Tag Archives: video

A Word About Content

Dave Matthews Band Out-of-Home

Is there more noise out there than quality content? Or is it just harder and harder to find the quality content, given all the creators and channels to consume it on? These are more rhetorical than not, especially since these questions have surfaced in different forms over the past few years. But each day, it becomes easier and easier for anyone to create good content and distribute it across many different channels. (What was once intended for Twitter can now be seen on a billboard in the middle of Times Square.) And with that, it becomes harder and harder to focus on and find the quality content. That is, the content that I want, need, and like.

As one of my colleagues recently said to me, we don’t need more platforms to consume and share content on, we need 1 tool to shut out all the noise. So, there you go, inventors – an identified and growing need.

When I think of content – either producing it or consuming it – it’s not about the type of content that is most important to me. Meaning, just because it’s video content (dynamic, moving, all that), does not mean that I will consume it. In fact, that’s really the least important factor. It takes much more than that to make me stop, consume and ultimately, interact with it. Here’s what’s important to me, in order:

What is it about? The subject matter is the key. If it’s about Dave Matthews Band, I’ll consume it. If it’s about baseball, I won’t. However, if it’s about the Texas Rangers, I will. It’s important to understand the generality and specificity of your audience/community when planning content.

Who is producing it? Where is it coming from? Take the examples above – if Dave Matthews Band is producing the content, I want to see it. It’s about them, by them. If my wife forwards me a piece of DMB content, I want to see it. It’s about them, by them, yes, but in this case, passed on to me by someone that I trust, especially about “quality” content pertaining to DMB. If someone close to me – be it friends or family – sends me something or posts something, I want to make sure that I consume it. If it’s someone who I think is credible on any particular subject, I’ll consume it. Otherwise, it’s harder and harder for me to even give it a chance.

What type of content is it? I think too much emphasis is put on type of content above all. Not that great looking content isn’t compelling enough to get me to consume it, but it’s certainly much harder if it’s not something I care about – and even more, am passionate about – or it’s not coming from someone I trust.

Maybe the type of content is enough to get my attention, especially when I’m out in the real world. But if it stands any chance of getting me to actually spend time with it, much less do something with it, it takes much more than that.

So, whether your making content for a website or a OOH digital sign, what drives your content creation? The answer could be the difference between noise and consumption. Maybe even action.

Image credit: dailydooh.com

The Content & Experience Behind Macy’s Backstage Pass

Macys Backstage Pass

“Fashion is fleeting. Style is forever.” So says Tommy Hilfiger in one of the Macy’s Backstage Pass videos available through their current QR code campaign. Makes me think of a similar comparison that relates directly to today’s post: Campaigns are fleeting. Content is forever. Meaning, even though campaigns come and go, whatever content is created around any particular campaign lives on forever. This can be a benefit because of it’s long-term potential impact. Good content can still sell product or reflect positively on a brand regardless of the campaign-of-the-day. Bad content – be it so tied to a campaign or of little/no value to the brand because of its quality or message – can actually influence negative behavior (not selling product and/or reflecting positively on the brand) far beyond the campaign.

So, needless to say, content is kinda important.

Throw in the fact that brands are not entirely in control of the content that is created around them and/or a certain campaign and you have a critical element in the brand experience that needs a fair amount of attention, scrutiny and thought.

It’s so easy with any code-based campaign to use the code as just an easier way to drive consumers to the .com. The thinking probably goes something like this: the technology is new and novel and slightly more convenient that typing in the URL, why wouldn’t we just slap a code on something and drive more traffic to destination X? I think there’s validity in that thought, but it’s hardly strategic and even more, sustainable. Now that code-based technology has been in the U.S. marketplace for awhile and mobile has become more and more an expected channel to engage, we’re starting to see brands defy the easy/convenient approach for a more purposeful and directed approach.

Thank goodness.

This is the case with Macy’s Backstage Pass QR code (really, it’s mobile, but the QR codes are front-and-center) campaign. It’s clear – by the content that I’ve been able to uncover across their various channels – that they have put in due time to planning and creating content to support this campaign and beyond. From my standpoint, I think they’ve done a great job and it even seems like there’s more to come.

Before I get into the specifics of this particular campaign, let me first begin with the lense that I look at everything related to content through. When I think about content, there are 2 primary questions that I ask:

1. How engaging is it?

2. How effective is it at accomplishing the brand’s objectives?

Even though the intuition might be to tie them directly to each other, I think they are mutually exclusive. Creating highly engaging content does not mean that you will move the needle more. In fact, some of the most un-engaging content (coupons?) makes the biggest impact. But, as an experience guy, I think there is tremendous value to highly engaging content and I tend to focus more heavily on it, sometimes more than it needs to be.

Overall, with this particular campaign, I think Macy’s did a great job with all of the content that they created. The operative word here is ALL. They’ve created a lot of content so far, and they might even have more to go? I see 36 different videos in their Backstage Pass playlist on YouTube, most of which consumers can unlock after they scan the various codes. And it’s all good content.

What makes them so? Well, I think they’ve done a lot of things right with these videos:

  1. High production value – my take on production value, as it relates to brand-generated content, is that timeliness, relevancy, and audience need to dictate the appropriate level of production value. There is no tried-and-true formula that you can apply across the board in terms of video production. Now, with the social web, consumers (and community members) are more lenient on how it looks as long as it delivers relevant content in the most timely fashion. Side note – it’s interesting because technology has reached a point to where anyone can afford nice video equipment and as adoption rises, I wonder how these viewing expectations will change?  Anyway, I think if the brand has enough time to create highly produced videos, then by all means, it’s great to create the best-looking videos possible. For all of these videos, Macy’s took the time and resources needed to plan and produce them at a high level.
  2. Top name talent – this campaign is centered around giving consumers “behind-the-scenes” access to top designers and fashion experts like Bobbi Brown, Sean “Diddy” Combs, and Tommy Hilfiger. By participating, these celebrities lend a high level of credibility to Macy’s, which certainly helps. Add in the fact that these are highly produced videos (which they have to be if they’re going to involve talent like this) and you have a pretty good reason to watch.
  3. Good content – the key, above talent and production value, to compelling content is the content itself. The story. The voice-over. The images. Everything of substance inside the video. If that’s crap, then it undermines both the talent and the production value. And what you’re left with is a really expensive piece of content that provides no value to the consumer or the brand. These particular videos are made up of tips and tricks and sources of inspiration from all of these celebrities. They give us a look at information that isn’t commonly known or made available, and it’s all presented in an interesting, behind-the-scene-sy way.
  4. Short mobile pieces with longer web pieces – there’s nothing worse than watching a lengthy video on your mobile phone in a department store with 3 kids clamoring to watch as well and/or fighting over the phone. This would be my experience trying engage in this experience in Macy’s. My situation might be extreme, but it’s unrealistic to bring someone into an experience that requires a lot of time via video on a mobile device. At least long enough to influence their decision in a department store. For those who then want to hear more from their favorite designer or what others have to say, in a different setting (say, in front of their computer), they can access longer videos.

When you watch these videos, do you come away with the same impression I do? In terms of quality and credibility?

All of this plays into the overall strategy that seems to be behind this campaign:

“Macy’s new Backstage Pass is an exciting evolution that brings our stable of fashion experts and designers directly to the customer while they’re shopping in our store, through their hand-held mobile devices,” said Martine Reardon, Macy’s executive vice president of Marketing. “By providing fun and informative video features via an easy-to-use, direct-to-consumer platform, we are connecting and engaging our customer in a personal way that enhances and adds a new element to their shopping experience.”

What I take away from that is:

  • Get directly to the consumer.
  • Enhance their shopping experience.
  • Connect them easily to the brand.

And this is the way they chose to execute against that strategy. I’m sure they had some insights that indicate their target audience is mobile & social heavy with a propensity to consume video and it’s one of the types of content that impact their behavior in the shopping process. On top of all this, Macy’s has worked in immediate Facebook and Twitter hooks on their mobile site, and for those who do not feel comfortable with and/or know how to use QR codes, they can subscribe to this experience via SMS. There’s also a way into the experience through Macys.com, which results in a more robust Backstage Pass microsite. All this considered, I think they’re pretty much right on in their approach to content.

Now, this brings us to their objectives. And specifically, how effective this content is at accomplishing their objectives. You can see some details of really what they’re trying to accomplish by reading above, but as with all retailers, their primary objective is to increase sales. That being the case, I would question if these videos are the best tactic to achieve that objective. Do they help increase consideration? More than likely. Do they help increase intent? Probably. Do they help increase sales? Maybe. But pretty indirectly. Where is the coupon? Or the discount? Or some incentive to actually purchase what Diddy is selling?

This is where I think the campaign falls short. I don’t pretend to know the ins and outs of the retail industry and couponing and everything that goes into all that. But for the organizational considerations they made (even the sales reps are wearing “How To” QR code name tags) for this campaign, I would think they could pull off something like couponing.

Perhaps this was more of a campaign that focused on the top of the purchase funnel – awareness to consideration. And they weren’t using this is as a tactic to function well at the bottom of the funnel – purchase. I could see that. There are so many other things at play inside a department store like Macy’s that I would be shocked if there aren’t promotions tied to any of these particular designer’s brands going on all the time. But I’m just surprised that there’s nothing powerful enough in the experience to directly drive consumers to the cash register.

All in all, I think this is a really solid campaign. There’s a solid mobile component. There’s a solid social component. There’s a solid offline print component. There’s a solid broadcast TV component. There’s a solid in-store component. There’s a solid .com component. This spans many channels and the impressive part about it is that it leads with the QR codes.

It just goes to show that if you think about all of the channels in a brand’s ecosystem when planning any campaign, you can plan for creating the right content for each channel. And if you have the luxury, then the result will be enough content to create a deep experience in those channels. Then, perhaps you can create content that addresses consumers’ needs at every stage of the shopping process.

And if you do it right, that content will outlast any one campaign and live on far beyond.


Let’s Get Together and Innovate

I just read a great article in Wired on a concept called Crowd Accelerated Innovation (by TED Curator, Chris Anderson). The concept is pretty simple – online video allows us to innovate in ways and frequency that have never been done before.

Video is the key. By watching someone do something – be it dance, cook, or whiteboard – people can learn, grow, and ultimately innovate around said subject/trend/idea. With the sharing of online video today, the reach is profound and the impact can be even more so.

So, it got me thinking about doing some things here, and maybe even as an industry. First, I’m going to post more video here. Purposeful, exploratory video that is intended for nothing else other than to get ideas out there. Maybe it will spark something in someone watching and they’ll be able to build on it (and make it stronger) and/or apply it for themselves.

Second, I’d love to open up this forum for any questions/ideas/trends that you might want me to explore. I will explore them in the form of video and hopefully get some other people in the industry addressing them in the same format, too.

Online video, and the content within, can make possible rapid innovation via the “crowd,” now more than ever. And who knows how it will progress. So, for now, let’s see if we can get together and do some innovating ourselves. What do you say?

I’m open to any and all suggestions. And please, if you have anything you’d like me to try to put my brain around, just leave me a comment here and we’ll get this thing started!

Is Coke’s “Secret Formula” the Secret to Their Brand Story?

And is this it?

In an effort to dig in and really experience the brand, I’m going to take a few of my favorite brands and pay as much attention to them as I can. I want to understand how they’re engaging with consumers Out-of-Home and even beyond that, how they’re engaging consumers in the “offline” (non-digital) world. Not to get caught up in semantics here, but it’s important to differentiate the two. Here’s a quick grounder in my definitions:

Out-of-Home – any experience that occurs outside of the home that originates from a platform or device that the consumer doesn’t have to own.

11th Screen – the experience that occurs between the offline and online worlds, regardless of the device or ownership.

What I’m looking for are examples of brands who are a) present in the offline and online worlds and b) how well they tell their story in and between the two. From the story comes real brand engagement, at least sustainable brand engagement. I believe that the Out-of-Home and offline spaces have great potential in the brand ecosystem, but they have a different definition in today’s world than they did in the past. Because of this, few brands really utilize them to their fullest potential.

So today, we’re going to start the first brand journey with one of my favorite brands – Coke. As a marketer, I stay abreast of what brands are doing (particularly in the digital world), but as a consumer, I’m not fanatical about any brands, so I ‘m not dialed into their every move on every channel. These exercises are truly going to be journeys for all of us. As we go through any of them this year and you know more about the brand/what they’re doing than I’m discovering, I’d love to know any/all of that information. It will only help complete the picture so we can more fully understand the depth and breadth of the brand and their story, and particularly what they’re doing across all of the channels.

So, for Coke, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about them and their brand story?

For me, it’s their “Secret” Formula and Happiness. Polar bears and that snappy jingle from way back when are up on the list, but they both play into the Happiness theme. I never really gave much thought to either of them until this weekend when I had an empty coke bottle in my hand.

And, I just happened to look on the inside of the wrapper and found a message along with a mobile short code.

So I had to text it in. And then the journey began.

After my text, I received a link to a mobile website where I was introduced to Dr. Pemberton, big and bold, front and center.

Not knowing who this character was, I had to follow him on Twitter and come to find out, he’s the inventor of Coca-Cola. So, I checked out his feed and saw good, constant engagement. But the more I read, the more I felt they were a little off in the nuances of their brand story, particular in the voice of Dr. Pemberton. I mean, he was born in 1830 and invented Coke in 1885 – two important components of the brand’s story – and the Twitter voice sounds like it’s a 2010 person writing for an 1800’s character. Not an 1800’s character writing for himself. The language and colloquialisms aren’t consistent with what I would expect to hear out of an 1800’s guy. Details like this are critical when writing any sort of narrative and it’s something that would make the Coke story sing a little bit more in my opinion.

Nevertheless, I journeyed on. From my mobile phone, I also subscribed for SMS updates so I could constantly be connected to the brand and this particular campaign. Shortly after subscribing, I was sent another text indicating that I would receive more clues each week (this tells me they have a solid content strategy, sending me consistent, purposeful weekly updates) + a link to the Coca-Cola YouTube channel. I clicked on the link, found an “Unlock the Secret Formula” video, so I played it. The video was short, compelling, filled with imagery (there’s Dr. Pemberton again), good score, and a series of questions:

  • What is the secret formula?
  • Who is Dr. Pemberton?
  • Why would they want to steal it?
  • Wouldn’t you like to know?

Then it was over and I didn’t know what to do next because I was faced with many more videos on the channel. I don’t like getting in this deep, searching through videos and feeds, on my mobile phone. So, I went online to explore more – in a format more enjoyable to me –  where I found the same video. But here on my computer, it was interactive. The bottles in the top right-hand corner are clickable (look for them and click if you feel so inclined).

I clicked on each of them and was directed to the following:

  • Dr. Pemberton’s Twitter Feed
  • Pemberton’s Medical Files (interesting, amusing documents that give more character to Dr. Pemberton, but don’t do much at answering the “secret formula” question)
  • Ahh Giver Facebook App (send a friend a personalized message via grunting bear, but doesn’t do anything to answer and/or provide more clues to the story)
  • Vault Live Security Feed (video feed where the camera is pointed at the vault – presumed to hold the “secret formula” – and ninjas, dogs, ghosts, robots all pass by during the feed, and then someone – perhaps the ninja? – ignites a smoke bomb, blocking our view of the vault, then the feed goes snowy. Did someone just steal the secret formula? Hmm.)
  • 2 Guys/Secret Formula Video (another YouTube video, this one eluding to the fact that there only 2 guys who know the “secret formula” – what about Dr. Pemberton, making a 3rd? – and asking the question, “what would happen if something happened to one of the guys?” Well, you need not worry because “thankfully the formula is safe, (in the vault!) so is the rest of the world.” No more answers, but another clue – there are 3 people on earth who know the “secret formula.” Is it safe from ninjas in the vault, though? Don’t know.)
  • Smile-izer website (microsite where you can create your own laugh and share with others, but no answers/clues)
  • Perfect Serve City (another microsite where you can play a game, take personality test and/or a history quiz, even uncover ingredients, but not the real “secret” ingredients. Perhaps the best secret ingredients though – “energizing refreshment and happiness”)

While I might not have found the answer on the ingredients, I have learned more about a central character in this story – Dr. Pemberton himself – and have been able to experience and share Happiness with others. All key components in Coke’s story.

The experience up to this point has been immersive. I’ve engaged in an interactive, compelling experience. Imagine going through any of this on an interactive kiosk. Or a digital screen. What about getting a little bit more of a hint to the campaign at point-of-purchase?

I haven’t found any OOH components to this campaign, but from the digging I’ve done, it seems like there are plans to integrate more offline/real-world components into the experience. Out-of-Home is an ideal channel for a brand to engage consumers in an Alternate Reality Game (ARG) like this. It reaches them when they’re out and about in an already exploring mindset. It would just be critical that the story evolves in more bit-sized chunks because I wouldn’t have the ability, time, and probably even patience to go through everything above in one experience while I’m on the go.

But pretty quickly, you can already see how many channels they’ve used. Originating from one simple text message on a bottle in a grocery store. Mobile, digital, and social. Plus offline, via the packaging. (And I see, via some comments on YouTube, that the “Secret Formula” video is a broadcast commercial and currently running.) They could do a little bit better with the offline story, but we’ll have to see what/if anything else rolls out in the future.

It’s also important to recognize all of the different forms of content they’ve used. Video (and many different qualities/types), animation, games, quizzes, grunting bears, and Tweets. Not to mention everything else they’ve got going on in their marketing mix, outside of this one campaign experience.

Even in one sitting, consuming just about as much information I can about a brand, I am impressed with the thinking and execution behind such an engaging multi-channel experience. It sucked me into the brand via their story. Not through gimmicks or technology, but through a consistent, cohesive brand story.

I think that Coke is one of the brands who does it right. I like their advertising and communications approach. They’re dialed into their story and they leverage the power of social media in a productive way for their brand (in fact, they just completed their largest ever social media campaign – Expedition206 – it was quite a campaign.) They obviously have the size and the resources to market and engage on a massive scale.

This particular campaign is a great example of a brand using their story to engage consumers, through various channels and mediums, with many different forms of content, and to pass it on to others. Which really might be the true key – “Happiness” is to be shared. Coke knows this and even if they’re not willing to really gives us the answer to their “secret formula,” they’re enabling us to spread what they center their story around.


No doubt there will be much more to come on this journey.

Have you seen any of these? Did you find the experience engaging? Any other examples from this campaign? Would love to hear your thoughts!

Supplier Spotlight: Saddle Ranch Productions (Pt. 1)

I attended this short session this afternoon, but these guys are also an exhibitor so I’ll follow-up with a Part 2 tomorrow that focuses more on them, not this particular case study (Kid Care TV).

Kimberly Sarubbi, President, Saddle Ranch Productions – “The Proven Recipe for Content Success”

Kid Care TV – one of the networks that Saddle Ranch produces CONTENT for.  In pediatric waiting rooms.

Kid Care TV stats:

  • 2,500 screens in pediatric rooms
  • Target 60,000 members of AAP
  • Content approved by an advisory board of pediatric HCP experts
  • Digitally deliver 3-5 segments to heighten moms’ awareness of pediatric issues
  • Advertiser-supported network

Avg. waiting time in pediatric offices – 26.5 minutes

65% of parents go shopping immediately after the dr. visit

Engaging content so that there is recall so the advertisers make money.

“Targeted Content Mapping” – measure 4 things

  • Venue profile
  • Audience profile
  • Dwell time
  • Message

Test, adjust, optimize – duh.  But she gave an example:

Originally started w/ “evesdropper” format – they staged all of the patient/doctor interaction.  They found that it was not cost effective.  They switched to a “talking head” format and now they have better recall rates.  Mainly produce:

  • 2-3 minutes of presenter and b-roll
  • Interspersed with ads and PSA’s
  • DVDs produced for docs to give to patients to take home

All from Arbitron study for KCTV

  • 82% of visitors notice KCTV and find it to be a credible source
  • 65% of viewers recalled at least one ad
  • 67% felt content helped to created a better doc-patent relationship

Key takeaways:

  • Content creates profits
  • Plan smartly – define goals, success metrics, and budget to make it happen
  • Invest in an experienced and trusted content partner
  • Test/adjust/optimize
  • Invest in 3rd party performance testing & reporting


How do you know when the content is stale?  “The science goes bad quickly, so we’re constantly creating new content.”

Employee fatigue?  “We do have sub-titles so you can turn it off.  :)”

Do you use content to drive deeper into the brand?  “We’re going to be integrating mobile technology and include coupons in the near future.”

Someone also asked about how advertisers buy media for this network and she said, “we’re not in the media business.  We’re responsible for the content.”  Thank you.  Seriously.  A company who focuses on their 1 thing and seemingly does it really well.  I want to go talk to them tomorrow in their booth and see what they’re really all about.  But by the looks of it, they’re a totally legitimate video/film production house.  Good talk.  She didn’t give me a fun word of the session.  Then again, I couldn’t stay until the end because I had to cut my day short due to a solid block of conference calls.  More tomorrow!

Brand partnership is the best thing about the Old Spice videos

No sooner do I write about the importance of brand’s speaking in a distinctive, clear, concise, and complete voice does Old Spice hit us with a continuation of their latest (great) campaign.  I’m not going to talk much about the campaign as I’m sure you’ve seen the personalized video responses that I’m talking about.  If you haven’t seen the YouTube videos, surely you’ve seen the commercials – the ones with the shirtless guy doing things like riding backwards on a horse on a beach.  I don’t want to break the campaign down.  It’s great.  I will say this, though –

They’ve clearly found their voice.  This character enables them to have a certain attitude.  Through the attitude comes the voice.  They can then take this into other channels and utilize the voice in the best way according to the channel.  If you listen to any one of these personalized responses, the words are different, but the voice is the same.  And it is a perfect use of this medium and this channel.

It’s fascinating to read about the production of these videos.  A team from W&K were basically sitting in room all day monitoring social media sites for questions, writing responses, filming them, and then loading and posting them up in as real time as they could.  The teamwork within the agency is remarkable, but isn’t surprising.

But probably the most fascinating aspect of this whole “hit” has been the “partnership” that the Old Spice brand team and W&K share.  There is a level a trust there that enables the brand to say, “yes, we are going to go out on a limb and do this and trust our agency to represent us in this space as we would represent ourselves.”  This right here – this level of trust – is what we strive for everyday with our clients, as any agency should.  It makes partners and great work.  It loosens the strings, so to speak.  And allows things like this to happen.  It’s brilliant.

Out & About: Coke’s Interactive Kiosk

I didn’t run into the Happiness Machine, but I ran into the next best thing – Coke’s interactive (via touch screen) vending machine.  A true 11th Screen kiosk.  Say what you will about Coke as a product – as a brand, I think they are doing many things right.  They do a good job across platforms, they’re really good at social, and as most recently evidenced by their Happiness Machine, they’re pushing IOOH, and innovation.  I saw this 3-sided kiosk in a mall – 2 of the sides consisted of branding (from other advertisers) and then, this side, was one big interactive display.

I think this scorecard review is going to be pretty straight-forward.

Purpose – The purpose here is clear – sell drinks.  I don’t know why more and more products like these don’t do what Coke has done here.  You’re going to have vending machines.  People already buy from them.  Why not maximize that effort by creating something that can immerse consumers deeper into the brand and can support other advertisements?  (I assume cost is one of the biggest barriers.)  With this framework, Coke can advertise their own products, other advertiser’s products, or even the mall.

Drama – You can see for yourself – you can’t miss this thing.  I think the one thing working against it, just as any installation like this, is the fact that digital (non-interactive) posters are commonplace throughout malls today.  Someone could see this and just expect for it not to be interactive.  I think they’ve done a good job here of utilizing the space – the primary real estate for the products and the secondary real estate for ads.  Something moves on the screen at all times, so it stands a real good chance of stopping people.

Usability – There were two things I could do besides purchasing.  1) Select one of the drinks and 2) scroll through them.  The experience wasn’t deep at all.  Simple.  But just right.  My mom could operate this without any trouble.

Interactivity – This was a single-touch touch screen and not much different than a “normal” vending machine.  The screen was responsive to touch (even though it might not look like it at the beginning of the video – I sometimes have a hard time operating the camera and touching at the same time) and I thought it was executed very well.  I like how they also included a mobile component for one of their products (Sprite) whereby the user could text in a short code, made aware by this screen, to receive updates and rewards.  Although this particular component doesn’t connect offline with online, they’re smart to include it if they have it, particularly in a dynamic experience like this.

Information – High quality video, animation, stills.  They told the Coke (and products) stories with the ads, not the interactive component.  Every piece of content in here is highly produced which is necessary when displayed on something this big.  I thought they did a good job of incorporating the right content, not only type of content, but length of content.  And they ran all of the ads on a loop.  This was all very purposeful and run by someone who knew the space and what they were doing.

Personalization – No real personalization beyond my single-touch, single-user experience.  The mobile component brought a level of personalization in the fact that it extends the experience onto a consumer’s mobile phone, which is very personal.  As far as the actual kiosk goes, though, there was really no need for my experience to be personalized.  (Now, in the future, when this experience is smart enough to know that I like Coke and not Diet Coke, not only can it serve me the right ads, but it can also present me with the right options instead of everything in the lineup.  Then, it’d be personalized.)

All in all, I was really happy to see this.  Hopefully cost won’t be as big of a barrier in the future as it might be now and we’ll see these more and more.  It sure does make a lot of sense.

Have any of you seen any of these?  Not only for Coke but other brands?  Probably the most notable is Best Buy’s interactive vending machines, but this is the first I’ve seen of a drink maker.  If so, shoot them my way.  I’d love to learn about them.

AR & QR – Here to Stay?

I just read a great re-cap post on “super brand’s” use of Augmented Reality from Chris Lake on Econsultancy and it got me thinking.  Specifically about AR & QR codes.  I call both technologies enabling technologies because they both enable the offline to be merged with the online.  And they both enable deeper experiences with the brand.  But QR codes – really any barcodes – just don’t seem to have the attraction, nor the experimentation to scale and use that AR has.  Why do you think this is?

Aside from the end-visual difference between the two, I think it’s simple – QR codes don’t do for a brand what AR does.  In other words – QR codes are just another way to access information.  AR is another way to experience a brand.  It’s quite a big difference.

At the end of the day, do we really need QR codes?  We can duplicate the same experience through advertising a URL or a short code.  Some would even argue that accessing a deeper level of information through a URL/short code is a better experience than through a QR code.  You don’t have  to understand what it is, how it works, download an app, take a picture.  Just simply type or text for the information you want.

AR, on the other hand, is an experience unto itself.  You can’t duplicate the experience any other way.  And because AR is what it is, it allows brands to either create an experience or utility that can show things in ways that no other medium can.  And that’s one of the fascinating things to me about AR – it transcends the mediums/screens we use to consume media.  It lives, literally, somewhere between your hands in the real world and your eyes on whatever screen you experience it on.  It can immerse someone in a brand far more effectively than any barcode can.  And depending on the actual solution, it can probably immerse someone more than a TV commercial can, or a website, or a banner ad, or a “static” video.

QR codes & AR both have hurdles for sure.  Start with the technology needed and the effort required to access either of them.  But because of what each provides, do you think one will outlive the other?  Or do you think that they’re both here to stay?

Presenting…Objects & Relationships

It’s a few days late, but here’s my “Objects & Relationships” presentation from IACP.  Two things:

1. I know that I’m simplifying the concept of “social objects.” It was most appropriate for this audience and personally, I like the simplicity.
2. On the rambling, especially on the first slide, I’ll improve. I know it’s not fun to look at a white slide while I ramble (for those who know me know that I can ramble). I like this idea of multimedia education so I’ll strive to get better at this.

And for those of you who want the presentation itself, here you go.

Would love to hear your thoughts!

Why Business Cards & Video are the Same to Me

I’ve got a little more left in me from the IACP presentation/posts.  First, I don’t think I posted the right picture with the last post.  To say something is “The End” is never right.  I just liked the picture, but it just hasn’t sit well with me since I posted.  This one makes up for it.

I’ve gotten multiple requests (thank you, everyone!) for my presentation, so I’m going to record some audio and post the deck + VO later this week.  I’ve sent it around to some folks since the conference and I don’t think it’s going to be useful to them without the VO.  I am a visual person, but I always have problems with someone else’s presentation.  First question I ask – “can you walk me through this?”  The good presentations don’t include many words.  They’re more discussion starters.  So, it’s coming.  I’ll get it posted as soon as I can.

The one thing I can do now, though, from what I’ve sent around and posted, is to give you my business card analogy.  As I said previously, my point of view on video is that it is just another piece of content.  An object.  Just like a business card.

I can spend a lot and get that business card made to where it looks really nice or I can make it myself for a fraction of the cost and it won’t look as nice.  The first impression is important, certainly depending on who I’m giving the card to, but in the end, the purpose is the same:  to give people information.  My objective with this business card is to share it with as many people as I can and maybe they’ll share it with people they know.  But I can only measure that object by the number of people who see it – it’s all about quantity.

There’s another piece of the puzzle, though, and that’s what I hope happens when I give my business card away.  I want someone to reach out and start a relationship with me.  Relationships can grow.  It doesn’t matter if I give my business card to a 100 people if none of them reach out to me and we don’t develop a relationship.  Relationships aren’t about quantity.  They’re about quality. 

And this is where I think it’s important to think of objects as just that.  It’s not just the thing you’re producing (the content).  It’s what surrounds that thing (the context).  It’s finding the right balance between the two – content and context.  Between quantity and quality.  Between objects and relationships.  As marketers and communicators, we try to navigate the ecosystem as best we can to strike this balance in everything we do.  We try to be more successful than not.  But it’s not easy.

Do you just give your business card to as many people as you can?  Or do you complete the puzzle and try to develop a relationship?