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Content strategy, #GrillMOL, Gifpop! and this week’s bits and bytes

Brandopolis: I came across this spectacular in-depth investigation of content strategy at top brands by @lydialaurenson: this epic, four part report covers everything from content strategy basics, how this obsession with content came about, to the hyper contextual future this trend of ‘all brands are publishers’ is heading towards. Chock full with case studies from some of the world’s biggest brands, I’d rate this as one of the best pieces of writing on digital content strategy I’ve come across.

If nothing else (and for you TL;DR fans) scroll down to the conclusions – best four bullet points you’ll read all year.

GrillMOL: A few weeks ago we welcomed @Ryanair to Twitter. You may recall that I wasn’t to impressed with their second tweet, outlining why they wouldn’t respond to customers:  because, gosh darn it, there’s just too many of them.

This week, they decided to go from one extreme to the other: #GrillMOL was the official Hashtag used for a 1 hour 18 minute live Twitter Q&A with Ryanair chief Michael O’Leary.

I’ve had a quick look at some Sysomos data and the Q&A session from this week did put up some solid numbers: over 1,800 mentions, generating more than 4 million impressions. Interestingly, 72% of the audience was male – which, going by one of the first Tweets that MOL put out during the Q&A, doesn’t surprise me:

Absolutely daft.

However, the majority of his responses had O’Leary responding honestly and quickly to a number large number of questions ranging from that annoying fanfare when their planes land on time, to their shockingly horrible website – all with a healthy does of self-depricating humour.

The Daily Edge has a great summary of the things we learned from the Q&A, the Indie on the other hand thought it was a ‘crash landing‘ (much like their headline).

Ryanair’s reaction?

They thought it was so successful, they did it again today.

Gifpop! Everyone loves an animated gif. Well, I do. They’re particularly perfect for communicating specific emotions such as apoplectic rage, disgust or joy – often using scenes from films, TV shows or popular YouTube clips. Sites like the brilliant London Grumblr wouldn’t exist without them and online communities such as Reddit, 4Chan or Imgur – heck, the Internet – wouldn’t be nearly as much fun.

And no, it’s not just silliness.

Have a look at Zack Dougherty’s beautifully trippy gif art.

Source: Zack Dougherty

Problem of course is that these mesmerising, animated, forever looping, wonderful gifs only exists on digital screens.

Not for long though, as a Kickstarter project by @rachelbinx and @shashashasha that uses lenticular printing to bring gifs to life. Called Gifpop!, the service has already crushed its funding target of $5,000 less than 24 hours of going online – with over 400 backers donating over $15,000 (The Atlantic has more about how it all came about).

Can’t wait!

Source: Gifpop! Also, OMG, it’s a gif of a Gifpop!

Jonathan Perelman from Buzzfeed doesn’t like banner ads: Or, to quote him: “You’re more likely to summit Mount Everest than click on a banner ad.” From the Guardian’s take on Perelman’s speech at the the Abu Dhabi Media Summit 2013 – it sounded like many other people in the room agreed with his view that banner ads are (on the way) out.

He goes on to talk about ‘native advertising‘ – that dangerous amalgamation of content and advertising – an area that Buzzfeed excels in and has earned them 85 million unique visitors a month.

How do journalists use Twitter? Great little Q&A with @jenniferpreston about how to verifies Tweets when a story breaks and some of the principles she applies to source fast-moving stories.

Mobile or beer? Amstel, the Dutch Brewery company, has developed a clever little app that rewards you with free beer – if you don’t touch your phone for 8 hours. Called ‘Amstel‘, the app simply tracks how long you haven’t touched your phone.

Source: Amstel

Fast Company has more on the campaign – meanwhile, the question remains: could you go eight hours without touching your phone? (Or could you just turn it on when you go to bed and wake up to a free Amstel?).

Videos of the week: “Russell Brand, who are you to edit a political magazine?” So begins the interview on Newsnight between Jeremy Paxman and Russell Brand and my word is it good. That Brand is one eloquent customer.

Never not, part 2 – a beautiful 50 minute short film by Nike featuring some of the world’s top snowboarders, tricks, flips and a hell of a lot of snow.

A fantastic animation by Blank on Blank of an interview with Kurt Cobain on identity.

And finally: Workw*nkers

Batfleck, #SaintsFC, Sugarpova and this week’s bits and bytes

Batfleck: As usual, the Internet exploded overnight as the news broke that Ben Affleck will play the new Batman (oh yes, all the hard-hitting news here my friends). Outrage is the best word that describes the reaction, with many people suggesting better caped crusaders on the #BetterBatmanThanBenAffleck hashtag. As is often the case with curating the best of the Internet silliness, Mashable compiled their favourite suggestions for a better Batman than Ben Affleck (HT @stangreenan).

Of course, the obligatory fake Ben ‘Batman’ Affleck account already has 13,000 followers – and 1 tweet.

https://twitter.com/AffleckBatman/statuses/370725672244609026

Brands getting in on the real-time marketing bandwagon included Pizza Express and Vue Cinemas but it’s really the less politically correct reactions from the fans that are worth a browse.

#SaintsFC: Gotta hand it to Southampton FC. Not only do they have Rickie ‘I create spikes in Saino’s Beetroot sales‘ Lambert, they ‘get’ social. After they successful campaign to thank fans for getting them across the 100,000 follower mark they’ve now become the first British football club to permanently display its official hashtag within its stadium seating (HT @tomparker81).

Trolls are here to stay: In a tremendous guest post on Wired, @JamieJBartlett argues that trolling and cyber-bullying have always played a part in web culture, a consequence of anonymity and the freedom to say anything – no matter how offensive. The only difference is that while trolls used to be confined to the dark underbelly of t’Interwebs, the proliferation of social media, ubiquitous broadband access and smart phones have brought world’s morons out from their hidden communities and into the mainstream and public consciousness.

A wonderful excursion into the history of trolling, flame wars, and the explanation for why you should never, ever, read The Comments – Godwins Law: “as an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving the Nazis or Hitler approaches one” – this is a wonderful post that calls for people, especially young people and women, to be better prepared when they ‘go online’.

Social media wins customer support: 80% of customer complaints on social media receive a response within 12 hours, while only 37% of customer complaints on email received a response in the same amount of time. Now, there are a number of questions that I’d like to put to the guys at eDigitalResearch who studied 2,000 consumers, but what should also be pointed out is that the amount of customer complaints coming in via email is likely to be far larger than the amount of social media contacts. Still, it is indicative of the fact that companies are biased towards social media complaints due to their potential to becoming larger and possibly reputationally damaging issues.

Advantage Sharapova: Earlier this week, Russian tennis ace Maria Sharapova announced she might change her surname during the US Open to ‘Sugarpova’ to promote her own confectionary range. In the end, the name change would have meant too much paperwork and hassle so it was dropped – ESPN seemed quite miffed at the whole thing, noting Sharapova should concentrate on Tennis, not gimmicks.

Source: Sugarpova

That however, would be missing the point of what I think was a clever way to spread the Sugarpova brand. After all, the story achieved world wide coverage – without Sharapova ever actually doing anything! The number of Tweets mentioning the word “Sugarpova” jumped from 50 to 9,000 in a day – and I’d argue, with all the coverage achieved and me telling you about it now, you have to conclude that the stunt most definitely worked.

Unfortunately for Sharapova: she’s had to pull out of the US Open due to injury.

Brands on Vine: See what brands are up to with Twitter’s 6 second video platform Vine – and keep your eyes peeled for Sainsbury’s latest effort celebrating being the no.1 for British apples and pears.

Hats off also to Aussie Bank NatWest for their superb use of Vine for customer service – quick, six second how-to clips to either explain how to change the settings in online banking, how to recycle an 4 pint milk container into a dust pale or how you can use an empty glass to amplify the sound from your mobile phone.

Embedded posts: Both Twitter and now Facebook are going big on embedded posts. The feature was already available on Twitter for a long time, but they are now displaying related news items alongside the Tweet you chose to embed. For example, @Eunner’s Tweet about the Asiana Airlines crash landing in San Francisco.

The Tweet should shows headlines that are related to the 140-character-message – although it doesn’t seem to like WordPress). As Twitter puts it: “We think this will help more people discover the larger story behind the Tweet, drive clicks to your articles, and help grow your audience on Twitter.”

Never too far behind in copying Twitter, Facebook has also rolled out their embedded post option to all users (something that you’ve been able to do on Twitter for a few years now).

Content marketing vs. content strategy: A great summary of the difference between two entirely different concepts that are often – and incorrectly – use synonymously. 

And while I’m rocking the marketing buzzword bingo – another thought provoking read via the Wall Blog about the rise of the ‘Always on Consumer‘ (this article also contains the beautiful ‘cross-channel’. Oh yes!). The fact that these people are permanently connected across multiple devices means that they require a communications approach that delivers a consistent and seamless narrative which they can enjoy no matter which of their many devices they happen to be brandishing at any particular point in time.

Videos of the week: I admit I cried when I watched this beautiful clip from British Airways from their ‘Visit Mum’ campaign. I can’t say that I have had a similarly long time away from my mum, but I do know what it feels like to come home to her amazing cooking and embrace after a year or so away. Love you, mum!

Clever stuff from Publicis in the Netherlands who installed a barrier in the carpark of one of the country’s most famous clubs that would only let guests leave if they passed a breathalyser test.

And finally: Hot Dog Legs.

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