$100 campaigns

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I love this  “ship early, ship often” approach social content from Lars Silberbauer, head of social media and search at Lego, shared at Social Media Week London

Describing how Lego created its social marketing campaigns, he said: “We start out by creating $100 campaigns. We of course do TV ads and have a lot of budget but I want people to think differently about social.”

The idea of the $100 spend came about as Silberbauer wanted his team to think more about the dynamic of the content and not just the spend available. The number was decided as he asked his team to empty their pockets, and the value of change held by the group was almost $100.

“Pilot and scale” is a planning mantra at Brilliant Noise. I’d like to try out a few $100 campaigns – it’s a neat way to constrain and get you trying out ideas.

From the mind of Tom Peters

Sometimes a slide deck gives you clues to how the author’s mind works, but the latest “Master Presentation” from management thinker Tom Peters gives you almost everything. Huge knowledge, experience, exuberance and insight at one-hundred miles a second. 

I picked out a few of my fabourite quotes he uses in his 567-slide – that’s not a typo, I said five hundred and sixty seven – state-of-the-nation-that-is-his-brain document. Be aware, the empahsis is on content over style in the deck – the colours are vivid

Gorgeously, he implores you, Faris-like to: “steal me blind”… Will do, Tom. 

If you want to be wrong, the internet will never let you down

On the subject of connectedness and anxiety, I really loved this article by Megan Garber in The Atlantic – Everything: Your’re Doing It Wrong.

“You’re doing it wrong” started as a meme and became a journalistic cliché, she says:

We should probably stop with all this. The headlines are cheeky, sure, but in the aggregate, they are simply sad. In the name of helping people out, we have become a group of wanton, finger-wagging judgers. Which, no matter the particular moral or ethical code you subscribe to, is probably doing it wrong.

As well as being a bit of cliché headlinese and a meme, it reinforces a law of expressing opinion online – there will always be someone who thinks you’re wrong. You need to be ready for that – “get a thicker skin”, was one of the rules in my book. If you’re in a particularly self-critical mode or feeling vulnerable and unsure, maybe don’t go looking for it. If you want to be wrong, the web will always help you out.

Hat tip: Raju Narisetti

Doomed to deride the language of the next generation

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Image: Instruments of literacy – never what they used to be…

Tucking into the delights of Steven Pinker’s book about writing, The Sense of Style, I fixed on this note about the glum, cyclical outrage we’re all doomed to serve up about a younger generation’s inability to use their language well:

According to the English scholar Richard Lloyd-Jones, some of the clay tablets deciphered from ancient Sumerian include complaints about the deteriorating writing skills of the young.

Reminds me of the opening of Tom Standage’s Writing on the Wall, when he noted that the Greek philosophers were a bit worried about the effect the new technology of reading and writing would have on young minds. Standage relates how, in the Seventh Letter and the Phaedrus, Plato argued against the written word…

writing undermines the need to remember things and weakens the mind, creating “forgetfulness in the learners’ souls, because they will not use their memories; they will trust to the external written characters and not remember of themselves.”

I remember hearing the same sort of nonsense about calculators when I was at school and, Standage says, we see it again in popular criticisms of the internet, Google and social media…

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Blah, blah… meh.

Language and media evolve always and affect one another in turn. As I get older I want to remember this, and not waste any breath talking about how the next generations are clueless.

Neuroscience bringing work culture to its senses

Interesting video from the Financial Times – an interview with Tara Swart, a neuroscientist and coach who teaches at business schools.

For those who care to pay attention, neuroscience has been able to back up a great deal of common sense in the workplace, and may even begin to counter the ridiculous long-hours-as-status-sginifier that began in the 1980s and plagues us still.

What sort of common sense? Well, that we are none of us superhumans. That we can’t work 80 hour weeks and not suffer a lot of ill consequences, many of them in the quality of the work we do. That we are unable to multi-task without making lots of errors, unable to make high quality decisions if we don’t sleep enough, get nutrition, hydration and, you know, have a life…

On the sleep point, Ms Swart remarks in the video: “A lot of lawyers are very surprised when I tell them that.”

All so obvious, but without some data, some science to back it up, we’ve suffered stupid-work and presenteeism as defaults in the workplace for too long.

I also like the emphasis Ms Swart puts on the importance of  habits and growing new ones. You need structure to help you grow new habits, a professional coach or an app connected to wearable devices can help with this. I’ve found reading, talking better working habits openly with colleagues, peers and coaches have all worked well. For getting more sleep and not being so sedentary – a wearable device has indeed been very useful.

 

Crypto-consumers

The fact that Ad Blocker and similar plug-ins have long been top of the charts for browser extensions gave us a clue to what people like online: an absence of advertising.

What then, to make of the Red Onion Tor Browser – a web browser that makes it hard for digital eavesdroppers to see what you are doing online – being number 11 in the iOS App Store paid chart?

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Probably that people don’t like being spied on by Big Brother’n’Big Brands. Another signal – along with things like the Cryptoparty movement that increasing numbers of people are looking at how to take personal privacy more seriously. Here’s some excerpts from a piece I wrote a couple of months ago for the IAB Future Trends report on The Future of Data (and also blogged about at Brilliant Noise):

Ain’t no party like a cryptoparty

Last month I saw a warning from the near future for brands. I was at something called a Cryptoparty, one of hundreds happening every month around the world where activists teach ordinary people how to lock down their personal data online and avoid the perceived twin evils of Big Brother and big brands.

A nice man called Chris quickly taught me how to encrypt my email, web browsing and instant messaging. In 2008 the founder of Facebook predicted that the amount of information people shared online would double every year. Zuckerberg’s Law as it was inevitably named, was part of the spirit of openness and increasing transparency that had been sweeping through the web and our personal lives since the first glimmerings of social media as mass media took hold in the early Noughties.

That wave may now be breaking with some violence on the rocks of the Snowden revelations of mass surveillance by the US and its allies, along with the clumsy efforts of governments and corporations to take advantage of the big data bonanza to peer into the lives of citizens and consumers.

Marketers have been lazy and clumsy in their use of customer data to date. Even floating the idea for this article met with indifference and denial from my peers – consumers couldn’t give a fig about privacy, is the gist of some individuals’ feelings on the matter.

Things move fast on the web, however, and soon enough Martin Sorrell was telling Ad Week Europe that the Snowden scandal was going to hit brands harder than they thought and that “people are underestimating its significance among consumers.”

At the Cryptoparty, I learned that there are a mass of apps and services you can use securely, but as soon as I try them a big downside becomes clear. They are slow, clunky and lack the features of free services like those from Google, Microsoft and Apple, for instance.

I point this out to Chris. “People think my machine is broken when try it,” he admits cheerfully, “But it’s just very secure.”[…]

Last word to Sir Martin: “We want to be more respectful of privacy and also want to monetise our audiences our way. Being more focused on privacy is not bad for business, it can be good.”

We may not reach a stage where everyone cares about online privacy enough to download a Tor browser or a VPN like Cloak to their smartphone, but the number of people who do is likely to grow, even become a significant minority.