Friday, June 22, 2012

Why 'fresh' tv campaigns won't grow sales


Every few years, grocers on both sides of the Tasman fire up a 'Fresh' television campaign. 

The lastest offering from woolworths is a nice modern take on the the traditional 'gate to plate' model where we see our food being lovingly grown and whisked at hyper speed to our local supermarket by happy, smiley farmers. 

The creative is fantastic but the mechanic won't actually work. 

Here's why. 

The television commericals will drive foot traffic but foot traffic isn't the problem. 

I've seen research where only one in four shoppers coming in the front door will shop produce. 

So customers either don't like what they see, don't like the price or aren't enjoying the store experience. Either way, these are supply chain and store operational issues, not marketing issues. 

Until you fix the product issue, conversion in store will continue to be an issue.



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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

How will content shifting impact on advertising revenues?

The paywall debate is an important one but let’s go under the hood and look at the real question large media companies such as Fairfax, Facebook and News Ltd need to be asking themselves.

How will content shifting impact on my advertising revenues?

Paywall and display advertising work fine when the audience gathers around the main dot com site to view the stories.

What happens when the content is moved to aggregators such as Storify?

The partnership announced yesterday at Le Web between Google + and Flipboard demonstrates that Google is trying to get out in front of these changes and develop aggregation functionality inside their products for inevitable content shifting.

If readers aggregate RSS feeds for tablet or mobile device, obviously the complexity of the ad products will be lost.

Digital advertising products that command the most money such as pre-rolls, skyscrapers or page buyouts are lost on third party aggregators . So either the aggregator takes over the advertising and you syndicate content to them, or you create a walled garden (paywall) and stop content sharing.

Arguably, the death of Myspace was its walled garden model. Facebook learned from MySpace’s errors and have taken brave steps to make content on their site shareable. Facebook still haven’t figured out how to adserve mobile or third party aggregators.

Paywalls are part of the solution but don’t truly reflect multi device media consumption.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Why would anyone want to pay a blogger?


I was a tad horrified at a recent conference to hear someone on a media panel say ‘why would anyone want to pay a blogger?”

The panel discussion was angling at the ethics of paid contributors to review sites that don’t disclose their relationship with a company or organisation.

For example, a tech blogger gets flown to Sydney to the Samsung Galaxy SIII launch.

That person should disclose that they are an invited guest of Samsung. Any payment or gratuity that person receives should be made clear to their audience.

In my experience, most quality bloggers are very open with disclosure and most audiences can smell a kickback a mile away so the whole thing self-regulates.

What the ‘why would anyone want to pay a blogger” statement doesn’t factor in is the difference between a ‘vanity’ blogger and a paid journalist or contributor.

One example is the Huffington Post. The Huffington Post has salaried editors and journalists that form the backbone of their content. Those people are expected to work certain hours, attend meetings and meet deadlines with quality contributions. Those contributions can come in the form of articles or blogs. Advertising revenues pay for the wages of these people. Are Huffington Post employees paid bloggers?


So why would anyone want to pay a blogger?

Because there is a global market for quality content and people should be financially remunerated for producing good work.

The Huffington Post also has people that contribute content that aren’t paid by Huffington Post but are paid by their respective organisations to share ideas and get a viewpoint across. HuffPost provides a microphone for interest groups and politicians to speak to an audience. So John Kerry obviously isn’t paid to write a blog post but his motivations for contributing should be very clear.  Consultants and figureheads often ‘vanity blog’ to get their brands in front of people and demonstrate thought leadership. Nothing new there.

Sometimes I will write a post on this blog and have an editor contact me to produce a paid article for their website or magazine on the same topic. Does that make me a paid blogger? Or does that then make me a freelancer? What’s the difference and does it really matter? If I write an article for a magazine do I have to declare that I was paid x cents per word?

The overarching business model of media is quite straightforward and a blanket assumption that blogger’s contributions should never be paid for or that paying for blog content is in some way unethical is a bit simplistic.

A more useful question is why would anybody not want to pay a blogger?

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Monday, June 4, 2012

Seven leadership tips from Queen Liz


While the whole notion of blue-blooded humans really doesn't sit well with my egalitarian sensibilities, I have grown to admire Queen Elizabeth II as a leader.

I watched an excellent documentary the other night 'Ten days that made the Queen' . Here are a seven points on leadership I took from it.

1. Leadership and experience are two different things

Young Liz was only 25 when she was crowned Queen. She always took her role as a servant of the people very seriously and immediately asserted herself on affairs of State and as leader of the Church of England. While she may not have had the experience, she has always possessed the wisdom and sureness of self to stand alone and not be puppeted by the old hands. Quite extraordinary in a post-war kingdom that was more powerful than the USA, USSR or China.  

2. Don't forget the power of your rank

In 1957, the Queen appointed Harold Macmillan, Chancellor of the Exchequer, as successor to Prime Minister Sir Anthony Eden. The Queen's endorsement sent a very clear message to the people of England that the aristocratic classes were still only giving jobs to those in their polo clubs and that Parliament was not entirely democratic.
The subsequent Suez Crisis (under a  Eden/Macmillan leadership) is credited with triggering the fall of the British Empire and the rise of the USA as a superpower. The invasion was a disaster and the Queen's trust of reliable yet incompetent leaders took her empire down on the world stage. The people of England weren't happy and the monarchy was threatened. Post-Suez, the Queen vowed to never get involved in 'king-making' parliamentary or commonwealth leadership.

3. Sometimes, it pays to keep your opinions to yourself

The Queen won't comment on any of the portraits that are painted of her. She won't publicly comment on the governance of Commonwealth states or the British parliament. What did she think of Kate Middleton's dress? Who knows?

She knows that her opinion holds a lot more weight than the average Joe and she uses her powers for diplomatic good.

4. You have to be superhuman and human all at the same time

The only time the Queen was seen crying publicly was when the royal yacht was decommissioned. She didn't cry when Lady Diana died. The Queen's handling of Diana's death received a brutal backlash and showed a monarchy completely out of touch with its people.

The Queen prides herself on high standards of morality but the lack of emotion and empathy when simulcast against streets of wailing housewives and children with bunches of flowers showed an evil mother-in-law who didn't seem to understand that her grandchildren had lost their mother. 

The subsequent, Tony Blair prompted, Diana tribute video shows the achilles of the Queen who has been trained her whole life to maintain a stiff upper lip. It looks like a terrible hostage video and, in some ways, the public outcry really did put a gun to her head.

5. It's the quiet ones you have to watch

The Queen is surrounded by lots of deferential, curtseying, gift-giving types that want to be in her favour. Some of her most trusted advisors openly disagree with her and refuse to get mesmerised by her sparkly crown. Conversely, she is famous for ignoring the advice of her many pandering minions. I've yet to meet a good leader that doesn't encourage healthy debate and Liz is known away from the cameras as "talking strategy like a machine-gun."

6. Take it on the chin and learn from your mistakes

1992 is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure. In the words of one of my more sympathetic correspondents, it has turned out to be an Annus Horribilis

(The "sympathetic correspondent" was later revealed to be her former assistant private secretary, Sir Edward Ford).
In one year, the Queen had three of her children in divorce court, an uninsured fire at Windsor castle, a scandalous tell-all book from Diana and a British public that was sick of paying for the circus.

No point in candy-coating it when you have a shocker.

7. Anyone can get knocked off their perch

As my mother always says "one day the ass that you kick will be the ass you have to kiss."

We've seen the recent falls of Mubarak, Hussein, Gaddafi and Bin Laden. Steve Jobs got bumped out of Apple for a bit and who can keep up with who is at the helm of Yahoo? JFK was assassinated and Lady Diana was killed in a car crash. Nelson Mandela was eventually President of South Africa, Iceland melted and now, everybody wants their economy to be like China's. Any seat of power worth having will always attract leadership challenges. Whether it's Charles or William or Harry or someone from China that eventually sits on the throne, I think we can safely say that the new democracy we're experiencing won't afford a monarchy in its current form for too much longer.

Queen Elizabeth II is an impeccable leader with a wisdom and perspective on world history and people that we can all learn from in the get rich quick iPhone app business world.

Maybe she'll get another 25 years.

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