Myth-busting brand communications

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McDonald’s Canada is being transparent. That is to say it is going out and answering even seemingly awkward questions as directly as it can. 

The results are disarming, even charming at times.

Whether it is explaining how French Fries are made or how photos of Big Macs in ads differ from the actual product

According to Fast Co-Create

Since the campaign began, McDonald’s Canada has fielded more than 14,000 questions and responded with text on the website, photos, and the YouTube videos, which have earned millions of views. There are currently 7,100 questions and answers live on the site.

When there are lots of myths around a big brand, it’s a very good idea to go and bust as many of them as you can… 

 

Reckitt’s strategic approach to Facebook marketing

Reckitt Benckheiser is taking social media seriously enough to start joint business planning with Facebook, according to AdAge:

Reckitt Benckiser, like other packaged-goods players, has long done business planning with major retailers such as Walmart and Target, where it maps out long-term promotional products and marketing programs. Now, RB is applying the concept to Facebook. (more…)

Distant reading and listening

Data, we have no shortage of in digital communications – meaning can be harder come by much of the time. In listening to online conversations, very often sentiment analysis is the stand-in for meaning, even though it is flawed and hard to verify without human intervention. 

Reading about Stanford Literary Lab‘s distant reading method today got me thinking about that problem. Distant reading is data analysis of literature – computers can learn to spot genres for instance:

People recognize, say, Gothic literature based on castles, revenants, brooding atmospheres, and the greater frequency of words like “tremble” and “ruin.” Computers recognize Gothic literature based on the greater frequency of words like . . . “the.” Now, that’s interesting. It suggests that genres “possess distinctive features at every possible scale of analysis.” More important for the Lit Lab, it suggests that there are formal aspects of literature that people, unaided, cannot detect.

Naturally they look at networks and relationships between words – the method… 

…turns characters into nodes (“vertices” in network theory) and their verbal exchanges into connections (“edges”). A lot goes by the wayside in this transformation, including the content of those exchanges and all of Hamlet’s soliloquies (i.e., all interior experience); the plot, so to speak, thins. But Moretti claims his networks “make visible specific ‘regions’ within the plot” and enable experimentation. (What happens to Hamlet if you remove Horatio?)

It looks like CrisisVu, a Twitter monitoring service  may also be thinking along these lines. 

: : Also worth reading is the Los Angeles Review of Books article Literature is not Data: Against Digital Humanities (hat tip to Andrew Sullivan). 

New ad models for indie content?

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After a comprehensive analysis of the state of display advertising (worth a read in itself), John Battelle is agitiating for a new advertising model for individual bits of content can be monetised, which…

…attaches value to an individual piece of content, such that the piece of content is monetized as it travels around the web, getting reposted, tweeted, shared on Facebook, pinned on Pinterest, and so forth. Such a model is incredibly difficult to create, but not impossible. I promised a follow up post. (more…)

Metered media

Kevin Anderson looks at the online paid media landscape and says one business model is emerging as a leader:

Metered – This model allows casual readers to read some content for free, but then asks readers to pay after they have read their monthly allowance. This is the model the Financial Times has used for years, and this was the model that the New York Times chose.

This works for me as a user or reader.

Every now and again I have a subscription cull when I realise I am paying for too many things I am not reading or using enough. Metered models mean you end up paying when you realise you really are getting value from a particular site or service.

Forrester on paid content

A new Forrester report says that people paying for ad-free content is undermining the efficacy of advertising still further. 

I’ve blogged about it on the Brilliant Noise blog

There are no shortage of opportunities to buy media space – the real estate, as it were is increasing – it is just that the attention you will find there is dwindling -as in, there’s less people looking at it – and shallow people avoid the ads (skipping, blocking) or shift their focus three quarters have another screen right in front of them while they are watching TV, for instance.

The conclusion? Brands need to invest in their ability to create, curate and distribute content, or “content capabilities” as Forrester puts it.  

Short blog post tips from @adders

Adam's response to my response as it were, has two super-practical principles for getting short blog posts written:

  1. Connect the thought “that's interesting” with the action of writing the blog post as closely as you can. Don't leave tabs mouldering in your browser, don't leave draft posts in your drafts folder. Get it done, and get out.
  2. Be very clear what the point you want to make is, make it and quit. Over a while, the various pots will built into a narrative of the issue you're exploring – and you can bring that narrative to a peak, if not a climax, by writing that longer post. But save that until the point where the creative damn is going to burst, by letting some pressure out over time with those short posts.

Absolutely.