fast twitch media

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No one has done more for the medium that is Twitter than “The Donald.”  Listening to a snippet of the president elect yesterday, it made me feel as do many of his sound bites. I get the sense someone feeds him a disruptive and memorable sound bite (or he comes up with it himself) which he repeats 3 times. Sans evidence or support. Then he moves on. These sound bite are what hit the news. The approach is perfect for this Fast Twitch Media world.

In social media, sound bites can become memes. Memes get passed around as fast as jokes and news. And they can certainly last longer.  I built a consulting business around brand and marketing memes.

Have you ever gone to concert and sung along with the artist, but only able to sing a few of the hook lines? On the web, the memorable lines are the memes, everything else is flah-flah-flah content.

So, the social media tip is: “Know how to build memes.”  Memes that point back to you or your company.  Memes that others will replicate and share. Google reads the web every minute. And you can’t buy off Google.  You can sometimes trick it, but it can’t be bought. Memes create traffic.

If you are good at creating memes, endemic to your brand, if you use them and own them, you will win in social media. Just ask “The.”


PS. For more social media tips, Google “Social Media Guard Rails” (a meme).  



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I’ve been giving some thought to the sad state of advertising on mobile devices. To quote the Direct TV television campaign, mobile advertising really is being led by “settlers.”   On my mobile for instance, there are banner ads at the bottom of the screen that measure maybe ¼ inch in height. In those ads are pictures, lots of words and, pray tell, a sales message. Other mobile ads include 15 and 30 second TV spots that too frequently infiltrate my media twitches between YouTube views. Why must I watch a :15 just to view a 45 second video? It’s crazy. And text and link ads are ugly and boring — born of the analytics crowd.

There was an interesting article in the NYT today on how media companies and websites are losing traffic and ad dollars to platforms like Facebook. Many news publishers, pressed by economics, are downsizing and thinking about better utilizing other platforms for their content delivery. The Times reports that $.85 of every dollar in internet advertising goes to Facebook and Google.

So here’s my prediction.  At some point Facebook will change its mobile advertising effort over to more of a TV approach. They will sell video spots, not banners or other unsightly clickables, and those spots will be distributed in pods. That is, if you spend 15 straight minutes on Facebook, you will have to sit through two :30 second spots. Spots that are nicely produced. Pretty to look at and entertaining. No clicks needed. You are, after all, using a mobile search without peer. 

Video spots are actually more suited for mobile devices than they are for TV.  

Evolving web advertising to this model will be very disruptive. It will also hasten moving content to Facebook. And it will be messy. Beyond what we can foresee. But it is one way to improve the ad experience. Google cannot play at this time, they need the Fast Twitch nature of the web. YouTube can play as can Netflix. Going to be a wild ride.



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Eliza Esquivel, an executive marketing lead at Mondelez, spoke at Google Firestarters-NY earlier this week. This lady can ball. No marko-babble from her.

I really sat up when she used what seemed an inside term of art “Building Memory Structures.” It warmed my self-taught heart to hear this because I’ve built a similar framework but never put it so elegantly. I often speak and write of “building muscle memory” and doing so using “1 claim and 3 proof planks,” but these words from the Mondelez camp explain why it’s a company to watch. And why Ms. Esquivel will someday be Ad Age’s Marketer of The Year.

In this Fast Twitch Media world, filled with more Pasters than Posters, Google brand planners (planner who rely on Google only for insights), in a country where every business owner feels s/he is a marketing expert, it’s nice to know there’s are some marketing 30 somethings coming up with big eyes. A generation not smitten by shiny ephemeral tactics and automation technology. Ms. E has some serious vision and a lovely sense of control.

It’s going to be fun watching her career.





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Learn from a salesman.

One of the things that makes watching the Olympics on TV so compelling is the human interest piece they do on athletes before each event. Usually it revolves around a home town and a hardship conveyed by friends, family or teachers. These back-stories not only set context, but allow viewer a little emotional skin in the game.

In advertising, this is not really possible. It used to be in the early days of long copy print ads, not anymore; not in this fast twitch media world with smart phone ads the size of a pinky finger.

The ability to set the stage for selling using exposition is something great sales people do. They story tell with examples tied to the course of the conversation. And they story tell, not off the boiler plate talking points of the company, but using heart and soul of experiences (or proofs) that carry emotional “reasons to prefer” a brand. As I mentioned in my last post, that’s usually not material-based but experience-based.

This is the heart of storytelling today. And it was learned from belly-to-belly salespeople, as are most great selling schemes and techniques.

Web sites could borrow a page. Peace.


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I love technology. I understand its transformative power but also its ability to alter the future tense. The future we can’t see. I say this so you won’t think me a geeze.  newspaper I was on train last week with some neighbors and we were talking about reading the news on iPads. The neighbors liked reading on their tablets. I am a fan of the paper paper. I’ve had this discussion before but never really thought about my side of the argument. Sure the paper paper uses natural resources. Sure you can bookmark and word-search on a tablet. The paper paper is unwieldy to some. But one thing you can do with the paper paper that you can’t with an electronic story is see a thousand words of the story in one huge folio view. With a broadsheet paper like The New York Times, I can go back to a piece of data or a person’s name without missing a beat. Muscle memory reminds me where on the page the content was, e.g., lower left, mid-right, previous page. That’s hard to do with a tablet. Tablets are so linear. Paper papers or a bit more for how people really read. Reading news and analysis is more chaotic. It’s more twitchy. (Google Fast Twitch Media.)

The reading experience is different using a paper paper. By tearing out passages or pages and leaving them in piles on my desk, in the bottom of my backpack or on my dresser, it reduces my footprint of digital notes, URLs, tags and logs…of which there are many. For me, the usability of the paper paper — crumbs, coffee spills, folding routines and all – provides a richer experience. A different experience. For me, a better experience. I think the paper paper is here to stay. #justme. Peace.

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There is no strategy without tactics. Guys like me who write about brand strategy may seem like we’re above tactics, not wanting to get our hands dirty. (Twenty years ago, Peter Kim a McCann-Erickson mentor told me “Once I’ve sold the brand idea, I want to be done.” Everything after that gets messy, he explained. Approving ads, media, talent and all other things subjective.

The thing about planners, especially older planners, is we like to understand the big picture first. We like to go big. Once we understand how to solve the category, the deepest pent up consumer need, then we can focus on the specifics. Problem is, marketers aren’t looking to solve the world’s ills, they’re looking to sell shit. Flat out, right away, cha-ching the cash register, sell shit. Today in this fast twitch media world, marketing directors want their chunk of the returns. Big data? Hell no. Little data about my product. Yes. Data that says “more sales.” Period.

So we planners need to get the pipes out of our mouths and start talking tactics with clients. (Maybe keep the big picture stuff to ourselves a little more.) All my rants about claim and proof? Here’s one: Good branding works. Sales are proof.


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This just in: Google earnings are up but the price per share dropped. Why?  Because it’s underperforming in mobile. The most interesting fact in the NYT story was this:

  • Mobile ads cost a half to two-thirds more than do desktop served ads, but lead to purchase a quarter to a third less.

Readers who have heard me espouse Twitch Point Planning will perhaps see how the “mapping and manipulating” of consumers closer to a sale with a digital buildable (content seems too flat a term) will outperform an ad the size of a wax bean.

I’ve spoken with some pretty smart people in the business — really smart people — and as much as they all think about “what’s next,” they have a hard time grasping that a twitch point buildable is a better revenue generator than an ad.  For some, I guess, vision is about only what you can see. Where Christopher Columbus is???

Marketers need to think about Twitch Points. Only then should they think about content marketing. Content marketing without a brand plan is typing and recording. Content marketing without understanding (fast twitch) digital media and consumer purchase behavior is what?  Advertising. 


UPDATE:  After the market opened today, the share price of Google soared over $1,000 before retreating slightly.  I guess investors think Google will fix the mobile ad problem.


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Steve Rubel is an acquaintance who has done lots to alter the landscape of social media.  He’s got pop.  (Baseball metaphor.)  He once tweeted a post of mine about “Google’s culture of technological obesity” which got hit by Lifehacker and earned me 1,000 blog visits a day for a while. That’s power.

Steve works high up at Edelman PR and though less visible to the public these days, is no doubt making the company some nice profits.  We all miss him, I’m sure.

Edelman is doing some leading edge stuff in social media and PR.  I came across a Twitter handle of theirs yesterday:  @edelmanfood.  Whoever is managing the account, and I’m sure it’s a small group of people, are thoughtful category trollers.  This is advanced stuff. Leadership stuff.  They’ve created their own little practice area topic on Twitter – something extensible into other media which in a fast twitch media world is an idea with ballast.

While category trolling is broad and much better than brand trolling, it does not hit the requirements of “Have a motivation” (Google “Social Media Guard Rails+Slideshare”). That’s next. For now let Edelman troll the category and do it better than most. A Twitter account or a Fotchbook page with a branded motivation, though, offers real pop!  Peace. 

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Brian Clark of GMD Studios in NYC and Winter Park, FL, home of Rollins College, is a diamond-in-the-rough marketing consultant.  He’s kind of like Jonas Salk the inventor of the polio vaccine, before the invention.  Brian gets marketing, he really gets film, his views on transmedia (the flow between media types) are prescient and he keeps his eyes open. Brian enjoys his view beyond the dashboard.

I met him a couple of times, once while we worked as contractors for JWT on Microsoft, and he knows where we are going with this multimedia thing. A statement like that presumes I know where we are going, but follow Brian’s lead first.

He’s a diamond-in-the-rough, I say, because this stuff is hard to fully comprehend. Selling better is hard. Experiential marketing is real but much of it is still theoretical. So when Brian does presos on phenomenology, he’s in the ballpark but it’s a bit rough. And heady. (Check it out on Slideshare.)  Transmedia, as a term, is in the ballpark too but lacks poetry. My view of the experiential and transmedia realm, using language like “fast twitch media” and “twitch point planning” is a bit more intriguing and motivating, but still theoretical.

Thanks to technology and thanks to art forms – with more art forms to be invented – we are on the verge of major media and marketing advance. The inventions are a comin’.  And fun it will be. Do help! And watch Brian and his company.  Peace.    

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Twitch Point Planning was born out of today’s fast twitch media world. Twitch point planning attempts to understand, map and manipulate consumers — moving them closer to a transaction via  the various media types we digital agers touch every day.  Though much fast twitch media is technology-based (tablets, smart phones, geolocation, video, etc.) the actions that support it are behavioral. And it is all attention deficit related. So which came first the behavior or the technology?

According to a new study reported by CBS, SpongeBob Square Pants cartoons, with its fast cuts and jumpy story lines, contribute to attention deficit in kids.  The study analyzed a small sample of kids (60) but the results are still predictable.

And if kids are becoming predisposed to media twitching thanks to cartoons, wait until they grow up. Many children are hyper enough — no need to fuel that fire.  Can someone say “quiet time?”   Will these kids be able to sit down for 3 hours and read text books or in later years snuggle up to a good Kindle? 

I’m all for using twitch point planning to make a few bucks, but long term this may be a bigger issue worth studying.  And fixing.  Or the pharmaceutical companies will be investing in the cartoon business pretty soon. Peace.



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