Archive for the ‘Emerging Platforms’ Category
They have become the standard violator appearing on advertising; in the corner of print ads, across billboards, on buses, or in pieces of direct mail — even peppered throughout this article. You’ve seen them; that little block of even littler squares. Unfortunately the technology behind QR codes was not invented for advertising and marketing; we are just co-opting its usage, and it shows.
From the relative lack of public understanding of what they even are, to the dearth of creativity in their usage, the QR code is destined to become just the little box that geek built. But if it does go the way of CueCat, only we are to blame. Here’s why. Read the rest of this entry »
The voice of UGC is chaotic, irreverent and will make your brand uncomfortable. Embrace it, shape it, mold it, but get comfortable, because you cannot control it.
In the midst of just “talking some crap, and playing some videos” as he puts it, the podfather Adam Curry, co-founder of PodShow, has something to say to you today, and you better be listening to his sermon because millions of consumers are not just talking, but creating, listening and engaging outside of your control.
With the advent of user-generated content, your brand is no longer what you think it is. It’s what your consumer thinks it is. Brands have been isolated from the true consumer voice, dictating downward their unicultural view on what they should be. The party’s over and it’s time to embrace chaos. Your brand is what your consumer thinks it is; and that consumer’s voice can be heard.
In order for you to engage in that dialogue, you must embrace that voice, and between a parody video Adam demonstrated of George Bush asking if your balls itch to a YouTube video of a man launching bottle rockets from his butt, we all realize this is, as he states, “not so good if you are a brand advertiser, unless you are in the business of selling bottle rockets or ass. The challenge for brands in this new medium is difficult.”
Many brands have pulled away from questionable content, but are they ready to embrace this? The voice of UGC is chaotic, irreverent and will make your brand uncomfortable. Embrace it, shape it, mold it, but get comfortable, because you cannot control it.
Welcome to the world of podcasting and user-generated content.
But how did this man become the voice of the podcast? When MTV first launched, it sought to change a generation sick of their voice not being heard, and for eight years, Curry was their proxy, their conduit.
He successfully launched and then sold a company that was in the content creation space, originally getting permission to cybercast the Grammy Awards on the internet in 1995 because, as he puts it, there were only two questions they had: “What’s a cybercast and what’s the internet?”
Curry realized it was only a matter of time before the clients he was charging $100,000 realized that all they needed was a new breed of content creation devices, and they could do it for much less. So he sold. What do you do with millions of dollars and a lot of free time? You retire in the Netherlands, buy a helicopter, a castle and relax, of course.
When he saw the iPod being marketed as a digital storage device for music, Curry realized it could be more. It was a time-shifting media device you could connect to the internet. It enabled us to go from an “economy of scarcity,” where limited shelf space predominates, to an “economy of abundance,” where there is no shelf space limit, no traditional limit from the major media companies dictating their bland, same-voice radio proliferation of conformity. There was a long-tail effect of having unlimited choice.
He wanted to get the band back together. He saw the iPod as more, and actually coded the original iPodder. With cheap recording equipment, there was now a way to enable the thousands of voices out there; the broadcast network could be completely cut out of the equation.
At the iMedia Brand Summit, Curry demonstrated the proliferation of devices from iPods to PSPs to the Xbox, etc., reminding the audience that they are all capable of handling this new voice, which only widens the enablement.
We are the network, and there are hundreds of thousands who have become one, and millions more who listen to us. He reminds us that content is king. YouTube was sold for $1.2 billion. Some say that Google paid too much for the organizer of UGC content. But what is the value of programming? What is CSI’s estimated worth? $4 billion.
There are reasons why you should be paying attention to UGC.
Reach: Hit shows generate millions of downloads and unique users every month.
Relevance: Brands connect directly with passionate audiences by sponsoring programming relevant to their message.
Frequency: Sponsoring episodic content enables brands to build a dialogue with their consumers.
Engagement: Integrated programs for advertisers who seek to connect more deeply with their audiences.
There are new integrated brand formats and ways to engage this medium; from tech shows and fashion, to love and lifestyle, consumer brands are reaching out to this audience and aligning with the vertical advocates creating that content.
There are brands that understand this, and the transference from content to advertising is much more seamless than in the offline world, where the hard lines of editorial and advertising still rule. From episodic content like “Will It Blend,” to integrations from companies like Suave and K-Y, there are companies that not only “get” UGC but are embracing the medium.
And for the consumer, there’s a social reward for getting the show. Who do you trust? Do you trust mass media? No. You trust individuals with a voice. Podcasting has become the digital word-of-mouth transference, unbound by geographical limits. Those social groups now have the power to break those geographic chains, and the podcasters are the new influencers in this digital medium. The blogs cascade that message, but at the top of the chain is the power of audio and video.
UGC gives you a direct role with your audience, Curry said. The feedback is quick, and the audience is asking for it. Is your brand ready to embrace it?
ranty rant signing off…