To Be Continued…

At this end of this post, I submit my blog for assessment.

I am quite certain that I will continue to maintain this blog after that. It is a position I did not even consider, just a few days ago.

I was already very active on Facebook and Twitter. I was well-connected with my friends and business partners, and they with me, and I really did not see the need nor have the time to indulge in, what I then thought, was a rather long-winded process of expression.

I could have said how I felt or thought in tweet or a status update; even better, I could have tweeted something, added a #fb at the end of it, and it would automatically update my Facebook status as well.

A blog requires consistency and regularity and both require discipline. An academic stipulation has ensured that I fulfil all three requirements. It has also ensured that I maintained an objective, yes, but more so, a non-judgemental viewpoint throughout the blog.

This of course relates directly to the intended audience I would like to view my blog. As a media practitioner, I would like A Muse or Amuse to be seen as a valuable resource by my fellow practitioners. To do so, I have to ensure that my blog entries are credible and are backed by verifiable sources.

Going forward, I see myself thriving in the role of a trend-spotter or industry commentator. My job and my online interests place me in the right position to be one.

So, let me be your muse or let me amuse you.

Welcome to my blog. :-)

Image Source:

Google Images

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Advertising Lies But My Friends Don’t

As I suggested in my earlier post ‘Internet Killed the TV Star‘, 30-second vignettes no longer do anything for people; and herein lies the point: then, do something for people.

We have to recognise that the consumer is no longer naive. The savvy consumer of today wants to be educated, entertained and engaged.

I will share another case study: Cadbury Chocolate.

A 30-second television commercial like this used to occupy a substantial part of the annual marketing investment, except that in the peer-to-peer (P2P) age we live in today, the return of investment of a rather unilateral communication message like this is probably going to be dismal.

The commercial probably wanted to tell us something; now, wouldn’t it be nice if we listened?

Cadbury changed tack and decided to develop a bilateral relationship with the consumer instead. It tried to educate, entertain and engage the consumer, starting with this commercial in 2007.

With this next commercial, Cadbury really gained traction and recognition. It seemed to finally understand the importance of a ‘brand-consumer’ conversation and it ensured that all consumer touch-points were accounted for, when delivering the communication message.

Through celebrity-led spoofs, parodies and spin-offs, Cadbury was able to extend the PR mileage of the initial campaign – multiple-fold.

When Cadbury conducted a post-campaign survey, it found out that 80% of all viewers who saw the commercial registered positive feedback; out of that, 40% appreciated that Cadbury was trying to entertain; 34% appreciated that Cadbury was trying to do something different; and 31% felt it was great that Cadbury was trying to do something other than traditional advertising.

Other than television, the commercial was released virally on the internet. The list of recipients multiplied when the YouTube link was forwarded via email, mobile, tweets, statuses, blog posts, etc.

Such user-driven viral activities increased the feel-good factor with the brand. The media-savvy population of today tends to be cynical about advertising, when the message is delivered by the brand but not when it is delivered by their own friends.

Image Source:

Google Images

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Twitter Me Dumb – Part Two

I just received an interesting tweet about this new story on the Harvard Business Review.

Jeff Clark, a ‘data visualisation enthusiast’, that is, a person who ‘interprets computer data in a visually compelling manner’ (2010), has ‘built four applications to visualise the giant pile of data on Twitter. These applications auto-search words used in tweets, then look for relationships with other words or with other tweeters – in real time’ (2010).

TwitterVenn ‘allows you to enter three search terms, returning a venn diagram showing frequency of use of each term and frequency of overlap of the terms in a single tweet’ (2010).

Twitter Spectrum ‘lets you compare two similar search terms and shows which words are most commonly associated with each term and which words are most commonly used in tweets with both terms’ (2010).

TwitArcs requires you to ‘type in a tweeter’s handle and it returns a stream of that person’s tweets with arcs that link common words between tweets (on the right) and common re-tweeters (on the left)’ (2010).

StreamGraph ‘returns the frequency of the most common words associated with a single search item for the last 1000 tweets, by visualising a literal flow of conversation’. This is ‘useful for Account Planners, Brand Managers and PR pros, or for anyone looking to better track and monitor Twitter conversations around particular brands or topics’ (2010).

Of all the functions in Twitter, one of my favourites is topic trending. This allows you to find out which are the topics that are being talked about most on Twitter, and generally, that reverberates the most talked-about topics worldwide.

If you need to quantify these tweets, for example, such as the most talked-about games at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics or any discussion about the medal tally, and number-crunching is not your thing, these four applications can reveal a visual map – a picture does say a thousand words (and numbers) – of the results to date.

Granted, it will be some way before everyday users become conversant enough with this technology to drive real-world business results but I would say we have definitely hit the tweet spot, in demonstrating that Twitter is not merely a dud trend, it actually has legs to become a quantifiable measurement tool for businesses.

Image Source:

Harvard Business Review

References:

Harvard Business Review, Four ways of looking at Twitter, viewed 24 February 2010, http://blogs.hbr.org/research/2010/02/visualizing-twitter.html

Neoformix, Welcome to my weblog, viewed 24 February 2010, http://neoformix.com/2006/WelcomeToMyWeblog.html

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Twitter Me Dumb – Part One

Almost every other new Twitter user asks this question, ‘… but what do I tweet about?’

With a 140-character limit, a tweet was initially likened to a SMS but it actually functions more like a status update on Facebook. It seems like a great way to let your family, friends, co-workers, and in the ‘Twitterverse’, your followers, know what you are up to. That is, until you get to the text box.

What do you say? A measured insight is too expressive and expansive (given the character limit) and a random thought is just too inane and mundane.

Some just think it is all a bit… dumb.

Thankfully so, I have since gotten over the initial trepidation and I use Twitter daily, if not hourly, sometimes. It helps that I am always connected to the internet, either on my laptop at work, at home, or on my BlackBerry.

I learnt a trick: I think of a tweet as a manifestation of my thought bubble. Although, having said that, it helps if you first ensure that your privacy settings are in place and your followers are people that you are comfortable enough to share your thought bubbles with in the first place.

This is as good as being a fly on my friends’ Twitter wall, or allowing my friends to be flies on my Twitter wall!

Twitter is not just a great social tool; it is also a useful business tool. More companies are using Twitter to conduct market surveys, champion brand advocacy and promote events and launches.

Twitter can also help you or your business to:

  • Communicate with customers and staff
  • Establish leads and contacts
  • Network
  • Share expertise
  • Stay informed

TwitterBlog just released the latest Twitter statistics. ‘… tweeting 5,000 times a day in 2007, 300,000 times in 2008 and 2.5 million times in 2009… grew 1400% in 2009, to 35 million a day… today, we are seeing 50 million tweets per day… that’s an average of 600 tweets per second…’ (2010).

Besides, through Twitter, or any one of the following blogs and social media portals, you can extend your presence virally, forward and onwards, with a mere click.

Perhaps after all, Twitter is really not so dumb.

Image Source:

Twitter

All other logos compiled by Kelly Khoo

References:

Twitter Blog, Measuring tweets, viewed 24 February 2010, http://blog.twitter.com/2010/02/measuring-tweets.html

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Internet Killed the TV Star

When I was growing up in the 80s, there was a popular song called ‘Video Killed The Radio Star’. I supposed the song celebrated the emergence of music television (MTV) and mourned the demise of radio.

Today, the internet is killing television.

The media planners I work with will readily testify that, although television is still an essential part of their media plans, it remains just that – a part.  Increasingly, it is unlikely to work on its own. In fact, it is no longer possible to build any media traction with one medium alone. Planners are constantly relooking at the way they plan and target.

In today’s context, consumer interaction is all about experiences and engagement. It is impractical to expect the consumer to come to you, you need to go to where the consumer is.

Most of them are online.

This may not be bad news for advertisers. Online advertising is cost-competitive and word-of-mouth advertising is free.

I will explain how this works with a real-life case study:

I was involved in the production of an epic and iconic McDonald’s television commercial in 1991. We casted 1400 talents and shot non-stop, day and night, for 7 weeks. The production costed S$1.5 million and the media costed… probably something equally phenonmenal.

Nonetheless, McDonald’s did amplify the emotional engagement between their brand and the consumer. For many years after, even today, everyone remembers the ‘McDonald’s Granny’ from the commercial.

It just took a lot of money to achieve that result though.

Going forward in time, Visa ran a Matt Harding-inspired commercial in 2008. Production-wise, they reaped savings by using videos of Matt Harding’s real life world tour, called ‘Where The Hell Is Matt?’ which by now, is almost cyber-legend, with 27 million views and counting. Other than a few spots on television, most of the world was drawn to Visa commercial on YouTube – by word-of-mouth.

It costed Visa almost next-to-nothing to produce and broadcast the commercial.

Borrowing a competitor’s slogan – the audience cut-through and the brand connectivity facilitated by people, YouTube, Matt Harding and an increased brand awareness and usage of Visa – was almost PRICELESS!

Who is killing who now?

Video Sources:

McDonald’s Restaurants Pte Ltd

YouTube

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Gen Y, Gen Why or Gen Why Not?

The internet is the most essential medium for youth, a generation also known as Gen Y, although I would much prefer to think of them as Gen Why or Gen Why Not.

Gen Why is consuming more media than ever but they are also very specific and knowledgeable about their media wants-and-needs. This generation is supposedly able to ‘juggle 5.4 tasks at once’, live ‘36-hour days’ and yet, only has only ‘5-minute attention spans’ (2010).

The medium which aims to achieve resonance with Gen Why should serve to enrich their multi-tasking, highly-sociable lives.

MTV Asia commissioned research firm Taylor Nelson Sofres to conduct a youth-based study in 2008 and it revealed several interesting, if not already obvious, traits and trends of today’s youth.

For example, Gen Why is highly sociable and it thrives on its large network of friends; except when the selected pool of respondents was told to classify its friends, they grouped them as: close friends (20%), offline friends (50%) and online friends (30%).

Some of the other findings include:

  • 60% (of the respondents) own a Blackberry or iPhone
  • Gen-Why looks at about 5 billion YouTube videos in any one month
  • Twitter is growing by more than 1000%, with most of the sign-ups driven by Gen Why

These are telling results, that the internet has become the go-to medium for information and content needs, and electronic media, powered by the internet and mobile devices, has usurped many of the roles formerly provided by television, radio, and print.

Gen Why is seizing new technology to satisfy core needs and advertisers (and parents!) can have a fair indication of how media will evolve in the future by understanding Gen Why’s present-day media consumption.

Image Source:

MTV Asia

References:

Brand Child, viewed 23 February 2010, http://www.brandchild.com/

MTV Asia, 2008, Music Matters, Taylor Nelson Sofres, Singapore

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MEdia: It’s All About ME

Today’s media is all about… ME.

Steve Jobs definitely got that right when he named his products the iMac, iPod, iTunes, iPhone and iPad. He puts his customer, me, in the centre of his product universe.

In one of my previous posts, The Big Blog Bang, I wrote about how ‘modern tools and systems have made three previously cost-prohibitive functions – production, duplication and distribution – that impact the way information is transmitted – more accessible and cost-efficient than ever’.

Aided by tools such as the ones above and community-driven websites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, a new platform emerged: social media. This is where user-generated, and not paid content, commands the dominance of eyeballs.

In a recent study by FutureLab, a marketing strategy consultancy based in Brussels, it uncovered that, whilst a CNN programme may attract 18,600 out of every one million viewers, a top news blog at OhMyNews, a news website based in Korea, where entries are contributed by the public, can attract 56,750 out of every one million viewers.

Rupert Murdoch famously said in an interview with Wired Magazine in 2006, ‘… technology is shifting power away… it’s the people who are taking control…’

Four years later today, his theory still holds true.

Image Source:

Future Lab

References:

OhMyNews, viewed 22 February 2010, http://english.ohmynews.com/

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