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Content vs Technology

April 8, 2013 Leave a comment

Teaching is a huge responsibility, and the actual pressures of teaching whilst at the same time being pressured for many sides concerning productivity … budgets – it is so clear that teaching is not what it used to be – so far as the huge amount and the breath of content there is to teach, is I am sure is part of the problem .. when I started with an Classical Arts education which talked about Art, History and the inherent transfer of values, principles and ethics, (before we decided on our career paths) admittedly it was a different world, however in the formative years of a child’s education I wonder if the intense focus on learning business or career applicable skills is the right course of action …. for things like true ethical behaviour cannot be taught in a classroom – it is something that is integrated into your personality over time from your primary caretakers … such values and principles must be part of the person themselves … my view is that on-going education just educates us in how to learn to prepare for the work force … unfortunately too many of the graduates I have employed are too focused on theory and have little or no ability to understand the human cost of their decisions …. there is little or no empathy for the people and the lives they live (away from work) and the responsibilities that necessarily come with it … so we have huge numbers of people who just fall through the cracks .. with little or no safety net … this goes further as Lewis Carroll might have said, down the rabbit hole … into another discussion all together, outside the scope of this post.

 

I am not a teacher … but my observation would be is I wonder if the focus is going away from the content we are teaching the next generation … to focus on the technology that delivers the content … it like focusing on making a book, rather than the content it delivers … we could go deep into this (perhaps I will on one of my blogs) – the philosophy of the internet … however my view is that we need to focus on the content, and more face to face collaboration, although in an Online Teaching Environment that may not be easy, but there are ways of fostering such a circumstance … otherwise we will end up with a generation, essentially of loners … whose world is the internet … and the fantasy world it represents … and hence have no interest or ability to interface with fellow members of humanity – what kind of society that creates can’t be sustainable.

If we want to positively change the future of humanity away from the senseless pursuit of more, we need to start by changing that which our children are taught to value … if they learn to value technology over people and the content itself, that is like having the cart before the horse … would it not be preferable to foster a collaborative and creative culture, perhaps we need to start by really engaging and communicating with each other, rather than talking at each other – after the essence of the internet is supposed to be social, and interactive, therefore engagement is a pre-requisite for a relationship .. we are no longer in the passive media days of Mass media … we should look at this further I feel. To me we seem to be without thought, running full speed into a abyss, just because everyone else is.

Marketing, Relationships and Social Media

January 3, 2012 1 comment

We begin, by addressing some basic questions and assumptions first, superficially and briefly here.

Social Media is a disruptive concept, it is essentially an engaged interactive relationship, or it should be, as well it is a Marketing and Relationship creator, nurturer and building tool, all to add to the perception of your brand.

In Marketing, you need to define exactly, what is the market for your specific product or service, then you as the provider, the seller, create and build the relationship, which generally works by providing content that engages with your market. All of this work and content, is to build a relationship, a separate entity so to speak, which is feed and nurtured by both sides, in the case of the company, at some time, a option will be provided to further build the brand relationship and give the customer the option to leverage or in fact contribute to the relationship by perhaps engaging with the Companies content, quizzes for example, this has the effect of deepening the relationship.

Note this is important: Social Media is not a direct Sales Path

1. What is the function of the Internet?

Simplistically, lets start by looking at what the Internet is good at, besides the obvious world wide connectivity issues … access to almost any type of information at any time (with some of it actually true) and the ability to allow for quick and easy access to all sorts of information, and the ability to connect with people, products and services worldwide. One thing though, the internet is just an communication platform, an enabler if you like. It facilitates spontaneous and interactive communication in real time.

Primarily where the internet has come into its own, is in its ability to form communities … and allow for the connection of family, friends, interest groups and commerce, to in fact act as the global replacement for the town square, the meeting point, the notice board, the coffee shop, where people can easily connect for a wide variety of reasons, such as to stay in contact with as well as to develop and maintain relationships with family, friends, special items of interest, education, news and their community just for brief example.

Finally, the internet is only a electronic platform, the function being that it facilitates communication. What is primarily important about the internet is not the electronics but its content and the ability to engage and communicate with others.

2. What is Social Media ?

Firstly, Social Media is a truly disruptive concept, which can markedly change how you company is viewed and interacted with in your area, or globally, depending on your footprint.

Social Media allows using the infrastructure of the internet the potential to build a relationship, which will allow (if properly setup) for social communications between at least two parties in a commercial sense. It allows for the exchange of ideas, ideologies and user generated content of a a huge number of diverse types and interests. In simple terms it provides the technology which can allow the parties to create, nurture and build a relationship, in human terms.

Very few organizations have any idea what they are doing!. The other day I was speaking to a friend of mine and he said to me … Organizations try to use Social Media as a sales path, which it isn’t, as well Social Media’s main function from a business point of view is to allow the formation and maintenance of relationships, by providing the information, tools and engaging content to build credibility, as part of the fostering the brand relationship and by this, support a relationship between the two parties. At some point, it may be possible to leverage the relationship at the choice of the customer, by requesting involvement from the customer is some form, while still investing in the relationship

Too often, for organizations Social Media is used to try and close a sale, customers on the other hand want a relationship, so this is what is wrong with most people involved with Social Media, they try to close, this is flawed, but similar with many other types of ego driven entitled relationships from adolescent boys onwards.

There is a huge amount of content to cover here .. these are some of the items that I will need to look at..

  • What Social Media is, and what social media isn’t
  • All business is relationship driven
  • How to heal the disconnect between companies and their customers
  • Social Media is not Mass Media – this is important.
  • Engagement Strategies
  • Trust is the foundation for all relationships
  • The disconnect between Companies and customers
  • Everyone in your organisation supports the brand .. in other words all employees are part of your sales effort..
  • The de-personalisation of the customers, and the flawed paradigm that underlines the MBA programs
  • Customers want a relationship, they want to be valued, they want their voice to be heard, it you don’t ..
  • I know it is an old adage, but you really want to give a customer what they want in a fair contract and great after sales service  .. if you want your company to grow and survive.
  • Listen and consult with your customers in anything that will change the customers experience of your product or service.
  • Now and more Importantly in the future as new generations come, there be a story behind your advertising strategy – to build the relationship with your customer.
  • Social Media Platforms such as Twitter, FaceBook & others, their strengths and weaknesses
  • Klout and PeerIndex .. are they needed, what function do they fill
  • The Social Media relationship paradigm +++++++

One thing you must remember however, is to ask yourself the question, why is so much of the Internet and Social Media free ?  The answer is simple, because you are the product that these platforms are leveraging, at the end of the day, they care only about how you can help them, they have little regard for you as a individual or the safety of your information, they will use and leverage your presence and your information is anyway they can, that is legal and otherwise for their own benefit … so beware.

In my view this kind of attitude is the very antithesis of what Social Media is … but there is an underlying mismatch between management styles here, as although the market segment they are working in is Social Media, they bring all the baggage from worst parts of old media and old business to this new sector, this is why it doesn’t mix well.

My view is that companies, including legacy companies from the transport and communications sector that do not embrace social media and hence change the way they relate to the customers will within 20 years be found only in history books.

How to build influence without seeming to

November 4, 2011 2 comments

I have watched with interest how organisations that operate in the Social Media sector .. and I have some observations about how to define your strategy

Lets start with the function of Social Media ….

Social Media is not a direct influence or sales path …. it is a tool to build a contact .. to build a relationship and ultimately to add to an experience of your brand from which you can then leverage, while you continue to add value to the overall experience.

Social Media is the Internet’s extension in this insular world to your sphere of influence … your community, your friends, and those organisations that you engage with and others you are interested in engaging with.

Social Media has been hyped up to the point where people are living their life in this cyber space instead of the real world … please take note … Social Media is not your life, and the most important people in your life, are not on Twitter!, well they shouldn’t be (if they are, it’s something to think about) – professionally speaking I believe many mature bricks and mortar organisations would be more successful especially on Facebook if they de-activated their account – their strategy is all one sided, and is all about providing the information that they believe is important, just as Mass media does – which is not how you build a relationship .. One thing, numbers of Facebook does not means that they are actually listening to you … the provider must give something to the relationship, they must engage and so receive their customers perspective … I believe they must be more open and engaged and therefore interested and note that the un-follow button on Twitter or Facebook is a heart beat away.

In the early days, very early days on Twitter, on another account I did an experiment with that exact scenario .. and then changed the nature of the feed .. the response was immediate … that feed lost a large number of followers .. and note people remember … that … if you don’t value them .. well enough said

Now lets look at how to build influence

It is built by engagement and valuing the people you connect with, but you MUST speak with your own voice and from your own values …. if you do not offer up something of yourself then what makes you different than the thousands of voices of the Internet .. that say .. buy this .. do this .. see here … your strategy must be to enhance the experience of your followers … their world expands, perhaps made somehow brighter by following you on Twitter or any other Social Media channel, in other words you provide something they want in their life.

I have seen worthy organisations who are so focused on getting their message across, without seeing the other side of the picture …. you need to involve people in your world for they will become your best agents, for if you have engaged with them, they are then part of of your brand, promoting you because they believe in your brand, remember that not only organisations have a brand, people do as well.  Also if you are speaking as the voice of a organisation, you need to follow strict protocols of how you engage … what you say .. and how you say it … if you bring your personal views of what a customer did, or how they have treated you is counter-productive and will lose you followers.

There are specific processes and strategies to interest, to engage, involve the customer / follower, after you have attracted them and perhaps converted them to buy from you, the most important thing is to retain them, the long term viability of the brand relies on it, to use that connection as a leverage to a wider audience … but so many are missing the mark here …. to start look at your own interests and those sites you follow and ask yourself, why am I interested in this information, and how do they retain my interest and how do they interest, that I want to re-tweet or share my message to my followers, my community … this is a critical point … to a large extent I choose the people I follow and likewise unless I believe the overall experience of my feed will be enhanced and will add something to my message … I will not engage … so this is how I value them by not devaluing our relationship –  and therefore I will only re-tweet a message and content that I can relate to … and I believe my “friends” for want of a better world will find of value …. basically because I do.

At the end of the day … you need to remember on thing .. this is Social Media … it is not a one way passive “relationship” as in Mass Media, it is or at least it should be a engaged interactive relationship, that values and engage with your community … to build a joint experience, and note joint means together …. do not make the mistake of seeing your followers as a means to an end .. as the equivalent of email fodder … value them, respect them and you will succeed … don’t .. well we know what happens if you don’t.

Engagement & Content ..

April 30, 2011 Leave a comment

Content of an interesting discussion …. starts the thought processes !

My thoughts at the moment, seem to be focused on “engagement”, the reasons why we aren’t and the bigger picture of flawed corporate cultures caused by basic systemic issues …  as I said in the feed yesterday “Everyone is connected, but are we really connecting ?” – I think not .. or worse if we are … we are not listening.  I have some views on the reasons for this … but it amazes me that organisations including governments seem to just go through the motions and are seemingly indifferent to the reality .. which is why their stakeholders .. us .. are not engaged (normally) with their strategies … this comes down to the education of the “masses” as well, as for the Gods in the marble halls – we are just too ‘aware’ for their own good.

However with the fragmentation of the mass market in all areas, including mass media, the outcome for me is that instead of organisations making systemic changes to move with the social and technological changes to improve their internal cultures and thus the engagement and transparency with “us”, they basically keep going the way they are going, and one day when the financial world is sorting through the carcass of what were “great” organisations (including governments probably) …  they will ask .. too late .. “How did this happen” ? 

To cut a long story short, there has to be change in the way things are done … we all need to realise that so far as the Universe is concerned we don’t amount to a hill of beans as individuals (but together ?? ) … as Carl Sagan said in his own meditation … we are just this little blue dot in a relatively small galaxy, within the infinity of the Universe, that’s the reality of our significance … numberless blades of grass or the grains of sands on every beach … in every world springs to mind …

So what can potentially makes us different .. one thing, which is “what if”  we believed in engagement with each other, in true transparency (not just the words) we can become magnificent working together .. so what exactly is stopping us .. fear of “everything”, ego .. perhaps !

But we need to start, with one small step, how about within your own circle of influence, and then the circle will grow, and soon (this relies on engagement) .. we have the ability to foresee the magnificence which can be a social engaged one world …  utopia, even possible ?? … it must be possible as I can see our potential …probable .. I hope so .. I hope I see the start of it before my time is over .. well this time around anyway.

There needs to be one thing,  a world wide social revolution, that holds Governments at all levels accountable and likewise all levels of business … how about we bring all levels of abuse and inequity to the surface …. without all of the hype and b/s of the news organisations who are basically there to sell their own product, their content… so we come back basically to transparency and accountability … so long as there is a “rating” to be improved .. we cannot trust in the ethics of the organisation, who are only motivated by money .. for me (now) money is like the mythical pot of gold at the end of the rainbow .. when you get to it, there is nothing there … and I can tell you from personal experience that money and materialism does not make you happy  … but I guess that is something you need to find out for yourself.

By the way, if I hear one more time, “We have always done it this way … “ but this is my point exactly … and here you are talking with some organisation that is in need of change, sometimes surgical change. In any  organisation, you must be proactive and always be curious and strive for excellence. To drive policy … that is the function, or it is supposed to be of the Board / owner and the CEO .. to work on the question .. here is the direction we we want to go, how do we get there ? Too many CEO’s work in the company and therefore never understand the reality which is that their company is not entitled to anything .. they may have the best / greatest most exciting wiz bang product or idea in the Universe, but unless you really engage with your market, (before – you take it to market, so they are part of the process) – it will rarely succeed.

Ok .. time for my exercise …

You and Blogging

April 27, 2011 Leave a comment

I have been taking a lot of note of what happens on Blogs and in Twitter as relates to marketing and engagement … I have noticed one thing that seems to stand out, and it is said far better by others than I can.

The first is Glen Allsop who writes for Copyblogger.com, his post

Why Nobody Cares About Your Content (And What to do About it)

I seriously couldn’t say it any better myself.

Please take note …. the content of your blog has to matter to me … as a reader .. if it does not matter to me, well the next site is a click away.

I have other suggestions for excellent Marketing sales advice at the blogs of Seth Godin .. in particular the realities of the process at his link Seth Godin and Darren Rowse at true expert at this … with over 320,000 readers can be found at Problogger.net and an article of interest from his site about becoming a pro blogger here

I would also refer you to the three basic rules of sales blogging, be the expert, the authority a reader is seeking  by Attracting Readers, Engaging with them (with content) and Convert these contacts to sales …

I hope that this helps

MPAA and Film / TV Content Production and Distribution – the next 6-10 years

March 18, 2011 2 comments

My experience is in content production, distribution, Broadcasting & electronic Media.

Just doing some more research on the current “issue” or alleged issue of Piracy for the motion picture industry, which is primarily represented in the USA by the Trade Organisation the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America, http://www.mpaa.org).

Now until recently I was aware of the issue, but not of the financial details, now I am actually wondering if there even is a real issue, with the effect of the Global Economic Crisis being seemingly felt across every market segment imaginable, except the motion picture industry, which has according to their own figures had a 15% domestic increase and an International increase of 30% over the years between 2006 and 2010 … wow ! This despite the fact that the number of actual releases in theaters increased just 10.1%.

The price of the admission ticket, rose by 39.4% from 2001– 2010 and yet the cumulative cost of the CPI rose just 27.95% …. ?

OK all that aside …. the rise in the income 2008 –  2009 for theater sales can be expected, as if we go back to the depression, even in harsh economic times (because of the times in fact) the industry has been pretty much recession proof.  The major demographics for the audience goes from 12 to 39 year olds, it is a very niche audience which in these harsher than normal economic times seem to be the only ones that actually have any access to disposable income.

I could go on and on .. however the point is essentially this …. Yes there is a problem with Pirating ( a small one ), but it is not serious, how can it be when year on year the income from sales of theatrical releases has increased far in excess of the CPI … the figures for loss of income presented by the MPAA are not believable.

The following from the immediate past interim CEO, of the MPAA, Mr. Bob Pisano is basically unsubstantiated rhetoric, more commonly known as spin, how can there be a serious problem with over time the income to the industry has increased 30% … such statements as “We will continue to work with our industry partners to fight for common sense ways, through legislative, enforcement and legal avenues, to vigilantly protect the creativity at the heart of our industry from theft.” These kind of statements are making the industry look ridiculous, as well the U.S. Supreme court did rule that just copying did not constitute theft.

I do not agree with piracy, however, this mis-information, is on going and has not be substantiated, they are beat ups by what is essential a trade organisation with a big voice – these statements are not showing the industry in its best light … there are many other industries that employ far more people and families in the USA and worldwide … that actually are in serious and dire straits .. because they don’t have access to the Hollywood Media their voice is lost.  Many families on main street, also have no disposable income to currently invest in any sort of recreation, except free to air TV and maybe cable … remember cable, content on demand and it new variances will be the ever increasing choice for the distribution of content to the wider market.

There are a few issues that the MPAA and the industry in general needs to address… urgently

The price of tickets is not sustainable, bearing in mind that on top of these are the travel, parking, food etc .. taking your children is not the escape it used to be … I took my son to see Avatar at the local cinema and it cost one adult and one child over $40, not including parking, vehicle .. drinks etc…

The lack of growth is also a social one, and manifests as a result of the niche interests of the population, in their online lives – there will come a time, and it is not that far away where people will not go to the movies in anywhere near the same numbers, it is trending down in real terms and will continue to, for lots of reasons, some social, some concerning access, transport and financial to name just some, hopefully before then the studios will have come up with a way to reach people directly via Video Streaming in their lounge rooms, using the dreaded internet … this is here now – so change your business model or else basically … you have less than 5 years, probably less.  I wrote about the effects of technology on the film industry over 12 months ago, and it seems very much to be following the path and the time frame suggested then … in Australia with the NBN (National Broadband Network) this is supposedly designed to provide fibre access with data speeds from 100Mbps to 1 Gbps … this will have a major effect on  the access to On demand services including rich and video media content in Australia.

The Film industry, as with Television needs to start to make relevant stories that people will in the short term at least want to invest money in to go and see … perhaps the new business model is to make low budget movies that are truly an escape from the current meltdown and the huge pressures on families just to get by … but hopefully not too many more regurgitated sequels !!! – mind you that would not be too bad .. if they had a good story, as one can forgive just about anything if the writer and the Directors are at the top of their game –  unfortunately that is not the norm.

Also I have been saying this forever, content distribution is inseparable from content production … if you have funds you need to have been or will be investing in infrastructure for program distribution. The future will not be in venues as it is now, if you don’t now make these strategic investments or at least strategic partnerships, the future is going to be a difficult place as you are going to be a poor position at the bargaining table when it comes time to negotiation in 3–6 years …. because then you will have no distribution infrastructure that you influence, control or own.

Future distribution will not be by a Bricks and Mortar Theatrical release, ultimately the distribution will be in the form of data perhaps via a Peer to Peer network such as a Bit Torrent data stream, as explained in a previous article here  … think outside the box people .  Further the expansion of major releases will become a rarity, not the norm, and hopefully Hollywood will actually become a mature business instead of what it appears to be at the moment, an ego driven teenager with entitlement issues.

The uptake of new movies will have to have relevance to the actual market, talk to them, the real users, use the internet, that is its strength, where relationships and communities are the norm, not the exception .. also personally I am pretty tired of the predictability of the content coming out of Hollywood .. what about an original story please – also how about appealing to some level of standard and not the lowest common denominator.

To expand on the above via a personal observation, there are some unique and profoundly creative talents in the film industry, starting with unique writers that are true story tellers, their connection with the viewers illicit profound emotive responses, exceptional Directors with intuitive timing and insight, fantastic Cinematographers, gifted actors and support staff … with so much raw talent to draw from why is it so hard to put it all into an exceptional film that does not necessarily follow the prescribed formula … but that creates a real connection, and is not just some faded copy of a something that was once a profound original work.

Mainstream mass media including film, is normally a passive experience (except in the case of that true creative work), this mass media model also includes Newspapers, Radio, Cable / Satellite and terrestrial TV …. there is normally little to no  interaction with the viewer, that is not where we are going, the future will trend …. in the longer term your content will need to illicit a emotive response, or if you cannot create a masterpiece then at the very least, interactive ….ultimately the technology and the data speeds will materialize to make this a reality … unfortunately, the current trends for content is that it will come out of virtual sets, and actors as we understand them now may be a thing of the past, computer generation will be much more prevalent than it is even now.

Concerning the future distribution model, basically the Telco’s that currently own the fiber, need content just as much a you will need their fibre for distribution, however I guess if there is no successful negotiation, between you, then I guess content of the ilk of “I love Lucy” and “A Wonderful life” will be the only content … for distribution … funny that.

I realise that if I was again actively involved with the industry, that is back in the club, after a while, perhaps as little as three years, this type of objective perspective would be nearly impossible for me to create, as unfortunately those in the industry have an total inability to be objective and relate to their viewers, their users .. they are too busy doing, but doing what actually ? However a revelation will be forced upon the industry sooner or later, as they clearly don’t get it … change is here, recognise it, or suffer the inevitable changes that will be forced upon you, which you won’t like so much – it’s like I say “Change is the only constant, how we experience it, is up to us” ….

Here  is the link to the Actual financial report of the MPAA, the MPAA Theatrical Report 2010 PDF ….

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