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Snapchat and Facebook continue to one-up each other. From search tools to sponsored ads, there’s not too find of a line between Facebook/Instagram and Snapchat these days. Twitter also announced an update that’s going to allow brands to better manage location based customer service questions via DM…hmm, will this eventually turn into a bot friendly tool? And in other news, LinkedIn is now MVP since you don’t have to fill in those pesty ad-generated forms… they’ll just do it for you! Read ahead to learn more about what’s new & trending in social media.

Snapchats New Search System Sifts Through 1 Million Stories

  • If you want to get a glimpse of Miami before your trip, or if you have major FOMO for missing your “this is our year” baseball team play, don’t fret. Snapchat just launched search within Stories, so you can be there without, actually being there. While you won’t be able to pull search results from private messages or Stories, the new tool includes public videos within the Our Stories section, which looks through and provides results from caption text, time and visual elements.
  • What it means for brands: Brands need to think of how to optimize their Snapchat content for Stories search. Adding keywords into captions, voiceovers and showing the highlights and focal points of events and locations within videos and images can become beneficial. Don’t try and add “Coachella 2017” to something about a tech conference, though. Snapchat’s too smart and will filter that out quicker than you click through your ex’s My Story. Too soon?

Additional resources: Marketing Land

(via Ad Age)

Snapchat Just Announced Two New Ad Offerings

  • Snapchat announced two new ad offerings to the platform. The first offering allows access to bidding for app install ads. What does this mean? Brands can target Snappers who are likely to install their app. Why is this a big deal? Well, because Facebook makes a lot of spare change (more than 17% of its revenue) from app install ads and Snapchat knows that to keep up, they need to do what works in the space. The second offering allows brands to target users who engaged with their Snapchat ads previously. For example, Taco Bell can now target users who used its taco face Snapchat Lens last Cinco de Mayo. You thought you were just innocently turning your face into a Doritos Locos Taco, but now, you are bound to see Taco Bell’s next full-screen video ad. Consider yourself warned.
  • What it means for brands: Because Snapchat works with 15 outside partners to sell ads and, most recently in January, Oracle Data Cloud, to deliver ads to users based on their real-life purchases, brands have everything to gain on Snap. Take that budget, create content that engages users to install your app or watch your video ad, then use that data to expand your audience (which is the goal of both offerings, by the way).

Additional resources: Marketing Land, Circorp

(via Adweek)

Instagram Just Revamped Instagram Direct, Which Now Has 375 Million Monthly Users

  • As Instagram Direct users steadily grow, so do the features they can use. The ‘gram gave its DM’s an upgrade by adding disappearing photos and videos to the same stream as texts and re-shares. Sounds a lot like another platform … (hint: ghost icon). Users can replay these videos and photos once, and now, everything is all in one place.
  • What it means for brands: This compilation of everything Instagram Direct means that the platform is even easier to use, which means grammers will be double tapping more often. Consider divvying up your social budget with a little extra love for Instagram and see how it goes – depending on your audience, you’ll learn if Snapchat or Instagram is the better platform for your brand’s presence.

Additional resources: Social Media Today, The Verge

(via Social Media Today)

Businesses Can Now DM Twitter Users and Ask for Their Locations

  • Twitter is helping brands everywhere (who are part of the private Beta test) reach more consumers by sliding into their DM’s. Via Direct Message, brands can ask users to share their location and if a user chooses to accept this location request, brands can provide more detailed customer service support and suggestions. Users can ignore the request if they choose, or share their actual location or rather choose from a provided list of locations if they don’t want to be specific. Among those brick-and-mortars that are part of the Beta, both TGI Fridays and Wingstop are using this location request and share feature to help users find the closest locations and make reservations and food orders.
  • What it means for brands: Before this feature is more widely available, it’s important brands determine what data they want to gather so that they can most strategically use this tool. Is your objective brand awareness, store visits, or both? This will help drive your messaging and help you meet your brand objectives. Twitter Group Product Manager, Eric Cairns, says, “Now that businesses can easily incorporate location sharing into their customer experiences, expect to see other innovative location-aware use cases in Direct Messages.” This is a great gift from the Twitter gods. Be on the lookout.

Additional resources: GeoMarketing, Media Post

(via Adweek)

LinkedIn Launches Lead Generation Forms

  • First world problem LinkedIn is fixing: “It’s so hard filling in an ad-generated form on the newest version of my smartphone.” However, users failing to fill in forms does indeed affect paid content performance, so I’ll stop being so sassy. The new lead generation form feature replaces the hardship of filling out forms by auto-filling with users’ LinkedIn profile information. While it may not seem like that big of a deal, consider two things: 80% of users who engage with Sponsored Content do so at their fingertips and this new feature eliminates users from inputting false information, ultimately leading to higher quality leads.
  • What it means for brands: Higher quality leads equals a better understanding of your audience. A better understanding of your audience equals an opportunity to tailor your content towards those who are interest and interacting with your brand.

Additional resources: AdExchanger, LinkedIn

(via Search Engine Journal)

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Facebook’s kicking it up a notch this month with some consumer-based ad capabilities. Not only will it be easier to shop, but users will (hopefully) only receive the best-performing ads and their products. If you’re back-and-forth between a ‘Like’ or a hysterically laughing emoji Reaction, choose wisely. Reactions are soon to be valued more than ‘Likes’ within Facebook reporting. That ab sculpting live video you watched from your favorite fitness guru can now be saved and (maybe) used at the gym later with Instagram’s live video saving feature – don’t sweat (the small stuff)! Check out the full stories below.

Facebook’s New Collection Ads Help Brands Tell a More Visual Product Story

  • Facebook launched their new Collection Ads, which are named so for a reason. They are a compilation of a video or image followed by easy-to-click images of the products relevant to the ad. For example: watch a video of someone making a quick recipe and the below products could be the knives, bowls and fancy cheese graters used in that video. You already see image ads of products you can buy from retailers, and now brands can further entice you by smacking you in the face with the link. Give in or keep scrolling. Your choice.
  • What it means for brands: If created and delivered correctly, Collection Ads could mean decreases in cost-per-conversion and an increase in sales for brands. So, what do brands have to lose besides their inventory? Brands should ensure their videos/images and the linked products do indeed correlate with eachother. Otherwise, your video could say, “use this cheese grater for a superb cooking experience,” while your linked product images could say, “great fun to be had with children’s train sets”. Use complementary products, be strategic.

Additional resources: Adweek

(via Venture Beat)

Facebook Just Changed the Mobile Web Landscape With Header Bidding

  • Facebook is now rolling out header bidding to AppNexus, Amazon Publisher Services, Index Exchange, net, Sonobi and Sortable. What do all of these ad-tech companies have in common? They’re all now able to utilize Facebook’s Audience Network (FAN) within their header bidding technology. This type of bidding lets publishers auction inventory to a ton of potential buyers at once before taking the highest bid and delivering that ad instead.
  • What it means for brands: Publishers who are using FAN within header bidding saw revenue sale increases of 10% to 30%. According to AdvertisingAge, publishers like the Washington Post, Daily Mail and Forbes were working with Facebook to introduce the offering, which gives them the ability to plug into FAN and receive ads bought through Facebook’s sophisticated data and targeting technology. Brands and other publishers need to keep an eye on the header bidding trend, especially now that FAN is involved.

Additional resources: Adweek, San Francisco Chronicle

(via Adweek)

Want More Facebook Reach? Motivate Fans to React

  • While Facebook Reactions were introduced in 2016, they’re now stronger than ever. When first debuted, a reaction held the same weight as a ‘Like’. Now, they’re getting a promotion and will be valued more than a ‘Like.’ Sammi Krug, Facebook Product Manager says, “…if people leave a Reaction on a post, it is an even stronger signal that they’d want to see that type of post than if they left a ‘Like’… So we are updating News Feed to weigh reactions a little more than ‘Likes’…”
  • What it means for brands: Because consumer engagement associated with a post is of the utmost importance, there is no surprise Reactions will now be held to a higher standard. Long story, short: brands need to invite consumers to engage and ensure they do so. Want to really raise the roof? Add video!

Additional resources: Digital Trends

(via Social Media Today)

Instagram Is Now Allowing Users to Save Their Live Videos

  • Don’t have your iOS or Android updated to the latest version? Well, if you want to save any live Instagram videos, get to updating! While comments, likes, number of viewers and Reactions will not be saved, you can still struggle to copy that makeup tutorial via your camera roll, later.
  • What it means for brands: Brands should broadcast content that’s save-worthy. Additionally, invite your audience to save your content afterward. You can quite literally say, “Welcome to our live video! Make sure you save our broadcast for a rainy day.” In return, watch what you say…because viewers will save you in their camera roll…dun dun dun.

Additional resources: Engadget, Digital Trends

(via Engadget)

Brands Are Digging Into GIF Data to Understand Consumer Behavior

  • GIFs are breaking into the world wide web (and every single group message in the world) with full force. These viral little videos are turning into a form of communication and advertisement. What’s even better is they’re part of both Facebook and Twitter ads, and are highly favored by both platforms. GIFs are short, eye-catching and require less consumer effort than other ad capabilities. Both platforms autoplay and optimize for video (especially short ones). Whether it’s The Office’s Michael Scott screaming, “No, God please no!” or Napolean Dynamite’s infamous talent show dance, there’s always a message behind the GIF. Marketers are trying to decipher that message to create and deliver engagement driving content.
  • What it means for brands: Create short, looping videos that are GIF-like for both your ads and organic content. While they can be funny and “go viral,” brands should create relevant GIFs that can still become popular thanks to creativity and messaging. Really think outside of the box because these quick, little videos need to deliver a message, well, quickly.

Additional resources: ClickZ, SocialMediaToday

(via Google Images)

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Game-like reinforcement mechanisms garner very loyal and active customers. “Gamification”, unsurprisingly, is a thriving model for marketers to penetrate the minds and wallets of the market.

“Gamification” may seem like a fleeting buzzword these days, but it was once a concept that drew a lot of attention from marketing folks. This was for good reason: games are unique marketing apparatus because they have very loyal and active customers, in some cases willing to pay not just for the game itself, but for transactions that occur within it.

A few Decembers ago I was in Newark Airport, waiting in security checkpoint in one of those pre-holiday lines that snake around the terminal. I needed to kill time so I downloaded the popular mobile game Clash of Clans. If you haven’t played it before, it’s not too difficult—you build an army of wizards and barbarians and send them off into battle with a flick of your index finger. It was fun, easy to learn, and the speed of progression felt just challenging enough to keep me striving, but without ever becoming a time-burden. Fast forward a year later and you could say I formed a bit of an unhealthy habit, having accrued a few too many $1-$5 in-game purchases, investing well over $50 all said and done. I’d become a case study of how to boil a frog—rope me into an engaging experience with little to no investment, and slowly and incrementally give me the opportunity to invest over time, rewarding me for doing so along the way.

This kind of psychological phenomenon is no coincidence. It is an intentional and scientifically validated method to lure us (otherwise innocent users) into investing increasing amounts of time and money into objects of pure fantasy (see George Yao). Some of the biggest (AAA) game studios pay top dollar to employ psychology PhDs to conduct the research and experimentation to find out what exactly makes players tick. The following is an amateur assessment of what makes games truly habit-forming and pay worthy—features that may have been largely overlooked by marketers years back in the rush to throw badges and points on everything.

In other words, how does gamification work and why?

1. Unlockables, Achievements, and Expansions
You’ll know you’re talking to someone who hasn’t played a console or mobile game in the past 10 years if they ask you, “Did you beat it yet?” Finishing has become an antiquated concept in modern games; you’re never “done,” and games don’t get “beaten.” You may complete a campaign or a main storyline, but they aren’t over in the classical sense. These days, players are on an endless quest to explore an expanding landscape; unlock the untapped potential of skills, abilities, and items; experience new challenges across a growing game environment; and get more/better rewards. Games like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft are great examples of how feature expansions and downloadable content (DLCs) can effectively introduce new maps and levels, a greater variety of characters and items, and higher level stuff and bad guys, ad infinitum. The ever-expanding framework of modern games encourages players to invest in a character and inventory that persist throughout versions, sequels, and time. The sense of fulfillment that comes from small arcs and accomplishments creates an ever-deepening investment can be leveraged to generate incremental revenue opportunities.

2. Collection-ism
In many games, the purpose of your progress and achievements is to get some kind of treasure or “loot”. In fact, there’s an entire subgenre of games that is designated as looter-games, or Looters, that appeals to the kind of players who find fulfillment in gathering a great breadth of important, useful, or unique objects. Loot-centric games emphasize obtaining, organizing, customizing, and optimizing a vast inventory of desirable stuff, your progress is defined by the amount and rarity of the stuff you’ve amassed, and your achievement and status is defined by those very possessions. Sometimes this means finding and procuring individual items (e.g., shirts, pants, shoes), and sometimes it means collecting a full or matching set of items (e.g., an outfit). Loot creates an insatiable need to get stuff, and a reason to keep coming back to play.

3. RNG
Some of that loot mentioned above is not guaranteed when you complete a mission, open a treasure chest, or otherwise. In some cases, games use a version of a random number generator (RNG) to determine a percent chance at a specific item or reward. RNG creates an intentional level of uncertainty for players, which in turn either A) pays off in an exciting moment of attainment (which can lead to a small dopamine release), or B) does not pay off, many times increasing both the desire and the will to get the object, the amount of time invested to get it, and the motivation to replay a level, a stage, a checkpoint, or an activity for another chance at it. Back in the days of table-top gaming, RNG was often handled with a simple roll of the dice. In fact, in playing games like Craps, it is the thrill of uncertainty itself that encourages the player, not the end-goal of “winning”.

4. Time-Gating
As if RNG weren’t bad enough, not all unlockables and achievements are rewarded instantaneously. Time-gating is the concept of extending an in-game experience by not allowing players to have access to a feature or reward until a certain amount of time has elapsed. For example, you may complete a quest or increase a level, but that elusive loot you were hoping for may require you to check back in a week before you can actually attain it and add it to your inventory. Time-gating is a method to artificially create a sense of anticipation, be it positive (excitement) or negative (anxiety). That anticipation is like negative space: while you are waiting for the necessary time to elapse, your mind fills in the emptiness with fantasies of the accomplishment and fulfillment to come.

5. Reinforcement Schedules
While humans aren’t exactly Skinnerian pigeons, over the course of millennia natural selection has hardwired us to be prone to the same psychological tactic: when we get rewarded for a specific activity or after a period of time, we search for patterns to help us anticipate the next instance in which a reward might come. We might even start changing our behaviors to make that reward more likely.

Building on the prior mechanisms—loot and RNG—intermittent reinforcement schedules refer to the coupling of activities and time vs. rewards, a variation of which you will find in just about any gambling or card game at your nearest casino. Every time players pull the lever on a slot machine, they are participating in a variable-ratio reward mechanism. And every time that slot machine lines up a winning combination, a shot of dopamine is released in the users’ brains, making them more likely to do it again. This is the science of addiction, and it is employed as intentionally by casinos as it is by game producers across the globe. In behavioral psychology, reinforcement is a method of encouraging a desired response to a given stimulus, in order to strengthen behaviors as a habitual reaction to environmental variables.

While I’m not going to get into the depths of this topic from a scientific standpoint, I’ll do my best to distill decades worth of psychological research down to a paltry table…

Types of Intermittent Reinforcement Schedules

6. Multiple Currency Economy
If you’ve ever pounded your head trying to figure out how many dollars your miles are worth on your cash-rewards credit card and found yourself stumped, then you are a victim of familiar with the concept of a multiple currency economy. It’s the idea that, in a given situation, there is more than one way to purchase goods, and each method is earned differently and exchanges at a different rate than the other. This introduces obfuscation–it’s hard to tell exactly what the worth of a given currency is at a glance, and most of us can’t be bothered to whip out a calculator. The purpose of employing multiple, disproportionate currencies in games is two-fold:

  1. To make items seem more easily attainable than they actually are
  2. To make certain currencies obtainable strictly through gaming activities but others only purchasable via real-world dollars

In this sense, players are being “played”, or manipulated, by the blurring of lines between varying types of wealth; both in terms of in-game currency and real money. This draws them deeper into the fantasy and obscures purchase decisions with the complexities of currency exchange. You want to buy the helmet for 50 “gold pieces”? You’ll have to save up for days! Alternatively, you can purchase that same helmet for just 1 “ruby”, but rubies can only be bought through the app store for a measly $0.99. Temptation calls! Which leads us to…

7. Micro-Transactions
Probably the most well-known and often-used tactic in mobile games, micro-transactions involve the ability to purchase in-game items, boosts, cosmetic materials, etc., for relatively small amounts of real-world money. The logic is simple: if you have so much as one dollar’s worth of disposable income, game makers will make a case for spending it. This revenue model is typically employed in free-to-play apps, which allow you to download and invest time into a game before being prompted to purchase virtual goods—a Trojan Horse strategy of sorts. Remember my Clash of Clans anecdote? Voila.

Micro-Transactions Before the Days of Digital Currency

And the list goes on. But the number 1 reason games are so engaging is because they entertain us, interact with us, and make us happy. At the end of the day, the 7 points above are useless if a game isn’t built around solid mechanics and an engaging story and doesn’t feel freakin’ awesome when you first jump into it. These are just a handful of techniques that make great games more of a hobby than a game, which, in part, paves the way for payment. The important question is: what can marketers in other industries learn from this, and how can we apply that knowledge ethically? For that is true gamification.

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Calling all watching-random-videos-until- 3 a.m.- social users AND it’s-EOD-on-Friday mental blockers. The Social Scoop is here to present you with unavoidable solutions. Scrubbing through autoplay videos will soon be even more of a guilty pleasure with sound and a brandy new TV app. Finding “that dress” on Pinterest will be a breeze when you have “nothing” to wear. Snapchat users are big fans of brand videos, and a 27-page long report proves it. Check it out!

Facebook Autoplay Videos Will Soon Play With Sound, if That’s What You Want

  • Grab your headphones! Facebook finally announced audio-enabled autoplay videos are going to be a “thing” by the end of 2017. The much-anticipated feature will slowly increase sound as users continue to watch a video, and as users scroll, the sound will then fade and the cycle repeats. Not a huge fan blaring your phone in public? Don’t worry. Users will be able to disable the feature in their settings.
  • What it means for brands: This feature applies to organic, brand and ad Considering the success of Snapchat with sound-enabled video ads, it’s pretty evident that content creators and brand managers will have to switch their thinking. There will no longer be a need to create content that is silent, and sound will be an extra oppporutnity to tell your story. Brands need to expand their thinking to not only factor in, but ultimately, optimize video content for sound.

Additional resources: Mashable, PC Mag

(via Adweek)

Facebook Launches a Standalone TV App

  • If you’re sick of scrolling through your Facebook feed to get to the next “swarm of Corgis” video, scroll no more. Facebook launched a TV app that allows users to watch videos from friends, “Liked” pages, and current top live videos. Users will also receive recommendations based on what they already viewed. This app is not intended to say “bye Netflix,” but rather to compliment to Facebook’s already booming video initiatives (think: mid-roll video ads, video thumbnails and the previously-mentioned autoplay audio).
  • What it means for brands: Brand video content can now be viewed in more places than desktop and mobile newsfeeds. Take advantage of that! As brands should already know, Facebook is optimizing for video content to compete with both YouTube and Snapchat. As this growth continues, brands must consider the content types they’re delivering and planning and, in the end, bow down to “the king” (talking about you, video). P.S. The app already launched on Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Samsung smart TVs, so brands better get down to business.

Additional resources: recode, Venture Beat

(via Recode)

Pinterest’s ‘Lens’ Matches Real-World Objects With Products For Sale

  • Envying the shirt or shoes someone is wearing? Can’t think of a recipe for that impulse buy spaghetti squash? Pinterest’s “Lens” is your go-to feature when you can’t describe what you’re thinking. Combine visual search technology with Pinterest’s wide array of content, and users’ thoughts and ideas are brought straight to the user in the form of related pins.
  • What it means for brands: Users can now experience brand content in another way via visual search. Brands need to ensure their content is optimized for keywords, trends, and topic categories, so it is shown to the right people, at the right time and at an increased rate. It will be beneficial for brands to Identify the trends and staples that are of interest to their audience(s) so delivery and engagement are a direct result of “Lens” capabilities.

Additional resources: The Verge, AdAge

(via The Verge)

Snapchat Users Are Very Likely to Watch a Brand’s Entire Story

  • More than half of Snapchat users open and watch brand content, and this content is consumed in its entirety 88 percent of the time, which is a huge “W” for Snapchat. According to Snaplytics, “8 percent of an account’s followers watch the user’s stories and 87.5 percent watch all of a story, equivalent to a completion rate.” With no foreseen decline in Snapchat’s daily active users (161 million) and the perk of delivering real-time content, brands can only benefit from the perks of Snapchat Story organic and ad content.
  • What it means for brands: Along with the extreme growth Snapchat is experiencing per month, brands must also consider the content that adheres to this growth: video. According to Snaplytics, of the 11 average pieces of content on a brand’s story, 61 percent of brand content is video, while 39 percent is images. Create and execute content that leads users to not only search for your brand on Snapchat, but follow your brand on Snapchat.

Additional resources: Campaign US

(via Marketing Dive)

Google Takes On Cable With ‘YouTube TV’- 40 Channels for $35

  • Been thinking about cutting the (cable) cord? Google’s new YouTube TV could make that, “It’s not me. It’s you,” breakup with cable whole lot easier. The “skinny bundle” streaming service will include the 30-ish channels you want (to name a few: ESPN, MSNBC, E! and National Geographic) for only $35. The price tag also covers five other people. If you don’t have five friends (quality over quantity, right?), you can keep the unlimited cloud DVR to yourself. Maybe your friends will join you for reruns later.
  • What it means for brands: Get a firm grip on (streaming) targeting for your television ad content and get the ball rolling. YouTube plans to establish more credibility with marketers through selling targeted ads on YouTube TV. These ads will be delivered within ad slots that typically go to cable operators. YouTube TV will also introduce on-the-go streaming through a a mobile app. So, commuters and coffee shop connoisseurs, beware.

Additional Resources: The Wall Street Journal, Yahoo! Tech

(via Yahoo Tech!)

Instagram Stories ads- now available for all businesses globally

  • We interrupt this Story to bring you this ad. The very much expected ad capability is here. Think brand capibilities on Facebook (targeting and reach capabilities) now available on Instagram. Yes, this does mean users will see ads from the same brands both in their feed and Stories. Is Instagram being a little extra? Eric Toda, Airbnb’s Global Head of Social Marketing and Content doesn’t think so, especially after seeing “a double digit point increase in ad recall.” He states, “Our ability to apply existing targeting and measurement in an experience to reach the right audience, in the right mindset, with the right story at scale has allowed us to achieve the results we were hoping for…”
  • What it means for brands: Unlike recent award show mishaps, brands need to read what’s in the cards, a.k.a., start budgeting and creating for Instagram Stories The brand opportunities are too good to save for next quarter: Reach existing audiences more frequently. Reach potential audiences faster. Reach both existing and potential audiences in the right place, at the right time. Will brands spend more cash? Yes. Will the spend be worth it? Well, that’s up to you, brands.

Additional resources: Facebook Business

 

(via Instagram Business)

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I am fortunate to meet with corporate leaders who aspire to innovate within their companies nearly every day of the week. Every now and then, you realize you are seeing something truly special occurring. Nestle is providing us with one of those examples.

Before I describe more on Nestle, here is the problem we all have that they are addressing. In our digital world, we realize a few common things worldwide.

We do not have enough digital talent to hire. Period. We are a generation away from having enough talent to fill the needs of today’s global company.

Our training systems are often centered on single moments, e.g. a one-time course. It’s not enough to shape new habits that are meaningful and long-lasting.

It’s not about building a super team at the center. It’s about indoctrinating an entire company in how to innovate in ways that evolve current business models.

Quite simply, in an era of major change driven by technology, the effective use of data and new digital models and tools, the old way of doing things isn’t going to work.

We now fast forward to Nestle. Six years, ago, Pete Blackshaw joined to become the global head of digital and social media. Pete, who is a marketing visionary and quite accomplished himself (P&G, Nielsen, Press Secretary, Author, Founder and more), realized early on that his ability to influence and empower leaders in the Nestle organization was more powerful than any single plan or action he could personally take. It’s a self-awareness that I’d like to see in more leaders.

So, he set a new course in the corporate world by setting up the Nestle Digital Acceleration Team (DAT) in 2012.  Pete and his team built a training program designed to serve managers from around the world who either have high competence or potential in digital or ecommerce.  A maximum of 18 people are invited for a period of eight months to move to headquarters in Switzerland and learn via sit-down sessions with global subject matter experts and via hands on work on digital projects that create value for Nestle.  The team works in a state-of-the-art Consumer Engagement Center, which includes a multi-media content studio.

Nestle is now hosting their eighth DAT wave with more than 100 participants from more than 50 countries involved thus far.

So why does this matter for Fortune 1000 leaders?  Here is why:

Talent – when innovation is involved, you must identify, train and create the new leaders inside your company.  This is true in any new wave of innovation.

Habits – improving innovation at a scalable level requires us to practice, make mistakes, learn and acquire a new rhythm, new knowledge and, ultimately, new habits. It’s like learning golf. You can’t take a course once a year and play well. You must practice and often get lessons.

Osmosis – too much training is in isolation or small groups of people who then don’t stick together. Nestle’s teams are in the same room for eight months, so the team is teaching itself what it is learning and the cross-training is a benefit that is almost indescribable in its power.

Local/Global – when the focus is on making individual countries and divisions strong, headquarters wins. When headquarters ramps up on what is next, but doesn’t truly train with the same intensity on a local level, it’s like a body builder who works on one arm, but not the other. After a while, it doesn’t work.

Daily Learning – DAT is known for a continual flow of idea sharing from external sources to the internal community, a continual flow of ideas via chatter and more. Learning is daily. Minds are open.

Community – the DAT alumni are now the new teachers in their countries or divisions. The impact of how Nestle innovates will only improve with time. Innovation is now scaling….everywhere.

The next critical item to evaluate is what “scaling” really means, since it can be tricky with innovation concepts. Here are two that Nestle is pioneering.

  • Reverse Mentoring – the DAT team members are reverse mentoring top executives on digital topics. They are  bringing different employee generations closer together and empowering emerging and established leaders.
  • Local “Virality” of  the DAT concept — there are already 25 local DATs in the markets to accelerate Digital agendas at the market or local level. Many of those DAT structures were developed by previous DAT alumni.  As an example, Ana Caldeira was part of the 5th wave of the DAT, then she went back to her home market – Portugal – to set up a local DAT before she received an opportunity to come back to Vevey (HQ) to manage DAT8.

Reverse mentoring and extension of the DAT concept in local markets are two of the best indicators that digital innovation is scaling in a manner that will impact Nestle’s team for the long-term.

On its surface, it seems deceptively simple.  All great models are simple.  Everything Steve Jobs did is quite logical, simple and almost frustrating when you realize others could have done it, but didn’t.

And that is for a few reasons, which is my last point.

As a leader in your organization, ask yourself a few simple questions:

Are we training the next generation of our leaders in our top countries worldwide right now?

Are we scaling innovation via our models and training or are we exporting ideas and hoping our network will do what we recommend?

Are we finding ways to teach our teams every day?

How many of our leaders move to HQ to learn so they can make our organization stronger when they return to their home?

If we are super honest with ourselves, are we just doing the type of training we used to do 10 or 20 years ago?

Digital innovation will require much more of us as leaders in the years ahead.  The evolution of our business models will accelerate, not stabilize.    Our workforces will be shaped by what we choose to do.

What can we learn from Nestle’s DAT?

Here are some great links by the way to learn more about DAT.

An AdAge article and farewell videos from DAT5, DAT6 and DAT7 teams.

Thank you to the Nestle team and Pete for the opportunity to look in, share my own insights and learn from the best example of scaling innovation in our industry.

Best, Bob

 

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Wondering what all that football was interrupting those commercials? Us too. Check out our Super Bowl commercial recap, along with updates from Facebook, Snapchat, and Pinterest!

The Winners of USA Today’s Super Bowl Ad Meter Are…

  • Over the years, Super Bowl commercials have become a reason to watch the game in their own right. Advertisers, football fanatics, and pretty much anyone with a TV gather to watch and critique these commercials. With a vast reach, these brands become the highlight of the next day’s office conversation. At around $5M for a 30-second spot, brands go all out to create some of the funniest and most powerful commercials of the year. This year’s highlights included a live commercial from Snickers which, interestingly enough, was not the first live Super Bowl ad. Schlitz beer took that claim to fame in 1981! USA Today rates these ads on their annual Super Bowl Ad Meter and the results are in: Kia is the winner.

Additional resources: AdvertisingAge; AdWeek

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Facebook Will Give Some Longer Videos a Boost in the News Feed

  • Attention story tellers: Facebook made a minor algorithm tweak that could greatly impact video content. The new algorithm makes video view measurement more consistent across short and long-form video content. Where previously, video views were measured by percentage and weighted equally, longer videos will get more credit for a longer percentage view. This applies to video views that are completed and those that are not. In a blog post, Facebook explained the change will give long-form video content a boost in the news feed but is not intended to incentive any length of video. In fact, the purpose of this change is to encourage video length to be determined based on the story being told above all.
  • What it means for brands: Until now, brands were often advised to create shorter-form video content for Facebook to gain optimal view metrics. The algorithm change hopes to balance the metrics to empower brands to create videos that are “whatever length is required to tell a compelling story that engages people.” Viewers will likely see a bump in longer-form video content and brands are freer to tell stories at the length that fits the story as opposed to trying to fit stories into as short of a video as possible. Metrics will see an impact for any videos but, in the long run, this is great news for brands and lifts the strain on creativity when it comes to telling stories via video content.

Additional resources: Tech Crunch

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(via Tech Crunch)

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Pinterest Begins Rolling Out Search Ads for Keywords and Shopping Campaign

  • It seems like Pinterest introduces a new ad type every few weeks, and we love it. The latest ad type opens Pinterest’s search function to advertisers. As most pin searches are not brand-focused, this feature offers the opportunity for brands to catch users when they’re searching for specific item. While rich pins appear in related searches alongside user content, these new pins will appear as users type in the search bar.
  • What it means for brands: This new function is currently only available to certain Pinterest partners but keep your eyes open for the full rollout. Some of these partners have reported increases in in-store sales, which is great news for social advertisers everywhere. We can’t wait to see how this feature unfolds and the impact it may have on sales.

Additional resources: AdvertisingAge

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(via Tech Crunch)

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Snapchat Expands Ad Tech to Enable Self-Serve Buying

  • The wait is over. Snapchat is finally opening its ad platform to enable self-serve buying like Facebook and Twitter. Until now, brands had to work directly with Snapchat reps in “creative partnerships” to advertise on the channel. That meant more work, potentially higher costs, and less control. With a self-serve platform, marketers will be able to purchase ad spots on their own through a process we expect to look like Facebook or Twitter’s APIs. Marketing Land reports the API will provide campaign management features such as A/B testing, as well as a “creative API” for assistance in video-ad creation. Not surprisingly, the company seems to be buckling down on simplifying and growing their ad presence in advance of their expected IPO.
  • What it means for brands: Quality is key. Though jumping on this new opportunity at the very first chance can be tempting, be sure not to sacrifice quality. In addition, we can expect the initial launch will be overwhelming for the company so Snapchat is adding sixteen partner companies to aid with the launch of the new feature. Big name brands, including Gatorade and Nissan, participated in the now-ended Beta phase so brands can look to their content for guidance.

Additional resources: Marketing Land; Marketing Dive

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(via Marketing Land)

 

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Taking a disruptive thinking approach to marketing is an innovative way to help your product stand out—even if it takes you out of your comfort zone.

It can be hard to break out of your comfort zone.

After all, I suppose that’s why it’s called a “comfort” zone.

And when it comes to marketing—specifically launching a new product—the thought of doing something different, something disruptive, can be downright scary.

But sometimes the risk is worth the reward, especially when you’re looking to stand out in a crowded or commoditized market. There are products in the consumer goods and services industry that we can point to as examples and even in the world of entertainment/film—since that’s exactly what Disney achieved with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. (also, because most of my blog posts need to involve Star Wars in some way!)

But first, let’s define what this approach is to better understand the challenges it can overcome.

The idea of disruptive thinking and how this innovation can apply to marketing was created by Luke Williams, Clinical Associate Professor at NYU’s Stern School of Business and author of Disrupt: Think the Unthinkable to Spark Transformation in Your Business. Professor Williams explains, “All of us have well-ingrained orthodoxies and patterns of perception, almost at a subconscious level, that are reinforced by all our education and experiences. And it’s great because it enables you to get through your job, and life, efficiently. But it’s a problem when it comes to thinking differently.”

The disruptive thinking method takes the expectation consumers have about the product or category and inverts it, creating an expectation gap. It may initially seem counterintuitive to address expectations your customers may not have (or may not know they have), but here are a few examples of how thinking differently disrupted entire industries.

Zipcar revolutionized the rental car industry by introducing a “car sharing” model. Instead of only being allowed to rent cars by the day or week, Zipcar members can pay for car usage by the hour. The reservation process is done solely online, so there’s no paperwork or salespeople to deal with. Zipcar also opened its services to people under 21—traditional rental car companies prohibit this and even have fees for renters under 25. The result was a hip and convenient car service that experienced tremendous growth in large cities and a membership base primarily made up of people under 35. Today, Zipcar has more than 1 million members across 500 cities and 9 countries.

LittleMissMatched started an apparel company that disrupted the notion that socks should match and only be sold in pairs. And since dryers tend to regularly eat socks, leaving us with pair-less foot cozies, they were on to something! But more so, this “mismatch” idea proved to be a hit with 8- to 12-year-old girls who loved the socks’ bright colors and fun designs and the fact that they were sold in threes. “A pair and a spare so you can wear them any way you want,” touts the company’s website. The brand’s sense of creativity and self-expression became so popular among its target audience that LittleMissMatched soon expanded beyond socks to other clothing items, bedding, backpacks, dolls, handbags, and slippers. What started out as an ecommerce site now has store locations in New York and Florida.

Which brings us back to Star Wars.

While fans are excited for a new Star Wars movie every year through 2020, there was some apprehension regarding how Rogue One, the latest film, would perform. Amid (confirmed) rumors of massive reshoots that altered the last half of the story, Rogue One broke the Star Wars mold in several significant ways:

  • It was the first non-episodic spin-off movie
  • It abandoned the classic “text crawl” to start the film
  • The story did not revolve around a Skywalker family member
  • There were no Jedi or lightsaber battles
  • It was the first Star Wars movie to create computer-generated human characters
  • It used text on screen to introduce planets (minor, but still)

In the end, removing familiar Star Wars elements enhanced an already engaging story, giving fans a unique and memorable Star Wars experience. Rogue One is the highest grossing domestic film of 2016 ($525MM+) and the second highest grossing in the franchise.

It’s certainly not the norm, but disruptive thinking has a place in marketing strategy and product positioning. At its core, the approach gives you a more holistic view of the market, while asking you to develop ideas that at one time may have seemed far-fetched.

But who knows—perhaps we’ll reach a point where doing something disruptive will become our new comfort zone.

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W2O Social Scoop Logo_1024x512SOCIAL LIVE STREAMING IS TAKING OVER THE WORLD. Not really but, this month, it sure seems like it. The battle of the social platforms continues with live streaming at the forefront. Not sure what the hype is about? Read on, get the social scoop.

Facebook Logo

Facebook Upgrades Video Offerings

  • This week, Facebook added 360 degree video to its Live function. In true Facebook style and with National Geographic as sponsor, the 360 launch featured content from the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah. The 360-degree view encourages users to click and drag the screen to immerse themselves in a unique and more realistic experience.
  • What it means for brands: Just like with most hot new trends, don’t just hop on the band wagon without a clear strategy. Take advantage of any opportunities to utilize this function in a way that makes sense for your brand and adds value to the viewer. This is a chance for brands to get creative and make a statement. We can’t wait to see who hits the nail on the head.

Additional resources: RT

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(via Facebook & National Geographic)

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Twitter Announces Direct Integration of Live-Streaming Within App

  • This month, Twitter took a step toward integrating Periscope further into the platform. Prior to this change, users were directed to Periscope’s app to set up an account or log in when they wanted to live-stream on Twitter. Now, users with a Periscope account can stream directly through the Twitter app (via a LIVE button) for a more seamless experience, encouraging more participation in the live video trend. Although live content is still saved into Periscope, it seems Twitter is moving toward phasing Periscope out entirely like they did recently with Vine.
  • What it means for brands: This new function makes it easier to stream live on the go, especially for brands who may be streaming at fast-paced events. Facebook Live is still the top performer in this space but Twitter has also found its niche in live sports streaming, while Facebook has focused on celebrities. For brands looking to live stream sponsored influencer content, Facebook remains more appealing.

Additional resources: Mashable

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(via Social Media Today)

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Instagram Launches Live Video Function

  • “I’m so surprised Instagram is launching live video features!” – said nobody. Instagram is the latest major social platform to hop on the live bandwagon and the rollout has arrived. Users will access live streaming via the Stories tab, where a toggle will flip to live. Here’s the catch…the videos are not stored anywhere. It’s easy to understand why the platform would want something to distinguish their live streaming from the rest, but more difficult to understand why they went this route, although it does go with their capabilities of not being able to save images.
  • What it means for brands: Although Instagram Live sounds like a trendy thing for brands to do, its inability to save live content is problematic. While it may be an appealing, edgy touch for your typical user, brands will have a hard time with truly live-only audience and metrics. Unless your audience is much more active on Instagram, platforms like Facebook Live may present a better alternative that can reach users even after the live stream ends. As far as advertising goes, stay tuned! We’re interested to see where opportunities may arise.

Additional resources: Romper

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(via TechCrunch)

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Snapchat Adds 4 New Features, Including Much-Requested Group Chat

  • If you’re feeling like Snapchat group chat seems like the best idea anyone has had all year, you’re not alone. Snapchat Groups can hold up to 16 people and users can seamlessly send private chats to others in the group while remaining part of the conversation. As if that wasn’t enough, the social media giant is also revamping the paintbrush feature, and adding “scissor” and “Shazam” features. The scissor feature will turn cut-out components of snaps into stickers that users can store for later use and Shazam integration will enable users to identify any song that is playing and find out more information about it.
  • What it means for brands: On a smaller scale, this doesn’t mean much for brands just yet. However, when you look at the broader picture, these updates show Snapchat is serious about keeping their skin in the game. Competition between top platforms is sky high and these kinds of updates are what keep Snapchat relevant and retain their user base – which is good news for any brand looking to advertise on the platform. More to come as these features roll out.

Additional resources: TechCrunch; Thrillist

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(via Adweek)

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Overcoming Today’s Attention Deficit Challenge

Recently, an article appeared in my news feed that surprised me. The subject caused me to think that perhaps we have reached a new level of content generation, a level that we might not be able to absorb.

The article was an instructional piece about how to butter toast. That’s right – how to butter toast. There’s actually quite a bit of content on the topic, but I had not seen it, as I was pretty sure I had that task down pat (sorry).

Remember the term, Web 2.0? Some of my younger colleagues had never heard the term when I asked them. We don’t hear much about it these days because we’re living it. There are wide definitions of Web 2.0, but essentially it referred to a future state of the worldwide web with greater connectivity, user-generated content, social interaction and communication.

What we are witnessing now is the unintended byproduct of this concept: an avalanche of content. In fact, we now face a world with more content than attention. So, marketers and communications professionals find themselves at an inflection point – comprehending what’s relevant to their stakeholders, in order to gain attention and engender action, or continuing to just feed the content machine, so to speak, in the hopes that it actually motivates behavior and action beneficial to the brand or organization.

To achieve success, several critical questions must be addressed. Where does your target congregate online? Is your target getting their content passively or actively – is it finding them or are they looking for it? How do you stand out to them? Are they finding the content they seek? How do you create the right and best content and distribute it to the right place at the right time? How do you determine relevance for your topic, brand, company, etc.?

The good news is that information is more readily available than at any time in history. For marketers and communicators, the mandate is to dig deep, be thorough and know you have the right information for the right audiences in the right format at the right time. There is no need to guess anymore. The data is there and it’s verifiable. Starting with the right data, gathered by asking the right questions and then activating effectively is how we succeed in Web 2.0. (Note: being lured by pre-packaged programs using limited, or self-reported, data sets is a good way to end up with the wrong information, resulting in the wrong solution).

In our work, the biggest obstacle to generating and sustaining interest, increasing advocacy, and improving results is content. Many organizations can boast they have a full library of content, but few can employ it, given relevance, format and context.

There is a lot of content bombarding all of us in the Web 2.0 world. Getting your content in your target’s passive or active feeds is critical to capturing interest and initiating action to drive your business.

So, while buttering my toast better may make for a more fulfilling morning, something tells me either the content or the selection of my news feed to share it missed the mark completely!

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