Thursday, 21 August 2008

Age & The Invisibility Of The Network

Fred Wilson had a post the other day talking about When You Wake Up Feeling Old.

It used to be that when you no longer recognized faces on the cover of people magazine or listened to the radio and had no clue who the latest "it" band was that the age thing would hit you.

For me, it's been similar to Wilson, in realizing that people in the generation younger than me "understand how the web works at a level I'll never understand."

Those that are brought up with the network truly don't see technology or even go online as it's just always there and pervasively present (the UCaPP world).

Specifically interviewing this week, it's been interesting talking with so many people about their experience with digital, what it means to them.

And it appears as mostly it means nothing at all. Not that it's not important. It's that its simply so core that it just is. Talking about it almost seems stupid.

And yet at the same time, clearly the invisible impact of the network on how they think, and lenses of how they view the world is creating patterns, attitudes and cultural shifts that we are only starting to see and understand.

There is definitely a learning curve here for anyone trying to connect with this generation. The ways of the past are not going to work. Our old rules will no longer apply. Experience design is probably going to see some of the biggest shifts in the coming few years as we attempt to bridge the chasm between what we have traditional known and seen to the new reality. It will close down debates between navigation styles and do we like Flash or not, to task and experience oriented expectations of monstrous proportions.

And probably and most importantly for marketers, brands that say we can't change because that's the way we've always done it or that's what our guidelines say, will become less and less relevant as companies that focus on the
invisibility of the network and understanding how to communicate and connect with the generation that doesn't even think about it, start to dominate the market place.

Monday, 18 August 2008

Who Died And Make The Box King?

I just can't resist a great rant. This one from Virginia Magaletta who is the CD at Twist Image (my new place of employment) and doesn't like boxes.

"I'd like to toss my hat into the ring, on the issue of BOXES. What is up with all these boxes on line? What makes a site with BOXES more navigable than one without BOXES? Why do we think that putting a BOX around something and then putting another BOX right next to that with something else in it is the best way to design a site? Who died and made the BOX king?"

For more boxy juiciness go here.

Photo credit: Flikr1309

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Pitching Is For Baseball Players Not Bloggers

There's been a bunch of buzz lately about how to "pitch" bloggers your product/brand and or service. And most marketers (whether they be PR companies, Ad agencies or even old school 1.0 digital agencies) are struggling with the right way to approach this.

I've heard some of the dumbest ideas in meetings which usually start with the sentence "let's send the bloggers..." at which point I generally put my hands in my shaking head and try not to look like I'm going into seizures.

My opinion on the matter is pretty simple. Getting witty emails, fun packages, or even an invitation to the CEO's summer manor for a get to know you spa day, does not take the place of genuine engagement. It means participating in conversations that matter, it means contribution and it means understanding reciprocity and the value you BRING to the network before you attempt to extract value FROM it.

Mitch (Joel) calls it "in praise of slow", and in his words

"Digital Marketing is not a one night stand (like more traditional advertising - "wham, bam, thank you ma'am")"

Now would we like to be able to sit in a room, get paid a schwack of dough and help you figure out how to 'go to market' with a deadline of next month with some fancy pitch to bloggers? Sure we would. But that isn't going to get you what you need and in fact may do more damage to your brand than anything else.

Pitching is for baseball players not bloggers. :)

Saturday, 9 August 2008

My New Gig: Twist & Shout

Mitch used 'Let's Twist Again' so i had to find me a new song metaphor.

Those who are linkedin to me probably noticed that I changed jobs to be the Managing Director of the newly opened Twist Image office in Toronto. Sometimes an opportunity comes up that no matter what, ya just can't pass up. Twist Image is one of those. As someone once said to me, if a rocket ship is about to take off, get on. And that's what I've done.

So i got a bunch of emails from people - what's a Twist?

Some people know of Twist from Mitch Joel. Hey just read his bio. Everyone should strive to have a bio like Mitch's. He and I had been on a panel a while back and I thought he was super smart but I wasn't sure how he'd be to work with. Firstly, we had such a fun interview. I loved him. He's totally humble and doesn't have one of those manly agency egos (you know what I'm talking about). Having worked with him for a while now, is a truly smart street savvy marketer who is a privilege to be working with.

Alongside Mitch is an incredible team. Mark Goodman, CEO who is formerly the founder and long time President of FCB brings his sharp business mind to the group. Then there's Mickael Kanfi ECD whose multimarketing skills in 3D animation, video and audio production as well as digital skills make him one of the most diverse CD's I've ever worked with. And finally Aubrey Rosenhek, Managing Director who brings a creative spirit to actually getting things done on time on budget but with the care that is required to ensure the quality of the product not just the profitability of it. (run on sentences must mean i'm excited).

For the Toronto office, we don't have furniture yet (it's coming!) but we have brought in the incredible and unique talent of Virginia Magaletta who worked with me years ago at the agency formerly known as Maclaren McCann Interactive. It's rare in digital to find someone who is both conceptual and understands brand but is also great at design and building a team. Virginia has it all and then some.

As well we are in the middle of hiring a whole host of staff including Account Directors, Account Executives, IA, Art Directors, Designers and Writers. Already we are getting some of the best. You'd be amazed how many people, particularly those that have been around for a while, who are ready to come on this new journey with us.

I've blithered enough. Won't say too much more. We will be having a more official announcement and office kick off after the summer once we've got the core staff in place.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Corporate Participation Ladder

Anyone who works in the digital industry can see in practice that the Corporate public engagement paradigm is changing. Many clients are not only looking to increase their overall use of digital communications within their marketing mix from a campaign perspective, but they are looking at how social media is impacting their relationships with their customers on a much more fundamental level.

Strategies of engagement, the extension of their brand voice within social media conversations, as well as governance models with their employees are all within the new realm that crosses customer service, marketing and PR (talked about here)

After reading Jeremiah Owyang's post on the new job market for roles such as 'community manager' it made me think about Charlene Li's social media ladder needing an internal counter part. So I attempted to create one - a Corporate Participation Ladder (apologies to all those who can actually design diagrams outside of power point in advance).

Enjoy and as usual, all 'how to make it better'suggestions welcome.

Friday, 1 August 2008

If This Happened In a Print Publication....

Someone would be fired.

Peter sent me this classic yesterday - Hole in the plane story on the left with a West Jet Ad to the right. Talk about dynamic targeted online media. Nice.

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