to know you, that’s when you think about moving the relationship up a gear.
I thought I was pretty handy at understanding social media, its uses and its relevance to brands, but compared to my own kids, I officially know nothing.
I was watching my daughter the other day and she was tapping away at her phone. I asked what she was doing and it turned out that she was negotiating via Twitter with the CEO of BooHoo.com to get him to supply her a t-shirt for her to use in another of her projects.
The other project is promoting my son’s music career that he is building slowly via YouTube. Between them, it turns out they have been seeding the links to the videos on Justin Bieber fan sites, Robert Pattinson fan sites. She has also been asking cast members from Coronation Street to retweet the links and stories she has been placing.
It’s this total lack of fear and ability to build connections that makes social media exciting, interesting and relevant to any brand, big or small.
I’m not going on any training courses again, i’m just going to watch the kids.
I don’t even know this bloke, but I know I like him already and would urge you to support him on his quest to raise money for Starlight. What a cool charity and you can read about them here.
A friend of mine emailed him and got this bounceback that puts even ours to shame.
Just so you don’t miss the link to his Just Giving site, you can see that here.
If he runs the rest of his business WebMartUk as beautifully as he’s written this, then it must be a rather excellent one.