Transmedia Thoughts by Frenchie in Pink Collar

Inside the mind of a bulldog.

Look at me, I'm so cute with my pink collar nicely posing for the eponymous travel bloggers Uncornered Market, Yes, I know you think I'm looking at you because I want some of your delicious looking food, but I really have this quizzacal look slnce I'm trying to figure out what you'll do with this photo?

I know lots of people take a photo of me since bulldogs sell but is there any other reason?

Are you, Uncornered Market, just going to post this photo on your blog and share with bulldogmi? And yes, bulldogs know about blogs.

Will you do a video?

Will you do a blog entry?

Will you tweet? Will you post me on facebook?

Will you build an ARG that use me? Yes...again...bulldogs are smart and we've heard of ARGs.

Will you include me in your cookbook? Argh!

Are you going to build a story around me?

Can I be the central point for some form of Uncornered Market transmedia? Or will I just be used for social media? Is there any difference? If I'm shared then I'm shared. Is it that simple or do you have to build a larger story that can be built on different platforms to be transmedia.

Where does transmedia start and cross media end? Or are they one in the same? Does it all come down to a story? Aren't I building a story right now?

Oh, it is so complicated for a poor bulldog to understand...and this is why I have this look on my face.

Good luck Uncornered Market on using my photo for whatever reasons you can think of (this is my model release for you to use on a future TV show). I'll just keep on getting worked up about transmedia, cross media, social media and the like. These are my own transbrand issues.

Squirrel!!! (It's right next to me).

Design Thinking Looks to the Crowd (for answers?)

I blurted out to an associate last week, “Hey...look...now IDEO is doing crowdsourcing” and he said, “So, now they’ve gone to decision by committee too.”

Now, I’m not sure if this is necessarily a committee decision, but I do find it intriguing that the two leading design thinking have created their own crowdsourcing pages. IDEO has developed OpenIDEO and there’s the FrogMob from Frog Design.

Their approaches to crowdsourcing are different. Frog is using the collective to create the world’s largest set of “ethnographers.” They’re opening up their research process to “see what they can’t see on their own.” I assume with the goal that this will help produce a better end deliverable. The challenge becomes who edits the mob?

OpenIDEO is a bit more expansive. It takes the crowd through 3 1/2 stages of creative development: Inspiration, conception, refinement (that’s the 1/2) and evaluation. Members of the crowd can find out how the quality of their participation via their Design Quotient (DQ). And they’re tackling big issues like Jamie Oliver’s project to make kids aware of more healthy food options.

I prefer Frog’s method of leveraging the crowd as a research resource. OpenIDEO seems a bit more on the promotional side and I was a bit thrown off on IDEO’s site since “bulldogmi” was taken as a username. The latter fact is crazy...there is only one bulldogmi.

In the end, they both show the importance for companies to become aggregators of the crowd. Is crowdsourcing, just the buzzword du jour or is it something that can truly be effective?

US Soccer & The Branding of America

“I always turn to the sports pages first, which records people's accomplishments. The front page has nothing but man's failures.” -Earl Warren

Landon Donavon’s goal does not solve America’s problem with the BP oil spill, two wars or the quotes of a diva general and his posse, but it does ring a bright note into American’s daily life.

The US is not the most talented soccer team and it was lucky with the goal against England, but clearly had some bad luck with ref calls too. In a span of four minutes, America goes from an afterthought in a sport in which it typically does not excel to becoming the most talked about team in the world. As an American living in Prague, Czechs, Slovaks, Germans, Brits are all abuzz about the US football team more than any other. And it’s not so much that they’re successful but it’s in the way they’re playing since it represents the best aspects of the American brand: persistence, teamwork, never say die spirit, hope.

It's the part of America that sometimes gets lost in the shuffle of world politics. It's the American brand that the world respects the most. And it's highlighted because of one goal in penalty time. So, sports does make a difference on the world stage. And it's a lot better than how the French portrayed their brand.

“We embody what America is all about. We believe." -Landon Donovan

Apple's iStrategy - the "i"s have it

Given the iPhone 4.0 launch there’s been a lot of talk among friends and colleagues about Apple’s iPhone strategy. At our last pancake party, one of my iHater friends insisted that Android’s success (and strategy) heralded the death knell of Apple in the smart phone market. In class last week, my students questioned Apple’s walled garden approach. Surely it had already failed spectacularly in the 20th Century, when Apple lost the computer wars against Microsoft. How could it sustain itself the 21st Century?
 
But the Apple garden of the 90s is not the garden of today. And iOS4 shows us clearly that Apple has learned its gardening lessons well.
 
Yes, the latest iPhone feature set is pretty fabulous: longer battery life, front-facing camera for video calls, high definition video, gyroscope, multitasking and more. All of these features add up to a super phone with real advances over its predecessors. But strategically, Apple’s most important feature upgrade is the repositioning of its operating system from iPhone OS to iOS 4. It’s not just for phones any more. It’s for the iPad, it’s for iPod, and it’s for iDevelopers.
 
By expanding the functionality of their OS, Apple increases the size of their iTunes ecosystem. More iProducts means more developers. More developers lead to more content and more users. More developers and more customers encourage Apple to create more iProducts. It’s a network effect in practice. Can any other phone manufacturer talk about their $1 Billion check to the development community? What about the 100 million iOS devices on which consumers use and buy content? This is Apple’s offensive and defensive weapon against Android and the pure mobile phone ecosystem.
 
Apple failed in the ‘90s when they lost the developer community. This time around, Apple has learned how to make money for content developers. And as long as Apple can provide incentives for the developer market, here at Bulldogmi, we’re betting their dominance will continue.

The i’s will have it, indeed.

The LOST Conversation - What marketers can learn from LOST

The Lost Conversation (Prepared for The Next Web)
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In late April, I presented the LOST Conversation at The Next Web as part of their Pecha Kucha series. The 6:40 talk was not about the mythology of LOST but a case study on what marketers can learn from LOST.

LOST premiered in Fall 2004 (Ironically, about the same time I moved from San Francisco to Prague...). Imagine...this is before Facebook, Twitter or, really even MySpace were known. At the time, social media was getting a request to join Friendster at the time. As Web 2.0 emerged and evolved so did the sophistication of the way LOST communicated with its fans.

One can view the evolution of marketing in the 00’s through the lens of the the TV show:

4. Tradition...Tradition...Tradition
LOST started with a very traditional campaign for the launch of a TV series about a mysterious plane crash. They used print, TV bumpers, press, TV critics, etc. A majority of the reviews were excellent, many focussed on the large budget and J.J. Abrams involvement. Due to a great product and effective marketing campaign, LOST opened to great ratings.

LOST continues to use traditional marketing and you can really see the use of PR over the last two weeks in the amount of guest appearances, articles and shows. Marketers appear to be on the social media bandwagon...however, it’s only a part of your marketing mix. Many clients now come to me for social media expertise. They think you can create a facebook page and then everything will go viral, however, you can’t forget all of the traditional tools. It’s just a marketer’s approach that has to evolve.

8. Grow Organic & Interact
During Season 2, the producers of LOST, Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, noticed how fans got “geeked” out when they pontificated about a scene with a Shark that has the Dharma logo on it. “Darlton” had clearly been developing a mythology but now they determined that fans needed become an organic part of the show.

The ability of the fans to interact with the show defines LOST. Red Herrings, ambiguity, loose ends are not necessarily created to advance the story but instead to spur discussion within the LOST community.

Given this fact, the producers have always been willing to engage in the most up-to-date interactive & social media tools be it widgets, a producer-led podcast, blogs, vidcast and most notably one of the first ARGs (alternative reality game). The LOST Experience ARG allowed devoted fans to dive deeper into the mythology of LOST via websites, in-store promos & events.

15. Enable Your Fans
Now, given the pre-determined, organic nature of the show to be interactive with fans, LOST enabled fans to spread the word farther and more effectively than they could do on their own.

One of the first things you see is the emergence of the LOST bible via their own wiki at LOSTpedia. Anything and everything LOST can be found here.

In the traditional media, you see the emergence of Entertainment Weekly’s  Doc Jensen. DocJensen starts to do a deep dive into mythology and theories. He points out the significance of names, books, etc. And as a traditional entertainment magazine, he also gains access to producers and actors. Most of the theories are offered online not necessarily in the magazine.

You also start to see the rise of a great number of fan sites and podcast including: The LOST Podcast with Jay & Jack, DocArzt, DarkUFO  and many more. The sites cover a variety of areas including but not limited to episode details, photos, videos, mythology & spoilers. Anything and everything for the hard core and casual LOST fan alike.

Naturally, LOST is a big star at “geek” events like Comic-Con where fans can interact with each other in a real world locale. However, the LOST producers push it a bit farther by displaying both Fan-Generated videos as well as content  specifically for hard core fans at the show. They go a bit beyond the typical panel discussion.

Again, fans create this level of co-created content because of the marketing decision to make fans an organic part of the show. They’re not simply fans, they’re participants in the LOST brand.

16. Enable Your Employees
One of the more interesting LOST blogs is Jorge Garcia’s Dispatches from the Island and Geronimo Jack's Beard. Jorge plays Hugo Reyes one of the Losties. Jorge dishes on LOST, his experiences in Hawaii and just general stuff. It’s interesting to get a backstage pass into an actor’s daily life and insight on the show.

The other day I was a speaker at an HR conference on the use of social media. And 95% of the companies said they don’t allow their employees to access or use social media at work. Basically, I said all of the companies were too obsessed with IT manager worries and time management concerns. The more excited “employees” are about their job, the more excited they’re about the products they sell, the more they talk about them, the more excited consumers will be about the product being sold. LOST is an example of this. Another great case study would be Zappos.

23. Rewards...Rewards...Rewards
Another reason for the marketing success of LOST is the reward structure provided to fans. For every fan interaction that they’ve created, LOST offers interested fans a bonus of some type.

The first set of perks for hard core fans is the chance to learn more about the secrets of LOST. For example, the LOST Experience ARG gave the hard core fan greater access to dig deep into the mythology of the program.

In addition, user generated content from podcasts like Jay & Jack started to get access to producers, actors & other LOST fans. Typically, only traditional media would get these interviews. However, LOST realizes that interactivity with the fans defines the show, thus the reward to fans benefits the brand.

These two items are largely intangible benefits. Before the start of this last season the producers were able to offer unique tangible awards via the Damon, Carlton and a Polar Bear website. In another ARG, fans would have the opportunity to gain limited edition prints created by top designers and artists, who were also fans of the show.

Over time, LOST has been able to reward items of greater value to fans based on the organic interaction they’ve developed. This creates a viral loop generating network effects for the brand.

42. Build an Economy
You can often see success in a product or brand with it’s ability to develop an economy. Some classics are the Apple economy, the ebay economy, and the Grateful Dead economy. LOST has also been able to build an economy that will allow it to survive and thrive even after the LOST episode.

Naturally, there is iTunes and DVD sales. Then you have the LOST book club based on books that appeared on the show and are the basis for the mythology. The limited edition posters can be found at the LOST Underground Art Show offers fans another opportunity to find a unique prize. You also see that more successful fan sites are turning their fan experiences into profit making opportunities

I find this concept of “Economy” creation important since this is something that is often not seen to be a marketing goal. For example, the mobile industry (despite all my efforts) never understood the need to build an economy for developers and consumers and the major reason why mobile has failed in content.

108. It’s LOST...How does it apply to my brand?
When I’ve presented this case study to conferences like The Next Web or friends the same question pops up. Isn’t LOST totally unique given it’s a TV show with a team of writers who can create a story? To a certain extent LOST is unique...just like any successful brand like Zappos, Apple, Zipcars, etc. is unique, however, there are clear lessons that can be learned that can be represented by 4 8 15 16 23 42 above.

The groundswell of fan activity took time but there was a commitment to have fans be an organic part of the show via engagement, interactivity and rewards.

Many are saying that LOST represents the end of an era in network TV development. It is interesting to note at this same time where LOST is considered to the last of its kind, it has simultaneously ushered in a new framework and model for marketers to emulate with their own brands.

Hotel V loves bulldogs...

...but there not showing them off on their site.

I was in Amsterdam earlier in the week for the Next Web. The hotel headquarters for the event were the Hotel V. Imagine my delight and surprise when I was greeted by Hotel V's English Bulldog.

However, I was disappointed on why Hotel V did not have any photos of their bulldog on their site or in any of their marketing materials.

Hotel V please embrace your bulldog. Show him off (even if he's only a piece of art). I guarantee you'll see an increase of 15% in your occupancy at minimum.

Bulldogs Sell!!!

Q: Why is there a bulldog in this adidas ad?

A: Because, bulldogs sell. Sure, the shoes are nice, but the bulldog makes the ad really sing.


We've completed our redesign...so, bulldogmi has a slightly new look and organization. Expect to see a bit more blogging.

Also, please send me any photos where bulldogs are used in marketing or advertising send to me and I'll post it here.

Why Google's Super Bowl ad works and proves Microsoft is the Jay Leno of tech

After about a 6 month blog hiatus due to a twitter-only sabbatical...I'm back...and naturally, I want to talk about the biggest marketing-pop culture collision out there --- the Super Bowl...and specifically, Google's Parisian Love.

The first thought for many is why would Google do a TV ad in the first place? As Ben Kunz tweeted, "I'm so glad Google informed the world tonight that you can search at google.com for information. Who knew?" And many noted, how this was a Google "Oh shit...we better do something" response to Microsoft's Bing advertising. The price of a Super Bowl ad to Google is like pulling lint out of our pocket for us normal folk....so it's not a matter of cost or a matter of awareness. It's a matter of pop-culture immersion.

According to BrandBowl (brought to you by Mullen and Radian6), Google's ad ranked #2 overall and number 1 in terms of positive sentiment. In 60 seconds, Google was able to tell a very simple story of Parisian Love via search. It's a story that can easily capture viewer's imagination, but it's also a future piece of co-creation. In 60 seconds, Google shows the Super Bowl audience that Google is a part of everyone daily life. Google is pop-culture.

In terms of co-creation, we can imagine numerous parodies that will just extend Google's story. Sure, there may be some negative imitations but Google's story can withstand the scrutiny. My personal favorite is Slate's, Is Tiger Feeling Lucky?

I then thought about Dick Brass's great Op-Ed piece about Microsoft in New York Times last week in combination with Jay Leno's appearance in the great Late Show SB Ad and his Jimmy Kimmel encounter. Jay Leno has an insatiable need to be liked. It's clear given how Letterman and Kimmel keep on hammering him but he takes it in a "Hey...I'm ok with this." He might be ok but can't he come up with some witty humor as well. The fact is he can't...Leno can no longer innovate. He left the Late Show with better ratings than Letterman, but he has not been funny since the 90's. He just has a series of unfunny knock offs that he continues just milks. When put into a new environment (a 10pm slot) he fails. If he has to change or innovate he fails.

Brass articulates that Microsoft is being left behind in the Innovation race due to company politics and internal organization. This can be clearly seen in the development of Xbox, the Zune and their recent advertising efforts with bing and Windows 7. The ads have water down messages for the masses, have a "been there seen that" feel and are clearly based on a traditional 90s media plan strategy. They don't really create stories that can be leverage online.

Just like Leno wants to be liked, Microsoft appears to have this insatiable needs to be liked by consumers. However, they'll never be loved by consumers...that's just not Microsoft's bag. Microsoft is a brand for developers, consumers really only use it since they don't really have any other choice. And just like Leno's Tonight Show ratings...Microsoft continues to make billions via Windows and Office, but they seem largely stuck in the 90s. Google looks to the future...Microsoft looks to the past. Nothing more proves this than the Seinfeld series of ads. You can say "future" in the ad, but everyone knows Seinfeld (and I love Seinfeld) says 90's....

the big picture: traditional "Messaging" vs. social "Meaning"

3M's

As marketers, we can now examine our communications plan in more of a social context while keeping an eye on the big picture. I'm building on the original David Armano post re the social engagement spectrum...I've added the component of non-traditional marketing to create four areas which make up a marketing communications plan. I've also added some elements regarding a marketer's control, the use of digital and the degree of social engagement. It comes down to strategies revolving around traditional messaging vs. social meaning. Messaging is the one way communication we’ve been taught and exposed to since marketing began. Messaging equals traditional marketing. We develop messages which we communicate via TV, radio, magazines, and even PR and Direct marketing. Marketers use the same methodology to develop”tradigital” strategies for banners, newsletters, emails, etc.. Both traditional marketing and tradigital (an Armano coined phrase) are dominated by control….a marketer’s ability to control that all important message. When I work with clients and discuss social marketing strategies I often hear clients express a definite fear of losing control should they move away from their familiar messaging strategy. The concept of Meaning is detailed in frog design’s Tim Leberecht presentation and article on the subject. It’s a good read and well worth checking out. For me, meaning comes down to a marketer’s ability to create content and relevance within a certain context. If you can do this then your brand becomes part of the conversation. And conversations are important. Look at what is happening in Iran right now - social tools are the Iranians only way to let the world know what’s happening there. The images and videos via Twitter and YouTube then turn into a conversation since the content has great relevance to a variety of people within the context of the situation in Iran. We typically think of social marketing as a digital phenomena, however, that ignores an entire set of non-digital programs which we use to engage consumers. Branded entertainment, guerilla marketing and consumer promotions are just a few of the non-traditional ways we can use to spread information via word-of-mouth. MasterCard is clearly trying to tie it's brand to football fever so that when people think about football (which everyone in the world does except for the US) they'll think about MasterCard. Mastercard is trying to become part of the global football conversation. And with the power of digital tools they can get more engaged with consumers and consumers can more actively spread the word...but only if MasterCard can develop relevant content for consumers to share. Developing this type of conversational content does not come easy for brands. Messaging really is quite simple…we’re socialized to try to remain in control of our message. However, if we want to develop social marketing programs then we need to give up control and change our thinking from messaging to meaning. The conversation bow attempts to describe how this works tactically (Please keep sending me comments/suggestions on how to improve the bow). I find this slide and its four segments very helpful as it not only describes the importance of non-traditional and social marketing tactics, but also marketing communications as a whole. Because of its clarity, clients understand it immediately… they still may not want to move away from traditional messaging tactics, but at least they’re becoming more comfortable with social engagement tactics. Naturally, the development of this big picture social marketing plan is a piece of content co-creation in itself: I’m building on items discussed in David Armano’s Logic+Emotion and in Tim Lembrecht’s work to create a new perspective on marketing communication programs. Please send me your thoughts and suggestions to keep this conversation going.

a 'social' presentation

Placed my first-ever presentation up on Slideshare. It's a presentation I've been doing here in Prague to help provide some basic insights on Social Marketing. In addition, it expands on the conversation bow and a new way to think about your promotion plan.