Social Media Lessons from Coke & Mentos

August 4, 2006

2 unrelated products – brought together by normal folk to create the latest internet video buzz.

Coke freaked out and tried to control how it’s brand was being portrayed (old media) – Mentos embraced it and is now actively encouraging it (new media)

check this post on Viral Garden for the full back-story & run-down.

Lesson – “new media” isn’t always about the gadget – the technologies – the devices.

It’s an attitude.

And you can’t fake it anymore.


MTV’s “everywhere” philosophy

August 1, 2006

Contemporary Radio copied a lot from MTV early on – mostly in terms of style – quick cut production – goofy, hip, irreverent “imaging” and packaging of music. But it seems radio pretty much stopped with those early lessons even as MTV continued to evolve.

During a recent keynote address at the CTAM Summit as reported by MultiChannel News, MTV Networks chairman and CEO Judy McGrath said something that I’ve been trying to communicate for a while now –

“New technology has inspired new consumer behavior, unleashing pent-up demand. … You have to evolve or die. Those are the stakes,”

That’s the thing we often loose sight of.

We can relish that Satellite Radio isn’t attracting a MASS audience – or that no single player is even close to dislodging Radio as the MAIN MASS channel for receiving audio content – but that assumes everyone is playing the same game we’re playing. And they are not.

The point were missing is that collectively those OTHER channels are CONDITIONING (or inspiring) the market as a whole to demand an experience from media that radio currently isn’t providing.

More from McGrath’s keynote:

McGrath spoke about the “everywhere” world philosophy enveloping Viacom Inc.’s MTVN, which has been reorganized to place digital content alongside linear TV production.

The impetus: Consumers are seeking media on an array of platforms and will follow good content across different platforms.

This is another lesson Radio would do well to copy from MTV.

We may think Radio is an EVERYWHERE medium – and to the 35+ crowd clearly it is. But increasingly Gen Y and younger don’t think radio is EVERYWHERE. If it’s not on their devices (ipod,psp,laptop, phone etc) it’s not “everywhere.”

HD Radio is PART of everywhere. But AM/FM/HD is no longer EVERWHERE. It doesn’t get your morning show – or my favorite music program from your station into my life when I want it – on MY device.

HD Radio  – while an important digital upgrade – shouldn’t be the SOLE effort to modernize the radio medium.

Old to New may not have a Tipping Point

July 25, 2006

So says Robert Paterson (consultant who is responsible for helping NPR re-create it’s entire organization that I blogged about here)

In his latest entry Robert says:

Until very recently, I thought that the rules of the adoption curve or the Tipping Point would apply and that eventually everyone would “get it.”

I no longer believe this to be true.

I see no signs of any airline other than AMR going the Southwest Culture route. I see no signs of the US or Israeli military matching their asynchronous opponents. I see no signs of the Commercial media other than Murdoch making a shift to true participation.

In fact I see all the signs of the establishment of Inquisitions and the choice to fail rather than to change.

This is really the way I feel when I read or hear people almost blindly defending our old methods – or using any out of context “research” or “study” to telegraph to the general radio community “everything’s ok the way it is – go back to scheduling your 10 song sets“.
Robert continues:

I think that the context that fits best for me is that of the religious wars of the 17th century. Is not Fundementalism a response to the modern commercial world? What compromise do we see there?

So this is why I see the choice so starkly. If you stay with the old, you will inevitably be destroyed by those that use these new rules.

These new rules have emerged and are now clear. So you get it or you don’t. For those that get it, you can now compete on the basis of culture and not money. You have the clear advantage.”


I’m not one to see things so starkly – truth is often vantage point specific.

I also think those that don’t currently “get it” – while at a disadvantage, when faced with extinction will change their tune and find enlightenment.

Sometimes we just need to get our asses kicked before we start self-defense training.  Yes I’m aware that’s often too late.  And that is human nature.
And while not without Fundamentalist proclivities – Business is all about the cash.  As long as there’s money in a system to be extracted – business will extract it until it’s empty and then move on to “discover” the next thing.

Yes I’m aware that’s also very often – too late.  Again, human nature.

The current system is at an . . . uh . . . what’s the word . . . . PRECIPICE. ,-)

The OLD ways are still throwing off WAAAY too much cash for most people responsible for collecting all the money to even THINK about changing a thing.

But – as Robert points out – new ways are emerging that are changing the old systems – and in many cased killing them off.  Like it or not there’s no stopping it.

I admit I’d feel more comfortable if I thought the radio industry as a whole will suddenly “get it”.  I know there’s lots of ground troops in radio that “get it” – so the question is really put to the commanders.

Don’t go there if ya don’t get it

July 19, 2006

Via FutureLab comes this –

Even though I’m not aware of attempts by radio to engage in the social media sphere – I was moved by the simplicity of this observation.

It serves as a warning sign – bring something more than the standard PR & Promo language if you want to participate.





Satisfaction vs Engagement

July 19, 2006

This week at KFOG – we’ll get some listeners together after work to talk about radio in general and KFOG specifically. It’s pretty informal, not scientific or a even real “focus group”.

We use these conversations as a starting point for a day of internal dialog about radio in general and the station specifically. I always find it an enlightening and worthwhile experience.

KFOG has been doing this a few times per year for about 11 years and was probably one of the first. Lots of stations do these types of things now.

One of the easy themes to latch on to in these exercises is the level of “satisfaction” exhibited by the participants.

Seems natural enough. In theory – a satisfied listener is a listener who has no motivation to listen to something else.

Not so fast says Brian Manning in this article titled: Measure Engagement, Not Satisfaction

Like I said – we’re not actually “measuring” anything in our little get together, but I think these points Brian makes are valid.

Satisfaction tells you whether or not you’re doing something wrong. It should be the baseline target, not an end in itself.

Just showing up and not pissing off the customer USED to make one a winner. And you can succeed on satisfaction alone. Brian uses the comparison of Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks. Both are successful – Dunkin satisfies – Starbucks ENGAGES.

In radio – take perennial Top 25-54 San Francisco station KOIT. It satisfies (obviously) – but does it ENGAGE?

Why pay attention to engagement? From the article:

Engagement, because it comprises a deeper, more persistent relationship, should be the aspirational goal.

Brian says there are five reasons why measuring engagement is more valuable:

1. Satisfaction is a measurement of past experience, not an indicator of future behavior.

Just because a customer hasn’t had a reason to complain doesn’t mean the relationship will weather a bad experience in the future or a competitor’s enticement.

2. Extremely satisfied customers often act and behave no differently than less satisfied customers.

Researchers at the Gallup Organization have found that extremely satisfied customers of a leading supermarket chain, on average, spend no more than less satisfied customers. It is only when a customer is both extremely satisfied and emotionally attached that purchasing behaviors shift.

3. Engaged customers become the medium for the message.

These passionate advocates actively promote your brand and products through viral and word of mouth marketing, often without realizing they’re doing it.

4. Negative engagement can hurt you more than you know.

Look no further than Sony BMG’s recent spyware troubles, started by a groundswell within an engaged blogosphere. Never mind the consumer boycotts and class action lawsuit, more telling is the fact that a Google Blog Search for “Sony + spyware” returned nearly 35,000 blog posts. That’s the online equivalent of a billboard-sized “Beware of Dog” sign.

5. Engaged customers add more to the bottom line.

Customer Management reports, “Gallup’s research suggests that for all kinds of companies, fully engaged customers — those who score in roughly the upper 15-20 percent on Gallup’s measure of emotional engagement — deliver a 23 percent premium over the average customer in terms of share of wallet, profitability, revenue and relationship growth.”

Brian closes with this:

I predict an increasing number of companies will follow suit and begin to generate engagement by tapping into the social and technological capabilities of the internet to empower customers.

Being aware of the distinciton between Satisfaction & Engagement can kick the conversation up a notch.

Asking “how can we satisfy listeners?” probably ends with “play the new Gnarles Barkley” or some other variation of “what’s the music test say”.

Asking “how can we more fully engage WITH listeners?” starts off a whole new conversation.

Personally, that’s the question I’m more interested in.

Irrational Exuberance 2.0?

July 17, 2006

From one of my favorite tech blogs TechCrunch comes news that internet video site YouTube has announced it’s serving up 100 million videos a day.

First the article tries to determine why YouTube has attracted such a large group of users – citing one stat that 60% of the videos streamed on the web come form YouTube.

How did this happen? Being an early mover into MySpace via embeded flash may have helped.

The social features, recently added by Google Video as well, could be a winning combination.

The smart branding via a catchy URL, simple as it sounds, may have helped as well.

Partnerships with NBC and a variety of other content producers may have helped – though these are most likely a consequence of the site’s popularity far more than a cause of it.

It’s hard to say just why YouTube has caught on and other services have not.

It just might be that YouTube is simple, easy, works well enough and people like it – there may be no more mystery than that.

Yes – all that and IT’S FREE!

While the most popular videos on YouTube are viewed thousands of times – not a single one of the producers of those videos could afford to stream that content to that many people on their own.

So the article also rightfully questions where YouTube’s ultimate business is.

A key question that remains unanswered of course is whether the service will succeed financially.

Forbes estimated that bandwidth costs were approaching $1 million per month in April, when YouTube was reported to have been seeing 12.9 million unique visitors per month (March).

Three months later that number is reported to be approaching 20 million unique visitors per month.

The bandwidth problem is the single largest issue with the current internet – for every new user you attract – your costs go up.

As much of an advocate for Web 2.0 and the attitudes it brings that I am – I can’t help but fear the ultimate lessons of emerging Social Media like YouTube will be reduced to the next iteration of

Bubble 2.0?

UPDATE:  Via MicroPursuasion comes this link to a story about Broadcast TV seeing it’s lowest ratings ever.

Even with TV in the “summer” off season you can’t help see the drift away from appointment mass media to on demand ME media.