Wednesday, 26 January 2011

To participate or not to participate that is the question

Brands are beginning to realise that shouting at people via advertising is going to be less and less effective (in many cases). Oh dear, dilemma. It hurts to change the habits of a lifetime! For agencies too, hence the link to Amelia's very cool post on the future of advertising.  The smart bunnies out there have realised or been advised that they need to start curating or facilitating culturally or contextually relevant experiences that deliver advocacy and an always-on trail of hopefully positive left-behind user generated content about that experience. Super.In reality that all means that I'm seeing the next client bandwagons rolling towards me at a pace.

Social media? Pah, we did that last year.

If only I could draw.   I can't,  so words will have to do.

Participation. Content production.

It's not new thinking, but they are becoming the new buzzwords as the client requests roll in more and more frequently. Not that that is necessarily a bad thing. BUT before everyone gets over-excited, it's worth taking a step back and thinking about what motivates consumers to participate, what's the value exchange, and where does your brand fit in the grand scheme of a consumer's busy daily life?

If the value exchange is right, they'll take part, if it's not, they won't or will do so to a lesser degree. Take me personally as a case study:  I got involved with the Orange WinterWarmer Twitter fun over the last few days (see earlier posts), - new case study material was enough to make me take part actively. It wasn't because I am a huge brand advocate of Orange. Far from in fact,  based on a previous experience. The effort involved in participating & recording what happened was easily outweighed by the value and benefit of an interesting story to tell my past and future delegates.

I have a much better opinion of Eurostar, who did actually eventually listen & respond to a problem I had with them last year, yet despite being willing to re-post their latest "lamest excuse" participation based initiative on Facebook (which I have), there's no way I have enough motivation or time to actually get involved.  Making a video in the day and half time limit is just an ask too far relative to my perception of the chances of me winning some Eurostar tickets. (Not that I think the idea behind it is necessarily a bad one).

So with that relative scale of involvement levels in mind, before you go rushing off brainstorming content ideas against that just-in brief,  I would urge you to read a great post from the talented gang at Made by Many, because I've been teaching and preaching this stuff for ages and as they've nicely written it up its inefficient to re-invent sliced bread.

Once you've done that go and read this interesting post from BBH labs (that links to another one worth reading too) on the subject of collaborative consumption.

Then, as I'm aggregating useful and interesting things to read, sit down with a cup of tea and read Wired's recent piece on social commerce.

After which, move on from cups of tea to something stronger and put the pieces together in your head before you even start to tackle another comms planning brief.  I bet the output will be different.

Good, stimulating, thinky stuff!

Friday UPDATE: Well it's 4 hours before the competition closes, there's 12 videos contributed. So following the wisdom of an article I read recently about picking the seemingly less attractive options, chances are you stand a higher chance of winning because  there's likely to be fewer entrants you can do pretty well. Had I had the time to make the video and could galvanise all my various networks to vote my chances of winning would actually be reasonable. The most voted for currently has 1.6k votes.  As ever with these things, if you can get someone sociable and influential to enter and then garner their own networks to leverage then your message gets spun out without you as a brand doing much at all. It's a formula I've seen time and time again now, - think Walkers do us a flavour or the best job in the world campaign by Queensland Tourism. It's simple and it works.

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