Recent reports by researchers at Northwestern University and HP have both come to the same conclusion. Size doesn’t equate to influence in social media. While celebrities and brands are racking up Twitter followers and Facebook fans, smaller-audience category experts and thought-leaders are more effective at shaping a conversation and spreading the word than their bigger cousins.
The most-followed accounts on Twitter are run by pop stars, reality TV personalities and Barack Obama. But the most influential — those that drive a conversation to more listeners by way or retweets — are publishers such as Mashable’s Pete Cashmore, CNN Breaking News and The Onion.
(Graphic from the highly influential Mashable.)
It’s a good reminder for marketers and their agencies, many of whom are chasing follower counts because, well, they are easy to count. Besides, in advertising big feels more successful than small. (And while big may not be the same as influential, really really small almost certainly equates to not very influential.) Now it’s time for brands to figure out what to share with those followers — how to engage them and influence how they think about you, otherwise the money and effort put against winning the follower-count race will be wasted resources.
Check out the complete map at the Web 2.0 site. The best part: Hit the “movements” button to see which businesses are encroaching on their neighbors’ turf.
From the New Yorker profile of James Dyson, the British engineer and unlikely pitchman behind the vacuum cleaner that sells at four times the price of its competitors yet snatched up 23% of the US market.
“In the most perverse design decision of all, Dyson let you see the dirt as you collected it, in a clear plastic bin in the machine’s midsection. One day in 1978, Dyson was cleaning his house when he became frustrated with the way his vacuum cleaner quickly lost suction. It was a design flaw, and yet vacuum cleaners had been made that way for a hundred years. As the brand story goes, Dyson thought about the problem, built thousands of prototypes, and finally came up with a vacuum cleaner that used centrifugal force, rather than a bag, to separate the dirt from the air…. Sir James Dyson is now known to millions as the man who made vacuum cleaners sexy again.
“Dyson had grasped what the companies trying to make hundred-dollar vacuum cleaners had forgotten: that a lot of people get their kicks from buying appliances, and are willing to pay a premium for a machine that will deliver an emotional experience.”
It’s a story that reminds you: Building a brand is more art than science. It’s a discipline where irrational humanness (“the solid yellow used for the body of the machine was a shade familiar in power tools but not in household appliances… gave the Dyson a gravitas that the lime greens and mulberries of the other brands did not possess”) trumps rational thinking. And if you can pull it off, wow, double-digit market share at a 300% premium over your rivals?! That’s nice.
“Smart marketers know that somewhere between product experience, community participation, social responsibility, gaming dynamics, and crowdsourcing is the new thirty-second TV commercial.”
So says Edward Boches, Chief Creative Officer and Chief Social Media Officer of Mullen. According to Ad Age, creative directors aren’t having fun at big agencies anymore and they’re leaving in droves. How come? Boche’s take:
“in a lot of these agencies the things that people historically have made were TV spots, campaigns and messages. Executions over which a few people could exercise complete control. Concepts that had a beginning, middle and end. Along with a media plan that also adhered to a start and stop date. You came up with an idea. Then you sold it, produced it, ran it, entered it, and moved on.
“If that’s your idea of fun, then obviously you’re not having any….
“However, look into some of the newer, smaller, more nimble agencies, where digital and social thinking reign, and you not only see plenty of creativity, you find an industry that’s more fun than it’s ever been.”
I guess I missed the press release on this: Google’s now surfacing results “from people in your social circle” — content that’s written by people you appear to know and trust. My colleague Sasha Nelson was searching for ad-spending data and noticed my smiling mug in her results.
Today NBC.com turned its site into a coffee sack sponsored by the Facebook page for Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte. I’m a big fan of clever, eye-catching advertising. But, sheesh. The ad-to-content ratio here is out of whack.
Solve Media’s concept is to replace that annoying process called CAPTCHA, where you’re asked to prove your humanness by reading and re-typing a few words that software robots (and many humans) can’t read, with paid ad placements.
From All Things D:
“The idea is that [Solve Media's] ads require users to engage with them, by typing in the names of brands and products. But they don’t do anything beyond that — they don’t trigger a video, or take you to another Web site, or anything else. It’s sort of like sitting on your couch and uttering ‘Outback’ every time a Subaru spot comes on.
“[CEO Ari Jacoby] claims his ‘type-in’ ads will increase Web surfer’s recall of the ads, for the same reason that writing anything down makes it easier to remember.”
Seems like a win to me. The CAPTCHA experience is universally despised by users, but it’s essential for publishers looking to keep spammers from meddling with their content. Improve a bad but necessary experience, AND make money for revenue-hungry content creators? What’s not to love?!
My mother was so proud to see me in the New York Times. My grandmother, though, thinks I’m looking a bit too skinny.
Full story here.
See the full commercial at NY Times.
From Five Blogs Before Lunch:
“The company has had a difficult time getting its ad approved to run on television, with TV networks, national cable stations, radio stations, and commercial websites hesitant to run the ads. The ad has been shopped around to 100 TV stations, and with the exception of Soapnet Women’s Entertainment and Discovery Health, many either refused or placed certain parameters on the ads.”
Rachel Braun Scherl, the president of Semprae Laboratories, which manufactures Zestra, suggests that TV audiences (or at least network executives) aren’t ready to contemplate female sexuality. “When it comes to talking about the realities of women’s lives, like menstruation, you always have some woman running in the field in a dress.”
Yet some of the most popular and successful TV shows of recent years — Sex in the City, Mad Men, 30Rock, Jersey Shore, The Bachelor and others — feature sexually active women, and plot lines where women talk about enjoying (!!) or not enjoying the sex itself.
So why are executives on the money-making side of television (for once) more prudish than their programming counterparts?