About danpankraz

I'm a Youth Marketing Strategist working as Regional Strategy Director, APAC at Iris Worldwide- based in Sydney. I've spent my whole career working on youth brands including Adidas, Axe, Smirnoff, Lonely Planet & many others

Top 10 #RealTimeMarketing Moments from April Fools Day

Well we’ve had the best of in real time marketing from the SuperBowl,Valentines Day and Oscars; last week brands across the world were at it again on trying to generate cultural conversation around weird and wacky April Fools Day pranks. 

 Here are my top 10 real time marketing moments from around the world:

 1. Google Maps Pokemon Challenge

Google Maps goes into recruitment mode with the help of Pokemon to find Pokemon Masters around the world.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4YMD6xELI_k#t=22

2. Headdit: a quirky new way to browse Reddit

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rqoKxLB8GH8#t=30

3. Dominos Edibox: a world first in snacking innovation

 

(Disclaimer: our Iris London office did this one)Image

4. LELO Dextrus: World’s first vibrator that makes you smart

The left handed orgasm for lovemakers around the world.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJernQ4gxtA#t=23

 5. Virgin America & NEST’s ‘Total Temperature Control’ give passengers control over their seating temperatures onboard

Sir Richard shows us how to feel a Chicago polar vortex onboard.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1nzWY3JFJQ

 6. Rent out your desk on AirBrb: some fun from Airbnb

What could be better than earning money while you work?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0MmNM0a_RU

 7. LEGO offered free shipping by Turtle for one day only on Twitter

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8. King’s College Choir in London offered up helium as a solution to replacing high male voices

Nice to see a religious group getting in on the fun

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ukDAfF0-8q8

 9. SONY launched #SONYPowerFood to power their products via a new voltaic enzyme

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPRYB_PNWlA

 Last but not least, even the French got in on the fun

10. AirFrance introduced inflight selfies via #SelfintheAir camera

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SXSW 2014 Wrap: Shadow marketing, 4D VR, Secret Social, Hacking for Humanity and Intrapreneurs

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SXSW Interactive is over for another year and thousands of marketers, clients, and tech geeks from around the world have had our brains filled with the latest and greatest in technology and human behavior. SXSW has become less about the latest start up tech (i.e: Twitter launching) and more about how marketers can influence behavior today and tomorrow through innovation.

So, here are 5 things I found most interesting at SXSW this year:

1.      Shadow Marketing: Data, security and privacy goes mainstream

As expected there was a big focus on data and privacy as we live in an era of technological transparency and big data in every marketing presentation. Interestingly, keynotes by Julian Assange and whistleblower Ed Snowden were the big attractions of the festival, not the CEO’s of tech companies.  Rather than the tech side of things, the conversations were around the shadows behind the technology and how we can use the immense data stream, tracking info to actually benefit mankind. Let’s call it ‘Shadow marketing’. People are acutely aware of the data being stored about their lives, so marketers need to be transparent about what info they have on people, making them feel secure about it whilst also adding genuine value to their lives, not flogging endless cross sells.

2.      4D Virtual Reality: The future of brand experiences

The big tech hit of SXSW this year was 4D Virtual reality software from Oculus Rift. Whilst, VR is not new, we may be finally coming to the point where marketers can genuinely use it to deliver hyper real brand experiences and interactive stories. HBO created a ‘Game of Thrones’ 4D Exhibit using Oculus Rift to showcase the new series, letting cast member Maisie Williams (Arya Stark) experience the mind blowing reality of it.  Watch it here:

 3.      Ssshhh: Secret social the antidote to the selfie obsessed

Finally, we may be seeing a counter trend against to the selfie-obsessed trend as people become more protective of their digital footprint. Perhaps we’ll be seeing a backlash to the selfie saturated social platforms and a growth in ‘secret social’ apps like Whisper and Secret. Their goal is to bring anonymity back to social. They’re both offering the ability to connect to anyone, anywhere, about anything without the fear of being judged. The big debate was around trolling and the impact that had on the overall welfare on the digiverse. Whisper CEO, Michael Heyward suggested ‘Whisper is the safest place on the web, we have a strict policy here anonymity is used to protect yourself, not hurt others’. Time will tell on this one.

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4.      Hacking for Humanity: emerging markets embracing hacking culture

Last year hacking was a key part of SXSW conversation and this year it popped up again but in a different guise. This year the conversation was around ‘Hacking for Humanity’ – tacking something and rewiring/rebuilding it to push us forward as a species. Interestingly, the best examples of this were not out of the USA or Europe but out of developing markets in Asia. Oxfam’s Pink Phone project in Cambodia was a shining example, whereby rural women were given old mobile phones providing them with access to farming information to help their livelihoods. We’re also seen phone hacking for good, as textbooks are delivered on phones in African nations.

 5.      Intrapreneurs the key to engaging Millennial workers

My favourite keynote was Pete Cashmore from Mashable talking about how to motivate Millennials in his ‘Y bother’ forum. By 2025, 80% of western workforces will be Gen Y, this is relevant for us all. We all know and have heard the discourse around Millennial expectations of management positions within 2 years of leaving uni, well here’s why. Millennials have grown up in a world where the tech has changed at warp speed, this is the real time generation. Social media platforms have democratised virtually every industry, giving everyone an equal voice. The key to maximising Millennial performance in the workforce is to empower them as INTRAPRENEURS – where they can be entrepreneurial within the business, making change in real time within flatter organisations structures.  Millenials have become wired to expect real time feedback. Annual Reviews are dead. Work and play is seen as one, Intrapreneurs want to go hard at both. Which is a great metaphor for the vibe at SXSW – a healthy dose of sucking up knowledge during the day and partying hard at night.

Perhaps the coolest thing at SXSW, was all the geeky gamers talking about the documentary series  ‘Dumping The Alien: Unearthing The Atari Graveyard’ where filmmakers are going to Area 51 in Mexico to try and find the 3million allegedly buried copies of the Atari Game ET ‘Extra Terrestrial’ – widely known as the worst video game ever. Watch the backstory here.

Another SXSW done, as people in Austin say: Stay Weird.

 

Overheard at SXSW 2014: 30 Interesting & Influential quotes

 

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 Here’s a little piece I put together earlier in the week for B&T, capturing 30 interesting & influential quotes from around the grounds at SXSW covering an array of topics. 

Once again the Twitterverse has gone into a tail spin as we all look to the latest trends and digital innovations coming out of SXSW Interactive festival in Austin Texas.  

There have been hundreds of speeches over the first three days, and I learned from last year’s experience that it’s impossible to visit or track every interesting keynote or speech. So I’ve attempted to capture the most interesting and potentially influential Tweets of the festival so far to give you a sense of what marketers are getting excited about. From 3D trending cookies, automation, the meaning economy, taser drones, wearable tech, girlpower, messy ideas – there’s lots of interesting perspectives flooding the Twitter stream right now.

1.    ‘Chaotic Moons taser drone delivers 80,000 volts of paralyzing power.’ @Mashable

2.     “At the Oreo Trending Vending Lounge we’re connecting trending moments to the Oreo cookie itself in real time and in real life .”  Bonin Bough,  Mondelez

3.    ‘One of the best ways to achieve justice is to expose injustice’. Julian Assange

4.    “Brands need to move their social media from always on to always relevant.’ @richardting R/GA

5.     ‘Creativity is not about keeping clean, it’s about getting in trouble’ @jeffreytambor, Actor

6.     ‘The ability of an entrepreneur to be a good storyteller is critical to their company’s success’ @BenHorowitz, Author ‘The Hard thing about Things’

7.    ’30 years ago it took 30 years to build a brand.  Now it can be almost overnight.’ Ben Lerer, Thrillist

8.    ‘Brands are grappling with privacy. They’re figuring out what’s cool vs. what’s creepy and how to not cross that line.’ @AnnMack JWT

9.    ‘Only 6% of CEOs for startups are women. We are taught early on, that being the boss isn’t very attractive. Join in the fight to disrupt the ‘pink aisle.’ Lyndsey Shepard, GirlPower

10. ‘Participation, Exclusivity and Authenticity are the 3 Characteristics of Successful Design.”  @DBonner, Razorfish

11. “People don’t experience technology. They experience products, spaces, usually one at the time.’  @rodrigoATCG, IDEO

12. ‘The shift in wearable tech: from “connected body” to “engaged humans” – start to understand what motivate users.’ Francois Grouiller, Fred & Farid

13. “Self tracking must feed our intuition, not replace it.” Ben Essen, Iris Worldwide

14. ‘We create 838 miles worth of digital content every 10 minutes.’ Mary Snauffer

15. ‘In the automated world, income will go up for people who work with computers and robots, and down for others.’ Eric Schmidt, Google

16. ‘The more autocratic the country, the more online identities the citizens have.’ David Caygill, Iris Worldwide

17.  “The better the tools one uses, the further you can get.” Stephen Wolfram

18. “Your audience now has their own audience. “Sandra Zuckerburg, Facebook

19. “We were ready to take a risk. It worked.”  Dana Brunelli, House of Cards producer

20. “If you can’t post a picture of it, it didn’t happen” Sam Huston, Jumptank

21. “We forget that our writing systems all started as pictures.” Ben Zimmer, vocabulary.com

22. “Fonts exist to add emotional context to written words.” Ben Zimmer, vocabulary.com

23. “Progressive companies are the ones who say: This journey is 1% finished” Maria Giudice, Rise of the DEO: Leadership by Design

24. “Good ideas are messy.” Maria Giudice, Rise of the DEO: Leadership by Design

25. “The next frontier is to make asynchronous communication as seamless as real time conversations.” Stephen Kim, Microsoft / Skype

26. “We have a universal need to be in the places and times that we can’t be in.” Stephen Kim, Microsoft / Skype

27. “Persuasive design aligns your desired outcome with the user’s interest.” Matt Dana, Fullscreen

28. ‘Better to be fired than to create something boring.’ Mike Germano, Carrot

29. ‘Our perception of time is altered by how much new and unusual things we’re experiencing.’  Matt Danzico, BBC

30. ‘Best #iBeacon experiences are those that go back to basics and do Marketing as a Service: Push a Service, not a message.’ Mette Stuhr, Carlsberg

#Allundefeated in 2013: adidas celebrates All Blacks undefeated season with topical social content

 

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Proud to say I drove this idea with my Regional Creative Director partner in Singapore, Grant Hunter :) Idea cracked late on a Thursday, presented to client on a Friday and live late Sunday evening. Awesome effort by our team and the great folk at adidas and the NZRU for championing this piece of social content.

adidas has been a key partner to the world’s greatest team, the New Zealand All Blacks for over 15 years. The 2013 season has been an epic one with the team sweeping all before them, winning 13 games in a row. After the 13th win against England it became a reality that the team could go undefeated if they were to beat Ireland the following Saturday in Dublin. Knowing there would be massive social buzz if the AB’s did beat Ireland, we asked ourselves the question, ‘How could adidas help celebrate the All Blacks first undefeated season in the professional era tapping into the live conversation around the victory’. This was the perfect op to be a partner, not just a sponsor.

 ALL UNDEFEATED IN 2013

 To celebrate the 14 wins, we decided to change the www.allblacks.com URL to wwwwwwwwwwwwww.allblacks.com – with each ‘W’ signifying an All Blacks win. We created both a Facebook timeline cover and social content for the All Blacks Facebook (2.1m fans) and adidas Rugby Facebook (148k fans) pages.   Within minutes of the victory against Ireland on November 23rd,  the new URL was posted on Facebook, Twitter and as a major news story on the All Blacks website generating high levels of engagement and brand love for adidas. 

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The idea massively tapped into the international buzz around the All Blacks 14th win. Within 24 hours of posting the idea reached well over 2.2m fans online. We had over 19k visits to the website, over 8k likes and 1,100 shares on the All Blacks and adidas rugby Facebook pages with active social engagement reaching another 180,000 people.  The idea was also retweeted almost 900 times on the All Blacks and adidas UK Twitter pages reaching another 100k people. Zero media spend and an example of creating relevant social content that rode the wave of a topical event, in this case a victory to be proud of. 

Interesting Stats:

- 90% engagement in first 12 hours of posting
-Reached over 2.3m fans in a single day
-Most shared branded content on the All Blacks Facebook page
-Most retweeted brand tweet on @allblacks Twitter page
-Facebook Engagement rate of 14%
 
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Shifts in luxury brand engagement #luxurybrands

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I’ve been lucky enough to work with some amazing luxury brands in my career including Jaguar and now on Johnnie Walker’s ‘Step Inside the Circuit’ F1 sponsorship at iris.

In a world where brands traditionally place a premium on exclusivity and timelessness, we’re seeing brands’ luxury status being defined by their ability to deliver innovative theatrical experiences.  How many different projection mapping efforts have we seen over the past 2 years? Some of the best being Lexus’ Trace Your Road real life video game and Design Disrupted but it’s now pretty standard for brands to play here to bring their rich stories to life.

The social revolution has changed the way luxury brands now bring new products to market. Brands like Burberry have embraced a ‘digital first’ ethos as spend 60% of their marketing budget on digitally integrated brand experiences, content platforms and retail initiatives. Making exclusive inclusive is fundamental in creating luxury brands with high levels of engagement.

There are some fundamental shifts going on that luxury brands need to consider.

1. Brands are no longer the arbiters of luxury, consumers, bloggers, platforms  are

For a long time, luxe brands have resisted forms of crowd-sourcing for fear of losing control of the brand’s visual identity, and the exclusiveness. But we’re seeing more and more brands collaborate, co-create with their target audience…albeit in more controlled scenarios. Louis Vuitton Journey Awards short film competition is a great example.

Luxe brands need sophisticated social commerce strategies which tap into the insight that people today are using social platforms like Pinterest to curate their ideal luxury lifestyle and purchase products. Chanel has the strongest presence on Pinterest despite not having an account. It’s photos are pinned more than any other brand in the world. Studies suggest that Pinterest directs more traffic to ecommerce sites than Facebook and Twitter combined.

2. Wealth is now determined by experiences more than material possessions.

People are seeking self fulfillment over status symbols as a general rule. According to a BCG study in 2012, experiential purchases (art, travel, leisure) account for over 55% of global luxe market and is growing 50% faster than luxury goods.

3. Interactive storytelling is essential in driving engagement, consumers want to ‘know’ more than ‘own’

Brands like Burberry and Audi are pioneering new immersive retail experiences adding depth and personalisation to the product discovery process. Physical and digital are  one in the same. It’s more than just creating dreamy luxury fantasies, but often service based utilities that bring to life the rational side of the brand or make purchasing easy are equally powerful in the networked age.

4. Time is the ultimate in luxury

Today more than ever ‘the time to experience products and experiences’ is seen as more than a status symbol than the accumulation of money. Traditionally eastern cultures have worshipped the currency as a display of wealth, but with the growth of the Chinese middle class and CVET, BRIC luxury consumers, time is to experience luxury is the ultimate display of wealth.

Some great recent examples of innovative uses of digital to create engagement and sales include:

Dianne Von Furstenberg #shopthehangout

Gucci Virtual Store

Luxe brands creating superlative, tech driven experiences will set themselves up for success in the ever evolving digital age with a new generation of luxury consumer navigating brands very differently to affluent baby boomers.

How brands can avoid #festivalfail this Summer: #youthmarketing

I recently wrote an article for AdNews here on what brands need to think about when activating at music festivals this Summer. Had a little help from my good buddy, Benny Barnett who is an absolute expert on all things festivals. Thanks Benny…

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Festival season is almost upon us, and everyone wants a piece of the action. With a stacked calendar and a continued blurring-of-the-line when it comes to offerings and audiences (IDM vs EDM? Phoenix playing Future Music? Who the hell knows what’s going on anymore) it’s harder than ever for brands to stand out and drive engagement. Conservatively, 80% of brands activating at festivals are wasting their money and creating marketing pollution. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that the music festival circuit is the highlight of the Gen Y social calendar and marketers see it as a massive opportunity to get their products and brands in front of this illusive group, en masse. However, approach with caution, as festivalgoers are the most cynical consumers in Australia when brands get it wrong. One negative Tweet, Facebook post or Insta photo can spread like wildfire. .  The kids are there to tune in, turn on, drop out and pick up…and will savage any brand that makes a ham-fisted attempt to horn in on their action in the name of ewmarketing.

So how do you avoid your brand making it on the #festivalfail Instagram feed this summer? How do you appeal to the right audience in the right way when not even the promoters are sure who their actual audience is anymore? Here are some tips to get you on the right track:

 Ensure there’s a genuine value exchange

Brands who think that sticking up a tent, putting your logo on some scrim will keep you top of mind, need to think again. What’s the value exchange? A big bright logo is clearly not enough. At Coachella this Year, Heineken offered free cold storage for your Heineken 6 pack which punters could you access anytime via fingerprint – keeping your beers cold in the scorching heat, #festivalwin.  For Sony Xperia’s sponsorship of Swedish House Mafia’s farewell tour earlier this year, at Iris we created the #together experience, bringing the crowd together like never before. Pre concert, fans downloaded the free Lisnr app and were able to synch their phones with the light show in real time. 50,000 phones lighting up with the main stage. Happy fans.

Don’t try and own the big moments

 Brands trying to ‘own’ the big festival moment or spectacle are destined to fail. Festival promoters and the bands themselves don’t want brands to overshadow their show. Work out what the punters want and do something to enhance their experience. How can you give fans social currency without distracting them? Or how about, hell, creating your own spontaneous moment. In 2011 a bunch of kids laid down dozens of garbage bags and turned the Woodford campground into a giant slip’n’slide. It was miles away from the live stages, but people came a-running. And all the brands were up at the festival because that’s where the action was, right guys? Guys? Buller? Buller?

Understand the varying festival needstates

Creating a one size fits all activation program is a recipe for disaster. Putting your bar, tent or stall up at Big Day Out doesn’t mean it will work at Laneway or Field Day. Status Seekers hit Field Day and Good Vibes. Get those tatts out and singlets off, lads. Remember when Harbourlife banned dudes with no shirts, and how happy that made us all? Expressives hit up Laneway, Young Explorers make the pilgrimmage to Splendour and Falls, and Blokeys get their (mid-strength) bourbon on at Big Day and Groovin’ The Moo. (Note: labels above are my descriptors, not common lingo amongst kids). But why are these kids going – for the tunes? To get off their chops, dress up, have a road trip, tell cool stories, build myth and legend amongst mates? Brands better know before they go.  

Focus on the many, not just the few

Music festivals are the ultimate melting pot, where socioeconomic divides go out the window and the experience is king.  Crews from the Shire party along with kids from the inner west, the North Shore, the Penny basin, and anywhere else you can think of.  Mainstream brands creating VIP experiences do so at a big risk. Oh look, Telco X is doing VIP dunnies? But wait, why can’t I get in there and that guy can? Screw you Telco X. It might look good on a boardroom presentation to say you gave 500 youth a special brand experience, but if the other 20,000 reckon you’re elitist, it’s a #festivalfail. Virgin Mobile got around this at Splendour a couple of years back by giving free tents to its customers, but they had to get them from a secret warehouse outside the festival. Great way to get your brand talked about pre festival.

 Forget influencers at festivals, every single festivalgoer has a massive social voice once they leave the precinct. At Singapore Night Festival, Yelp gave out thousands of glowsticks – people were fighting to get their hands on them. Now imagine a sea of glowing Heineken green at Stereosonic. Yep. 

Be an enabler of self expression

Festivals represent the ultimate opportunity for self-expression. It’s a moment of freedom where you can escape the real world and express who you really are, or would like to be. Brands who create opportunities for fans to be rewarded or celebrated for their individual creativity are the ones that win. Remember, every selfie is an opportunity for stardom within their social networks. Those at home following the festival hashtag feed expect epic pics from their mates. Punters at Burning Man paint each others’ faces with elaborate animal designs – everyone wants in, and they have the living hell photographed out of them wherever they go. And those photos spread online like Chlamydia. Fun with an animal theme? Can’t imagine a brand that would want to get on board with that *cough* Optus.   Beware though, hijacking a meme can be borderline unauthentic if you get it wrong.

Enhance their experience through simple tools

Brands are looking left and right to innovate at festivals with technology such as RFID, as we saw at Coachella festival in the States this year or the Tupac hologram in 2011. The reality is that the best experiences brands can deliver are based on being super useful. Understanding context, environment and mindset is critical. Every year Splendour is a mudbath. You can put money on it. Festivalgoers without gumboots can buy them on site for $50 and up. Bargain, right? A brand giving out cheap branded gumboots would get amazing traction at the event. Or ponchos. Or cheese toasties. Or freaking water balloons! Everyone’s wet anyway, right?

Avoid the on ground social media trap

 Forget trying to do some media activations/promotions at festivals in real time. Punters aren’t checking your Facebook page. Sorry.  Despite ongoing attempts by promoters, mobile coverage is typically rubbish, yes they are taking loads of selfies, but they aren’t actually updating their Instagram and Facebook profiles in real time.  They’re waiting till the next day when they can curate, filter their pics and create highlight packages. #nofilter doesn’t exist in festival world. Which brings me to my last point.

 

Focus social amplification on the anticipation phase and festival aftermath, not during the festival

Brands should focus their content and social media strategy on the lead up to the festival, driving anticipation of their brands involvement. Use your social channels, particularly Instagram (the music festival goers channel of choice) to excite festival-goers as to what you’re going to be doing at the festival.  Generate conversations with behind the scenes footage where punters can learn more about the acts. It’s about staking your claim beforehand so that you’re top of mind when they do get to the festival. Unless your brand is sponsoring the headline act on the main stage, the whole ‘lets broadcast this 3rd tier act on a backstage on our YouTube channel’ play is a waste of money. And, if you’re going to create a wrap up hype video or picture gallery of your brands festival activation, make sure you do it within 24 hours. No on will watch a vid that comes out 3 weeks after the fact. They’ve moved on.

 So, bring on the music, fun and frivolities and hopefully this article will save a few unsuspecting brands from #festivalfail this Summer. 

 

Great Nike Free Run participation idea: #runviking

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Even though I work with the great folk at adidas, respect to the guys over at Nike for creating another compelling participation program. Am loving the simplicity of this Nike Free run program and how they’ve cleverly leverage to Nike + community to drive engagement. Well done Nike and agency. Thanks to Iris NYC for picking this one up for us.

Capitalizing on a trend that’s basically running selfies and the hashtag #fromwhereirun, Nike launched a contest to promote it’s Run Free line, encouraging users to submit the most awesome place they’d like to go on a running adventure, for free.  They picked 10 finalists, and then smartly leveraged the Nike+ community by allowing users to vote by donating their miles logged – with top contributors to the winning run able to join the run’s creator.  See the winning run here #RUNVIKING.

This contest was rooted in existing consumer behaviors – it did not ask users to do something different than they were already doing – which means people are MUCH more likely to participate.  It leveraged the existing community and social currency of Nike+ by using miles as the voting mechanism, and smartly, encouraged people to up their usage occasion of Nike+ products by giving top contributors a vested interest in the winning run.

Audience as Characters: the new frontier of #interactivestorytelling

I just wrote an opinion piece for B&T magazine here in Australia on the evolving role consumers are playing in interactive stories. Hope you find it interesting.

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The best brands have always told great stories.  But in the world of real-time social connections, multiple screens and a culture of immediacy, the concept of the brand story is changing.  They’re no longer linear; and they’re no longer told in one sitting. Welcome to the era of interactive storytelling – where audiences become characters influencing the story.

The best brand stories now encourage different levels of participation to achieve maximum impact and scale.  This means designing interactive stories for skimmers (those exposed to the story), dippers (those sharing the story) and divers (those immersing, influencing and advocating the story) is a must for marketers.  Whilst it’s easier to entertain or engage ‘skimmers’, what is interesting is how brands are developing interactive brand stories for the ‘dipper and diver’ audiences –  as these are the most influential groups.

Many brands have experimented with interactive storytelling where the audience becomes the narrator (i.e, Chrysler ‘Steer the Script’, Coke’s ‘Share a Coke’, and many Alternate Reality Games such  ilovebees ARG, The Dark Knight ARG). The other popular strategy has been crowdsourcing the story, where the audience becomes the creator of the whole story. While some brands have done this well (i.e our latest MINI #notnormal campaign in the UK,  Arvo Beers ‘Perfect Lager Project’, Fanta Flavour Lab, The VW People’s Car Project in China, our own digitally customisable London Olympic Mascots) others have missed the mark, (the Raymond Weil’s ‘help design a new watch’ Facebook competition springs to mind) .

But the new frontier for participation branding is putting the audience into the story, as an actual character influencing other characters and the outcome. That is, it’snot just about giving a few people aunique experience (such as the “Best job in the world” campaign) anymore and relying on the online amplification of that (does anyone even remember who won Best Job?), but actually creating multiple stories for the many, democratising the experience so to speak.

To understand this we look to narrative theory – that’s the idea that in any story there are typical characters we identify with – the protagonist, antagonist, foil, mentor, threshold guardian, trickster, minion etc.   If you think about what’s been hot in popular culture, TV dramas such as the Wire, The Sopranos, Breaking Bad (and more recently The Fall, Luther and Game of Thrones) play around with who’s the hero and who’s the villain. While if we look to gaming, we can see evolving storytelling arcs and different role-playing in games such as Bioshock Infinite, Last of Us, Diablo, World of Warcraft, Heavy Rain, Skyrim and Final Fantasy. Narrative theory has even transcended into the music space, with pop band IO ECHO launching an interactive music video ‘Ministry of Love’ that allows audience to control the band through a series of rooms.

So what’s happening at the more ‘creative’ end of interactive storytelling in terms of the role of the audience?

Audience as the protagonist is still the most common approach (e.g. the character ‘Alex’ in Toshiba/Intel’s “The Beauty Inside”), however brands are now playing with more unusual roles – the most famous of those being the audience as foil in Dove’s ‘Real Beauty Sketches’ and Old Spice’s ‘Man your man could smell like’. The role of audience as mentors to the community is also becoming a useful tool, some interesting examples being ‘Curators of Sweden’ (where Swedes get to manage the countries Twitter account) and Google’s Build with Chrome collaboration with LEGO (disclaimer: I worked on this one).

At Iris, we’ve experimented alot by thinking about audience as threshold guardians of the story, where fans work with each other to inspire or help the protagonist achieve greatness. For example, our recent adidas #hitthewinner Wimbledon Twitter game inspired Andy Murray fans to predict where he would hit a winner during his Wimbledon matches in real time. Fans won prizes if they predicted correctly, but what they were also doing was playing the role of guardians motivating him to Wimbledon glory.

So where’s the white space for brands looking to experiment with new interactive stories? Thinking about audience as sidekick rather than protagonist is an interesting place to start. Imagine audiences feeling like they are working alongside the brand. Also thinking about ‘groups of heroes’ rather than relying on one main protagonist to engage. We know people seek brands that help them belong, so brands with big advocate communities should explore this approach. The real visionary brands will involve audiences as an antagonist or anti hero as they look to create provocative ways for characters to interact and compete with each other.

So yes, the brands with the best stories will always win, however, if you neglect to think about what role your audience plays in influencing the story outcome, you’re missing a massive engagement opportunity.

Digital platform overview: Facebook = ‘Who I am’ VS Instagram = ‘How I see the world’

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There are many points of view online on the different roles of social platforms to consider when developing your social strategy. Clearly there also hundreds of different social & digital platforms, but I thought i’d share a snapshot on consumer uses of some of the main ones, plus mobile & search. Here’s a quick visual to give you a perspective on some of the consumer uses of the major digital platforms, hopefully helping you define how you’d like to use those social platform to create a meaningful relationship with consumers. This was created/built off some work my great colleagues at Iris NYC (thanks Esty :). The key takeout is to ensure you understand different consumer drivers for use of those channels and employ KISS (Keep it Simple Stupid) when engaging in these channels. eg: Facebook is primarily about identity creation for the individual (sharing their life, engaging in conversations which build their real and digital identity) whereas Instagram is really about self expression. Different motivations, different brand uses.

20 quick tips on Community Management for brands

 I’m often asked by clients for tips on Community Guidelines for social platforms – particularly how brands can best manage their Facebook communities. Clearly, you’ve got to have an overarching social strategy, which then comes to life specifically for Facebook and other social platforms you choose to leverage. My biggest piece of advice is thinking about how brands can create meaningful interactions that genuinely add value to the community members daily life. There’s nothing worse than a brand trying to ‘be your best mate’ everyday. Anyway,  here are some quick tips on things Community Managers should think about when managing Facebook communities as the conversation hubs for their brands:

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  1.  Ensure you have a clear SOCIAL PURPOSE driving all conversations (Why would someone want to belong to this community?)
  2. Have a clear & consistent SOCIAL VOICE – are you an entertainer, host, deal distributor, enabler, coach etc..)
  3. Build around the HUM (daily conversation off content pillars), SING (capitalize on relevant brand/cultural events) , SHOUT (create max noise, engagement with launches/campaign activity) model
  4. Vary the posts – open ended stuff works best (questions, polls, competitions
  5. Have a maximum of 3 content buckets (i.e: Heineken has beer, music and design as the passion points they generate conversation around)
  6. Employ the ‘Why would I care, why should I share’ test to every post
  7. Influence, don’t try and control the conversation
  8. Stick to the 40/40/20 rule – 40% something about brand, 40% nothing about brand, 20% all about brand)
  9. Focus on Visual content (more prominence in Facebook’s news feed)
  10. Don’t stretch too far from your communities passion points or your product’s sphere on influence
  11. It’s not a product catalogue, don’t push too much product info
  12. Always listen and respond
  13. Treat everyone equally
  14. Act as an educator/ guide on product issues
  15. Provide facts and benefits at the moments that count
  16. Don’t plan too far ahead, allow for spontaneity, topicality & seasonality
  17. Don’t delete negative comments (unless they are personally offensive)
  18. Measure the best days/time of day to post – monitor engagement continuously and report regularly
  19. Always give FB community access to new products/competitions first
  20. Ensure your Risk management process is clear and you can pick up negative comments quickly and deal with them