I just read the press release of MSN around the streaming of the Live Earth concerts across the globe. These concerts are the most watched entertainment event in online history with more than 8 million people that watched part of the live coverage that was exclusive on MSN. This resulted in more than 15 million streams during the event and with the on demand that you can still watch we’re now already at more than 30 million streams. The event streaming peaked with 237.000 people watching simultaneously at a certain time with is a new record. Now I believe that’s pretty impressive, here’s the full press release… and here’s the link if you want to watch part of the concerts again.
… or “it’s for my boss”. These were some of the great quotes out of a little video made by Karl Long, a very good marketing blogger that works at Nokia. I know I’m a little bit behind due to my holidays, but I had to post this one. It think it’s a really smart video (and cheap) that shows everything there is to say to it especially since the video is made with the Nokia N95. Great job Karl!
Read on about the how and why at Karl’s blog. There’s a very good post on the buzz around the iPhone on the Pronet Advertising blog by the way in ‘the importance of marketing and covering in moderation‘.
(disclaimer: I work for Microsoft)
That was the headline of a newsitem on BBC News last week, based on research that was carried out by YouGov for Croner. Yet another item on the potential risks of blogging, can we start focusing on the opportunities here please, they’re way bigger. And also, looking at the press release, what’s the news? (Bloggy hell! – what kind of a title is that anyway?!)
“Of those who responded and said that they did, 39% admitted that they had posted details, which could be potentially sensitive or damaging about their place of work, employer or a colleague.”
“The blog could also be evidence of other conduct issues or reveal workplace discrimination or bullying. Confidential secrets could be disclosed including financial information or new product development, or whistleblowing all of which could have a negative impact on the business.”
If it says ‘confidential secrets’, doesn’t that just mean what it says? Doesn’t that just mean you can’t talk about it in any form? So why the suprise that you might lose your job if you do? I don’t see the big news.
Croner adds a few considerations for employers at the end of the release as well, but this all just made me think of the ‘chapter’ I wrote for the ‘Age Of Conversation’: You get a long way with common sense. Don’t let the technology fool you, this is a conversation like any other, and many of the same rules apply.
I’m the last to say that companies need a blogger policy, we don’t have one at Microsoft and it seems to work just fine for 4.500 bloggers out there doesn’t it?
Paola246 & Belgian Cheese, these are only few of the buzz campaigns that bloggers have been talking about in Belgium. I didn’t write about these before since I had no interest in either one of them. I wasn’t curious who Paola really was, nor do I have special interest in cheese. That said, there were some curious aspects about Paola that I wanted to talk about. Here are some remarks/questions and for your convenience I linked to Belgian bloggers that also write in English although many more talked about it.
The mysterious Paola246 – the Belgian Lonelygirl so to say – had registered several accounts with Digg, Flickr, MySpace, Twitter, … at the same time which made a few bloggers suspicious so they started talking about it. Paola246 was all over Twitter and Maarten even created a ‘Wanted’ poster to try and find her. In the end it became clear this was a campaign for a virtual theatre experiment of HETPALEIS and the whole thing was set up by Stefan Kolgen. Bright.nl says later “Belgian blogosphere doesn’t fall for marketing stunt“(dutch)… didn’t they? Come on!
First let’s be clear on the success of this campaign, it was a marketing stunt and it definitely worked as it had the Belgian blogosphere talking about it for days. Second, I had the feeling some bloggers were trying to create the mystery and some were trying to solve it, this way I don’t think Stefan Kolgen was the only one who knew the truth. All good, but there’s also 2 things that bother me about this campaign:
- Honesty ROI: “you say who you and and who you’re speaking for” but in this case nobody seemed to care, it offered the bloggers some good fun trying to find the truth and that was that
- What if this campaign wasn’t set up by a blogger (‘one of us’) but by a big brand? Would we have stepped away from it like we did now? I’m sure we wouldn’t, we would have been outrageous how someone would even dare to step in our territory like this
Stefan Kolgen also acknowledges this in his comment at Bright.nl, (Stefan – correct when I’m wrong) saying that it was supposed to be very clear that Paola was fake, and that they didn’t want to wait any longer to come public about the identity after all the buzz it had gotten.
But it’s not only Paola246 that made bloggers react different to a certain situation, it’s the same for press releases. If bloggers get an email with press release type info from a brand/agency they don’t know, they’ll flame it… but if that press release is coming from a fellow blogger at that agency, we’re all cool.
My biggest take away? Bloggers can do stuff that we would never accept from anybody else on ‘their playground’ and that is fact.
Today the VRT (Belgian public television) sent an open invitation to bloggers to invite them for a press conference on Emma online, an extension on the television series. Great to see the VRT is taking this direction, they are still amongst the first companies to recognize importance of this… too bad they do it in the way they do.
First, it’s a press conference with no proof at all there will actually be an interactive conversation. A press conference is pretty much one way (apart from a little q&a session) in which you’re invited to come and listen. Too bad. Second, if you would be interested, you can send an email to the VRT with your name, webblog and motivation – WTF?! Do you really want me to send you a motivation for why I want to come and listen to whatever you have to say? Come on. Third, the press conference is during office hours, like we’re all making a living writing on this blog of ours.
I’m very much aware that engagement or outreach to bloggers is very new to many companies out there. But if you’re really interested in getting this on the road, don’t tell me you can’t find anyone to talk to about this to help you out? At least to avoid these little clunky mistakes.
Philippe Borremans points out to a survey that Leads United, a Belgian PR agency (without a blog), performed on corporate blogging. It’s the result of 70 in-depth interviews with companies & government bodies.
The results aren’t looking good, yet that’s hardly a surprise. I’m also having some thoughts on how the whole corporate blogging idea is being approached. This is mainly because having a corporate blog sometimes is presented as the key element to be part of the conversation, and I just disagree. Just like I presented on the IAB Netcafé recently, there are many ways to be part of the conversation and having a corporate blog is just one of them.
Let’s take a closer look at the key results of this survey then:
“93% of PR/Communications managers surveyed knew about blogs but only 6% of the PR/Communications managers surveyed implemented corporate blogs”
I would obviously also have liked to see a higher percentage here, but referring to my earlier comment, if companies try to follow the conversation and react/comment on what relates to them I guess that’s already a very good start for many of them. I see it as a bigger concern that the percentage here will probably very low as well.
“Only 4% of the organizations surveyed have blogging policies in place”
Microsoft hasn’t, still we are with 4.500 bloggers in a 70.000 people company which ain’t too bad if you ask me. A blogging policy is not needed as I see it, common sense will get you a long way already.
“87% of the respondents mainly see corporate blogging as a potential external communications tool”
Last time I checked a corporate blog shouldn’t just be an external communications tool, at least not how most PR/Communications managers think of that… because it’ll just be another one-way conversation tool. Just because it’s using blog software, has posts in reverse order and accepts comments doesn’t mean you’re doing a better job trying to get into the conversation. A good example of that just got discussed over at MarketingProfs:DailyFix. The example discussed is the Marriott blog. It’s a step forward, no argue there, but since Bill Marriott never replies to any comments, thus only writes his posts doesn’t make him more interested in having more constructive conversations.
Overall, I guess what I wanted to say is that my biggest concern is not that so few companies have a corporate blog, I’m more concerned by the fact that so many are probably not even bothering to engage more with their consumers in general… something a corporate blog just can be one way to use.
If you’ve been reading this blog before, you know this question fascinates me. How does a company/brand find it’s key influencers on the web today. Is there an automated way find out? What elements do you need to measure to find out about ‘influence’? What’s the algorithm? How can you know without reading all of them yourself? Etc…. I’ve had the chance to look at a few well known tools up close, but none of them provided me with what I was looking for.
Today, we see a new tool arise for Belgium (Flanders really) that should expand over time to bigger parts of Europe. Since my interest mainly lies in Europe and multi-language research is very different from what happens in the US, these European efforts interest me even more. So welcome Metatale (Dutch). Just as many more bloggers in Belgium I knew Bart (and a few others) were cooking something new. When it looked like this was going to incorporate part of the idea I wrote about in “Sphere of influence” this really got me interested.
That said, Metatale still has a long way to go I think. It still seems to be built around blogs more than people (explaining why Clo has 2 different influence rankings for the same blog on Metatale’s top 100). And it also doesn’t look at the sphere of influence (at least it doesn’t just yet) nor the second degree of incoming links (as I wrote about here).
When I read what the key factors are to calculate influence I see ‘frequency of posting’ amongst them, something I mentioned before is not a valid factor for me. I just don’t agree that posting more makes you a bigger influencer, and Pascal is a good example for that if you ask me. I’m also not sure if ‘outgoing links’ as a measurement makes sense either. Bart pointed out in the comments that: “Just to set one thing straight: the MetaTale ranking does NOT take into account the frequency of posting. Nor the raw number of outgoing links. These two things are patterns we see occuring with top influencers – they are an effect, not a cause.” which makes more sense indeed.
I’ll keep on following the project though, because of the people involved. I know this is just a start and much more can probably be expected. I’m just not sold to what I see today. And no, I don’t hold the answer either. I don’t know yet how to measure real influence for which reason I support anyone who tries to find out.
Geert Desager, a colleague of mine in trade marketing is working on a great project that I think you should all check out:
“Together with our ad agency Openhere, I’m currently making a commercial for Microsoft Digital Advertising Solutions. The film is called ‘The Couple’ and makes some statements about the relationship between today’s advertiser and today’s consumer. A quite risky project if you know that the commercial explicitly challenges the advertisers – our clients – to question themselves and the way they communicate with their target groups. In this blog, I will keep you posted about the making of the campaign. I have also given the agency access to this blog, so that they can vent their ideas as well. As should be in this format, there is only one rule: “their are no rules!”
I’ve had the chance to see some of the casting videos with the final actors before Geert left to LA (where he’s shooting the video this week). Don’t think of it as a classic TV commercial, this should be like a wake up call… hopefully it works.
Check out ‘The Making Of’ blog to follow the project.
Blogging4business, the day after. Yesterday I attended the B4B conference in London for which Simon had asked me to be on panel about “Next-generation market research: how companies are listening and learning from social conversation”. I’m not sure about that title (isn’t a conversation always social?), but basically it was about tracking social media.
(Photo by Stephanie Booth)
Also on the panel were Simon McDermott (CEO, Attentio), Scott Thomson (Analytics Director, Starcom) and Heather Hopkins (Head of Research, Hitwise) and we had a great moderator in the person of Mike Butcher. I enjoyed the panel, I hope the audience did as well, you can read some coverage here, here, here or here. As always conferences like these are also very good place to meet up with new people, or people that you know via email or other means, but that you never met in person. I finally got to meet Caroline Maerten (who has some great coverage on the event), Mike Butcher and Steve Clayton from Microsoft (the Blue Monster guy). I wanted to talk a bit more off stage with Heather (hope we can catch up later) and wanted to meet Darren Strange, another fellow Microsoft colleague who was on a panel before me but I guess time was to short.
Finally, I met up with Hugh again the night before and it looks like we might be doing something together later on as well, so all great stuff.
Thanks to Matthew and Bernhard for a great conference programme. See you next year.
The Twelve Consultancy – a PR consultancy themselves for the record – did a survey of some sort with 100 marketing directors to name the five key things that they want from their PR agency. This resulted in this list:
- A thorough understanding of their business and industry sector – the best PRs understand their clients’ complete business landscape, which allows them to make strategic recommendations based on the marketplace or competitive climate and achieve quality coverage rather column inches for the sake of it;
- Creativity – successful PR programmes always have one thing in common: constant innovation and challenging conventional thinking;
- Strong writing skills – agencies must bring their clients’ stories to life in a way that will engage the media;
- Strategic thinking – clients depend on PR agencies, as a third party with an objective but still knowledgeable perspective to offer up another way to look at any given situation;
- Access to senior people – it’s reassuring for clients to know that individuals throughout all levels of the agency are invested in the account. PR is still a people business and clients want to see that they’ll get experienced and knowledgeable people working on their business.
Definitely not bad and not limited to PR really. Change the 3rd into ‘strong design skills’ and you get the list of 5 key things you want from your advertising agency if you ask me.
[Via the Marketing blog]