We just launched a new site for the good people of Killam Properties, a collaborative effort with Brightwhite Design and Shoreline Consulting. We’re pretty happy with it – particularly the focus on a simple to use, Google Maps integrated, apartment search tool.
A few weeks back, while vacationing in Ottawa over Canada Day, I offered a reply to a tweet from Heather pertaining to yet another do’s and don’t article from a blogger – they’re all too common these days, it seems. You know the sort of post I’m referring to; complete with 10 questions you should ask your supposed social media guru before signing on the dotted line or some such thing. My reply – offered after a few too many Canada Day libations admittedly (hey, it’s the nation’s birthday, okay?) – was short on nuance and long on failed punctuation, providing a brief glimpse into the perils of communicating in 140 character snippets.
Nevertheless, I think the point remains: Most of the prescriptive posts offered up to supposedly ‘help’ people choose their social media counsel are little more than thinly veiled self promotion. They’re meant to articulate the author’s experience, why it is critical to a successful social media effort, and call bullshit on anyone else’s experience that doesn’t measure up to the supposed standard.
Wouldn’t we all be better off it we just recognized that it’s a rapidly evolving space, that we all have a lot to learn, and it’s still early days?
Marketing Magazine is reporting today that Couche-Tard is unapologetic for its recent ad campaign (featured above). It's just lovely to see a brand that doesn't immediately apologize and overreact the second someone doesn't like one of their ads.
Every morning The Chronicle Herald masthead proudly announces that the paper has "Atlantic Canada's Largest Reach", with 316,700 print readers daily and another 78,074 returning online users. For a paper that has had its share of troubles lately, it's a not-so-subtle nudge to prospective advertisers: "Hey, send us some ad revenue love over here! People are still reading the herald! Perhaps more now than ever before!"
As The Chronicle Herald joins many other North American dailies trying to stay afloat these days, it seems the question they're asking themselves is: Why are advertisers moving elsewhere when our readership remains solid?
I think it might be better to start with another question: What are we going to do with the gift of attention we receive every day from 394,774 people to build a viable news service that can thrive today and in the future?
Once upon a time, every case of Alexander Keith’s India Pale Ale consumed outside of Nova Scotia boldly proclaimed “Brewed only in Nova Scotia. Since 1820”. Where the beer was brewed – or, perhaps just as importantly, where it wasn’t brewed – was an absolutely key part of the story.
The notion of this India Pale Ale that’s so steeped in tradition…. brewed in this rather idyllic (and old by cdn standards) seaside place…. was able to command a premium positioning and price. Keith’s IPA allowed its drinkers to tell themselves (and, more importantly, others) a story about a taste for quality and tradition… about a certain honesty and respect for how ale should be brewed. You get the picture.
“As we looked forward five years we’d see the brand getting bigger and bigger and bigger. And you start to say, 'well does it make sense to transport beer from one side of the continent to the other?'”.
Now, suddenly, where the beer is brewed is no longer a key part of the story. It doesn’t matter. We’ve moved on, etc. The article continues with:
“Everyone always knows Guinness is Irish, although a lot of it doesn’t actually come from Ireland,” Musson said. “We’re never going to take the Nova Scotia out of Keith’s. Without Nova Scotia this brand wouldn’t be so successful.”
Right. I mentioned earlier the story Keith’s drinkers tell themselves, and now we know the story Keith’s brewers tell themselves.
When most all mass-produced beer in Canada tastes more or less the same, the story is all you’ve got. It’s all marketing. Every bit of it. And now a critical element in the story is no longer true. Oh well.
Those who follow me on Twitter will know that I've been traveling a lot more than normal of late. Early in December we began working with a significant client in Western Canada necessitating a fair bit of time being spent on airplanes. I hope to be able to share more details in a short while. I can say that we're VERY excited about the work we're doing and the team involved. Stay tuned.
Couple of points on the actual travel bit:
1. I've been using an Air Canada Latitude Flight Pass. This has allowed me to fly executive class for economy class prices while granting me access to the lovely Maple Leaf Lounges. If you travel a lot in Canada on business, I cannot imagine why you wouldn't use a flight pass. (That said, I just want to be up front that this nice commentary about Air Canada in no way restricts my future ability to bitch about the airline.)
2. The Timbuk2 Suitcase is absolutely amazing. It carries everything I need for a week on the road and makes dealing with airports, etc. a breeze. This video tells the tale - and the product more than lives up to the demo.
"...one of the interesting examples is the data that shows that people who shop in a farmers’ market have ten times the number of conversations of people who shop in a supermarket. And, you know, I know that from when I lived here in New York on Union Square and I did most of my grocery shopping at the farmers’ market. And, yeah, you meet people, and you talk, and you meet your neighbors, and you get acquainted with the farmer that grows your produce and so forth. And this is all about building relationships. And, you know, we have so monetized the economy, and a part of that process is monetizing relationships. And it diminishes our very humanity." - David Korten
Have you ever gone to a farmers' market in a rush... when you just wanted to get in and out with minimal fuss? I have. It doesn't work particularly well. You're going against the grain... everybody else is taking their time, chatting with each other, sipping a coffee, etc. - no rush whatsoever. You may still be able to get in, get what you need, and get out, but you'll do so with the understanding that your behaviour really is largely out of place and that your hurried pace is likely pissing others off. Everyone else is focused on the in-between... the stuff that happens between the times when they're taking cash out of a wallet to buy stuff... and you're just focused on the stuff.
So if the old, 'traditional' way of doing things was more like supermarkets - communication via 'messages' with minimal time for chit chat (just hurry up and buy something already!) - then today, it's more like a farmers' market. There's a lot more conversation going on - and you better get pretty good at the stuff "in-between".
"Nearly every form of viral sharing that I’ve looked into includes some form of social proof. Humans have a natural tendency toward imitation, especially of those who they assume have more or better information than themselves. The likelihood of a tweet being ReTweeted increases dramatically each time it is ReTweeted."
While I'd like to know more about the "especially of those who they assume have more or better information than themselves" part (it seems to be heading down that influencer road again that Mark has warned us about), it's the last line that sums it up so well. Essentially, ReTweets beget further ReTweets.
In addition to making stuff easier to share, the social web allows each of us to keep loosely connected to a greater number of people than would otherwise be possible. And, in the process, we're finding new ways to copy each other. That's just how us super-social apes work...