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Not just your standard logo

16th January 2019

Text reading "Not your standard logo"

Logos and branding live the majority of their lives in the static world of paper and print. When used for digital there’s not much variation or excitement, except maybe for a quirky loading page animation with an element that might jump up and down but that’s about as good as it gets. As we move into 2019 this overlooked element could be getting a better and bigger part in the branding line up.

Recently the website building company, Squarespace, upgraded its branding from a static and rounded logo to a sharp edged, elegant – and get this – constantly moving visual. The logo was created in collaboration with DIA, who are a New York based creative agency. Their aim was to see if Squarespace could be identified not only through visuals but also movement. The logo now sits on a face of a 3D cube which swipes and rotates to the other sides of the cube, these in turn show the other logo marks (abstract, word etc.) of Squarespace. Through the use of this movement the logo embodies its name and literally becomes a square moving through space.

With the use of digital design, brands are able to communicate through a visual animated movement instead of only static marks, innovating how consumers see and interact with brands. Logo designers will now be forced to add more on to the method of logo building, which usually involves hours of sitting at a desk measuring and drawing to create the perfect logo, and now think about not only how it will look but how it will move.

An animated logo can be uploaded to multiple social media platforms. Video content is widely popular on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook etc. and creating an animated logo allows users to interact and share the brand in a way they were never able to do before. People can associate brands with these animated and fun elements.

The concept of creating an animated logo is not where this needs to stop. It can be furthered into the branding itself. Companies can also create sharable animated elements such as stickers and GIF’s to promote their brand. An example of an agency using this is Moross Studios, who earlier this year released a set of personalised stickers for Instagram Stories using phrases and visuals that best represent them as a company.

This kind of interaction on social platforms between user and brand shows how animated branding elements, such as the logos, have evolved from the static printed logo to becoming an interactive digital experience. Conveying how it was once an overlooked element of the branding process but now could be the next big step in creating a memorable brand to consumer relationships.

The relevance of memes in the millennial age of social

20th December 2018

A meme in a bandwagon

Did you know the term ‘meme’ was initially coined by biologist, author and renowned atheist, Richard Dawkins in his famous book, ‘The Selfish Gene’. Dawkins defines a ‘meme’ as ‘a name for the new replicator, a noun that conveys the idea of a unit of cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation.’

By this definition, Dawkins effectively means that memes are ideas; a cultural phenomenon that is passed down from person to person much in the same way that genes are passed down from parent to child.

The rise of the meme has changed the way social media impacts its users forever. It means that cultural ideas and social norms can be packed into little nuggets of information and shared from person to person in seconds. Memes can duplicate, grow and arguably shape certain corners of the online world. The big question remains though, is there a place for using memes from a brand perspective – or is jumping on this bandwagon a fruitless effort for prestigious names?

Jumping on the bandwagon

Most people’s reactions (and mine initially) is that the use of memes by a household name comes across a bit tacky and arguably forced. Why would you be enticed to buy something from a big company who rely on this new wave content to promote their name? It all just seems a little disjointed and transparent – ‘Oh, let me just jump on the latest trend to make myself seem relevant’ – it’s a tale as old as time, and not a good one. However, ten or so years ago this would be the case when memes were first born and gaining traction. They were more the exclusive world of a college student than big brands like Netflix and Gucci. Fast forward to 2018 though, where the real world is as convoluted as the world we see online, and memes have carved out their own place, gracing everything from our Instagram feeds to underground billboards on the tube. It’s a funny world we live in…

Making it matter

Despite the momentum, memes have gained over the years, like anything on social media its authenticity is its worth. It’s as simple as that. As we all know, content is the keystone in bridging the gap between brand and user, so every offering has to count – if a piece of content has no purpose then it short-circuits its very essence. This is the absolute requirement for brands utilising memes in their arsenal of content. It has to feel real and drive action or reaction from the consumer.

One brand that is pioneering the use of memes in their content is Netflix. If you haven’t already, then take a glance at Netflix’s online footprint – it is flawless. This is part of the reason why their use of meme content works – it fits with their brand personality and doesn’t feel awkward or forced. Pivoting off their original content, Netflix highlight fan-first moments and character nuances that they know will resonate with the audiences of their shows. Their content is sometimes so simple it’s mind-boggling, but what Netflix has secured is a strong relationship with their audience. They feel more like a best friend than a brand trying to sell their product.

Crash and burn

On the other hand though, as we’ve come to realise, jumping on the latest trend to be reactive can just end up crashing and burning for brands. Ideas can be great on paper, but if the execution is everything, and not done with conviction and correctly, then it can go horribly wrong. In 2017, American fast food chain, Wendy’s, slipped up in using a meme on Twitter. When asked if they ‘got any memes’ by a user on Twitter, they responded with their own branded version of a famous meme known as ‘Pepe the Frog’. Wendy’s, like Netflix, have quite a strong and user-friendly brand personality across their social, but they overlooked the meaning of this meme, leading to a prompt backlash, and after they swiftly deleted the post. Failing to acknowledge the racist connotations associated with the meme meant that Wendy’s shot themselves in the foot. A textbook example of convoluted internet culture being ripped out of context and applied recklessly to brands.

Strategic thinking

So where does this leave us? Do memes have a place in the world of brands, or should these spheres be kept separate to avoid crises such as the one above? The answer is, like all content, consideration needs to be taken with every step brands make. Being reactive is great, but being strategic about how you pivot off of the latest internet trend is more important. Think about what this content is saying about your brand, its purpose, and ultimately, what this looks like to the everyday person consuming your content. Will it resonate with your audience, or is it just following the crowd for the sake of it? Remember, the way to your users’ hearts is memorable content, not just memeable content.

What really did work in this year’s Christmas ads?

18th December 2018

Top Christmas Ads with 1st place orangutang, 2nd place Elton John & 3rd place Plug Boy

Baby Orangutan and Plug Boy truly were the stars of the show this Christmas. In an age of purpose-driven marketing, Iceland’s Christmas ad smashed all expectations and became the most talked about Christmas ad across social in 2018 while John Lewis and Sainsbury’s gracefully sat in second and third.

 

The controversy that Iceland’s Christmas ad was banned from being shown on television, created a massive social buzz with people mentioning it over 281,000 times on the day it came out. People backed the ad and the cause it supported – saying ‘no to palm oil’ due to its effect on the environment. In a time where television numbers are dwindling and online viewing and shopping figures are rising, Iceland took the plunge to focus their strategy on social – whether deliberately or not – and saw positive figures as a result.

 

Sainsbury’s Christmas advert, featuring our favourite Christmas character at Wilderness Agency this year, Plug Boy, also had an element of unexpected controversy and received dozens of complaints from viewers concerned that the ad will encourage children to play with sockets. The ad performed really well on social, evoking a positive and warm emotion, with the highest positive sentiment of all the ads at 88% (John Lewis’ ad had an 87% positive sentiment in comparison) even with the backlash from the socket complaints. While the mentions were not as high as others at 19,000, the ad got people talking.

In both Sainsbury’s and Iceland’s strategies, it’s hard to tell if the brands were attempting to invite controversy as a deliberate media strategy. But what is clear is that inviting difference and discussion can fuel conversation.

It was surprising to note how many ads didn’t feature an official hashtag for their Christmas ads, and how many didn’t push their hashtags on their television ads. Sainsbury’s, Lidl and Debenhams didn’t have an official hashtag that they pushed in their ads. This made it seem as though their television strategy was completely divorced of their social strategy which was a clear missed opportunity, especially with the current media landscape and the dwindling high street shopping numbers. Almost 6,000 high street shops closed down in the UK in 2017 according to this report in The Guardian (April 2018).

 

Our research showed that the Debenhams’ Christmas ad had the lowest mention score (around 1,000). On the day their ad premiered, not many people were talking about it. While the ad itself was interesting, playing on a ‘you-know-you-did-good’ tagline, it was not memorable and people didn’t feel there was much to say about it on social. The Lidl ads were also ignored online, although sentiment was positive at 77%.

 

Looking at conversation rates across the campaigns, the key cut-through element of this year’s Christmas ads are:

  • A close alliance between the media strategy and the social media strategy throughout the campaign;
  • A strong, easily identifiable character at the heart of the content;
  • A campaign hashtag;
  • A video that creates controversy and conversation not simply broadcasting a message.

Plug boy, a baby orangutan and Elton John stole our hearts this Christmas. For marketers, storytelling and character building will always be central to the success of a campaign but in today’s ever more social landscape, JUST broadcasting is not an option. Smart brands join a conversation; smarter brands curate a conversation that their fans actively join in.

Great content doesn’t always have to be the prettiest

11th December 2018

A dustbin winning "Best Personality" at a beauty contest

If you open up your Instagram right now and started browsing, what would you see? Most likely pictures of friends, probably (definitely) a lot of memes, and cute animal videos that everybody loves.

Why are people following this trend? Well, creating content that is visually engaging or having a stance on a subject matter is something that is key to any social initiative. It’s very easy to forget sometimes, especially when you’re a creative working in social media, that it doesn’t always have to be about creating the most beautiful piece of photography, designing the most well thought out graphic or illustrating the most beautiful picture. Sure these things help, but they should always come as a secondary thought.

For example, looking at memes from a purely creative standpoint, there is almost no craft involved and most, if not all, will usually be a remix of something that already exists – such as a screenshot from an old video. The visual quality will be, generally speaking, average at best and it’ll be usually tagged along with a simple caption.

The whole point then is not how it looks, but what the content contains. That simple screenshot could capture a perfect facial expression that may sum up a very specific, relatable feeling of a situation. That’s the key for engaging content – finding situations that are relatable on a personal level but universally understood among a mass audience and translating it visually.

What about the stuff that’s only there for the sake of looking pretty? Well, there is a place for that too as not everything has to have a connected meaning behind it. There is nothing wrong with sharing something that’s visually cool, it’s more about the urge of thinking or feeling something in the right moment that will make you want to capture and share that photo. Sometimes the talking point can be about the ‘how’ it was made rather than the ‘what’ it’s about. That can be equally as powerful and engaging as connected emotions.

Cute animal videos online are loved by many as they are simply visually pleasing, there’s no reasoning behind it. The portrayal of the aesthetic of ‘cute’ means that it becomes engaging in its own right.

The best of both worlds do exist, however, and more often than not creates the most powerful stories and engagement. We live in a world, however, where no one opinion is the same, with one person’s rubbish becoming another’s treasure. There really is no right or wrong way of posting content but if you do want to make an impact on your aim, first ask yourself the purpose of it, why you are doing it? Once you figure that out then you can apply the ‘how’ you will approach it.

Is your online life more satisfying than IRL?

3rd December 2018

Two hands holding, with a phone inbetween

Social media is undoubtedly a great place to connect with long lost family, share some big news or keep up to date with friends. But this virtual world may be affecting our real life in more ways than we realise.

 

US psychologist Sherry Terkle has spent decades studying and writing about the relationship between ourselves and technology, researching the ways in which each is adapting and changing the other. Stating that we are becoming ‘alone together’ in the presence of technology. That our reliance on social media and mobile technology is damaging our ability to foster real meaningful relationships, sending a quick emoji is easier than a conversation in person right? Moreover, it’s changing our day to day human behaviours and encouraging new, potentially damaging habits to develop.

 

Brands are also now becoming more aware of the impacts of social media with clothing store Monki recently launching the All The Feels campaign, centered around this topic, in support of Mental Health Europe. Talking to three social influencers they highlight the realities of living within the modern social world. Thankfully, this type of large scale brand campaign is only expected to grow.

 

So step away from your phone *only after finishing this article, of course* and have a think about whether you fall victim to your online life:  

 

  1. Doing it for the gram. A phenomenon that’s overtaken social media and real life is the idea of doing things or going places purely just to post about it on social media. This compulsive need to gain likes, have a beautiful feed and tell a story has has overtaken our daily lives. That pasta will be cold before you’ve taken the perfect picture, but who cares if it got over 100 likes?!
  2. Friends with influencers. Making and maintaining friendships is hard work, no one has time to reply to messages and organising get togethers is near on impossible. So the tempting lure of the influencer friendship is stronger than ever. Your favourite beauty guru, mummy blogger or Fifa fanatic can feel like a friend but without the effort of reciprocating. It’s often referred to as the ‘Goldilocks’ effect and seems like a win-win. But are we neglecting spending real time with our nearest and dearest?
  3. Filter fiend. Taking the perfect selfie isn’t complete without that Snapchat or Instagram filter. Blurring your skin, adding a twinkle to your eye, what’s not to love? But this handy photo fixer can be quite damaging to how we behave and perceive ourselves in the real world, with many of us wishing we could carry a filter around with us. Traditional media such as magazines have always been perceived as damaging to body confidence, yet technology is allowing us implement these behaviours and views ourselves.  

 

As technology and social media continue to develop, it’s important to make that distinction between our online and real lives. Understanding if our behaviour is changing as a result of it and whether this is could be impacting ourselves IRL.

Breaking news: Decidophobia is sweeping the nation.

26th November 2018

Drawings of lots of different sweets

Ever feel so flustered with making a decision that you want to break down and just let someone else call the shots for you? You’re not alone…

A study put choice overload to the test. Researchers laid out two tables in a supermarket, on two different days. One of the tables had 24 jams laid out, the other had a smaller selection of 6 jams – passersby were offered tasters at each.

Can you guess what effect the two tables had on sales? Turns out the passersby were more likely to stop at the table with 24 jams on offer but were far more inclined to make a purchase at the table with less jams. Just 3% of shoppers who stopped at the table with the greater selection of jams made a purchase. Not such a peachy conversion…

Making decisions can be hard, even more so when we’re faced with so many options. Apply this understanding of human behaviour to your social media strategy to make it easier for your customers to make decisions and increase sales.

 

Top tips:

 

  • 31% of shoppers use social media to browse new items ahead of buying – provide relevant, helpful info in your posts to make that lasting impression.

 

  • Un-boggle brains by offering less options, present them in intuitive designs. Got a new collection launching next month? Categorise your offerings into small groups, appealing to distinguished target audiences.

 

  • Facilitate the shopping process with audience insights forming the basis of your strategy. From understanding your target audiences social media habits and interests, to being present at the right moments. Strive to make your customers’ decisions easier by adding value to the shopping experience.

Are we witnessing the death of the Christmas TV ad?

22nd November 2018

A Gravestone that reads "RIP Television advertising 1941-2018"

It starts with a little controversy

News filtered out online that Iceland, the frozen-food supermarkets, Christmas advert had been ‘banned’ from TV. The ad wasn’t banned from UK TV but, was instead, not allowed to be aired as Greenpeace, the environment campaign group, originally produced it.

There are strict rules around broadcasting anything that potentially has a political nature. So the ad simply didn’t meet well-known broadcasting rules and so couldn’t be aired.

However, this hasn’t stopped a wave of online out-cry and conversation discussing the ads banning from UK screens. This has helped drive huge buzz for the ad which has then been picked-up by mainstream media, including the Guardian, BBC and Daily Mail.

A good story well told

However, this controversy wouldn’t benefit the brand if the ad itself wasn’t a good story well told. Thankfully the tale of the cute orangutan who has lost his home is a touching, well-paced ad that tactfully deals with the issue of deforestation and the destruction of the rainforest.

The ad ends with the sombre fact that we lose 25 orangutan’s every day. This is a shocking statistic and Iceland have committed to removing palm oil from all of it’s own-label products.

In the age of purpose-driven marketing, this is a smart move from a retailer with just 2.1% share of the UK Grocery market. The move will appeal to a customer base that in the past has not considered Iceland, despite the fact that the issues around palm oil production are complex, and reports suggesting than less than half of that caused by soybeans (a favourite of vegans) and just one tenth of the effect caused by livestock and beef production.

The power of social sharing

The video has now had over 4.4 million views on the official Iceland YouTube account and 15 million views on Facebook. Numerous media outlets and celebrities have shared the video on Twitter, which has now garnering over 17 million views.

The announcement post on the official Iceland Facebook page has been shared over 660K times to date, whilst the announcement tweet has had more than 195K engagements on Twitter. This tidal wave of social sharing and online conversation has led to over 670K people signing a petition to get Iceland’s Christmas advert shown on TV.

Does it need to? With all those online views the ad has surely had more eyeballs than Iceland could have hoped for with a Christmas TV ad buy. Added to this, the mainstream press coverage from the ad’s supposed TV ban and the brand couldn’t have hoped for more.

The question now must be should others follow suit? Do you need to spend big on a Christmas TV ad buy when the power of social sharing can shape public opinion and gain mainstream media attention at a fraction of the cost? Does this mean the start of the end for the big Christmas ad buy?

As we say, smart brands join a conversation; smarter brands curate a conversation their fans actively join.

The YouTubification of Facebook

16th November 2018

The playbook of imitation

The playbook of imitation

Facebook has in the last 18 months used an aggressive playbook of imitating innovation through Instagram to squash the progress of competitor Snapchat. First, there were lenses, launched in October 2016, and then more recently Stories, which was launched in March 2017, and now has more than 150M daily users closing in on Snapchat’s own 191M daily active users (as of May 2018).

However, one competitor Facebook has long had in their sights has been YouTube, and most importantly the huge ad dollars it generates for Google through video ads. Facebook repeated the trick only this time using both Instagram and it’s main Facebook app and site. Instagram launched IGTV a long-form video feature within the app and stand-alone mobile app allowing anyone to set-up a channel and begin broadcasting (sounds familiar). Whilst users on Facebook have seen the advent of Live, allowing users to broadcast live from anywhere in the world at any time (again sound familiar?). Then came ‘Watch’, a direct competitor in the US to YouTube’s established original content shows in which Facebook worked with content partners such as NASA, Hearst, and BuzzFeed to create shows which could be viewed in a Watch tab on Facebook. After a year of testing the feature in the US, Facebook rolled out Watch globally in August only this time placing less emphasis on original content and instead using it as a way to feature any long-form (3+ minute) content from a page.

The move to monetisation

We have worked for more than a year with Discovery Network in the UK to bust the myth that, millennials, in particular, won’t watch longer form video content. Having created a strategy that drives over 60M views of longer-form (3+ minute) social video content in less than 6 months we have created a community of young viewers rather than fans. This strategy led Discovery to winning the prestigious Broadcast Digital Award for Best Digital Support for a Channel, beating the likes of BBC3 and MTV showcases the power of social long-form video.

Why is this important? Well, Facebook recently rolled out mid-roll video ad to a select group of partners with Discovery UK chosen as one of a handful of publishers and media organisations. This has now led to an opportunity to drive huge value from Discovery’s social audience who are used to consuming long-form (3+ minute) social video.

This opportunity to monetise video content direct from Facebook spells problems for YouTube. If an army of highly engaged Facebook users feel comfortable watching longer-form video content on the platform and will sit-through a mid-roll ad to do so it could push publishers to start housing more of their premium long-form content on Facebook rather than YouTube. It’s become increasingly difficult to drive a huge audience for a specific video on YouTube and there have obviously been the brand safety concerns.

Are Facebook now aping YouTube, you bet they are. If they can take ad revenue from their rival and start to become the home of premium long-form video content that would be incredibly valuable for them, whilst also weakening one of their biggest competitors in the process.

Facebook Watch and the future of long-form video

This goes further though than a few mid-roll ads in 3+ minute videos. Facebook spent a year in the US testing ‘Watch’ their answer to YouTube with some fairly impressive results, though full details are a little sketchy on the ground. According to an internal reporting from Facebook, 50 million people in the US come to Facebook Watch to view videos each month and the total time spent within the tab increased 14-fold over the year-long test.

After a year ‘incubating’ the feature in the US, Facebook rolled out ‘Watch’ globally in August though seemingly having taken some lessons from their year-long pilot. Rather than focus on original episodic ‘shows’, which no doubt cost them huge amounts of money in production to pay publishers to create, the feature takes any pages long-form video content and features it at the top of the page. Users now have a tab in the middle of the mobile app, which takes them to a specific ‘Watch’ page where you can view long-form content from all the pages you Like in a ‘Watchlist’. The wording of key features has deliberately aped YouTube in order to create familiarly for the user. Underneath your ‘Watchlist’ users are served a ‘Top video’ based on your user interests and similar content you watch on the platform. You can edit your ‘Watchlist’ and you are prompted to follow more publisher who is producing a vast ocean of long-form content on Facebook.

‘Watch’ and users adoption of the feature has two key benefits for Facebook; firstly it encourages users to spend more ‘quality time’ on site and in-app, a key business goal for Facebook. Given that time spent on Facebook has decreased by roughly 50 million hours every day. That’s a roughly a reduction of 2.14 minutes per day per user globally, equating to around a 5% decrease in the total time spent on the platform (as reported in June 2018). Therefore, having users regularly consuming 3+ minute video content is extremely important. Secondly, it has the added benefit of loosening Google’s grip on ad revenue from long-form video content whilst at the same time encouraging publishers to produce and house more of this content within Facebook. This content can be recycled for Facebook-owned IGTV, Instagram’s own answer to YouTube giving publishers two shots at their content finding an audience.

What does this mean for the future of long-form video content? As brands and publishers start looking for ways to gain value back from the large sums of money they have already invested in Facebook, their solution may well lie in producing long-form video that can be monetised and find a potentially huge audience within the platform. This content needs to engaging, and enrich a viewer’s experience as it now competing with TV, with Ericsson predicting that 50% of viewing will be mobile by 2012, and the vast ocean of mobile video content already online.

What can a social agency do for you?

1st November 2018

Text reading "8 reasons why you can't leave your social to the intern"

Why should you hire a specialist social agency?

 

  1. Because social is important – It’s not ok to hand your social channels over to the intern because he “sort of ‘gets’ Instagram”. You wouldn’t allow him to run amok with your TV ads now, would you?
  2. Because social is now the front line of customer experience – Often now an audience’s first involvement with a brand is on social, so get it right. Be responsive and engaging, and remember people want to buy from people.
  3. Because social insight can change your business – As campaigns are turned on their head and digital is used as a launchpad to test creative, messaging, audience and more, having deep social insight can make all the difference
  4. Because social can now be for selling – Don’t think that social media can’t drive an ROI, that myth has been shattered. We are now seeing opportunities to drive huge volumes of sales and website leads from a highly engaged social audience.   
  5. Because all social interactions should be meaningful – Brands need to be conscious online communicators to ensure that the time people spend engaging with them online is worthwhile. We are in an age now of quality time spent online and brands have a huge part to play in ensuring they educate, entertain and inform their audience online.   
  6. Because social is not PR – Don’t confuse the two. Social is a conversation, it’s not about broadcasting your message and selling your story to one person. It’s about a personal emotional engagement with each and every one of your audience.
  7. Because all media will soon be social – As we are already seeing, with TV looking to engage viewers directly (such as Netflix working on allowing viewers to choose the ending of shows), OOH becoming more interactive, and print being used to drive audiences to consume content on social.  
  8. Because you should be working with experts – Guy, it’s 2018 and if you are not working with social experts then you should be. Now!  

 

Contact Wilderness Agency at hello@wilderness.agency for more info

Wilderness Agency awarded bronze at Digital Impact Awards

18th October 2018

Image showing Digital Impact Award's logo and WB elves logo

The Warner Brothers Christmas Elves campaign has done it again and bagged another award. Last night at the Digital Impact Awards we took home the award for Best use of existing social media platforms – small budget.

Our active social community management and our posting strategy for the campaign allowed us to grow a highly engaged audience and fix a real consumer need.

We took a soft-sell approach allowing us to drive huge volume of sales through Twitter during a busy festive period. The campaign has been nominated for more than 7 industry awards and demonstrates the power of creative thinking and our fan-first approach to social media.

Congratulation to all who took part and the great team here at Wilderness.

See more about our work with Warner Bros

 

 

Positivity on social media drives positive interaction

A red paper plane drawing a heart in the sky

Social media has created a world for us to freely share our opinions on the big bad world wide web, but are they really your opinions or are they the opinions of the media corporations that have influenced the way you think?

Without realising, the news can shape your identity and change the mood of how you started your day. Researchers have found that when you watch negative news, it can instill symptoms of worry and depression. So what can we do to change this?

Positive psychologist, Professor Lea Waters discusses how “positive emotions don’t just synchronise, they spread.” By posting one positive thought a day, you can improve the mood of someone else’s day. Waters points out how these posts spread through social networks via the three degrees of separation; if you share positive news, you are making your friends happy, you are making your friends, friend happy and you are making your friends, friends, friend happy.

“One simple act of sharing good news sets off a positive ripple effect beyond.” – Prof Lea Waters

When there is an increase of positive emotions online, there are less negative emotions online. A strong example of this is when the Olympics is on. The love, excitement and healthy competition that is shared online spreads like a virus. During this time you can see countries supporting each other, their players and everyone, even those who aren’t interested in sport are taking part in the festivities.

Sharing examples, as small as witnessing a person buying a homeless person a cup of coffee can inspire someone else to do the exact same thing. This may not be big enough for the media corporations to publish, but it’s enough to create a positive ripple effect online and create a balance.

We can’t let the news shape our identity, make someone’s day better and spread the positivity.

The currency of this game is Attention

12th October 2018

A ROW OF DOMINOES READY TO BE PUSHED BY A FINGER

It’s a battleground for attention on social media, but it’s the most valuable asset. On average, over 1,500 pieces of content compete for your audience’s attention daily. That’s potentially 1,500 different marketers on a social media feed trying to make your audience’s thumbs stop. So what type of ads are most likely to make your audience notice your brand? What are the behavioural triggers that make ads work?

The key to great social advertising is to remember that although you are all about your brand, your audience isn’t.

Marketers are on social media to sell. Consumers, however, are not necessarily on there to buy. They are there for value. Don’t interrupt your audience whilst they are having fun. Create content your audience want to watch by listening to the unprecedented insight Facebook gives us into people’s lives and psychology, insight that gives you the opportunity to optimise every ad that is put out. If you’re truly making an ad with good content, and taking into account the context in which that content will be consumed, it won’t interrupt your audience and you will have their attention.

You can’t treat paid social like a one night stand.

The number one mistake that brands fall victim to with their paid media budget, is to hard sell and try to close in the first move. Users on social are by default in browsing mode and it takes time and effort to convert them into buying mode. That transition from browsing to buying mode is not going to happen in a single ad. You will be able to get your audience’s attention online in the same way that a (decent) human would offline: by creating an interesting back-and-forth conversation, generating interactions and responding to users. Imagine a user who’s totally unaware of your brand, seeing your ad for the first time on their feed and the first piece of communication that brand has with the user is asking them to buy their product. They would question “Who are you? Where do you come from and why would I buy your product?”. Give your audience reasons to like you. Create conversations with them. Provide them with value, again and again. And then if they show enough interest, go for the sale.

Attention. Get that & everything else clicks. That’s the only behaviour you have to trigger in your audience to make your ads work.

What’s All The Fuss About FOMO?

10th October 2018

BUNCH OF GRAPES WITH SMILING FACES. ONE LEFT OFF THE BUNCH, LEFT OUT.

When was the last time you saw a queue outside of what you would call…an ordinary restaurant? Or an “exclusive” concert? Perhaps a pop-up that gives away gluten-free bread outside of a tube station? Quite recently, I suppose. People love queues, don’t they? That uncomfortable feeling of standing up in your feet for several minutes (or hours) while thoroughly investigating someone’s back just to get a glimpse of something…special. Well, not really. This is not something people particularly enjoying doing. But the fear of missing out is so frantically written all over our DNA that it is a far greater “discomfort” for us to miss out on something that we haven’t particularly been invited to than wasting some of our time.

Now how does this tie into social media marketing? Social media is nothing more than our world under a microscope. Sometimes marketers are too close to their own profession and don’t quite remember that it is as simple as that. They treat “social media users” as a different group of people altogether. This doesn’t particularly help since they sometimes fail to tap into human psychology 101. Take your average Facebook ad. How often do you see a call to action that truly lures you in? In 2018, 69.95% of ads have included a CTA – a great jump from 2016’s 51.54% – but what do the rest of the ads (the 30.05%) include? They probably have some nice imagery. However, even if a picture is worth a thousand words, it’s very unlikely you will be always be able to find a golden goose under your Content gallery. Words (or in our world…”copy”) can elevate your ad in a way that your content might not be able to. How? Enter FOMO.

The fear of missing out (FOMO) is nothing new; it’s just that people just love using abbreviations for everything these days. But how do you incorporate FOMO in your marketing efforts? This is not one of these buzzwords you just throw in a client meeting and hoping they get it. This is about you coming up with a “FOMO” proposition around your brand/product/service that’s too strong to pass. In other words, how can you position it in a way that gets people terrified of missing out on it? There is a reason “limited offers” work. It’s all about framing what you offer in a timeframe.AdEspresso recently conducted a Facebook ad experiment to test three of the most popular CTAs; “Sign Up”, “Download Now” and “Learn More”. The “Download Now” CTA outperformed the other two by more than 40% in terms of cost per lead. Time-sensitive words like “now” and “today” work successfully because of the urgency they call out. You also want to make sure you call out your customer. You want to make it personal. According to Hubspot, personalised CTAs perform 202% better than basic CTAs. Words like “you”, “your”, “yours” make your copy instantly more approachable. All of a sudden, the ad is about them! They stop and listen.

And now going deep into the FOMO phenomenon. Take a step back and think: What are people going to miss if they don’t join/download/buy/sign up to what you offer? This is a question that you can only answer after going deep into your social data and understanding who your audience is and where it lives on social. It could be a case where you discover that your main audience is more outgoing and sociable than the average social group. This comes with the assumption that they probably have a lot of friends they care about (and subsequently, care about what they think about them). So you make it about their friends. You run a Facebook ad that is targeting people whose friends have joined YOUR Page and you go in with the hard sell: “Your friend is already part of [enter brand/product/service here]. Isn’t it time for you to join today?”. This is how you take advantage of our hardwired urge to not miss out on anything.

Common-sense marketing tells us we need to exaggerate about whatever we are selling in a way that’s nearly unrealistic. We focus too much on what the end-product is about and how much our brand is worth all the trouble but if you change the narrative, if you flip the mirror, you will realise that the perks of buying into your product/brand/service are a much less persuasive argument than helping people see that if they don’t join you, they will miss out on an opportunity that hasn’t been presented to them before.

The Articles that Killed The Meme?

27th September 2018

Popular meme characters behind the bar of a speakeasy

Last week, members of the European Parliament voted in favour of article 11 and 13 of the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market. Simply put, these laws are like a copyright law and a link tax for the Internet. Of course, the reality of these laws is much more nuanced than that and protecting intellectual property is of course important – but this can get quite murky on the Internet.

While this copyright directive is quite broad, the most controversial articles are 11 and 13 – which were unsurprisingly trending globally on Twitter when MEPs voted in favour of them last week. There was a mixed reaction but sentiment from Internet natives definitely skewed to the negative side.

Take a look at what people are saying about it online, including this tweet from EFF.

Article 11, or the ‘link tax’ as it is more affectionately known aims to ensure that news aggregators and platforms – take large social media platforms for instance – would have to obtain a license from and pay the publishers whose links they publish. Additionally, linking to certain websites using more than one word from the article is prohibited unless you are using a service that bought a license from the news site you want to link to. Critics of this law claim it will lead to censorship in what sorts of links can be shared and publicised, and that smaller fringe publishers who don’t have deals with these large social media giants will suffer. This will also likely impact the free flow of information on the Internet when it comes into play. That said, larger music and media publications may benefit from an additional source of revenue when running ads via these social media websites as they would make money from the links people click on.

While these mega social media corporations may be forced to pay out for link clicks, what does this mean for link click ads on these platforms? They will likely become more expensive, as a way to make the money back. Furthermore, if more than one word from the websites cannot be used, will this lead to even more disinformation and click bait? Will website owners have to mark their websites as ‘free to link to’? All of this is possible. In fact, several questions regarding this entire law arise, of course, but upon first glance this looks quite murky.

Article 13 of the directive is more of a general copyright law which shouldn’t really affect those in the digital and social media marketing industry as long as they use content which they have the license to use. This law, however, is being referred to as the ‘meme ban’ – which can have catastrophic effects on the Internet and meme consumption. Memes are traditionally based on taking something from one context and slightly tweaking it to fit another context. Meme creators never ask for permission from the source before they are published, and are usually made by the general public. Historically, parody has been exempt from these kinds of laws, but we’re unsure what this would mean in the online space especially where memes are concerned. Memes are viral by nature and even attempting to cap that seems impossible. Additionally, how this article of the copyright directive will be implemented is also unclear. Many say this will force social media giants to put up copyright filters before content can be published. Some have argued that this could be another form of censorship.

These copyright laws have been a long time coming as governments have been struggling to catch up with legislation for an incredibly fast-moving new space. Proponents of this law believe that this will lead to a fairer Internet, where copyright law is enforced on social media and whereby corporations such as Facebook and Google will be forced to share their wealth with news companies. What is difficult though is how these laws will be implemented and which websites these social media companies will buy licenses from.

Wherever you may stand on the issue, there will likely be many teething issues if and when these laws are implemented. It is also quite likely that AI will be used to help implement these laws but the success of this really depends on how advanced the AI filters are.

It is also worth noting that this would be a European law and will apply to the EU, and it remains to be seen what will happen to the UK once Brexit actually happens. The Internet however is difficult to govern and borderless. The World Wide Web is built on making the world smaller and connecting people, without borders. The Internet is a difficult world to regulate and this law is still in its youth – but issues surrounding how to regulate censorship of a system built on the free movement of information will continue to arise. It is up to us to ensure we have all the information and that we know how these new laws may potentially affect us – as users of the Internet as well as those that aim to benefit from it.