Twitter Tweet Clouds versus Blog Clouds

Tweetcloud Twitter mdial
Thanks to Greg Verdino’s post, I was inspired to find out what my Twitter or “Tweet” cloud would look like. I attach it [above] in order to compare whether my twittering is consistent or not with my blogging. Per Greg’s comments, a lot more “doing” than being…no real surprises… The differences match the different platforms. I note the presence of “reading” and “watching” and “checking” in my tweets! All good pre-blogging activities.

Blogger Minter Dialogue Cloud Label May 2008

Compare for yourself.

And, bouncing off of Joe Jaffe’s post on Cuss-o-meter, my blog came up with a no-kidding 0%! Hum. Maybe I should be getting madder, eh, Joe?

Review: Join the Conversation by Joseph Jaffe

Join the Conversation JaffejuiceI am officially Joining the Conversation, starting with this review of Joseph Jaffe’s latest book, Join the Conversation (JTC). In full disclosure mode, I am writing this review as part of Joe’s experiment UNM2PNM (how to use new media to prove new marketing).

Written in a very conversational style with a slew of real world corporate examples (typically of how NOT to proceed), JTC features Joe’s characteristic verve and bold statements that are bound to entice a few reactions from the world without. For the most part, I could only agree with Joe’s assessments and recommendations. Here are some of the points that I believe deserve highlighting:

  • Chapter 10: Why are you so afraid of Conversation? This wiki-chapter is a walk-the-talk (literally) example of new age collaborative writing. Via a wiki, people were invited to contribute and cross-edit freely, ending up with articles from sixteen marketeers giving their spin as to why people (and companies) don’t liberally join in the conversation. I was pleased to gain the autograph of Mitch Joel for his section, The New Power of the Individual (p 115).
  • In Chapter 15, Conversation through Community, I cite the Cluetrain Manifesto that defines community as “a group of people who care about each other more than they should.” That’s a valhalla concept for a brand to achieve. But, getting that to happen means figuring out how to get to the bottom of CARE. As Joe says later, “[b]rands have to know their role and place in conversation. Truthfully, it an extremely loose, amorphous, and situational role that not only changes from case to case but indeed may evolve and shift within a single conversation.” (p 187). Not a piece of cake, but that’s what it will take to do successful marketing in the new age.
  • The Dell Case, where John Cass (Research Fellow) describes the rules of engagement: “You have to be transparent. You have to be fact-based. You must be conversational. And you have to be rapid with your response…” (p 286). As Joe says, the art of conversation (and humour for that matter) is in the timing. But, I was curious how that holds true when, on the following page, Joe says that “it is never too late to join the conversation.”
  • The RFiD grid (page 203, 205) felt a little forced. It’s a catchy moniker; but, specifically, I found recency a little confusing (if not contrived) when used to describe time elapsed between visits. Recency is all about the last time someone visited, which relates to the “newness.” That said, the notion of the shortness of gaps between visits is a novel, if unproven measurement of satisfaction.
  • In characteristic Jaffe-ness, in chapter 18, bouncing off author Seth Godin’s post, Joe elaborates a Manifesto for Experimentation. Here is the key: “To be successful, marketing organizations will need to foster and adopt an aggressive and intensive culture of experimentation, risk-taking, change management (for communications), and creativity.”
  • Wasn’t totally enamoured with the expression “transformational change” (page 262), but I subscribe to the notion of the “spiraling” line in terms of the process of innovation in a company. And, yes, failure is a vital ingredient… just like falling is an important part of learning how to ski. Besides which, if you don’t fall, typically, you are not skiing hard enough.
  • We know that prosumer is quickly becoming mainstream when it is wikipedia; but give credit where it is due…the term was coined by Alvin Toffler back in 1980 (in his book, The Third Wave).

Meanwhile, how ironic that the 2K bloggers — the face of the blogosphere, the blog of bloggers blogging — that were part of the creation of the JTC book are in the throes of converting their own website from a blog to a forum… 2k forumers doesn’t sound quite as good.

I have not read yet the JTC alter-ego, The Age of Conversation which just did a rather similar campaign of an Amazon bumrush (was the week of March 29)… I get the feeling that bumrushing is part of the age of new marketing, too. This book, edited by Gavin Heaton and Drew McLellan, is a compilation of 400-word essays by 100 bloggers on the topic of conversation. Taking Joe’s Chapter 10 concept all the way, it is obviously a 100% collaborative effort. Anyway, you can order The Age of Conversation here or at Amazon.

In any event, Join the Conversation is a must read for any new media marketiers (marketing + frontier mashup) out there — and hopefully for the old-world marketers as well.

It’s not exactly like me to promote anything to do with cigarettes, but this 1960’s ad by Newport seemed to strike a chord (if not a match, made in heaven). The conversation per se is only symbolic, but this ad does speak to the limitation of television’s one-way communication.

Very enterprising and forward thinking work, no? What do you think? (Joe, u2!) No doubt there are other examples that I’d love to hear about from you. And let me know your feedback on JTC or just this post on JTC.

RIP Firebrand closes down

In one of the quicker demises, Firebrand TV has had to close down (March 5 2008). Launched with quite a lot of hype back in October 2007, the site now writes the following:

Firebrand TV Closes Down

The investors (including Ion, the cable operator on which Firebrand broadcast) apparently refused a refinancing. See the story in Adweek.

“We still love commercials… but it’s never easy when art meets commerce…” And, with retrospect that is quite obvious, especially when the art isn’t officially owned by the site commercializing it (as opposed to a museum, for example). And is the consumer community ready for ads as a cultural exhibit?

As I mentioned in my first post on Firebrand prior to its opening, the content was going to have to be super rich in order to succeed. While they made commendable efforts in terms of presentation style, I tended to think of Firebrand as a resource, rather than as a newsworthy site, meaning that I only visited on occasion when the need arose. I don’t feel I truly ever understood Firebrand’s point of view on ads — and I couldn’t help feeling that the ads they selected were supplied, nay supported by the brands themselves. A little cynical perhaps.

And, what of the business model? An agglomeration of ads (or commercials) that are considered content enough to attract people to watch them voluntarily (on cable and on line) and, in so doing, start to be subjugated to other advertising (“winning, shopping and sharing…”)… On the cable station, viewers were staying tuned for 15 minutes on average which, to me, suggests that it was more like a long surf on line, but not a true engagement. Apparently, there were only 50,000 visitors online in its last month of service…

Co-founder and Chief Creative Officer Roman Vinoly said “I still believe that people have a relationship to brands that contribute to their identity as people, the same way someone is a Yankees or Mets fan, they’re an Adidas of Nike fan…” Surely, brands are a great way to help people relate to their daily lives and realities, helping to craft their identities. However, to refer to Joe Jaffe’s book, “Join the Conversation,” the relationship has to go far beyond the one-way communication of an ad to be truly engaging these days. It is about the conversation.

SNCR – Spending on conversational marketing looking up

Spending on Conversational MarketingA new research study from SNCR says that spending on conversational marketing will outstrip traditional marketing by 2012. Commissioned by New Communications Review (SNCR, run by Jen McClure), and Joe Jaffe, the study shows some interesting figures and projections from 260 respondents (and I quote):

* 70% are currently spending 2.5% or less of their communications budgets on conversational marketing

* Two-thirds plan to increase their investment in conversation within the next twelve months

* 81% of marketers believe that in 5 years (ie. 2012) they’ll be spending as much or more on conversational marketing vs. traditional marketing

And, as one could expect, there will be challenges. The study cites the following foreseeable obstacles for investing in conversational marketing:

“Manpower restraints” – 51.1%

“Fear of loss of control” – 46.9%

“Inadequate metrics” – 45.4%

“Culture of their organizations” – 43.5%

“Difficulty with internal sell-through” – 35.8%

SNCR New Media NetworksNaturally, the challenge will also be about getting the message right, into the right hands via the right tools. Presumably material that Joe will be covering in his about-to-be-released Join the Conversation!

At the same time, I believe that technology will be taking us to new unforeseen spaces namely in the mobile arena. Clearly, the short attention span and the limited text/visual zone offered by mobile technology are well suited to one another. And, the role of permission marketing will evolve dramatically as well such that the cost per subscriber or cost per consumer reached will ultimately even out. That is to say, there will be window of opportunity for the early movers. Then there will be a tipping point. And finally the cost of production and necessary resources to get the message out through the media noise will inevitably require greater investments to overcome the crowded media field and personalized filters.

Of course, the pace of conversion of traditional marketing dollars into conversational marketing will depend very much on the countries too — despite the global (if still monolingual) nature of the consumer on line. I have new term that I’d like to trademark: the MONLINEGUAL©. Definition: a mashup (or portmanteau) of monolingual & online.

Firebrand TV – The MTV of Ads?

Firebrand TV - MTV of Ads
Courtesy of Greg Verdino and Joe Jaffe, have learned about the creation of FIREBRAND TV, “a new, opt-in entertainment and marketing destination that gives consumers interactive access to their favorite brands, products and promotions.” The idea is to create a space (TV, web & mobile platforms) to view the best film commercials just as MTV is/was the place to view the best music videos. Kind of an interesting concept. Going to have be super rich in content to work… to go beyond just attracting marketing geeks like myself. The site promises that consumers can simultaneously “Watch, shop, win & share.” The launch is slated for October 22. Sign up here on their home page for updates. Or join the Firebrand Facebook Group.

Check out the YouTube 4 1/2 minute commercial if you want to see their positioning:

Writeup at New York Business Crain’s

For couple of blogs on Firebrand:
Influential Marketing Blog – Rohit gives it a big thumbs up
A quick post at Marketing Vox

When a blog becomes institutional

iblog doesn’t stand for institutional blog

I have been a fan of the freakonomics blog for quite some time — a testament to the power of a good book (now available for $17 on amazon, down from $28 list price!) going on line per se. However, the very notion of a blog is up for grabs at this point as this lunch over ip article points out. Freakonomics is an institutional blog, an anathema to blogging as considered in the blogging world of the [recent] past.

The evolution of blogging

Now that we have more than 70 million blogs (per techorati), it may well be time to add some marketing muscle to the very term of a blog (beyond splog). As Bruno Giussani points out, the blog concept is migrating and, with it, the ways of communicating. Blogging is even entering into an evil phase as this IHT article points out. Incentive enough to make sure that I have a comment policy (see below).

I take note of Joe Jaffe experimenting with the interface of his jaffe juice blog, facebook, twitter, itunes podcasting, and potentially so many more (netvibes, bloglines, myspace, linkedin, plaxo. flickr…). Same idea over at Twist Image, with Mitch Joel, where we are looking at ways to concentrate the multiple [social] media avenues to grow your on-line community. And it’s true that agglomeration is the new buzz word which is going to be a major part of the near-term evolution of the net, not just blogging. The web has cast a wide reach with a whole host of new opportunities, but managing the tangle of [even one’s own] links and gaining critical mass will be the name of the game in the future. By the way, I do love the new Google blog search which is helping to clear up the confounded blog search.

Anyway, as far as blogs are concerned, we might consider creating subcategories of blogs. I propose that we create a new list of definitions for what we have broadly been calling blogs. That list could go something like this:

  • persoblog for those personal life blogs, shortened to plog
  • communiblog for community blogs, shortened to cubelog polyblog for multiple author blogs, polyblog (like it as is)
  • musiclog for the music aficionado, mclog
  • marklog for marketing blogs, as is
  • medialog (aside from the issue of the company of the name), for news blogs
  • shoplog for shopping addicts, as is
  • institulog for institutional blogs (ban the idea!), i-blog (perish the thought twisted)

and final idea (for today that is):

  • noblog for not only bullshit logs…

The question will become: who is capable of setting the pace and giving these names? Us, the community of bloggers… but that’s a whole of people to galvanize. Probably will need the New York Times or Herald Tribune to pick up a piece like this one and then, kapow, it’s off to the races.