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Archive for the ‘Our thoughts’ Category

Social fashion: How Alexander Wang could have created a truly social collaboration

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

Last month Alexander Wang unveiled his new collection in collaboration with high-street retailer H&M, via a fashion show live streamed on his website. From 1st October to 17th October, there were 12,584 mentions of #ALEXANDERWANGxHM on Twitter, reaching an estimated 240 million people (Sysomos, 17.10.14).

The digital landscape is alight with conversation, images, video and desire, and the buzz is set to continue in the build up to his collection going on sale today.

 

alexander_wang_hm1

 

But amid all the hype, I can’t help but think that Wang and H&M missed a trick. Nowadays, if you’re going to release a high/low fashion collaboration that will bring your label to a new audience, it seems a no-brainer to put that customer at the heart of the story.

According to a recent IBM Customer-activated Enterprise study, 82% of CEOs plan to use digital technology to interact with customers in the next 3-5 years (Vision Critical blog,). Most businesses have already woken up to the important role that social media can play when it comes to engaging customers. But are they making the most of it?

Raymond King, CEO of Top Level Design, told Business News Daily that, ‘The fact that many companies use social media in a superficial way, basically as a public feedback forum that never finds its way into decision making, limits its effectiveness’. And this is where the real opportunity lies – to allow customers to actually influence business decisions.

Brands like Topshop and platforms such as Cut on Your Bias are already experimenting with this approach. So what could a truly customer-centric, socially-driven fashion collaboration look like? Here’s one vision:

  • A brave fashion-forward retailer could launch a collaborative campaign to crowd-source next season’s guest fashion line; a YouTube video with all the information could be posted at the start of the campaign with shorter teaser videos fed out on Instagram and Vine inviting the community to participate
  • The customers could be given the chance to vote for their mentor for the collaboration from among three incredible designers and this person would help guide the campaign from start to finish, working with the community at every step of the way
  • Customers could create mood boards on Pinterest as the inspiration for the collection and using various social platforms they could vote on colour palette, select the types of clothes items to be included, input on fabric choice and finishing details or even send in textile patterns they designed for use in the collection
  • Social competitions could be run to find five or ten members of the community to actually go to the designer’s atelier to help pull together the ideas and make decisions on the collection, and these people could take over the social channels of the retailer to provide a behind-the-scenes look at creating the collaboration
  • All interviews could be held via Q&As on Twitter or Facebook or as Google+ hangouts
  • Once the collection was ready, the retailer could source models from the community and live stream the show via social channels with special attendees live tweeting the event
  • Select items could be made available for purchase only through social channels, and using gamification techniques the retailer could reward certain social behaviour with points that could be redeemed for discounts on purchases made online

There is always some risk when you let customers be so involved in your brand, but the resulting connection and engagement the brand developed with their customer would be worth it. That would be a collaboration truly worthy of the buzz.

Platform focus: Why Pinterest is more than just pretty pictures

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

Pinterest isn’t for everyone – and that stands for both brands and consumers. It’s a beautiful place to visit when design, style and aesthetics are integral to your product (or piece of almond sponge). It’s not, however, a platform that every business should immediately incorporate into their social media strategy.

When Pinterest was launched back in the dark days of 2010, t was a place to go when you needed tips for making your home beautiful, your cakes prettier, and your style more… tastefully dishevelled.

It’s still great for the above. However, over the past four years (and that’s a huge epoch when it comes to the social sphere), Pinterest has got serious.

 

pinterest

Image: pinimg.com

 

Crucially, it’s become a place for brands to mix creativity with sales and show their consumers how they fit comfortably and effortlessly into their lifestyle. Through the power of the click-through (and Pinterest has better click-through rates than most other social platforms), the user just needs to be intrigued by a brand’s pin to leave the network and start exploring the brand’s website. You don’t need me to tell you that that, in itself, is valuable.

But Pinterest offers more than that. Take Topshop for example. The fashion giant worked with Pinterest under its Dear Topshop campaign last year, when its pins were heroed according to certain gift types on Topshop’s website. Via the pins, consumers were encouraged – and helped via a clear user journey – to share the products via Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest – ultimately spreading the word about the brand and encouraging a wider audience to interact, and buy, the products.

Still not convinced that Pinterest has the potential to offer real business value? Well, last year, the platform rolled out its paid ads (aka Promoted Pins) to a small group of businesses. Through Promoted Pins, businesses can select the pin they’d like to promote and specify which search keywords they want to attach to it, as well as the gender, device, location and language of their target audience.

With a small branded logo below the caption, Promoted Pins are designed not to be disrupt the user journey, and to sit comfortably within the feed. It’s still early days, but it’s likely brands will need to respect the platform here and produce suitable content emphasising quality rather than quantity.

 

pinterest 2

Image: Pinterest.com

 

The platform has also introduced guided search, which makes it easier to target specific content more effectively. Want a red apron with a flower pattern? No problem; guided search has got your back. This alone is the perfect way to discover new brands and businesses relevant to your needs. No wonder Pinterest has been coined the new Google…

 

pinterest 3

 

Armed with analytics now available to businesses on Pinterest, marketers will also soon be able (these Promoted Pins are not yet available to all) to quantify the success of their Pinterest campaigns. Through analytics, it’s possible to see valuable insight, including the average daily impressions of pins, average monthly viewers and average daily impressions. It’s also possible to see the amount of clicks, repins and likes – important metrics to test how active your community has been when it comes to engaging with content.

 

pinterest 4

Image: Mediabistro.com

 

This all being said; don’t let me tease you to get ahead of yourself. Yes, it has 70 million users and counting – that’s a tempting figure when it comes to opening brands to a new audience. However, it’s vital to question if these pinners are useful to you. Currently, approximately 80% of users are women, with the largest demographic aged between 35-54 years old. Not only that, most popular topics include cooking and dining, and DIY and crafts.

But f that’s the audience you already know like the back of your hand (whether that’s via social or in the real world), Pinterest is becoming an increasingly powerful platform to drive interest, engagement, and ultimately – sales. Considering with how much the platform has developed over the past year with business value in mind, it’s only going to become even more so.

For you, it really is time to join the visual revolution. Get pinning.

Social media’s love affair with the swipe

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

If you’re a user of social mobile apps (and who isn’t), you’ll be well aware that the swipe is emerging as the next like – sibling to our other ugly social verbs the poke and the favourite.

Executed in less than a second, our beloved new one-handed digital gesture leaves a flurry of digital footprints in its wake.

Annabel Sampson likes your photo.
Annabel Sampson has poked you.
Annabel has favourited your tweet.
You’re a match with Annabel!

Annabel is omnipresent, permeating all social platforms, and it’s not yet 8am.

 

 

How does the swipe impact our attitudes and behaviours? The swipe delivers instant results paired with instant gratification, making it hopelessly addictive and hugely empowering. So easy in fact, it seldom involves pause for thought.

Tinder was the tipping point for the swipe. The light-hearted hook-up app that allows us to swipe through potential matches based on age, location and gender has turned the agony of dating into a ruthless gladiatorial game and it continues to grow at a rate of 10% a week.

So is the swipe the solution to millennials’ fish-like attention span? A conveyor belt of opportunity grasped with next to zero kilojoule output – and hardly any intervention from our more sophisticated ‘system two’ brain (to use the terminology of behavioural economist Daniel Kahneman?)

Other start-up teams certainly seem to think so. Tapping into the success of the swipe interface are JobrEstately and Daily; gamifying the fields of recruitment, real estate and news reading in an attempt to entice addiction in different, somewhat drier landscapes. All attempt to match you with your perfect fit and sell themselves as the Tinder of their field.

 

 

But is this a logical adaptation? Tinder lends itself to the swipe because it’s immediate, visual and shallow. It’s a snap decision, comparable to a burst of attraction in a bar. But applying this instinctive gesture to  more complex areas risks trivializing them. Do you really want to swipe to find your perfect home, job, even pet (see bark buddy)?

The swipe is inherently fickle with overtones of callousness. Should gamification be left in the realms of Grand Theft Auto and Super Mario Kart or is it normal to build real lives, real conversations and real relationships through a sloppy thumb-slash?

For brands, the rise of the swipe reflects the need for them to provide instant visual appeal and improve clumsy purchasing processes.  In our increasingly impatient culture, consumers expect action with one casual move. Shopping in a click, same-day delivery services, contactless payments, storage within a digital “cloud”, answers on tap through Siri, movies and TV shows streamed in seconds, smart phone apps that eliminate the wait for…cabs, dates, food.

We expect our products and services to jump to attention, and content from brands must be ever more easy to consume and share. Of course, there’s room for businesses to subvert the swipe, to insist that their offering requires more deliberation and appreciation than a few seconds, but that would be a bold game to play and the goods have to be worth the investment of attention and finger-power.

This would be a good time for brands to assess how swipe-friendly their processes and content currently are. Because if social runs true to form, this tap dance is only going to get more frenetic.

Dubai is the new frontier for word of mouth

Friday, September 19th, 2014

You’ve probably heard about Joseph O’Neill’s ‘The Dog’, “a tale of alienation and heartbreak in Dubai”, that was long-listed for this year’s Booker Prize.

You’re less likely to have heard (unless you read my last post) about my recent move to Dubai to open 1000heads’ MEA HQ.

You’d presumably appreciate the latter making the former of particular interest to me. And after a perfect example of WOM in action, I purchased said novel.

I am not going to turn this post into a book review (although it is a good read), but I will focus on one very salient point that our unnamed hero makes, very early in the piece. Abridged:

“That’s Dubai, I suppose – a country of buzz… everywhere in the emirate are opacities… And so the place makes gossips of all of us whether we like it or not”

In this unique context – and Dubai is unique in its truest sense – ‘buzz’ travels by word of mouth because of ‘opacities’, because of the absence of any real, clear information.

Having lived here for six months I can vouch for the near-impossibility of finding out any ‘real’ info on anything. And, in its absence, word of mouth powers knowledge transfer.

Little wonder then that Gulf News recently reported that parents in Dubai rely on hearsay rather than inspection reports to choose schools for their kids. That’s a huge life decision, but it appears that WOM still trumps ‘official’ opinion.

Social media use in UAE is of course on the rise but it is this hunger for peer to peer recommendation – whichever channels are used to spread it, on and offline – that makes Dubai such an exciting place for us to be.

Whether you want a great book suggestion or a word of mouth campaign for your brand, get in touch.

Making chocolate sundaes…

Friday, August 29th, 2014

Last night I was at dinner with a friend explaining what we do at 1000heads. I’d just got going when his attention was diverted.

“What’s that?” asked my dining partner not apparently talking to anyone in particular. I turned in the direction of his glazed gaze.

“It’s wonderful isn’t it…” exclaimed a woman in a state of giddy joy, “…we saw them having it and we just had to order one.” She motioned to the table beyond where a couple looked on with the glow of parental pride.

The ‘it’ in question was a rather wonderful chocolate sundae crowned with a hemisphere of thin, dark chocolate. On the side, a jug full of hot butterscotch sauce was waiting to be tipped onto the crown where it would burst the confectionary bubble and reveal an oasis of cream and popping candy. The fizz and freckle of the butterscotch on candy drew oohs and aahs normally reserved for fireworks.

“Looks great…” I said, “…we should order a couple of those later”.

And so we did.

When they appeared we caught the table next to us peering over.

“What’s that?” asked one.
“It looks amazing!” squealed another.
“It’s wonderful isn’t it…” said my dining partner.

And so the ripple continued.

All in all that evening we observed a chain of twelve sundaes, each directly attributable to the trendsetters at the top table.

“So…” said my friend smearing chocolate brownie across his lower lip. “…1000heads, what is you guys do exactly?”

“We help our clients make chocolate sundaes” I said.
“I thought you were in marketing?” (He never got metaphors).

In an industry forever discussing new platforms, new audiences and new techniques it’s important to remember what we do and why. And hey, it never hurts to have a delicious go-to example to explain what success looks like.

Debate: Is social media a waste of time for business?

Friday, August 15th, 2014

Recently I was asked participate in a print debate for Economia magazine, a back-to-basics scrap between myself and Robert Wynne, President of Wynne Communications. Our topic: Is social media a waste of time for business?

There are still (and quite rightly so) many sceptics out there wondering whether social marketing is all so much smoke and mirrors, so I was delighted to get the chance to articulate why (when done properly) it isn’t.

Let me know what you think.

Image: JD Hancock

YES: Robert Wynne

Look at your audience. Who is primarily on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter? Children, teenagers, celebrities and families. What is it you want to say? Probably something important about taxes, a new hire, a new law that impacts your clients, or possibly a new office. Now post it on Facebook, right next to photos of that cute kitty. “Watch out, he’s about to knock over that aquarium. What a scamp. Now what were you saying about your firm?” It doesn’t look appropriate next to that cat, does it?

Some things do well on social media: celebrities who appeal to teenagers, such as Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus. Games including Candy Crush. But not businesses or accountancy firms. If you post your news item on social media, then send it out via a news release service or to your client list: which do you think will be more successful?

Social media is about conversation and most of that, unfortunately, involves reposting. Financial results, tax advice, new hires; most of that is best posted on your website, your blog or sent directly. The best way to reach your clients, friends and influencers is via email. As Rick Newman, chief business correspondent for the US News & World Report put it: “Social media represents all these new forms of information, but all roads lead to email.”

NO: Molly Flatt

Saying social media is a waste of time for business is like saying humans are a waste of time for business. Social media is simply a set of tools that allow people to connect with each other. Sometimes we use social media to gossip or watch videos of cats, just like we sometimes eat junk food. But most of us also cook nutritious meals, and we use social tools to do things that are central to our lives and to businesses: for example, asking others for advice, giving recommendations or collaborating with others.

And by “we” I mean everyone.

Pew Research tells us that 71% of online adults now use Facebook, including 45% of internet users aged 65 and over. The Interactive Advertising Bureau tells us 90% of consumers would recommend a brand to others after interacting with them on social media. Frankly, if you think that connecting with your clients involves talking about taxes or telling them who you just hired, you’ve got a problem. This is about emotion, not just information. Emotion is what drives people to buy products, remain loyal or spread the word, and emotion is the currency of social media.

Robert Wynne

Yes, more people are using social media than ever. But are they using it to discover the offerings of a company, to compare prices, to contact customer service or to engage with businesses? Not really.

Look at your own habits. If you have a problem with your Samsung 55-in LED TV, do you check Facebook and Twitter or do you go to the retailer’s website? If you have an American Express Platinum card and want to buy tickets for Adele’s concert using the credit card firm concierge to get the best seats, do you look at social media or “like” a page about Adele on Facebook? Neither – you look at their website.

The same principles apply to accountancy firms. If you need to contact your clients about a change in tax policy, a direct email or notice on your website homepage will be more effective and professional. The same applies when it comes to crises. Twitter may seem to be the best platform to inform the masses but it only works when you lead clients to a live person or team of experts via email or phone.

It’s comforting to believe that all businesses need to do is type in a few words or post an arresting photo and the magic happens. But perhaps it’s better to think of social media as a complementary function that leads people to where they really want to go: to your website or to a live human at your practice. That’s what you want as a customer, isn’t it? So treat your clients with the same respect and efficiency.

Molly Flatt

Using your own habits to extrapolate what the rest of the world is doing is a classic marketer’s mistake. Let us consider the facts. Research from the Ambassador Group shows that 9% of all social media users engage with brands daily, more than half will do so several times a month, and 33% of people would rather contact a company by social media than by telephone. And this behaviour is increasing.

The Center for Marketing Research in the US recently found that 62% of Millennials like at least one brand on Facebook, 23% follow a brand on Twitter and 11% have pinned a brand on Pinterest. Their top three motivations? Supporting that brand, getting brand news and updates, and discovering discounts.

But although the value of social media for brands – as a channel for broadcast, transaction and customer service – is valuable, it still misses the point. Getting people to talk to each other about you as a brand, rather than talking to them, is where social’s power lies. The best brands spend more time listening on social media than they do talking – and then use that insight to surprise customers or clients.

Take the Samsung example: a savvy competitor could spot that person tweeting about their broken TV and offer them a free trial of their product instead. Or with the American Express example, why not give bloggers early access to your top events, encouraging recommendations with greater reach, trust and relevance than your concierge will ever have?

You can’t just plonk the same old business approaches onto social media. You have to change what you do. And that means prioritising advocacy, not just functionality.

Robert Wynne

There are great statistics about the rate of people using and enjoying social media, but it’s difficult to find anecdotes about serious businesses actually profiting from social media compared with good websites, their own blogs, and other effective digital communications including email. The example about another TV company bottom fishing by trying to pick up dissatisfied customers illustrates a reactive strategy for followers, not leaders.

Think of social media as another outlet for posting news, stories, anecdotes and hope it brings customers, friends and other audiences to your website or even better, to call or email you directly. I’ve seen marketers spend hundreds of thousands of dollars building up Twitter followers and Facebook likes with nothing to show for it but… followers and likes.

There’s a role for social media, as part of an overall public relations, marketing, advertising and communications plan. There are apps used today by Forbes contributors, including myself, that allow us to post our columns to several social media sites simultaneously. Soon anyone will be able to do that. And once the sites and messages can be aggregated, they will seem less unique and just one more hammer or screwdriver in the toolbox.

Molly Flatt

Social media is not a better or worse version of brand websites or emails. It is a totally different beast, requiring a totally different set of approaches and skills. Businesses are followers, not leaders, in this space. In social media, you need to listen to your consumers or clients, then serve them in the most helpful, timely, relevant and inspiring ways – not try to dictate your superior wisdom or pre-packaged marketing bumf.

Of course, social media can’t fulfil every business role. But it is a way to build genuine and mutually rewarding relationships with your customers. So do keep auto-publishing your fascinating Forbes columns and sending them round via email. That way the rest of us can happily ignore them – and spend time engaging with businesses who approach this space like human beings, not content-creating robots.

Why influencers love Instagram

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

The tide is turning once again on the platform of choice for social media’s movers and shakers. Snapchat’s for teens, Facebook’s for losers and Twitter’s for marketers, but Instagram is unequivocally having its moment in the digital spotlight.

Image: Jason Howie

We had a sneaking suspicion the times were a-changing. First, there was the influencer who, after we shared our planned Twitter activity for an event they were attending, literally scoffed, “Twitter? Why? I barely use it anymore. I ‘gram.’”

(Attention to the unhip: A “gram,” as it’s affectionately referred to amongst Instagram’s most devout users, refers to a photo posted on the platform.)

These Twitter-spurning, Instagram-loving influencers are becoming increasingly common. We work with a growing pool of influencers who, from their average Twitter following, look more like you or me than a bonafide influencer (apologies to all the Twitter kingpins reading this – you’re exempt). Look at their Instagram accounts, however, and you’ll see a following in the 10k+ range with engagement per post of 1.5k+.

Then, there was the time we first engaged influencers on Instagram using Direct Messaging. The result? An avalanche of immediate, effusive responses. What a change from the “Is this a scam?” or, more frequently than not, the pure radio silence our community team has become accustomed to when engaging on Twitter.

Giddy with the results, we decided to take our newfound Instagram success a step further. How? By publicly commenting on an influencer’s photo. Shortly thereafter, we were greeted by a screenshot of our comment posted on the user’s Instagram, accompanied by text saying how “cool” it is the brand took the time to comment on their photo.

Pardon?

In the vein of not letting our love affair with Instagram go to our heads without cold, hard stats, we did some research. According to a recent article by Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA), Instagram’s monthly active user base of 200 million boasts an engagement rate per user 60 times higher than Facebook, and a whopping 120 times more than Twitter.

But why? Why is it a preferred platform? Why more engagement? Why more consumer trust in brands that engage on Instagram? We have a few theories:

  • Visual – Instagram’s inherently visual nature makes it the ideal platform for the plethora of visually inclined fashion, food and lifestyle bloggers we so frequently work with to share their content vs. text-heavy Twitter.
  • Easy – Sure, tweeting is easy. However, as the pressure to think up a witty, unique, 140-character-or-less bit of wisdom that will score you retweets, favorites and legions of new followers (and maybe a book deal!) can put a damper on things. With Instagram, no words are necessary. A picture is worth a thousand characters.
  • Uncluttered - Instagram has yet to be overrun by brands clambering for user’s attention (According to WOMMA, only 15 brands are currently approved for sponsored posts*). A brand reaching out to you on Instagram is out of the norm. It’s different. It doesn’t feel spam-like. It might even feel personalized, because, as our social savvy influencers know, there isn’t currently a platform that makes mass marketing promotion easy on Instagram.

Where are your influencers exerting their influence?

Transparency, trust and the power of native advertising

Friday, August 8th, 2014

Having touched on the topic of native advertising a couple of months ago, I’d now like to turn to… well, native advertising.

The trend continues to rise and the case studies accumulate, and it’s hitting more and more of a nerve with consumers fed up of traditional, interruptive ads. So let’s dig a little deeper into what’s causing the upsurge, and how businesses can make the most of it.

 

 

Don’t do this

Cast your mind back to 1994. More specifically, 27th October 1994, when the first banner ad went live on hotwire.com and 44% of those who saw it clicked on it. Fast forward to today and banner ads are ineffective and, frankly, downright annoying; nowadays you’re lucky to get a CTR of more than 0.1%.

Intrusive ads just aren’t the way into consumers’ hearts. During our usual bedtime browse, we’re increasingly resentful of those annoying onscreen popups that obscure content, or even the whole page; background takeovers; ‘suggested content’; and the much-hated banner ad.

As we spend more and more time online and the ‘second screen’ becomes the ‘first screen’ (3 hours and 41 minutes are spent online per day, that’s 26 minutes more than we spent watching TV), not being interrupted is becoming incredibly important.

And that’s where native comes in. What makes something native? What are the rules? And more importantly, how can it be measured? The answers are a work in progress, but marketers are swimming in a sea of opportunity, which is both exciting and scary for all involved.

Consumers are tired of being shouted at. They’ve had it for the last 100 years, and it’s time marketers became smarter. Indeed, the IAB found 60% of consumers prefer digital advertising that focuses on a story rather than selling a product, highlighting the importance of storytelling in advertising and the power of emotional connections.

The key issue here is one of transparency. When it’s not so obvious consumers are being advertised to, marketers run the risk of leaving the consumer feeling misled and eroding brand trust. In the same IAB report, 41% of those surveyed recognised native material as advertising. This is a big issue for brands and marketers.

Last time, I shared a piece of great native advertising on the New York Times website for Orange is the New Black, but in many cases it doesn’t take such a considered approach. Have a look at The Atlantic’s native ad for The Church of Scientology for an example of how not to do native.

This ‘advertorial’ unashamedly peddled the achievements the controversial church had witnessed that year. The issue here, other than the brash nature of the article itself, is that there was no distinction between The Atlantic’s standard editorials and the sponsored article.

For other examples of good native ads one need only look to BuzzFeed – the vanguard of click bait articles. As a purveyor of the much-loved listicle, BuzzFeed is the perfect platform for nondescript articles for brands to express themselves and tell a story rather than sell a product (see Hellmann’s 17 hacks That Will Make Your BBQ Awesome or Oasis’ The 11 Most Irritating Types Of People On Instagram).

In short, we’re going to see a lot more of native advertising. It’s certain to evolve into something that is different to what we’re seeing today, but the similarities will be one of discretion and, for the format to survive, one of transparency and trust.

Facebook Custom Audiences: What does it mean for your brand? Part I

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

A Custom Audience is an ad targeting option available through Facebook which lets advertisers connect with a brand’s existing audiences. This targeting option leverages the power of CRM data to find Facebook users who have previously interacted with a brand. It enables advertisers to reach qualified leads on Facebook, precisely segmenting this audience by CRM data, pages visited or by any of the ad platform’s standard targeting options (age, gender, interest etc).

This powerful tool blurs the lines between CRM and advertising and although the potential applications are huge, we’ve identified eight ways brands can maximise its value:

1. Grow your fan base
Once you have uploaded your CRM data you can target this group during your paid social campaigns, allowing you to target everyone from your email list who isn’t an existing fan to like your page.

2. Extend your post reach
A published Facebook post can often only reach a small percentage of your audience organically. If you want to reach more people you can promote your posts using Facebook’s advertising platform. However, with your own CRM data you can reach individual users on the Facebook platform who may not be your fans yet. These users have already expressed interest in your brand and its content, so they are more likely to embrace seeing your post in their newsfeed.

 

Image: Facebook for Business

 

3. Retargeting website visitors
There can often be a large drop off during the purchasing process as customers research their options or simply become distracted. Retargeting ads remind the customer of what they were looking at, build familiarity and bring them back to the site to complete the purchase.

4. Cross-sell/upsell
Knowing which products a customer has purchased before gives a brand the opportunity to upsell a complementary item to existing customers through Facebook.

5. Cross device retargeting
A lot of customers will research a product on a mobile device but then make the purchase on a desktop. As custom audiences allow us to retarget the user rather than the device, brands can extend this behaviour by promoting further browsing to mobile users, or to trigger a sale with desktop users.

6. Seed campaigns
Custom audiences allow brands to extend the reach of ‘fan’ targeting to those outside their current social following, but still to engaged and reactive audiences.

7. Building new customers
Look-alike audiences allow advertisers to create additional audiences similar to your existing customers based on their demographic, interest and profile make-up.

8. Profiling your customer base
Brands can apply targeting filters on custom audiences to discover a huge amount about demographics, interests and profile. These insights can then be used to inform business objectives and decision-making.

Facebook Custom Audiences is currently under-utilized by many advertisers. The potential of the advanced targeting option allows you to reach current and potential customers with your Facebook advertising, and benefits brands and customers alike.

For brands they benefit from targeting the exact customers they want to reach allowing them to be more efficient with advertising spend. For customers, they benefit from being served more relevant advertising, from a brand they have previously engaged with.

In our next post, we will be covering the application of Facebook Custom Audiences as a profiling tool in more detail.

Point of view: 3D printing. Blood vessels, organs, food… What next?

Friday, July 25th, 2014

3D printing. A concept that only a few decades ago would have seemed ludicrous, is now set to revolutionise the way we live today.

Eco-friendly, a cure for cancer and a functioning 3D-printed kidney. The rise of 3D printing has been heralded as the “Second Industrial Revolution” , and it has the potential to impact our lives in a similar way

3D ‘Bio’-Printing

“Imagine being able to walk into a hospital and have a full organ printed – or bio-printed, as we call it – with all the cells, proteins and blood vessels in the right place, simply by pushing the ‘print’ button on your computer screen?” envisages Dr. Luiz Bertassoni of the University of Sydney. Forward-thinking doctors want to be able to print tissue to make organs cheaply, and anticipate that in 10 years’ time every lab and hospital will have a 3-D printing machine that is able to print living cells.

3D printing even has the scope to revolutionize the way we treat cancer. Tumours can now be ‘printed’ for the purpose of testing developing drugs quickly and more accurately. A living tumour can be printed at an extraordinarily high resolution, in a multitude of different and specific shapes and sizes. Each tumour is different, so there’s even the possibility that the technology will be able to simulate individual patients’ cancers in the lab – to see which drugs work most effectively to combat it.

3D Printing and Sustainability

3D printing is being lauded as a ‘greener’ option to traditional manufacturing processes. The problem with traditional manufacturing is in the costs of transportation from A to B to C and often D. Creating not one, but multiple routes of carbon emission, not to mention excess packaging.  With 3D printing, a design team come up with an object and then store the design in an online repository. Clients then peruse designs online before loading their favourite to an in-home or local 3D printer to be reproduced and used; therefore removing the individual legs of shipping as well as the dilemma of excess packaging.

A distant version perhaps; in a world where all homes are kitted out with a 3D printer, akin to the two dimensional printer these days – but nonetheless, this could be an environmental game changer.

3D Printing and Brands

3D Printing is already starting to speed up small businesses. Science and life-enhancing capabilities aside, it is proving an effective tool for brands to tap into. However with the ‘democratization’ of 3D printing, as it has been termed, will brands lose their power and lure as more people are able to manufacture products independently?

The cleverest brands are embracing 3D printing; and harnessing the opportunity. They are riding the wave of the revolution and inviting collaboration with the individual. 3D printing provides a unique opportunity to strengthen the link between consumer and brand through the creation of one-of-a-kind products.

This mode of thought is exactly what Adobe tapped into with their #CreativityForAll campaign hatched by 1000heads. We were briefed to raise awareness of Adobe’s new 3D printing capabilities. The solution: we invited a selection of 2 and 3D artists to reimagine the traditional Easter egg.  In turn, we 3D printed their visions in magnificent coloured sandstone. Read more here.

Other brands operating creatively are Dewar’s who gathered a swarm of 80,000 honey bees to “3B print” a bottle of whisky. A transparent whisky bottle was created housing a swarm of bees for a period of 6 weeks. From this, an inside out beehive was gloriously constructed. The experiment was broadcast “Live from the Hive” to Dewar’s Facebook page. Despite not being a clean-cut example of 3D printing, it clearly demonstrates its powerful influence and the creative possibilities 3D printing invites.

To promote CocaCola’s mini-size bottles in Israel, the brand created an app which allowed consumers to create virtual replicas of themselves to feed, drink and take care of, a la Tamigotchi (remember?). The reward to those that looked after “themselves” successfully was an invitation to Coke’s headquarters in Israel where “mini me” figurines were 3D printed. Successfully tapping into Coke’s overarching marketing strategy about the formulation of personal relationships with its customers.

The possibilities with 3D printing in the future may well extend beyond our wildest dreams . Already we are dealing with Bio-Printing, dreams of 3D printed airliner wings and plastic skulls (yes, really). Chris Anderson, former editor-in-chief of Wired, once said that 3D printing “will be bigger than the web.” A bold statement indeed, but judging by the levels of ingenuity, it could well be the case.

Photograph by makerbot on Flickr