15 January 2017

Brands, Please Stop Hijacking Memes

Kittens (or memes) aren't a social media strategy. 

Our Global Chief Strategy Officer says "Everything communicates."

Not just your communications. Your product, your customer service, your price point. The perception of a brand is informed through experience, not just ads.

Your social media strategy communicates too. Obviously the content itself, but so too does the way you approach the channel, where you invest your time and money. Everything communicates.

And these days social isn't a single line item on the bottom of a media plan. Bigger budgets every year support the channel which is long over due - too many brands over invest in production relative to distribution.

As the channel matures, so too must our approach. Unfortunately brands still think the answer is memes - attempts to 'hijack the conversion' with reactive content. Now, armed with a media budget, they have reach.

In two days I've seen half a dozen attempts by local brands to jump on the salt bae and jacketgate memes (don't worry, I had to look them up as well). And there's more every day.

Please, stop doing it. Far more often than not:
  1. It's too niche or early for people to have context (so much wastage)
  2. It's off brand (and it's not distinctive if everyone is doing it)
  3. It's off strategy (if you even have one)
  4. You don't own the image/video rights or talent usage (ask your legal team)
  5. It's lame (especially when you PR it in trade press)
No doubt it's more engaging than the shitty content you put out every other day. But if you wanted to be popular, you'd just post photos of kittens.

Just because it's getting lots of likes doesn't mean it's working.

09 January 2017

Shipping Faster

Your lizard brain slows ideas.

It's nearly a decade old, but as relevant as ever: Always. Be. Shipping.

I'm very slow at shipping ideas. From big side projects to short blog posts (like this one). They often float around in head for weeks, then longer as notes on my phone. Only much later do they turn into something. Sometimes.

Seth Godin says it's our lizard brain. It slows down ideas and kills them through inertia. I also find it stops new bulbs from lighting up - there's only so many ideas I can keep in my head at once. If I don't get them out fast enough new ones don't come.

But it's never been easier to quickly get from light bulb moment to shipped product. It takes almost no time or effort or cost to gauge demand or build a prototype. Technology let's you make things (or break things) fast. Or bash out a hundred words.

There's probably something to be said for letting ideas sit to evolve. They "stew". But I find it doesn't happen without action - researching, brainstorming, writing. Especially when Mario Run doesn't let you get bored enough to stew them over. (That's why you have your best ideas in the shower.)

I love pushing things out into the world. Even pressing the Publish button on a post. Not just because people engage with your idea, but shipping one creates space for the next to exist.

If you don't, your current small ideas (or bad ones) might be blocking that next big one.

I'm not very good at it. 73% of my blog posts last year were published in the last week of the month. I don't have a schedule or volume target - I post whenever I have something worth sharing. Yet my lizard brain apparently likes an artificial monthly deadline. Rarely do I post more frequently, unintentionally holding out on a post idea to 'tick' off that month. And while my brain is holding ideas, it's not generating new ones.

I'm not really one for New Year's resolutions, but this year I want to move faster with ideas. Get them out into the world sooner (and not just one at the end of each month). Starting with this post, based on a conversation I had with a colleague only three days ago. Normally it would take me a fortnight.

And I've got another post to write tomorrow.

Freeing up the mind keeps it hungry.
The views expressed herein are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer. Also ponies are evil.
Pigs Don't Fly © Copyright Zac Martin