Archive for May, 2010

Social Brands

Posted in social, Uncategorized with tags on May 25, 2010 by Joanna Lyall

What is it that makes a brand social as opposed to a brand that does some social marketing?  Working in this space you quickly learn that running social campaigns is really only the tip of the iceberg and what is possible now is for a brand or a business to become socially geared throughout and to connect with consumers and customers in ways never possible before.  If you choose to connect with people online discussing things that affect your brand/product or business then you must be prepared to keep the dialogue open.

So what does being a social brand actually mean?  This is my new project and I don’t have the full answer yet but here are some words that I think would be important in answering this question: open, communicates, dialogue, flexible, interested, useful and integrated. says Social means:

pertaining to, devoted to, or characterized by friendly companionship or relations: seeking or enjoying the companionship of others; friendly; sociable; gregarious.
To me this suggests being social is about being human.  (Maybe this is because of the two days I have just spent thinking about characters and story)  However, if I am right and being a social brand is about being a human brand then how a brand behaves needs to change.  Getting there is a journey but step one would be understanding what needs to change to make behaviour more human and therefore create empathy with the people you most want to talk to.  This theory explains how it is ok for people to become friends with/fans of brands on people based social networks.
Work in progress but interested in thoughts and ideas if anyone wants to share…

Importance of Empathy, Just like me

Posted in content, Ideas you love to share, Uncategorized with tags , , on May 25, 2010 by Joanna Lyall

When we watch a film, read a book or hear a play we wait to connect with the characters consciously and unconsciously through empathy.  As humans empathy creates a reasonnace of humanity, we seek to see something of ourselves in the lead the character and this makes it real to us.  Even if the protagonist is evil or bad their behaviour will normally be human so we can still see their POV. An interesting point raised today is that people will always take the minimal conservative action to achieve what they want, from their POV.  Human nature only allows us to move toward the positive, not the negative, again from the individuals POV in that moment.  This is hard to get your head around, but the point is that from an individual POV they will always do what seems to be the best solution in that moment, even if after it is instantly regretted.  The actions of murderer, a gangster or saint are always based on what seems to be the only option in that moment.  So when we see an inherently evil character and find ourselves able to connect them this is because of their human nature even when we morally, know they are wrong.  With this in mind I was thinking about just how incredible a brilliant writer is, something I have not fully appreciated before.  To make a character whom we may only encounter for 2 hours of our lives seem and feel like whole person with a life that has extended beyond the movie window we are seeing, whom is as real to us as the people we spend our days with.  This is the work of pure talent.

Watching a film will never be the same again now that I have some insight as to what to look for and I may just understand what it is that has made me enjoy that film more or less than the last.  Story writing is art and is an incredibly difficult career to pursue.

Robert said that a writer should be prepared to spend 10 years writing and being rejected, writing 10 major pieces of work before they have any chance of getting produced.  This would take a serious strength of character to spend such a long time with no reward and only disappointment.  On the flip slide imagine the sense of achievement when you do make it….


Posted in Ideas you love to share with tags , , on May 24, 2010 by Joanna Lyall

This week I am in Newcastle at the #ThinkingDigital conference.  I am spending the first two days on the Robert Mckee Story seminar, this is a condensed version of his famous 4 day course.  Robert is a Hollywood Story Doctor, until today I did not know that was something that even existed.  Essentially, he is a god of Story telling.  So far, his seminar is fantastic, he makes a complex subject quite digestible and entertaining.  Largely my fellow attendees are writers, I would guess that I am probably the only digital media person there, more should come, they might just learn something useful.

Whatever your chosen career I think there is something we can all learn from this course, at best the art telling stories well could change your life and worst understanding the character that you play in your own life is worth some thought.  At some points I forgot whether he was speaking about real life or film, the fact when we watch good films we connect with them and understand them on a personal level, so the truths in characters are reflections of real behaviour and emotions.  He talks about Story being the organising principle of the mind, it is how we remember things and make sense of the past and future.  My favourite quote of the day ‘What lies on the surface lies’ this about people showing you the character that they want you to see, not actually who they are, this is something we see every day in our lives, especially at work i would think!.

Throughout the day I was thinking about how I could apply what I was learning to what I do at Mindshare. I think there are paralels between the process a writer users and the process a media planner could use to do better work.  When we plan media we plan how a consumer will come into contact with our clients story, having a clear structure and understanding of this process makes the communication more powerful.  To plan well the planner must have real insight into life, into brands and into media.  They must have an intense knowledge of the consumer and be able to imagine how they will react and respond to the communications story we share with them.  They must understand the conflict and value change that the communication is trying to achieve.  Finally to be the best the planner must have deep passion for what they are doing and be in pursuit of perfection.

Brand butler at work

Posted in Brand utility, Ideas you love to share, social, Uncategorized on May 21, 2010 by Joanna Lyall

Estee Lauder helping people look their best on Facebook

What is it worth to you

Posted in social, Uncategorized with tags , , on May 17, 2010 by Joanna Lyall

To be able to send a message to a fan when ever you have something to say?  I have been following the stories and ideas of bloggers and journalists about the value of a fan to try and form a clear POV on this. Some ideas verge on the ridiculous and others seem a little more sensible but there does not seem to be a one size fits all answer to this question.

If you know how much a group of people spend on your products then you are probably on a sensible path to answering this question.  Adidas say that their 2.7 million Facebook fans are worth more than $200m a year with the average spend on footwear being around $100 per person.  This value equation is based around build fan groups of your most loyal customers which could become your CRM programme, with a downside of not knowing the actual names of your fans.  Does the switch to ‘Like’ from ‘fan’  change this idea?  Time will tell.

More to come…

Fame and money

Posted in content, Uncategorized with tags on May 17, 2010 by Joanna Lyall

If there is a future in paid for content online will the producers and writers have be satisfied with smaller audiences?  For a media buyer this can be appealing  because there is a value to a more engaged and targeted audience but as writer will it be a tough pill to swallow?

Leading in Digital

Posted in content, social, Uncategorized with tags , on May 11, 2010 by Joanna Lyall

BrandZ top 100 brand report  suggested  that all the top brands had a few things in common: investment in brand over product and price during 2009/recession and investment in social, as an enabler, for access or marketing.  Increasingly brands with a clear social strategy are the ones to watch and are the ones who consumers are engaging with.  We often get asked the question of what good looks like in digital and what is the blueprint for success.  The answer to this is always evolving but as a starter for 10 I think to lead in digital brands must be able to clearly articulate:

  • Their strategy for where content lives online (website/fan page etc)
  • How it gets shared – syndication, contribution, open graph to generate earned value
  • How it is made discoverable  – using Paid media
  • What is the consumer journey and experience
  • Which platform the content should be accessible
  • Have an appetite to change, test and evolve