Monthly Archives: March 2015

Why You Should Not Listen To Social Media Complaints?

I was yesterday listening to Chaka Khan concert* in Singapore Jazz Festival.

The event was typical Singaporean culture event. It was mostly corporate and stiff audience mostly concerned on social media updates and eyes on their mobile phone screens. Presenter talking about “building jazz ecosystem” (whatever that means) made me cringe. I did not have that high expectations, but the music was great and the audience (including couple of stiff Finns) started to dance.

When Chaka Khan had just ended one of her greatest songs “I love you, I Live You” (listen below), someone from the audience screamed:


Going to the next song (from the same album What Cha´ Gonna Do For Me?), the same dork screamed again.


I would be a little bit hesitant to treat one of the best soul singers ever as a jukebox, but the main problem is:

Freedom is not even a Chaka Khan song.

Although it is a great song, Aretha Franklin has done it.

First it made me annoyed and then it made me think.

That guy was like your usual social media complainer: he wanted to be heard, he did not know anything about what he was talking about, he was loud and only thought about himself.

Quite often people complaining about you or your advertising on social media are not even your clients. They are people whose main satisfaction in life is to be upset about different things and make other people´s life miserable. If you upset people who are not even buying your product, does it matter at all?

Brands are overly sensitive of negative feedback, but quite seldom they stop to think who is actually giving that feedback. And again if you get any reaction from consumers, it just means you have already passed the clutter and created some cut through amongst your audience. As we know the biggest problem is not that people get angry, it is that they don´t really care. Negative top-of-mind is better than no top-of-mind at all.

Essentially we all were consumers in the show as we had bought (or got bribed) with tickets. Some consumers are more important than others though. Probably the guy (of course it was a guy) is super annoyed that the artist did not play the song he wanted to hear. Essentially his opinion is worthless. Do your homework: if you don´t even know the songs of the performer, shut up and enjoy the performance. Maybe you learn something new.

Well as we are heading to the weekend, we should leave all the negative feelings behind. Therefore I´d like to highlight these three nice edits of classic Chaka Khan songs to appreciate the great artist. No major mutilation to the originals, just extending the best parts. Also because she did not perform either Clouds or Fate yesterday:

Chaka Khan: I Love You, I Live You (Danny Krivit Re-Edit)

Chaka Khan: Clouds (Blackjoy Edit)

Chaka Khan: Fate (Todd Terje Edit)

Also for the guy who was yelling for respect, here is a little bit more re-imagined Baltimore version of it:

*Overall Chaka Khan was actually quite enjoyable. She did only the essential hits (like mentioned above, Fate & Clouds were pretty much only ones I was missing). She sang really well when she was singing but also looked a little tired. I did not mind her 30+ minute-break on the middle though, when her backing band Incognito took the reins. Incognito has always been a little bit too polished on their records to my liking (well they were Acid Jazz), but they actually worked better live. Colibri was an awesome version and their drum & percussion section was on some serious Whiplash-mode at times.

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Can You Really Have A Relationship With A Brand?

77% percent of consumers don’t have a relationship with a brand.
People in US & Europe would not care if 92% of the brands would disappear.

So if you want to “converse” or “engage” with your potential audience you have to be among the 8% of all the brands in the world. Then you are fighting for only 23% of all the potential audience.
That is quite a small pie. Reflected to that it is not that surprising that you don´t get comments on your brand´s Facebook wall.
Although you should never use yourself as the target audience, I wanted to map out with how many brands I have relationship.

Below is the list and the results were quite shocking as I should be brand enthusiast by trade:

Hobby-related: Driven by passion
Nike (Basketball, running, tennis)
Reebok (Crossfit, although I am likely switching to Nike because the passion runs deeper)
Technics (Mostly one product, the epic turntable SL-1200, which has already been discontinued. I own four though, so I should be covered.)

Appearance: Driven by vanity
I generally only buy brand clothes, but I would not cry a river if I some of those brands disappeared.
Watch: Omega (although I would not mind upgrading to Rolex and later to Patek Phillippe, if I ever had the money)

Technology: Driven by convenience
iPhone, iPad, MacBook: Originally using Apple product was driven by the quality, but I have to honestly say I don´t even know have the competitors reached their level. Maybe they have, but I am already locked in Apple ecosystem and I am too lazy to reach out.

Personal care: Driven by price
For deodorant I naturally use Rexona, because it is our client.
For the rest of the personal care I mostly buy the cheapest or what happens to be easily available.

Food: Driven by quality & ideology
I try to eat healthy food and things, which are not filled with sugar and artificial coloring. Generally the rule of thumb is then to stay away from the big brands as they are mostly filled with all the above-mentioned crap.

Indulge: Driven by the quest
For coffee beans, I want to get the best quality but it is not really correlated to brand loyalty. I want to test out different beans from all over the world, from different roasteries and made with different coffee machines.
The same goes with my weekend tipple. I am sucker for expensive gins (example of how advertising and branding works), but again I would not want to drink Plymouth for the rest of my life. So although I am passionate about my coffee and cocktails, the passion translates to constant exploration between different alternatives instead of loyalty.

Working in advertising, I am probably way more brand-driven than average Joe. I generally select brands and appreciate brands. What was surprising for me to notice was that how little brand loyalty I had across the board. Although consuming good definitely shapes my identity, the brands seem to play lesser role I had thought. Only non-exchangeable category was the passion (and only part of it: sports, music) and to some extends technology (I am just too lazy to change my whole digital device ecosystem).

Being a passion brand is hard and it takes time. For certain categories it might be totally impossible (do you feel passionate about your toothpaste?). It might be wiser for your brand to compete in other categories listed above. Or try to be like Apple, where your consumer is locked-in to your system and the cost and effort of getting out just feels too daunting.

No matter what you do, you have to be ready for aggressive competition. Brand loyalty is mostly myth and no brand is safe from consumer churn. Half of the people who described themselves as highly loyal to brand were no longer loyal a later. The reason for this is simple. Even though you think you are unique, there is always opportunity to upgrade (better quality, more features, and more bragging rights) or downgrade (cheaper).

To succeed in this competitive marketplace you must be realistic about how much (or actually how little) consumers care about your brand, constantly improve your products and attract new consumers. You will be losing your current ones eventually.

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5 Ways to Make Your YouTube Pre-Rolls Kick Ass

Sometimes media is the message.

Lately there has been one media, which has had a sudden surge of messages: both skippable and non-skippable.

YouTube pre-rolls.

Despite annoying the hell out of users and not really making money, brand advertisers love YouTube pre-rolls. They are the new TV ads. Unfortunately that familiarity often translates to laziness. When there is lack of understanding of digital possibilities, YouTube pre-roll seems like a silver bullet. It feels easy, cosy and ticks all the right boxes (visual storytelling, digital, reach, etc.)

1. Don´t use your TV ads as a pre-roll.
There is an exception to this rule, though. If you have done genuinely funny, entertaining and effective TV ad, which works also in digital format and drives the message home in the first 5 seconds you can skip this part.
Yep, I thought so.
Although it feels tempting and easy solution, dumping your TV ad to YouTube hardly cuts the mustard.
Majority of TV ads are 30 seconds. The media buying behavior is the main reason for the duration. 30 seconds is not magical duration to tell a story. Especially in YouTube, where people watch content ranging from fraction of seconds to multiple hours.
TV ads are more passive format, as you cannot skip them as reaching for the remote is more tasking than moving your cursor on screen. You can be more boring and long-winded in TV ads and still make them work. You don´t have that luxury with YouTube pre-rolls. At its most minimum level, at least make YouTube edit of that TV ad.

2. Understand why people are watching YouTube videos
When you buy that pre-roll, you are, by default, annoying users. They want to watch some idiot eating Naga Morich, not hear about your latest anti-dandruft shampoo. You are not engaging with audience, you are interrupting them. So embrace that fact. Little contextual acknowledgement (Burger King Anti Pre-Roll) or even reward for watching the whole video (EAT: Don´t Skip Your Breakfast) will go a long way.

3. People will likely skip your ad. Make those 5 seconds count.
Depending on the source, over 94% or as little as 70% skip the pre-rolls. Nevertheless of the actual number, you can safely assume that your pre-roll is more likely to be skipped than seen or shared.
Therefore the most important part of a good story is the beginning. You have to catch the attention immediately. Like saying that you electrocute a dog if you skip the ad:

Even after this threat, only 26% watched the video in its full glory. Either there are more latent dog-haters around or people just skip the ads based on the habit. Hardest task is to make people stay and watch the first 5 seconds. After that the consumer is already committed to your content and can just hang on:

4. Don´t Sweat The Length (but make it as short as possible)
Generally non-skippable YouTube ads should be shorter than that and skippable ones could even be significantly longer. So take your time as long as your start is hard-hitting. After first five seconds everything is easier.
Only caveat is that it might be quite overkill to force user to watch 30s pre-roll when she is watching 10s video. Smart marketer would have lots of different versions of the YouTube pre-roll to suit different context (like Burger King Pre-Roll) or different lengths. The following ad from Volkswagen would work brilliantly with shorter-form video:

Doing multiple versions is more expensive from production perspective, but increased investment would also result in increased effectiveness.

 5. If you don´t have anything interesting to say or show, you are not interesting
YouTube pre-roll has certain limitations and opportunities, which are good to keep in mind. At the end of the day, it is still about good marketing communications. Great story is a great story whether it is 5 seconds or 5 hours. And on the other hand: If it looks like shit and smells like shit, you don´t need to really taste it to verify that it is shit.
If you are doing the latter, you should be ashamed of yourself. No matter what the medium. And if you are being clever and having fun with the medium you can actually expand the interest from 5 seconds to 1 minute:

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