The London Olympics – More 1984 than 2012!

It seems that, yet again, common sense has been dispensed with as a new rule designed to protect the rights of official London 2012 sponsors seems to have been extended to the general public.  According to an article on Mashable visitors to the games this summer could find themselves on the wrong side of the law for posting pictures of non-sponsor brands on social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus.

The idea of the new rules were designed to stop firms from piggy-backing the event at the expense of ‘official’ sponsors that have paid to advertise or promote their brands to visitors to the show.  I have no problem with this being implemented within Olympic venues. Many stadiums already operate on this basis on property that they own, by banning companies from promoting their products without paying for the privilege… but a blanket bans on any business using the words Olympics 2012 on any promotion seems to be madness.  Stopping visitors from posting pictures or tweeting about their experiences seems plain crazy!  It is also, in my opinion, unenforceable.

It’s also likely to backfire – and could result in a significant amount of negative feeling towards official sponsors from visitors, viewers and business owners in London.  One of the legacies of The Games is, I thought, that it provides a boost the host country’s economy… but if nobody can mention the event for fear of ending up in court, London could be the first to have a negative impact!

Organizers have billed London ‘The First Social Media Olympics’… they might have the right to claim it, but if they implement these new rules, it’s unlikely to live up to the billing!


The Rules of Viral Success

It’s a question I get asked frequently, to which my response is, ‘it’s easy’. ‘Really?’ I see people’s faces light up… ‘Yes,’ I say. ‘All you have to do is create a piece of content that people want to watch and share.’  At this point the smile usually disappears.

The problem is that, in the B2B space at least, all too often companies are more interested in including their message, their logo, their CEO, their product pitch… than they are engaging the viewer or creating content that people want to watch and share.  I try to explain that the success of a video – certainly one that might be viewed by thousands – or millions – of people isn’t about promoting the maker or a product or service, but about engaging the viewer.

I’ve already talked about the success of the Chipotle brand video, which has been viewed by millions on YouTube. Given the target market – the general public – you could say it’s an easier job for a B2C business to achieve viral success for a video. On that basis, there should be a lot more successful viral videos from consumer brands than there are. It all comes back to engaging the audience.

So, here’s an example of a successful B2B viral video. How many of you know what Corning does? How many of you have seen the video, ‘A Day Made of Glass’? It’s been viewed by more than 18 million people – the majority of whom had no idea what the company sells.

You might ask how has this helped Corning’s business. After all, how many of the 18 million views are by potential customers? Not very many, admittedly. But, the follow-up – a video entitled ‘A Day in Glass 2: Unpacked’, which contains details about the company’s products, key messages and positioning statements has been viewed almost 700,000 times. How many of those viewers are potential Corning customers? Probably quite a few!!

I’ll post an explanation of why Corning’s video went viral over the next couple of days.  In the mean time, if you want to find out how you can increase your chances of creating a viral success get in touch…

Has RIM lost its nerve?

Be Bold, proclaim the latest Research in Motion adverts… and for a moment it seemed that the company had taken its own advice.  Reporting another dire quarter, a clear out of several senior executives, including co-founder Jim Balsillie, RIM appeared also to be turning its attention back to its core Enterprise customers and giving up on its efforts to conquer the consumer market currently owned by Apple’s iPhone and Android devices.

Just hours later, however, RIM stepped back from this – announcing in a blog that it remained committed to the consumer market.  What happened to ‘Be Bold’?

I wrote a couple of weeks ago that I believed that RIM itself was the biggest threat to the ongoing success of the company. I thought, it had, perhaps seen the light… giving itself a chance at redemption… sadly, it appears intent on pressing the self-destruct button.  Unless RIM does what it implores its customers and prospects to do, the company’s fortunes will, I believe, continue their downward spiral.

Here are a few reason’s why RIM’s continued failure to drop its designs on the consumer market and refocus its efforts on the Enterprise market will eventually be its downfall:

  • Continued confusion over messaging, resulting in a failure to connect with both customers and would-be BlackBerry-ers
  • A lack of targeted apps to appeal to either corporate or consumer customers
  • Compromised handset design – is it a serious productivity tool, a consumer ‘toy’ or a hybrid that fails to appeal to either customer group
  • Disillusionment of employees and a failure to attract the top talent needed to make RIM great again
  • A perception [and reality?] that RIM is continuously playing catch-up to iOS and Android devices
  • Erosion of its existing Enterprise client base, as BYOD strategies become increasingly common
  • Falling sales
  • Falling stock price

Unless it takes its own advice and is Bold… soon, Canada will lose another a tech institution – most likely to Apple.  Sooner, rather than later. C’mon RIM – #BeBold

Move over iPhone… BlackBerry is the biggest threat to $BBRY!

I’ve been watching RIM closely for a number of years… hoping that they’d turn things around.  I’m a self-confessed Mac fanboy, but I own a Blackberry – my third – and I recently chose to replace my old Bold for a new 9900 model.  Why?  Because it does what I need it to do for business [mobile email, social networking, browsing].  I don’t want to carry two phones… have two numbers… so my personal preference takes a back seat.  While many business users may want to use their personal ‘idevices’ for business purposes, their employers may not.

There’s a saying in marketing… ‘own your niche’.  Do what you do well and market it to your target audience – in RIMs case, that’s Enterprise email.  Refocusing on its strengths could be the saviour of RIM.  Also, while it fails to own it’s niche [the not insubstantial mobile Enterprise email market],  choosing instead to chase the consumer mass-market, RIM risks somebody else – Google, Microsoft/Nokia or Apple, for example – developing a competitive email offering and beating them at their own game.

When RIM replaced its joint CEOs in January, I hoped that this would signal a change in strategy and, in turn, the fortunes of the company.  I’ve long said that it needs to give up trying to be a contender to the iPhone’s [or the iPad’s, for that matter] crown in the handset and tablet markets, and return to its roots   Why?  Because, in my opinion, it is never going to compete with Apple’s device and, I believe, continuing to lose this battle can only do the company’s reputation and financial performance significant damage.

RIM implores consumers to #BeBold in it’s marketing.  Perhaps it needs to take it’s own advice…

A glass and a half of pure brand advertising genius!

As part of my recent thinking about the importance of brand – and intelligent brand advertising – I wanted to share what I believe is one of the best examples ever.  I won’t spoil it for the first time viewer by telling you too much about it before the fold but it was raised many an eye from colleagues and friends who grew up outside of the UK.  I remind them that they weren’t the intended audience… the millions of children that grew up seeing the infamous ‘a glass and a half’ slogan on the side of every Cadbury’s chocolate bar they’d ever eaten was.

Initially run as a 90 second TV spot the video very quickly went viral.

One of the marketing team behind the advert was asked what the point of the advert was, to which he is reported to have replied, ‘it’s a Gorilla playing the drums… that’s the point’.     Brand advertising at its simplest – and its best.

New iPad is another piece in Apple’s bid to change the face of TV

What do you think to the new iPad announced yesterday?  What about the updates to Apple TV?  For those wanting an Apple television and a revolutionary new iPad the announcement was, perhaps, an anti-climax but it was another marketing masterclass from the Cupertino-based company.  Yesterday’s announcements were, I believe, more about Apple putting the final pieces of its strategy in place for its attempt, later in the year, to revolutionize the television industry.

In recent years TV Everywhere – all your content on every device, when you want it – has become the latest service for Pay TV operators and telecommunications service providers looking to reduce churn and increase revenues.  Increasingly consumers are demanding 1080p [true HD] as the default resolution.  Apple’s iPad and TV updates yesterday play to  the launch of its own TV Everywhere later in the year… and yes, it’s likely that there’ll also be an Apple television before the end of the year.

HD video on Apple TV + a second 1080p resolution companion screen + Apple TV HD + iCloud + a revolutionary Siri-powered EPG + a large screen Apple television = an insanely awesome TV service?  The creation of an ecosystem that makes it easy to store content between pre-integrated devices is a critical part of Apple’s desires on the TV industry.  Oh, and there’s also likely to be some smart marketing!

Iconic Brands that disappeared… the question is, why?

This is an interesting article from CNBC that looks at iconic brands that disappeared.  There are a number of questions that it raises: what makes a brand iconic, and why do once household brands lose their appeal.

Over the next few days I’m going to publish a number of posts looking at the topic of brand and offer some advice on how to build, retain and grow a brand that will win the hearts and minds of your prospects, customers and the press.

What were your favourite brands that disappeared and what was it that made you loyal to them?


2012 – The year online brand advertising comes of age?

I came across this video at the launch of Deloitte TMT Predictions 2012 a few weeks ago and I’ve been wanting to post about it ever since.  2012 is, according to Deloitte, going to be huge for online brand advertising.  One of the major strengths of this is that the Chipotle brand is only on-screen for between seven and ten seconds – the rest communicates the message… beautifully!

The result is that, at the time of posting, almost six million people have seen the advert on YouTube alone.  Six million x 7 seconds is… a lot!

Are there any other examples of amazing online brand adverts you know of?