Facebook: State of the Union

Trawling through slideshare this morning, I stumbled across this Facebook deck from Ogilvy –

While some of the larger numbers within will be of no surprise to the more savvy social media practitioner, what’s interesting here is the idea that Facebook fan pages and ‘likes’ are the ‘new word of mouth’ [see slide 25] with stats like:

  • 160% lift in brand recall
  • 200% lift in message awareness
  • 400% life in purchase intent

The numbers speak for themselves. But personally, if brands really are ‘reorganizing themselves around people’ then:

  1. How does that manifest itself in an offline environment? It’s all well and good having a fantastically engaging fanpage, but if your member of staff at the point of sale is completely unplugged from your social media department, then your customer experience falls flat at the part that matters most.
  2. How long do you think the 3rd party platforms being used to support these efforts will continue to do so free of charge? Yes, they make money from advertising, but will that really and truly always be the case? What happens when the well runs dry?
  3. Finally, here at the ‘heads we manage some of the largest (and most vibrant) local and global Facebook groups in the world. If brands are continually seeing the success like that laid out above, then a larger education piece needs to be undertaken in pushing these wins out to the common man/brand. Here in London’s Soho, nearly all of the coffee shops and lunch houses can be found on Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare, but what I want to know is; how do you get your local corner shop involved? Where are the wins there?

We have a running, semi-serious joke in the office that our ideal client would be a toilet roll brand. Social media works well within the technology products space, FMCG sees many successes too… But if you can get people talking (and subsequently build communities) around say, the latest velvet-quilted roll of loo paper…

Then the future is here and literally, anything is possible.

The web is watching you (well, me)

The web, it seems, is getting smarter.

If you’ve been traversing the interwebs in the same manner as I have these past few months then you may remember these smart little ads from Google, informing us that ad space will work harder.

They’re not wrong. It is.

A few weeks ago I had to travel up to Grantham to speak to one of our clients, MARS, about how to build social into one of their newest (and most exciting) ventures. To get there, it’s a short tube ride from our global headquarters in Piccadilly, up to Kings Cross, from there a train ride to Grantham, whereupon a 30min cab ride awaits to cart you to the the MARS PetCare HQ in Waltham.

Obviously, when making any public transport-based travel plans, militant scheduling is required. TheTrainline.com is useful in this instance as it covers every overground train schedule in the country. Note; all I did was check the times of the trains. My browser knows this, Google knows this and so therefore, the ad that Channel 4’s adspace chooses to serve me when I want to read about the British Comedy Awards knows also.

Contextual web-based advertising. It’s a wonderful thing. The mind races through a thousand thought processes;

Wow, that’s awesome. I should screengrab that for the blog. Contextual advertising, nice. Wait a minute, are they allowed to do that? Hmm, maybe I said they could do that when I ticked some random box.. maybe, just through visiting their site, I’ve already agreed to let them follow me around the web.. is this cookie based? It must be.. What other data am I pushing out daily?

What other data am I pushing out daily?

What other data am I pushing out daily?

And how can it be used?

This last thought in particular is one we’re going to be coming back to over the next few months here at 1000heads. Over the past year or so we’ve been doing a lot of work on conversation metrics, purchase journey mapping and ultimately, the real value that word of mouth can bring to any business, globally.

Combined, these three content streams can provide some very real data about how consumers like you and I go about our daily decision making processes; in the first instance it really is quite scary… but in the second, once all the data is locked down and independently verified – for brands at least – it can be very, very useful indeed.

As Google might say – ‘WATCH THIS SPACE’ for more on this… in the meantime, tickets to Grantham are only £9.

Who knew?

The Sartorialist. A Visual Life.

Every Friday here at 1000heads HQ, we host an internal event called ‘3 Cool Things’. At around 5pm ish a certain ‘head gathers up the rest the hard-working bunch and gathers them all into the breakout area to share the three coolest things they’ve seen that week.

Take this example for instance (demonstrating some of the 3D awesomeness we worked on late last year)

Awesome. @1000heads... in 3D!!

It’s a veritable goldmine of content/fun/awesome shenanigans. Some bits are bloggable, some definitely aren’t. This past Friday one particular ‘head presented this video, from The Sartorialist, entitled ‘A Visual Life’.

Coming in at seven minutes long, it’s no short snappy piece for the attention-deficit generation. However, it is quite an interesting look at one of the world’s most well-respected fashion bloggers, providing both an insight into what it is that inspires him and also how he goes about looking for that inspiration.

It really is a great short film (and well worth a watch).

But what I found most thought-provoking overall was that the whole presentation as it were, was brought to you/us by Intel. ‘Visibly Smart’ their product line says, and ‘Sponsors of Tomorrow’.

Why Intel? Why The Sartorialist? Like I said, I love the video, I just don’t quite get the connection…

Do you?

Relationship Marketing

There’s a great piece that’s been percolating around the Enterprise/Social space right now, based around ‘Why Every Company Needs a Robert Scoble‘ –

With free sexy infographic!

Written by Mark Fidelman, Social Business Strategist over on SeekOmega, he talks about brand evangelists and how awesome they are at –

‘…creating exceptional buzz around their brands that was once the domain of the world’s largest media powerhouses’.

He’s not wrong.

But, like everything else in the fast-moving world of digital and social, this too shall pass. Scoble is a purple cow in this area, a unique being amongst others who’s clout klout alone can help make or break a business. At least, you’d hope so. One only has to look at his immense activity on new web darling ‘Quora‘ to see the kind of dedication he puts into something he likes. One would imagine that he also quite likes his employer, Rackspace.

And it’s here that we find the rub.

This morning things got even more interesting when renowned analyst and commenter Dennis Howlett weighed in with his well thought out analysis over on ZDNet. CFO and investor commentary aside, Dennis’ experience in this area is second to none and he provides some excellent counter-points to Fidelman’s post.

However, when talking about Rackspace and their rather fantastic reputation in the Enterprise space, this quote in particular stood out for me:

“Whenever I have discussions with customers about their IT landscape and data center thoughts, Rackspace’s name is never very far from the conversation. Why? The company has established a solid reputation that customers are happy to talk about. As we have all known in this industry for a very long time, relationships drive enterprise sales harder than anything else. Get customers talking to one another and you’re off to the races. Tick them off and you are in deep trouble.”

I’ve bolded the bit I’m really focusing on here. Howlett has been writing about enterprise software for the best part of 20 years and provides some great extra analysis on top of Mark’s initial conjectural piece around the value of a true, brand evangelist. Seriously, go read it.

The point he makes above is neither new thinking or any kind of rocket science, but what it is is exactly what we, as word of mouth practitioners believe in through and through; if you have a kick-ass service and can deliver on your promises – then get your customers talking. It’s that simple.

The brand evangelist can help facilitate those conversations but, as Dennis quite rightly points out, that is only one piece of a much larger marketing pie*.

Scoble himself is naturally self-depreciating (and completely on point) –

Shouting about a product is easy. Creating meaningful relationships over a sustained period of time which consistently deliver against fundamental key business critical metrics? Well, that’s something else entirely.

Relationships. Matter.

It’s that simple.

When are we again?

We’re fresh out of the Noughties (or not, as the case may be), and – as is our wont as humans desperately in search of figuring out the names of things – we were wondering this morning what nomenclature we should be applying to the decade ahead (that is if you believe that a new decade started this year, not last).

So far suggestions are as follows:

The Tenties – via @Pockless, @chrisbell and @kiphakes – (currently in the lead)

Miss @Lorna_Wall suggests that The Tweenies might be a suitable name (although these guys may have a problem with that)

Elevensies‘ – via the the rather comedic ex’head, @_EISwann

Mark Errett suggests that while ‘Tennies‘ might be a good name, he’s fairly sure that the people of 1910 never had this problem (he could be right).

The Lost Decade‘ is an interesting entry from one Mr Alan Hind, although we’d like to see some more reasoning behind this choice – i.e.: where will it be lost? Is there an island? Etc.

Finally, a late entry from one Benjamin Crime; THE FUTURE!

New Years (and new decades) always seem to get us talking; tomorrow? Resolutions.

Until then:


Personalisation can be good

Following on from last week’s post, it was with great interest that I read this post, by Transmedia-guru Dan Light over the weekend. Entitled ‘The Post-Old-Spice-Hall-of-Fame’ he draws attention to that campaign, the personalised nature of the YouTube responses and the effect it will have on marketeers in the future –

“Following on from the smattering of ill-advised hangers-on clinging to the coat-tails of the meme itself, we’re moving into the phase where agencies have had time to look on admiringly, schedule a meeting with their client, pitch a similar idea, rush it into production, write the press release and bring it to life.”

“What next?” he said, Orange’s ‘The Feed‘ with their ‘singingtweetagrams‘, that’s what.

To an extent, he has a point.

This level of personalisation is nothing new. In fact I doubt there are many reading this right now who will disagree with me when I say that the Old Spice campaign was just so impactful you’d be forgiven for thinking that they invented it.

However, what it actually succeeded in doing (on top of dramatically increasing sales, mass awareness and no doubt going on to win a bajillion awards in the new year), was highlighting the potential benefits of harnessing social media in this way. A – dare I say it – old and staid brand throwing themselves at social in such a left field and disruptive manner is going to win brownie points for sheer bravery alone.

Tippex is another great example here.

But what about the #singingtweetagram? Inventive, yes. Fun, also. But this re-iteration and personalisation of tweets, again, is nothing new. When I first saw it hit I thought ‘Genius! It’s an audio version of IrkaFirka!’

For those of you not in the know, to be ‘firked’ is to have one’s tweet taken, turned into art and tweeted right back at you.

It is a wonderful thing.

The Feed’s elevator pitch? Hashtag your tweet ‘#singingtweetagram’ and they’ll pass it on to the Rockabellas back in the studio who’ll sing it and again, send it back to you.

It worked too. We sent this –

And we got this back!

Great right? Right.

A few things –

  1. What is the objective? How does singing tweets to *anyone* have any direct correlation with brand values, product launches, campaign assets… Who knows.
  2. You heard the audio up there through Audioboo. For some reason The Feed didn’t think to add an option to embed the MP3 on my own site; share it through Twitter? Yes. Download and keep? Also. But no embedding for you.
  3. I’ve never seen @FrankG laugh so much in my life. He loved this and he smiled. A lot. What else? When giving the ‘premiere’ of the clip to the rest of the office, they all laughed too. Wonderful stuff.

Number two is an oversight but one and three cancel out each other quite nicely. If your brand or your client can simply make someone smile and laugh, then who cares about the campaign objectives?

Right? 😉

Personal vs Personalised


This is stuck on the wall next to my desk.

I look at it from time to time and, on occasion, point wildly at it whilst making some word of mouth-related point about something or other.

The best way to illustrate this? Spam is personalised. Post-it notes are personal.

Over the past couple of weeks we’ve been sending out our #WhatisWOM infographic posters to all and sundry* and every single one of them went with a hand-written, personal note saying ‘thank you and enjoy’.

This is important.

Relationships are important.

People are important.

And that, dear readers, underpins everything we do.

*Including Scott Gould who picked up on this yesterday and prompted me to write this post 🙂