Creative Blog

Issues important to discern and creatively explore!

Are you a storyteller? A practitioner or a technician?

So as I was sitting in the morning church service, there was a piano selection performed right at the beginning. As I was sitting there listening to this beautiful melody coming out of this grand piano; I thought this grand piano has been sitting at the front for a long time but I have yet to notice how beautiful it sounds. The soloist was playing this instrument in a way that brought out the tremendous musical range. The soloist was completely engaged with the piano, focused on the song, the notes, the stanzas. Why have I never noticed this piano before?

The audience was completely engaged in the music, tied to every note, anticipating the next stanza, watching as the soloist’s hands interacted with the keys, playing notes with methodical movements from one to the next. The piano has the potential to play that well…but it is the soloists interpretation of the music selection as she used this instrument to bring the story of the song to the ears of the audience.

About a week ago, I had someone question me whether the advent of Flip Video devices would create a drastic reduction in online video production industry? A great question. But as I listened to this soloist interact with this grand piano, I began to think about this question even more. My first response to this individual was simply whether I am using a Flip Video device, a high definition pro-sumer camera, or a $70K Sony HDCAM….it is not the device that tells the story…it is the practitioner who interprets the technology to create and deliver the story.

True practitioners, real storytellers know how to evolve with technology and maximize it’s potential to meet the needs of an audience. I think of a story I produced a few years ago about an Opera Singer on his way to re-merge as an Opera Sinder, my friend Ron Gattis.

When I first started working in video production (broadcast video production), I used what was called BetaCAM video devices. The camera weighed 30lbs and was the size of medium size briefcase positioned on my shoulder or on a tripod heavier than the camera itself. We would take the results of the video taping and use two large BetaCAM decks (Two large VCR’s) to edit between in a linear mode. One mistake and there was no going back…time to re-edit. Using that set-up, I won six Emmy Awards and numerous other AP awards for Television Excellence.

I tell this story…and many journalists before me endured broadcast video camera larger than this where the camera was split into two pieces.

Now, I work with a camera less than half the size, half the price, and edit on a laptop. I can deliver my stories to audiences broader than the DMA I was working in during my broadcast television days. I put the video into the laptop and can move the video around, manipulate it in ways that would take a major post-production house of 10 years ago tons of money and weeks of production.

The technology is changing, but I still have to use it appropriately to deliver a high quality story in a manner that allows the audience forget they are watching this story on a screen, remove their peripheral vision. Whether it is a theatre or a computer screen…I want to create that story within an interface that is interactive. You know what I mean, that moment when you are sitting in a movie and you are so involved with the story-line, you forget you are in a theatre. It is all about being in the “Zone” from both an audience perspective and a practitioner perspective.

Do you think that if the soloist was given a keyboard device that was no bigger than a laptop, she could render a melody worth sitting and listening too? Do you think Ansel Adams could render a beautiful landscape using a pin-hole camera that was created from a Quaker Oats cylinder? The ability for a practitioner to tell a story is embedded in our DNA, whether it is a Flip Video Camera or beautiful state of the art Grand Piano.

So next time you hear that beautiful melody/harmony coming from a Grand Piano…think for a minute, is it the Grand Piano rendering those beautiful notes….or is the vision of the soloist interpreting the potential of those keys and bringing you the audience into “their” world. I love telling visual stories!

When does creativity strike…forcing ourselves into the box.

When do you find yourself creating your craft or your works of art? I find myself completely in my creative zone in the middle of the night. I do my best work probably around 11pm. I have even found myself getting out of bed at 3am to execute a creative idea in the edit bay.

I am a procrastinator…yes, when the pressure is on – I perform my best. I wonder if it comes from days as a journalist? Each day I had two or three hard deadlines where I had to deliver final products from a story we found that day. I wonder if it is because I have to force myself into the creative box. Yes…when I cannot figure out how to create and execute…just force myself into the creative situation.

I found the video above and it spoke to me. Creativity sometimes has to be forced. We sometimes wait and expect inspiration to mystically appear with some pixie dust or an epiphany. When I need creative inspiration, I find myself jumping in the car, rolling down the windows, and blasting Elton John, Adele, or Billy Joel as I scream down the interstate. Some people ask, what happens when it rains? I just roll up the windows and sing louder.

I like the rush of creating under pressure, delivering when no one else can deliver. Sometimes we hope that inspiration will find us, but in the business world…sometimes we have to force ourselves back into the box!

Passbook & NFC: Social Commerce in small town South Carolina

So Wednesday morning, I received my new iPhone 5 in the mail. I am a gadget freak and yes I upgraded from the iPhone 4s. One of the new features released with the new iPhone (iOS6) is the the Passbook application. This allows you to find businesses that offer incentives to use your iPhone as your wallet.

So I downloaded the Starbucks application and immediately created an account and loaded $25.00, sort of like buying a pre-paid credit card, except using your iPhone. Off I went to carry out my morning errands, and as I passed Starbucks in Anderson…I thought I might have to give this little application a try.

So I walked in and ordered me a Pumpkin Spice Latte with no whipped cream, hmm! It feels like fall outside. When it was time to pay, I asked the cashier, “How do I use the Starbucks application on my iPhone to pay?” She told me to open the application, push the button to pay, and a barcode appeared on the screen. She then used her scanner next to the cash register to scan the barcode on my screen, and POOF…transaction complete.

It deducted the $4.91 from my phone and off I was on my merry way with a Pumpkin Spice Latte. I was so excited, I opened Facebook and checked into Starbucks by writing this status update:

I immediately called my wife to share my experience. After she listened to my gadget success story for the morning, she scolded me and said…”You need to buy local. Stop going to Starbucks and walk across the street from your office downtown and go to Figs. Figs is the new coffee, ice-cream, soda shop downtown Anderson owned locally.

The Digital Divide
Hmm…I wonder, do they have a little application for the phone so I can pay? Do they have a check-in option on Facebook so I can share my love for their store? Hmm…let me go see. So off I went to Figs, and noticed a few things. Great food, great shop, nice ownership…limited social interaction. Well, they are new…but this leads me to my though process. Buying local in socially connected community has a HUGE barrier to cross when competing against big box groups. You are probably thinking…well, tell me something you do not already know.

Ok, back-up…notice what happened Starbucks. They have an app that allows me to use technology to not only purchase with my phone, but they made it easy to take part in the social share. The check-in location rapidly appeared in Facebook allowing me to share my little success with technology.

The digital wallet leading to the social share…big business leads the way in social commerce. So how do the little guys compete? What is going remind me about Figs over Starbucks for coffee (other than my wife screaming buy local)? Figs is kind-of a outlier, they have only been in business for a few months. They are still trying to establish their digital footprint.

So, I took a walk through downtown Anderson and spent some time using my Facebook and Foursquare apps to see if retailers had check-in points established. Most were established including having those check-in points connected to a social outlet like a Facebook page.

But the part that is missing for most of these small retailers is the digital tool for commerce.

Passbook and NFC
Passbook on the iPhone is a brand new concept and Starbucks was one of the first to take part in this concept. Passbook was Apple’s alternative to NFC (near-field communication).

Wired.com states, “NFC chips in smartphones let you pay by waving your device over a scanner at the store. The chip is tied to an app that is tied to your bank account and credit card. Volià, no more cash, no more wallet.”

“Passbook lets you keep in your iPhone virtual versions of some items you might normally carry in your analog wallet or bag: boarding passes, movie and sports tickets, coupons, and gift cards. Passbook stores these items as barcodes, but some wondered if Apple would tie NFC to Passbook to make direct payments possible.”

Matt on the Nerd Wallet blog shares his thoughts:

“While loyalty programs are popular amongst customers and merchants alike – the number of loyalty memberships in the U.S. exceeds 2.1 billion – it’s not clear how effective these programs are. According to a white paper published by COLLOQUY, 17% of U.S. consumers felt that loyalty programs were a “very influential” factor in their purchasing decisions and an even smaller 12% said they “strongly agree” when asked whether it pays to be loyal to a favorite brand.”

So is NFC and Passbook just another coupon”ing” option or loyalty program? Or is the combination of NFC/Passbook concept on your smart phone as a one-stop shop for your to purchase and share with your friends. Connivence makes us happy and we love to share within our social outlets when something makes us happy.

Social Commerce & Economic Development
So how does a small coffee shop in little ole Anderson, SC compete with a Starbucks and their Passbook app? Well…first of all, building these applications are expensive and you have to find a a company that has the experience to build these types of mobile commerce tools. I am not sure if Figs would have the budget to have one of these applications built, and it probably makes no sense for them to do so…especially given small town word-of-mouth always prevails.

BUT…from a digital concept, local business should team up and build one mobile application for those local retailers that can add to the pot. Imagine an initiative in Anderson, SC where a group of local retailers teamed up with the Chamber of Commerce and local Economic Development groups like Innovate Anderson or Upstate SC Alliance to find the funding to build a one-size fits all.

Yes…this would be an economic development tool for small town Anderson, SC. Access to digital tools that not only power commerce but power the idea of the social share, building online reputation for a town trying to attract more growing businesses.

For those who want to read more about developing apps for Apple’s Passbook –> CLICK HERE

The #DomesticViolence Story – We must share to become aware!

The domestic violence story is all around us. We don’t realize it, but we know someone who has been impacted directly by domestic violence. 1 in 4 people have been directly impacted by domestic violence…YES, 1 in 4.

If you listen above, Michael Cogdill helps us define domestic violence. How does he know, well let me count the ways. Not only did his father beat his mother, but he bears the burden of sharing the numerous stories everyday how domestic violence invades our living rooms.

It was just a few months ago, Marge Putnam from Seneca was killed by her husband. This story has impacted so many of us in the Upstate of SC. She was engrained in the Clemson University community and loved by so many friends and her family.

So sharing Marge’s story, Michael story, and the stories of so many others is so important…it helps us become aware. It helps us learn that it is not okay to hurt and abuse those we love inside our homes. We must share so that when we understand what it means, we will feel empowered to speak up and call the authorities.

As a legislator said this morning during the #DomesticViolence Awareness Month kick-off Press Conference, this is a community effort. Yes…we must share to become aware.

To learn more about #DomesticViolence and it’s impact on the community, go to SafeHarbor.org’s blog to read more.

Nancy Welch’s “Bend in the Road”

Sometimes…you never know when you will find that bend in the road. Life always throws us curve balls, but it is up to us to find ways to work through the struggles. Nancy Welch was that person for me that taught me that we don’t always have to look at something as traumatic as cancer as the final destination.

I normally do not talk about religious issues on this blog, but today I think it is most appropriate. Johnny McKinney of Boulevard Baptist spoke about that final destination and asked, “What would we do if we knew our final day on this earth. Would it change our outlook on life, our priorities, and even our daily routines?”

Nancy Welch did not look at the “Big C” (as she called it) as the final stop on this journey in life. She just looked at it as a bend in the road. She took full advantage of this opportunity to engage her friends and family during this journey.

The story above is more than Nancy’s story about fighting colorectal cancer, it is a story of community. I know the video is long, 9 minutes long…but it was the only way I knew how to share this story. A of a strong community around her that decided to pitch in and help her along the way. Sometimes it takes a group of people to help us through the tough times. Sometimes we need to feel that sense of community to make it through that bend in the road.

We all know Nancy and her impact on the Upstate of South Carolina. From hosting a show on WSPA-TV7, to serving on numerous boards, and along with donating her time to the causes that she believed were important…her impact was felt. I was fortunate to know her son. We both went to Clemson together. I worked for Clemson Football while he kicked his way into stardom including that monumental kick at Virginia.

Nancy’s story is one that I am glad I had a chance to tell. She taught me more than you know!

To read my blog post on Greenville Hospital System’s Blog –> CLICK HERE
To see all the other Greenville Hospital Centennial Stories –> CLICK HERE

Blogging, Storytelling…Finding Your Voice For Digital Equity

I always love coming away from teaching with something that helps me contextuallize a process. I began working with my MBA Students on blogging…and ultimately building/finding your voice.

Clemson’s new MBA in Entrepreneurship Program is a one year intensive program helping shape twenty-two students’ business plans into a reality. As a part of this program, I working with them all semester to build a digital communication strategy.

Every class from finance to sales, they are constantly having to pitch. They are pitching their business ideas and I get to take it from a communications point of view. How do you take that elevator pitch and turn into a marketable piece of communication for numerous target audiences. One way is to get them writing and sharing…and we are doing this through the blogging process.

As I was working through today’s session, we were not focusing on platforms…but the message. What is the mission behind the blog? Who is the audience? What are you going to write about on a consistent basis that meets your goals. Most importantly, how does that effect their digital equity?

I thought this diagram above made sense as I was walking through a messaging process. As they begin the writing process, they are searching for their voice. We know those keywords that will attract the search engines and the audiences, but the more they write…the more they refine their message and their voice.

We have to understand that blogging is a foreign many of these students. As they find their voice, they begin writing for their audiences. The more they share, the more chances they have to build a community around their idea(s). As the community grows, they begin moving from writing specifically for the audience to writing with the audience as community effort.

This workflow helps refine and grow their digital equity and thus their blog’s search engine optimization. They continue to think through their keyword strategy and continue connecting with more and more individuals that share their common ideas. This is just fun!

Now…this is my perspective and one small part of an overall blogging strategy. But, this just made sense during our discussion this morning. I love helping people work through the thought process surrounding audience and purpose…ultimately finding their voice.

Let the Map’s Battle Begin! Google vs. Apple!

So I am getting ready to make a broad prediction and generalization. As a communicator in the digital/social space, I am surrounded by people predicting that mobile is the future…especially in the social space.

I think that MAPS on a mobile platform is going to be a large part of that conversation. Specifically MAP applications on our iPhones, Droids, etc. MAPS is a game that many tech groups (Apple, Google, Bing, etc.) are investing millions/billions of dollars.

With the release of iOS6 today for the iPhone and iPad, Apple just launched itself into the MAP Game competing with Google. They want to find better ways to connect consumers to local “brands” as a part of their search revenue stream.

I love this article by Entrepreneur.com talking about the competition between Google and Apple when it comes to the MAPs game.

“Expect new ways to market using your location. 
Apple is already planning a Quick Route function as part of its local search function that can lead customers to stores. Not to be outdone, Google is offering packages for automated business listings, and promotional services as part of its Places for Business product as well as turn-by-turn navigation for bicycle commuters.

And where Google and Apple go, so goes Microsoft. The company announced its most aggressive upgrade to its map imagery in July. This will be offered as part of its MapPoint 2013 software product that ties in not only geographic data to maps, but population information and research content aimed at showing businesses location-based opportunities and marketing trends.”


“Maps need to become part of your search strategy.
Smart businesses will be proactive on how mobile users find and interact with them on maps. Among the new features that businesses can expect to exploit are the expanded role for social content and the ability to offer location-based deals.

Apple’s Maps application is stressing local reviews and search content from Yelp, which announced in June that it will be directly built into Apple maps. Google recently upgraded its Google+ integration for maps with Google Map Maker, which builds local content added by users into its maps. And earlier this summer, Microsoft announced new integrations with Nokia as part of its interactive features on Windows phones.”

And from BBC.com:
“As the internet goes mobile, there’s a huge amount at stake for both companies, and maps are a key weapon in the battle to be top dog. The nascent mobile advertising industry is heavily focussed on location based services, so owning the dominant mapping system could prove very lucrative.”

The communicators that will prevail in this social/digital space will be the ones that recognize the power of MAPS, research the impact on their organization’s revenue opportunities, integrate into the communication plan, and be open to innovative third party applications.

So think…how can we as communicators for large, medium, and small organizations think in terms of MAPS to connect with the consumer. How can we leverage these technologies that individuals are using everyday to connect with find and connect with our brand?

Let the wars begin!

***Image from Entrepreneur.com <– THANK YOU 

Telling the un-expected story – SC Mission 2012

Are we open to tell the stories that un-expectantly emerge? So many times we have a pre-conceived notion of a storyline, especially at the beginning of a project. We picture it in our head. We imagine how it will come together. We plan each shot, each interview, the music, the graphics…we have all the answers before the camera is pulled out.

It happens to all of us…we want to control and shape the message from the very beginning. But we better be careful, you never know what might be lurking around the corner and we might just miss it.

This happened to me  last month in Columbia at SC Mission 2012. (Video Above)

“The SC Mission 2012 clinic was held at the South Carolina State Fairgrounds where volunteers provided free medical, dental and vision services. SC Mission 2012’s goal was to provide services and match patients to a medical home where they can continue to receive the care they need. More than 2000 patients were seen and a total of 2100 volunteers including physicians, nurses, dentists, optometrists, pharmacy, nursing and medical students and lay persons helped make the clinic possible. More than 2000 patients were seen in all three services areas during the two-day event.”

I go into these productions always wanting to advocate for the patient. I want to find the patient story that inspires us to challenge and reform the way we deliver care. I wanted to shape the final piece around the patient’s faces, voices, and experiences.

The patient story was only a small portion of this year’s message and I almost dismissed the obvious…the stories of the volunteers. These individuals that gave their time, energy, and compassion during this two day event. These are the people that move South Carolina forward.

I spent the whole time during the shoot trying to find that un-believable patient story. I was struggling to find that one interview that moved the needle forward. Yes…there were a lot of great interviews, but I was comparing this event to the patient stories we found in 2010. CLICK HERE to watch SC Mission 2010’s video.

But after spending a whole day with Shalama Jackson (SCHA.org) capturing patient stories, volunteer stories, and the sights and sounds of the day…I went back to review. Patti Smoake (of SCHA.org) and I found something even more special, I had captured some tremendous interviews from the volunteers. I did not realize it at the time, but the volunteers shared something special, their passion. It was Patti that helped me look through a different lens as we crafted this piece together.

We always advocate for the patient and YES, we wanted that one patient story that would move the audience. But it was the volunteer’s voice in this story, the voice that not only advocated for the patient but the movement to provide better access to care.

The interview…the art of listening and the need for transparency

As I sit here and work on a story for the SCMission2012 project, I am reminded the importance of listening. Many people have many different strategies when conducting on camera interviews for stories. I can remember working with a seasoned journalist who would spend hours outlining his interview questions, making sure he delivered the right question at the right time.

For years, I have never taken a list of interview questions with me to an interview. I rely more on the art of listening when trying to capture comments for a story. I spend lots of time researching the person, the cause, the initiative, and the purpose behind the story. I spend time thinking through the relationship between the person and the story. But when it is time to roll the camera, I let the conversation direct the questions.

The camera is intimidating for many people and sometimes it means that everything we ask will end up in the final version of the story. I guess the digital age has taught us that anything we say can end up on YouTube. So the approach of asking questions based on the conversation can be concerning for most interview subjects.

A few weeks ago, I was working on a story where the interview subject was not expecting a series of questions. Specifically, I started with a series of warm-up questions to allow us to get acquainted with the camera. Conducting an on-camera interview is all about relationship building and trust. This person thought that the initial series of questions were going to end up in the final story, thus revealing something that the person felt was a little to personal for the story.

A few days after the interview, this person called me concerned. I re-assured this person, that these questions were not going to end-up in the final story and I was going to delete these comments from all the digital copies.

We have to listen and we have to be transparent when conducting interviews for video use. We have to explain our process and provide our intentions in a transparent manner. We have to listen and we have to be prepared. The camera is there to capture moments very personal for people and our burden as storytellers is craft the story with utmost compassion.

Stories that give you hope!

There are not too many times you get to tell a story that not only gives you hope for a brighter future…but inspire you to create change. I met David Liu this past summer while working with The Duke Endowment on a project call Profiles of Service.

Jeri Krentz of The Duke Endowment writes:

“In his classes at Duke University, David Liu tackles problems in multivariable calculus. He studies circuit analysis. He builds robots.

But this summer, as a teacher with Freedom School Partners in Charlotte, he learned from 10 year olds. As David helped his scholars sharpen their reading skills, they taught him a few things about patience, and what it means to be an adult.

The experience was thanks to DukeEngage, a program that supports Duke students in volunteer service around the world. Since it was launched in 2007 with $30 million of support from The Duke Endowment and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, DukeEngage has enriched the undergraduate program for more than 2,000 participants.

In Charlotte this summer, three DukeEngage students worked as Servant Leader Interns for Freedom School Partners, along with undergraduates from other colleges across the Southeast.”

If you want to read the whole story…CLICK HERE. I hope you enjoy the story and I hope you venture on to read more about David Liu and his journey from China to Duke University…ultimately finding his summer passion, to help children learn how to read.


What is the difference between Marketing and Communications? Sound Off

For all my friends, clients, colleagues, and partners out there…I want to hear your thoughts! What is the difference between Marketing and Communications, specifically in the context of social/digital media. How would you differentiate the two?

I hope you will share your thoughts! Use the comment section below to share!

GoPro and Audi GET IT! It Takes a Culture Change!

I just read a blog post from Mickey Plyler concerning the future retirement of Clemson’ Athletic Director. In his article, he built an argument articulating what the new leadership will “have” to look like when Mr. Terry Don Phillips retires.Regardless who follows, big shoes to fill.

Plyler states in his blog:
“Social media has become a bigger part of athletic departments across the country and Clemson needs an upgrade. Schools are trying to control the message more now than ever and Clemson needs a progressive thinking business person that understands how to create a brand in the modern business world.”

Guess what Mickey…this applies to more than just Clemson Athletics, it applies to many large organizations across the country. As I sat through a strategic meeting for a large organization yesterday, this all day conversation surrounded social media. To quote a person in the room…“It is a culture change.” I agree.

Organizations are having to trudge through a culture change from the leadership all the way down to those who are on the ground level. And it is not just social media or even the digital media strategy, it is an integrated communication approach. Social and digital media are no longer just a tool in the tool box, they are integrated strategies that warrant just as much, if not more, attention that your traditional marketing efforts. (This statement depends on organization and audiences goals.)

To be blunt, it is time for organizations to start curating content ONLY for social and digital efforts. Why…the audiences are looking for this content.

Look at Audi and this year’s Super Bowl, they created content specifically for the social space. They used the #SoLongVampires hastag in the Super Bowl ad that received over 2 million YouTube views and tens of millions of Twitter impressions a week after the ad appeared during the game.

After the 2012 Super Bowl, Murrey Newlands wrote“Capitalizing on vampiremania, they showed an Audi driving up to a vampire bonfire party and accidentally frying the vampires with its powerful headlights! The vampires immediately turned to ash, (unlike TrueBlood vampires who for the most part slowly burn to death once exposed to the Sun).”

They built excitement for their target demographic around the Audi brand, and it is still paying dividends with over 7 million YouTube views to date! That is what I can integrated marketing.

Look at GoPro and their photo of the day initiative on Facebook.  Each day, they share a photo of the day from one of their fans using their GoPro camera. LOVE IT! Talk about engagement, they have over 3 million fans and people love their product. This effort is all on Facebook.

Organizations are learning that it is no longer “just” a push marketing mentality. Brand management involves building community and leveraging word-of-mouth efforts. For the first time, social and digital media efforts provide an opportunity to engage digital word-of-mouth and a measurable outcome. We can build a community and track success. We can build sustainable efforts leveraging online tools and use them in specific tactical methods, then look back and see how we performed.

Organizations are also learning…they must take control of their own brand. Ed Bennet who manages web operations at the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) understood this strategy. He brought all web/social/digital efforts in-house. He built a team, he built a culture, and how is a leader in the hospital digital media space.

The Clemson Family is a large family and they engage in many online communities. It is obvious if you look at the Clemson University main Facebook Page and Alumni Page.  And even though many organizations like Clemson Athletics have built many online communities, it is now time to really see if they can build sustainable efforts. No more just pushing the message to a group, but engaging in online conversation.

It is a culture shift, not only for leadership but for those working these efforts on the ground level.

FastCompany: “You Must Be A Storyteller.”

Fast Company’s Kerrin Sheldon wrote a wonderful blog last month titled “Why Short-Form Video Is The Future Of Marketing” and I have to agree.

Let’s Talk Audience
Kerrin went on to make a powerful statement: “To create truly high-quality content, you must be a storyteller. You must be able to pull together a large selection of shots and content and pare it down into a manageable short-form video that will engage an audience.”

This conversation takes me back to a dinner I had with Bob Dotson of NBC. Bob is what I consider a master storyteller and his reputation is obvious from the numerous awards and speaking engagements across the country. He took me to dinner after we worked together on a story in Charlotte. I took this opportunity to become a human sponge and soak up as much knowledge as possible.

Let’s Talk Purpose
Bob explained anyone can tell a story…but if you really want to tell a story that engages an audience, you must find an tell stories with layers. As the storyline progresses in a video…the audience peels back the layers, revealing each little nugget of the storyline. Stories using video are visual communication tools…you just have to know how to find them, especially inside/outside you branded organizations.

I love this short little video interview with Bob:

Bob’s comments get you thinking, why we tell stories and how to find those stories with layers. But back to Kerrin Sheldon’s point about short video content.

Kerrin continues in the Fast Company article to share about this growing market of storytelling:
“I predict the next 5-10 years will be huge for video marketing online. Brands are moving further away from direct advertising, whose metrics that are hard to calculate, and into original video content–content that is created not to sell but to engage. They tell a story and they create brand loyalty. The days of direct consumer advertising is dwindling, and the advent of marketing through storytelling has arrived.”

Let’s Talk Delivery
Let’s at the numbers, here is an online video consumption from June 2012 (Based on ComScore Report):
1) 84.8 percent of the U.S. Internet audience viewed online video.
2) The duration of the average online content video was 6.8 minutes.
3) Video advertising reached another all-time high in June as 11 billion video ads were viewed.
4) Google Sites, driven primarily by video viewing at YouTube.com, ranked as the top online video content property in June with 154.5 million unique viewers, followed by Yahoo! Sites with 51.5 million, Facebook.com with 49 million, VEVO with 46.2 million and Viacom Digital with 38.9 million. Vimeo moved into the top 10 ranking for the first time at #10 with 21.4 million viewers.

So let’s look at the channels to share your content:
1) YouTube: “Everyone knows YouTube and it continues to dominate the market. But unless you’re a professional musician or are looking to score the new huge viral video showcasing your friends firing off bottle rockets from a made-at-home cannon, there are plenty of other places to showcase your videos. “

2) Vimeo: “Vimeo.com is the finest collection of artistic videographers on the web. Without outwardly deleting poor-quality content, Vimeo’s homepage and search results make it easy to find awesome content and avoid the endless amounts of useless crap that often plague the YouTube experience.”

3) Pinterest: “Along the same lines, Pinterest’s new video feature gives curators great opportunities to pin videos to their boards. Even more so than Facebook and Twitter, Pinterest has created a sharing experience so simple and effective, it makes the potential or virility even higher.”

So as Kerrin says, “With ever-increasing YouTube lunch breaks and Vimeo dinner dates, online video is becoming a constant companion–one that every brand is rushing to take advantage of. “

***Image from epicamexico.blogspot.com

Olympic Spoiler??? This blog post comes to you right on time!

Ok…so the image above was captured at 2:48pm Tuesdayand this article was written at 1:32pm Tuesday afternoon, EDT. Yes…

“The U.S. women’s team has won the gold medal in the gymnastics team final with a superlative performance and an overall score of 183.596. Russia scored a 178.530 to take the silver and Romania won the bronze with a score of 176.414.”

Ok…who cares other than the fact that this is the first time since 1996.

“Gabby Douglas, Jordyn Wieber and Aly Raisman delivered impressive floor routines to clinch the first team gold for the U.S. since the ‘Magnificent Seven’ won in 1996.”

It is a big day for the US…well, kind of?

Of course, since the Olympics are broadcasted on NBC via tape delay…most Americans will not be able to see this victory until Thursday evening. Well, most Americans…I guess?

Since Huffington Post and most news outlets posted this huge announcement via social media…the Twitter-verse has been exploding with excitement and people complaining about it spoiling the fun Thursday evening.

Tweets from around 3:08 Tuesday afternoon…people still talking spoilers. And even have moved on from talking about the Women’s Gymnastics spoiler.

So here is my question…will you be interested to see the viewership statistics for the television broadcasts and compare them to the NBC/YouTube live streaming viewership? People have the option to watch it live during the day online or watch later on their television.

This world phenomenon is going to have to solidify the distinction between television viewership and online consumption. Also…how much social media has played into the reporting of the Olympics in real time via Twitter, Facebook, and other social outlets?

I am looking forward to Nielsen to release the viewership comparison between online and television and relevant  the impact from the social outlets. NBC Television scored big numbers for the opening ceremonies “with 40.7 million people tuning in for the opening ceremony, making it the most-watched opening ceremony for a summer or winter Olympics ever.” But what about days like today when something big happened in the middle of the day. It will be interesting to see the comparison!

Or will the social space sharing the results in real time turn into a tremendous marketing opportunity for NBC to capture viewership in the evening. People will want to see it with their own eyes.

You think it is a spoiler when Huffington Post and other media outlets posted immediately on their websites that the Women’s Gymnastics Team won?

Spolier alert…maybe people are moving to online viewing and social consumption for real time information. And maybe the networks and media giants have figured out how to leverage the social/digital space to attract audiences to watch on television? I am looking forward to seeing if people enjoyed the real time results via online versus waiting to watch the old tele.

***Image credit…HuffingtonPost.com 

Are we too social online or are we bi-polar? What is our real story?

On thing I have learned over the past 4-5 years working with groups in the social media/digital space: social technologies has provided one heck of a platform for individuals and brands to become overt, expository, and exclamatory in an expedient fashion. Especially when it comes to taking a “stand” or “position” on a topic.

Reed Smith posed this question yesterday on Facebook: “Is it Possible To Be Too Social?”

Now his context for this question was based on frequency…but with the recent barrage of social advocates overloading our walls from politics, healthcare, and even the recent Chick-Fil-A situation; this has me thinking through a different lens.

I am amazed each day what I read on my news feed, on Twitter, the memes that are posted, and how we de-contextualize information to meet our needs. We live in a cut-and-paste, digital recycle world where we take information and reuse to fit our messaging needs.

I often wonder, would the same conversations that happen online happen offline? Would we be more open to conversation offline or would we use the same “hunt and kill” mentality, hiding behind the keyboard, and sharing our inner thoughts like we do online?

There are so many people and individuals that I meet that are nothing like the personalities they portray in the online space. This bi-polar online/offline life we lead  leads me to wonder…who am I talking to in person.

Admit it, you have fallen victim to his moment of “rage,” getting caught in the moment wanting to one-up a person online, getting caught in a feud that leads to a Facebook thread three screen shots deep. Before you know it…you wonder who was that person behind that avatar that wrote those rebuttal statements…is that me?

So here is the question, what does it mean to be too social? Is it frequency? Frequency has a lot to do with it…and I do not mean the number of times you communicate a marketing message. I mean the frequency of hours we spend online…developing an online brand that does not coincide with our offline personality.

And we as marketers that manage brand’s appearance online…we end-up having multiple personality disorder. We are typing on our Facebook page, then posting for our brand…hoping that we do not send out that party picture to the wrong social account. Admit it…you have done it before. You just have to know how to delete it REAL FAST.

Are we too “Social”? Well, if it means online…the retail brands hope so, they want your attention and want you to advocate for their cause. I would be willing to bet that Chick-Fil-A is happy with the image above…the 811 comments posted (which leads to shares). But would you say that same thing in person to someone you know that does not agree? With that same expository tone? That same shout with conviction? Would you be proud of that commet after your family members, peers, or even work relationships see that exclamation? Or would wait to get online talk about them later?

What is your ethic and where do you stand online and offline…and are they the same voice? Are we telling the same story? I think we (including myself) need to check ourselves at the door from time to time.