15

Have you seen the 2012 Ford Focus Doug campaign? The integrated social media campaign with an orange sock puppet named Doug driving around with his “official” Ford sidekick (John), meeting and greeting prospective Ford Focus customers, verbally zinging them, and capturing it for YouTube videos?

Yes, that’s right; a smartass orange sock puppet is the spokesperson for the 2012 Ford Focus.

The campaign broke earlier this year, and Scott Monty, the head of social media for Ford Motor Company, shared several YouTube Ford Focus videos from the integrated social media campaign during his outstanding presentation at Friday’s Social Media Club of Kansas City breakfast.

What would you do Mr. or Ms. Brand Manager?

As a brand manager, if someone came to you pitching the idea of a puppet spokesperson who, the few times he does talk about your product’s features, does so irreverently, how long would it take to stop that social media concept cold? Probably not long since a traditional marketing view suggests six glaring reasons why Focus Doug is ill conceived:

1. “The spokesperson isn’t known, and oh by the way, he’s an orange sock puppet.”

“A spokesperson should bring a great reputation, a built-in audience, and a connection to the brand.  It’s about being able to relate to the audience. An orange sock puppet, especially one with an attitude, doesn’t relate to anyone.”

EXCEPT can you say, “Tiger Woods.”

Known spokespeople bring fans along with potential indiscretions and falls from grace. An unknown, inanimate spokesperson (with no life beyond the one you give it), provides you complete control and no risk of overshadowing your product.

 

2. “The story isn’t linear.

“The characters are ‘introduced’ without any real setup. There’s little rhyme or reason for why only a few videos include potential buyers, sometimes the product is hardly mentioned, and it’s not even shown in others.”

EXCEPT a non-linear story line creates surprise.

It also allows for mini-serializations throughout the videos and the flexibility of introducing the variety necessary to sustain viewer interest through weekly releases and an integrated social media campaign.

3. “There are too many videos.”

“You can’t expect people to watch 40 or 50 brand videos.”

EXCEPT viewers want to come back and see more from engaging characters.

They’re not videos about the brand. The brand is simply another character surrounded by even more engaging characters. Multiple videos provide the opportunity to develop the brand character across multiple dimensions and multiple videos.

 

4. “The situations aren’t realistic.”

“A puppet offering free (typically poorly ending) rides, unsuccessfully using the features, and being mauled by kittens has nothing to do with selling a car.”

EXCEPT introducing a non-human spokesperson provides tremendous story flexibility.

Only having one foot in reality enables engaging story lines traditional situations can’t offer. A unique character and unusual situations can prompt an audience to sit through multiple videos, cumulatively creating a strong impression of why the product is cool.

5. “There’s so much dialogue, you can’t understand it.”

“With videos inside a moving vehicle and multiple people bantering, it’s hard to understand what’s being said. Viewers won’t even understand the minimal product messages being delivered.”

EXCEPT the challenging repartee forces attention.

The character interaction is so funny and the situations so unusual, it prompts viewers to watch the videos multiple times – in part to catch what they missed; in part to re-hear laugh lines they did hear initially.

 

6. “The content is PG-13 but the brand is G-rated.”

“A G-rated brand is about family, tradition, and America – not bleeped words. The spokespuppet hits on a female executive, propositions a potential buyer, and suggests a wet t-shirt contest to two young women trying the rain-triggered windshield wipers. That’s WAY off brand.”

EXCEPT when a brand’s trying to get edgier, you actually have to GET edgier.

When cultivating a new less vanilla brand perception, edginess can be essential, especially when trying to reach a younger audience. Moving from G to PG-13 with a small subset of messages the audience will see leads to the right overall message mix.

Now what do you think?

Would you pull the plug on the Ford “Focus Doug” before the campaign even started? I hope not, but decisions like that happen all the time when brand marketers are stuck in the status quo and what’s always worked – even if the traditional things are not working as well as they did before.

For Ford brand managers to move ahead with “Focus Doug” shows a true understanding that future success is different than what’s worked previously, yet not completely brand new either. Finding the right place somewhere in the middle is tricky.

But extraordinary brand managers go looking for it because they know it’s vital to a successful brand staying successful. – Mike Brown

 

If you’re struggling with determining ROI and evaluating its impacts, download “6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track” today!  This article provides a concise, strategic view of the numbers and stories that matter in shaping, implementing, and evaluating your strategy. You’ll learn about when to address measurement strategy, identifying overlooked ROI opportunities, and creating a 6-metric dashboard. Download Your Free Copy of “6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track!”

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle Plus

Continue Reading

6

Along with a previous post on things I don’t understand about social networks, here are 13 personal disclosures about my behavior on Facebook, Twitter, and social networks in general. They’re not necessarily good or bad, but it felt like it was time to come clean on them.

1. My wife unfriended me on Facebook. Seriously. She doesn’t want me reading what she’s thinking about (and by “thinking about,” I mean “plotting,” and by “plotting,” I mean “already decided on and has something underway”). So her other Facebook FRIENDS tell me what’s going on in my own house.

2. The reason I don’t run a lot of videos on the blog is because I don’t like the way I look. That’s the same reason my avatar is usually a cartoon self-portrait. I’m working on this though . . . I mean my level of self-acceptance. The ship has sailed on my looks, and it’s not coming back to port any time soon.

3. Many days, my Twitter stream is more depressing than uplifting. I can’t say the same about my Facebook stream, yet. But I figure it’s just a matter of time.

4. I’m really cheap, so my smartphone isn’t the smartest. It may not even be in the top half of the class anymore.

5. I can’t remember what I used to do with the time that I now spend on social networks.

6. For as much writing as I do, it’s really challenging to consider confining myself to a few topics and keywords to maximize the value from SEO. When you’re writing daily blogs, any topic is a topic.

7. When something’s really stupid, I’ll tweet about it from an account that doesn’t have my name attached. If you don’t have such an account, I recommend you create one and have at it.

8. There are lots of reasons why I don’t follow people on Twitter. It seems like the list of reasons is growing over time. If you’re reading this, and I haven’t followed you, let me know and we’ll correct that.

9. I do persist in following certain people whose behavior on social networks continually frustrates me because it seems important to see what they’re saying.  I keep following others because the amusement level just surpasses the frustration level! For the mathematically-inclined:

If ∑ Amusement > ∑ Frustration, then @Brainzooming = Follower

10. I’ve not yet posted a question on Quora.

11. Even though I never go to the site, I do look at Empire Avenue emails to see what my daily earnings are. It’s almost always $64.13. I have no idea why this amount, how it’s arrived at, or whether any checks will ever be issued. One weekend, however, my earnings dropped in half, and in a panic, started tweeting more.

12. It’s important to me to leave trails of helpful ideas if I’m going to invest time on social networks. I expect others to do the same. And it’s always appreciated when you let me know if the ideas I’m sharing are helpful . . . or if they aren’t. Social media silence sucks, as we all know.

13. I pray for a day when social networks undergo tremendous consolidation resulting in fewer, really robust social networks to have to join and try out . . .  because I’m running out of time!

That’s my social networking confession for today. Is there any thing you’d care to share and unburden your conscience? – Mike Brown

If you’d like to add an interactive, educationally-stimulating presentation on strategy, innovation, branding, social media or a variety of other topics to your event, Mike Brown is the answer. Email us at brainzooming@gmail.com  or call 816-509-5320 to learn how Mike can get your audience members Brainzooming!

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle Plus

Continue Reading

0

After writing about extreme creativity for a couple of days, here’s a real-life example: Gulp, the world’s largest stop-motion animation film. It’s extreme creativity in that it takes the skill set (manipulating and filming inanimate objects in a very controlled indoor setting) and scale (small) of typical stop-motion animation films in a completely different direction:

All that plus the film was captured using  the sponsor’s product (a Nokia phone…three of them actually), dangled from a crane. This is extreme creativity! Here are both the “Making of Gulp” and “Gulp” videos. It may just be me, but I actually enjoyed the “making of” video more than the actual Gulp video. Then again, I tend to be more fascinated by the “how” of extreme creativity, than the final result. But that’s just me; you can pick whichever one you’d like to watch first!

Join for #Ideachat on Saturday

Remember to join us on Saturday, August 13 at 9 am EDT for #Ideachat and share a part of Saturday with some great creative thinkers from across the globe. See you there!  – Mike Brown

 

The Making Of Gulp

Gulp

 

For an additional innovative boost, download the free Brainzooming ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to enhance your creative perspective! For an organizational boost, contact The Brainzooming Group to help your team be more successful by rapidly expanding strategic options and creating innovative plans to efficiently implement. Email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you.

 

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle Plus

Continue Reading

1

If you’re having trouble seeing the video of the world’s largest Van Gogh sunflowers, click here to go directly to YouTube for it. On the way back from the wedding in Goodland, KS I wrote about last week, we drove by this roadside attraction that is a poster child for extreme creativity – one of the world’s largest Van Gogh sunflower paintings. Western Kansas seem to be a bastion of larger-than-life roadside attractions, although we’ve never stopped to see the world’s largest squirrel in Oakley, KS!

Enjoy the video and this western Kansas extreme creativity, along with the background information on a plaque at the world’s largest Van Gogh painting! – Mike Brown

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” for help on how to be more creative! For an organizational boost, contact The Brainzooming Group to help your team be more successful by rapidly expanding strategic options and creating innovative plans to efficiently implement. Email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you.

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle Plus

Continue Reading

6

One of my guilty TV pleasures is watching celebrity entertainment news shows. You know the genre; it includes Entertainment Tonight, The Insider, and TMZ. Nothing to be proud of relative to TV watching, but they are a very efficient way to feed what remains of my once fervent interest in all things pop culture.

While watching The Insider late one night, it struck me how masterfully the celebrity entertainment news shows exploit a relatively small amount of real pop culture content. Through a variety of storytelling and content curation techniques, they stretch and morph the content they compile to fill 30 minutes of air time on a daily basis.

Hmmm. What content creation activities might you be involved in where there’s an expectation of daily content where stretching out the content you have would be beneficial? Blogging and managing a social media content effort, perhaps?

5 Strategies from Celebrity Entertainment News Shows

Here are five ways to translate strategies TV celebrity entertainment news shows use to make social media activities more entertaining and manageable:

1. Shoot and run lots of video interviews

Video interviews with employees and customers can be easy ways to add new voices and increase audience time spent on your site. If you’re at an event, use it as an opportunity to video multiple short interviews. You can also video quick reactions to other stories you’re covering.

2. Repackage previous material

When it makes sense with your editorial calendar, repackage previously published material in new combinations. You can feature it again for new audience members and as a refresher for regular readers who haven’t seen it in a while.

3. Tease stories before they run

No need to make the daily blog post a surprise. Let the audience know in advance what’s coming up in future posts by sharing a snippet of content, getting anticipation and discussion started in advance. Another variation on the tease is to announce one topic, then start with a completely different one first.

4. Space stories over multiple days

Take a story, tease it one day, and then serialize the post over multiple days. Each daily post does not have to be unique – you can re-run a snippet of what you published previously to re-set the background for the piece.

5. Take the discussion to Facebook and Twitter

Repackage blog content in platform-appropriate ways for sharing in other social media channels, making content work harder for you. You can do this in reverse also, using status updates and comments created elsewhere and curating them to use in a blog.

What Ideas Do You Have?

Will you admit to watching Entertainment Tonight, TMZ, The Insider and other shows in this genre? If you do, what other ideas do you have for how their strategies can help your social media effort? – Mike Brown

 

If you’re struggling with understanding social media-related ROI and evaluating its impacts, you’ll benefit from downloading “6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track.” The article provides a concise, strategic view of the numbers and stories that matter in shaping, implementing, and evaluating your strategy. You’ll learn about the best time to address measurement strategy, a checklist to identify overlooked ROI opportunities, and using measures linked to 3 stages of social networking activity to create a 6-metric dashboard.  If you’re getting tough questions about social media ROI, download “6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track” today!

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle Plus

Continue Reading

6

This video on the creative thinking-based strategy TESCO employed to penetrate the South Korean grocery market was shared on Google+ recently by James Fraser. With TESCO using an alternative name, Homeplus, it was able to become the number two player in the South Korean grocery market even though it suffered a deficit in the number of retail locations.

If you jump to framing the business objective as “we have to get more stores,” the answer is easy, self-evident, and all too routine: build or acquire more stores.

Instead, the grocery chain remained focused on the real business objective (grow sales) and based on consumer insights (South Koreans are incredibly busy and the in-store grocery experience is a nightmare), Homeplus used (or approximated the results of) creative thinking exercises to look at the opportunity in reverse: take the in store buying experience to where shoppers already are with a virtual subway store!

Homeplus created the virtual subway store with displays identical to those in actual stores, QR codes for online ordering by phone, and home delivery. Putting the virtual stores where potential grocery shoppers already are in subways increases personal productivity and maximizes their free time. The virtual store campaign led to online sales gains highlighted in the video.

All this success by sticking to the fundamental business objective, but re-framing the business issue in a very different way.

That’s creative thinking for business success at its best! – Mike Brown

Download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” for help on how to be more creative! For an organizational creativity boost, contact The Brainzooming Group to help your team be more successful by rapidly expanding strategic options and creating innovative plans to efficiently implement. Email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you.

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle Plus

Continue Reading

10

It’s always helpful when someone calls you on a good intention to make sure you actually follow through on it. When I spoke last month to the Transportation Marketing & Sales Association on social media strategy, the format allowed the audience to select from among 12 topics in the social media framework to customize the presentation to the social media strategy issues most relevant for them. To provide additional background on the social media strategic topics we didn’t talk about, I promised to create a compilation of links that formed the backbone of the presentation’s content. The full compilation has been on my to-do list ever since, and a very kind email from one of the TMSA attendees late last week prompted me to get it done!

My rationalization for the delay? The list now includes several posts written in the last two weeks (after the TMSA conference), including the post on who should create content that’s generated so many rich comments here and nearly 6,000 page views in its first week on the Social Media Today blog as well.

OVERVIEW

STRATEGY

1. Integration

 2. ROI

3. Guidelines

SOCIAL NETWORKING

4. Listening

5. Building Relationships

6. Getting Noticed

INFRASTRUCTURE

7. Platforms

8. Time and Talent

9. Minimizing Risk

SOCIAL BUSINESS

10. Content Marketing

11. Customer Engagement

12. Innovation

 

The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement. Email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call 816-509-5320 to learn how we’ve developed  integrated social media strategy for other brands and can do the same for yours.


Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle Plus

Continue Reading