Resorting to type.

I had a brief in recently that made me look again at quizzes. Not the intellectual type – but those little addictive Buzzfeed or Facebook feed quizzes that invite you to find out where you should live,  your ultimate pet or your inner Mean Girl.

The sheer volume available online could keep you busy for years, whilst the content itself continues to offer irreverent viewpoints on your personality (today’s top trending are around you inner celeb , Puppies and  the aptly titled “you can only call yourself a cake lover if you’ve eaten at least 22 of these cakes“)buzz2

Traditionally associated with the 15 year old girl filling in Angst ridden magazine quizzes to find out if her crush is really into her, the personality quizzes of today, (and these are the ones making up 77% of all personality quiz types (Source: PlayBuzz.com)) are attempting to appeal to one of three key needs for the user:

  • Personality Type: Borrowed from the premise behind Myers Briggs your answers effectively reveal dominant personality characteristics and thus give you a type. Admittedly on Buzz feed it’s more warrior princess but the need remains the same. People want to know what their personalities reveal about them.
  • Projected Type:  The quizzes that give you a whiff of the future. The potential of who you could be when you grow up. More often than not founded on little else than a great copywriter the ones that work are the ones that offer the user a future self that is either a #fail (comedy value) or dramatic improvement (Ego lift) on their reality. People want to know what their potential could be.
  • Discovery Type: These are the ones that are voyages of self-discovery. Uncovering if you should listen to new artists, visit new holiday destinations or move into a canal boat the questions allow you to discover something about yourself that is inherently fresh and challenges your preconceptions.

For the end user the scientific, or psychological basis of these tests is largely immaterial (discounting the actual real scientific tests that are based out there!) But, as discussed by Robert Simmermon, Ph.D., a psychologist in Atlanta Ga, when chatting with the Huffington Post “It reinforces a sense of ourself, whether it has any legitimacy or not,we know it’s not literal, but we hold out maybe a little secret part of ourselves that hopes it is true.”

So should quizzes play a part in a brands content strategy? Undoubtedly with the right personality, a fabulous copywriter and the right mindset tapped into it can help engage this audience with content in a way that very few other opportunities allow. So what are the principles of great quiz content.

  • Know your purpose. Audience insight, brand engagement or product sales. Know what you’re after before the typologies even start to flow!
  • Brand over Banter…. It’s easy to get caught up in the creative of the quiz but think about how the audience will feel about the brand after. Be consistent with how you should behave, but don’t necessarily behave how they would expect. (Great example from Lloyds here)
  • Share versus Interactions. Some quizzes can be hugely successful by the volume of interactions and the 1:1 quiz / user relationship. Not every quiz needs to end with a shareable result to achieve it’s initial purpose.
  • Seeding the content. Creating a quiz can be as easy as good copy, great stock imagery, but a quiz that is created without any thought to inviting respondents is a very lonely quiz! Consider mailing lists, social media, influencers,  website UX and SEO – then consider if that’s enough to achieve your goal or a cash injection is needed to drive the right volume of visitors through to the quiz.

 

And with that this is a Pocahontas, Chocolate ice-cream flavored 37 year old signing off.

P.S. One of those results was spot on!

 

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New and improved…. #iClone

Today Campaign published an interesting article examining the unrivaled popularity of the iPhone. How attached and habitual we, as consumers, get with a handset but through it’s updates be it handset, or iOS, we can refresh our handset without the need, in the majority of cases, to even consider Android devices (shudder).

It got me thinking around my own mobile phone journey, the Nokia (SMS and snake), Blackberry (first business phone) and then the iPhone – where I’ve sat for over 10 years happily getting the handset upgraded without question. It has the familiar UI that I can feel mildly frustrated with at every iOS upgrade as its the same but different, the camera, the email, the appstore, the indestructable case for my continued dropping of it (thankyou Otterbox). I take an interest in Android, because I need to for my job, but I have never even questioned the need to personally swop sides. I’m what the article would refer to as a pure iClone.

YetNokia1100 considering that the Nokia 1100 sold over 250 million units (iPhone6 comes in at 220 million) consumers can, and even I will, take part in absolute revolution as far as technology is concerned. When it seemed like there was no rival to the Nokia kings at the top of the tree we suddenly reconsidered and most importantly shifted device, the familiar UI, the functions, feature and brand. We knew there were options and these other options offered very distinctive fashion, feature and technical benefits. But could that work now? With Apple mastering the upgrade and refresh model could we see the same sort of handset revolution in the next 15 years?

The difference between the iPhone and it’s predecessors is that  it’s also absolutely unique to the handset owner. The article considers that in the iClone world the iPhone is a social leveler, it’s desirable, has status with no iPhone being better than the next, But, it is, every iPhone has a unique ubiquity – it’s yours, or mine, or theirs.

When I had my Nokia (along with ever student I went through university with) we snakeall played snake, occasionally space impact and without a doubt never opened pairs. We had 4 games, the same features and a limitation to how long that screen could hold our attention. The only way to add our own personality to our phone was a clip on case, a £5 ringtone (delivered by SMS) and a pixelated screensaver. They were a social leveler but they were also customized, not personlised.

Jump forwards 15 years later and our iClone is truly an extension of ourselves, skip away from the obvious photos, whatsapp and social accounts, but just consider the powerful statement that no 2 phones are the same – they reflect our interests, and our must-haves, the utility and the entertainment. The fact your iPhone remains the champion is because it holds exactly what you need.

For when you ask the question ‘What does your iPhone say about you?’ the answer is all-too-often ‘not a lot’.

The iPhone may be a blanket purchase for generations X, Y and Z, and the comfort blanket our pockets can’t be without but by no means is it’s identity served by it’s mass penetration. It’s success and it’s future evolution continue to be steered by the the fact that no 2 iPhones are created equal, nor are superior.

It’s about more I, less clone.

 

 

 

 

 

Must be fashionable and code….

Top Trend overclaim NO’ 1: Marketers will become coders…

 

The other day I stumbled across an infographic which claimed that one of the Top 10 trends for 2015 would be marketers becoming coders…

Seriously.

Admittedly my personal ability to learn coding is probably more likely than becoming a designer (drawing was never my forte) but equally the entire make-up of a person who is driven by marketing, and a person driven by code is entirely different. You only have to stumble through any agency and you can easily transition from design studio, to development studio, to marketing team and instantly see the difference in ambitions and personality by the desk space alone…!

In my mind the trend we will see over the next 10 years (so lets not jump the gun here) is that coding was always seen as a bit of a dark art. The creative you can judge, the marketing plan you can query but the code… Well god knows until you’re testing it and jumping up and down when you realise functions are missing.

The education sector is driving a new generation growing up constantly plugged in to understand and know the basics – this will be the biggest drivers of change. Companies like Barclays with their code playground look a darn site more interesting than the Amstrad blinking green-screen I once tried to create basic code for at the grand age of 10. Kids will feel more compelled to learn as its a faster, more immediate output suiting their “want it now” demands,  and equally their peers will be able to do it. Who wants to have the latest social page if it hasn’t been customized and you’ve had to resort to (shock horror) default settings. elephant

As these kids come through the system they will be more critical of coding decisions and more able to contribute to the debate, in the same way the average “marketer” can critique a design approach).  The pressure of this on management will be to learn and understand more to kep up with the new generation rather than it being something left for other people to understand. And yes – there will be the marketers who dabble in code, WordPress blogs, even manage to build the odd page template or code up an email but by no means do I think these disciplines will converge in the same way. There is a clear line between marketing and design, there will be a line between marketers and code.

2015 wont be the year that  marketers become coders. It will be the year that they start to place more importance in understanding itand start to decipher what’s involved. Coding for brands will be left to the experts and if a marketer can add value to discussion and have an understanding of what’s involved with “code” then that will be a big enough leap for me in 2015.

 

Google + – brand pages have arrived

Penetrations at 40 million (worldwide) and with Google+ still being pushed at us with a pretty hefty PR campaign and an assault from some celebs (Britney Spears and Will.i.am), and now from brands, it appears that this social network from Google is here for at least the short term when consumers will ultimately decide who survives.

The brand pages posed an opportunity for Google to give a superior offering to Facebook. At first glance they’ve failed to deliver with no unique functionality that a brand couldn’t be leveraging in another social channel.

So what can a brand do. …

The same as the rest of us. They can upload photos, videos, status updates, start a hangout (The muppets launched one at 4:30PST today) but the issue still is the lack of consumer penetration which means the numbers just aren’t there. All of this is evident from the small followings that brands are picking up, with even Kermit the frog failing to achieve big numbers!

There is also the key issue that any brand needs to consider ” How does a consumer truly see me”.

The whole premise of Google is based on circles. You HAVE to place anyone you want to follow into a circle.  Consider this…

Your mum joins – you add her to your family circle. Your Best mate joins – you add her to friends. A one night stand joins – you create and add them to a circle called “Ex-boyfs”. You see Toyota and create a circle called…. “Brands”.

In no way will brands be able to connect in the same emotive way because consumers will simply put you in a sales / marketing / product / brand bucket. It’s auto-pilot and that’s the whole point of circles. You don’t have to think to use it, it’s intuitive. And intuitive isn’t great when you’re trying to be disruptive or get under the skin of the consumer who’s given you a “marketing shit” label. Yes – until people have organised their feeds you will show up in their central thread but, after then, you are unlikely even to get exposed to your consumers updates and, be honest, how interesting is that? (I’m sure Toyota isn’t interested that I’m drinking a cuppa and eating a hobnob? Nor can glean any insight from it) Where as Facebook clearly got consumer penetration and it then took a while for brands to get on board, brands and consumers are adopting + in tandem and, as yet, the benefit (or opportunity) for brands seems to be limited.

So what should brands consider as useful for Google+ right now….

– Inexpensive market research. The ability to recruit individuals for online, Live streamed, focus groups using hangouts – despite only 9 people being able to interact at any one time, this free service definately has value for quick and fast research.

– Advocacy programmes: Being able to classify, and then market to consumers, based on actions you want them to perform and even talk directly to them – truly being able to differentiate your brand fans from brand consumers. Only snag is you have to know who they are and then create the relevent circles!

– YouTube: It’s massive and it’s inevitably going to have to be THE channel for Google getting this to all work. Video content (and capabilities) are far superior to Facebook’s offering and, as Google+ continues to evolve, and becomes integrated into YouTube’s service, it will become critical to how consumers adopt and use the service.

– Watch and learn: Yes, it’s going to get press but, at the moment it hasn’t got the numbers or reach. A bit of “watch and learn” and a slice of budget pushed aside for if it does hit mass in 2012 is the cautious marketers option….

Facebook Interaction: When’s best to post?

One thing clients have always asked us is “How can I optimize Facebook to my advantage?” and, until recently, it has been really nigh on impossible, without dedicating a full team to manually trawl external brands Facebook pages, to sucessfully find the right information.
Today someone pointed me in the direction of a study done by a company called Momentus Media based in San Francisco. Yes it has it flaws, and admittedly is out of the US but definately provides more food for thought.

From a methodology point of view the study was done by compiling a list of 20k top pages and then looking at 15k individual posts (Phew). Based on this they were then able to develop some key learnings (distilled into a whitepaper that is accessible here).
Check out some of the key findings below!

1. What is the best time to post?
a. Weekends and off-peak hours.

2. How many times should I post
per day?
b. As many times as you want.

3. What type of content elicits the
most interaction?
c. #1 Photos, #2 Statuses

4. Should I ask fans to Like and
Comment on my posts?
d. Yes! Asking to Like increases interaction 216%

5. Should I ask my fans
questions?
e. Questions don’t increase interaction rate, but they
do increase commenting rate. Make sure to ask
fans to answer your questions with a comment.

6. How long should my status
messages be?
f. Long or short, we found no correlation between
length and interaction rate.

7. How long do my posts last in
the Newsfeed?
g. 50% of clicks happen within 1 hour, 90% happen
within 9 hours.

I think whilst this can provide some great cues to point brands in a direction that could be more effective this should by no means be taking as red. Take, for example, the comment that photos then status’ work best for interactions. Their methodology is based on total numbers of likes and comments / number of lifetime fans – argely because imps isn’t an available metric if you’re not a page admin. In addition (and perhaps this is a UK specific trend) our experiences on some of the leading brands we work with shows that it’s actually polls that generate the highest interaction rate, whilst status’ win every time if you’re wanting written feedback.

Another note worth remembering is that Impressions can play a vital part in formulating when’s best to post. Not only should you consider your interaction rate but also your reach – at first glance the recommendation is that off peak hours cause the highest interaction rate. Yes – this makes sense. Think of your own facebook feed. You personally will see a dip in the volume of items from your friends, and brands as it gets later in the evening or early hours in the morning. You have less to compete with at this time and, as a brand, can benefit from more interactions but an issue with this is that the impressions will be a lot lower. Is it interactions or Opportunities to see that are more important to your brand or your message as this should also play a vital part in informing when you’re posting.

Optimum time of day for Facebook post interactions

Frijj – incredibles campaign

Whilst doing the mundane weekly shop in Tesco this week I stumbled across the new range from Frijj – 3 brand new milkshakes that had absoultely no appeal to me but, at a guess, I’d say I’m not the target audience for these raspberry jam, honeycomb choc or Sticky coffee range! Admittedly I stumbled across them as they had taken off the whole of the reduced items section (something that might not suggest positive sales or poor over-ordering by the Tesco buyers) but this isn’t a critique of stock replenishment at my local store…

New Toffee frijj milkshake flavour

Toffee frijj - not my cup of tea!

Having a snoop around online when I got back I soon found this is a new brand launch and has been supported by a digital campaign to embrace the unexpected – with an initial digital game of “You LOL you lose” which will be followed in September with a pet translator app…

The game sees you confronted with multiple YouTube clips and using webcam technology you have to keep a straight face.

Unfortunately the technology is hyper sensitive and is a very false environment. The slightest twitch of the head, sticking your tongue out or even fast blinking (yes I tried all of the above) causes you to lose even if you stay firmly straight faced. The video clip I stumbled across promoting the game equally shows individuals with such an exagerated laugh I was begining to wonder if I simply dont find YouTube funny as I’ve certainly never found anything as amusing to justify a head back gaffaw – a gentle giggle and a share maybe…
With the predictable share functionality to beat and share your scores amongst your Facebook or Twitter clan this campaign feels like it could have done something much bigger, or cleverer. The concept of using facial recognition for scoring is great but due to its hyper-sensitive and false environment it really feels this is a try it once gimmick – maybe like the milkshakes….

Social specialists (Arghhhhhh……!!!!)

No really.

I get that when new channels emerge new specialists spring up. Mobile = mobile agencies. AR = AR agencies. Apps = Application agencies I agree with this, I’d use these agencies and I understand the logic that not all agencies have all the skills (nor should have the skills to do everything under one roof) but what I am getting increasingly frustrated with is agencies that call themselves “social”.

Social agencies, as they call themselves, are positioning themselves as the future of digital. Clients, whom previously have never seen senior support are suddenly being asked “how will this campaign work on Twitter/Facebook” and, in response, we’re seeing new agencies being added to rosters as the social specialists.

Okay – I work at 20:20, a full service digital agency and yes, I’m responsible for social media so perhaps I am bias BUT I dont believe the future of social is going to be maintaning a brands Facebook Page or Twitter account. Give it 18 months and consumers (and brands) will be sick of receiving status updates from brands asking them what they are up to this weekend and, yes, yet again, we will be back full circle to it being about content. Yes social agencies can create applications (or at least have the ability to outsource them) but it’s back to the age old problem. Digital is constantly changing. A good full service agency will evolve to take into consideration these skills because, of course, they are VITAL to the success of the brand and use these, along with the skills and experience it’s learnt over the last 10 – 15 years to understand it’s role in the digital strategy.

Facebook isn’t a strategy – just like ITV isn’t a strategy. It’s a tool. There are lots of them about. Understanding what’s in that toolbox and using everything to the best of the ability is what makes great digital campaigns and for the future creating meaningful connections via social channels is key in that success.