Mean Tweets–The Greens’ Sarah Hanson-Young Tweets Back

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Public figures attract a lot of bile on social media. But there is a special kind of hatred that seems to be reserved for politicians – especially female politicians. The very public campaigning against Australia’s first female Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, will certainly be remembered for the dog whistling and sexism that passed for public debate. It marked a low point in political discourse – one from which we have scarcely recovered.

It certainly seems that many in the Australian population still struggle with successful women on the public stage.

So what is a politician to to? Resort to the broadcast media? Or create their own?

South Australian Greens Senator, Sarah Hanson-Young has taken a leaf out of US Talk Show Host, Jimmy Kimmel’s book, and has started sharing some of the more colourful – and downright rude – messages that she receives via her YouTube channel. Introducing “Pleasantries with Sarah Hanson-Young”, the senator explains:

As a federal senator, I receive a lot of correspondence. Today, I am going to share with you some of the more heartwarming messages.

What I like about this forthright approach is that, where possible, Twitter identities are shared. It’s great to see some of this kind of “feedback” get the ridicule it deserves.

But even better than that, it’s great to see some of our politicians giving some creative thought to the way that they engage with the public. If only more of them actually engaged with technology they might not pass such ill-informed legislation as the Data Retention laws – and we’d all be better off for it.

Celebrate the Stuff You Already Own

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I never wanted to be a businessman. All I wanted was to do my craft … and climb mountains.
Yvon Chouinard, Founder of Patagonia

Origin stories are vitally important for your business. They are vital for the way that your customers perceive and engage with you and they are vital for your employees. But the reason they are important is because they provide us all with a narrative that speaks to our sense of purpose.

Often when we think of purpose, we think of our “mission” statements – or our “vision”. But purpose goes beyond these often banal statements. Purpose speaks to our hearts not to our heads. If it is not a driving energy, then it’s only words on a page.

The challenge is that our “purpose” is hard to define.

And in many ways, this is why it is so important. It is what marks us out as unique or worthy of attention. It’s both an energy that propels us and a sense of gravity that attracts others.

Watching this video was an interesting experience. It’s not really a documentary about the clothing brand, Patagonia. It’s the story of the business’ owners and customers. It is brand storytelling at its finest. As Mitch Joel explains, this is how your brand should tell a beautiful story. And one of the things the video does well is that it shares Patagonia’s purpose. In doing so, it not only attracts an audience, it brings them into the experience of the story.

And while not all of us have the kind of budget that allows us to produce a 30 minute case study of this quality, every single business has an origin story. And telling that story can transform your business and the relationships you create around it. So I wonder, how are you telling your origin story today?

80s Awareness – a message from Kevin Bacon

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Over the last decade, 80s awareness has been in very steep decline. Thank goodness that Kevin Bacon is supporting this important cause. Please give your 30 second attention span to help.

 

Candy Everybody Wants–Even Accountants

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Let me start with a confession.

Many years ago – a time lost in the mists – my first job was as an accountant. Actually, it was as a “trainee accountant” – I studied at night at worked by day. It was a hard slog – and it wasn’t a job that I loved. Eventually I ditched that work/study combo for the much more lucrative opportunity to make theatre and write under the auspices of a degree in the Arts (ahem). But I have always had a grudging affinity with accountants.

But I will be honest – it’s a conservative profession. So when it comes to social media and branding, accounting and accounting-related professions are behind the 8-ball. After all, we trust them with our money, our taxes and what we would consider our financial future – so we rightly expect a degree of decorum. Risk aversion. Security.

So when accounting software business, MYOB comes out with a sassy promo like this, you have to sit up and take notice.

What do you think? Are you loving your job this much?

It’s Gruen for Innovation – That Startup Show

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What is a startup? How is it different from a small business? And what role does innovation and/or technology play in a startup?

These are some of the first topics addressed by the new “entertainment startup” web-cast show, That Startup Show. Hosted by Dan Ilic and streamed live, the show takes a leaf out of ABC’s The Gruen Transfer – a smart, funny and insightful panel drilling into focused topics interspersed with clips and live pitch sessions.

Panelists Bronwen Clune, Alan Noble and Sebastien Eckersley-Maslin, provide an industry perspective and Dan Ilic does a great job of keeping the conversation flowing. They take live tweet questions from the crowd and cover a vast range of topics in a very short time.

This first episode marks an important innovation in the development of the Australian startup ecosystem. It’s “StartupAus” beginning to tell its own stories at scale. And that can only be a good thing. Looking forward to Episode 2.

Tales of the One in Ten

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Disadvantage can shape an entire life. This short, animated film by The Smith Family called, David & the Big Heavy, follows the true story of a young boy struggling to cope with issues at home and school as his family adjusts to life in a new country.

But then something happens that he could never have imagined.

Watch and share and help change someone else’s story.

Hold Your Breath

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Given that I have the lung capacity of a goldfish, this video of “freediver” Guillaume Nery, strikes fear into my heart.

Here he is diving into Dean’s Blue Hole in the Bahamas. Watch in awe.

Guillaume Nery base jumping at Dean’s Blue Hole, filmed on breath hold by Julie Gautier from Umblu Liber on Vimeo.

And when you’ve finished, click on through to the Vimeo site and review the comments. One of the commenters explains that as the bottom is 663ft down, Guillaume is nowhere near the bottom. But the narrative, the frame and our own interpretation makes us believe that he did reach the dark, lonely depths.

So as you are planning your next campaign, storyboard or blog post, think about the story you’ll tell. Think about the depths that you want to trawl. And then take a deep breath and take us with you in your free fall.

Hassalien Hani Amir via Compfight

Michael Hill Launches Valentine’s Day with Shoppable Video

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I have been complaining about a lack of retail innovation – especially digital-oriented innovation – for some time. So it’s nice to see Australian jeweller / retailer, Michael Hill, taking on the challenge in the lead-up to Valentine’s Day.

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Using Brightcove’s video cloud, Michael Hill combine video content – in this case, behind the scenes footage – to allow customers to purchase items depicted in the video. As the video progresses, “shoppable” items are highlighted in the scrolling product list. Sure it’s a little clunky in terms of experience, but it works, looks good and it’s an experiment that Michael Hill and their agency will learn from. And that puts them streets ahead of most other Australian retailers who struggle with the web basics.

What if Google was a Guy. In an Office

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We’re so lucky that Mr Google doesn’t take things personally.

Google Doodle Trey Ratcliff via Compfight

Pungent Granularity – Penn and Teller take on the Anti-Vaccination Conversation

Hungry? [Explored]

Social media has a powerful ability to stimulate and create conversation. But when you are planning your communications, it’s essential to know your audience. And these days, “knowing” your audience isn’t just about mapping, analysing and researching. It’s about understanding their “pungent granularity”.

Pungent granularity and the social audience

To survive in a world where consumers expect one-to-one marketing and real time business responsiveness, we need to move beyond the simple targeting of our consumers. This means responding to:

  • The three forces of self-segmentation: Before we take an action, make a decision or puts our hand into our pocket to actually transact, we make a quick personal assessment. We self-segment according to our needs (does this “thing” solve a need state that I have), behaviours (does this “thing” reinforce, challenge or shift my behaviour) and attitudes (how does this “thing” make me feel?). Marketers must understand the nuances of this self-segmentation and bring this understanding to their efforts
  • What we already know about our consumers: Whether we capture “big data” or just quickly trawl the social web, we can quickly amass a detailed knowledge of our consumers. The challenge with this becomes not one of data collection but of frameworks for making decisions and taking actions. This is where I quite love Sam Gosling’s OCEAN framework. Moving away from the MBTI mappings, he suggests that Openness, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism can be easily assessed via our digital footprints. And in doing so, we can plan our communications accordingly

When we pull together all this information, we get a deep sense of our consumers. We know not just what they say they “like” but how this influences their actions and decisions. We understand their connections, social graph and the way that they operate in a digitally-connected world. And deeply buried amongst all this is the “trigger” – what motivates.

The “trigger” is the kicker

Take a look at this fantastic video featuring “illusionists and entertainers”, Penn and Teller. It’s on the subject of vaccinations. It’s forceful and NSFW (with a few F-bombs scattered throughout). The language is direct, the message clear and in your face.

But will it achieve what it is intended to do?

Unfortunately, I don’t believe it will. The motivation here – not of the creator – but of the viewer is triggered by the same level of frustration shown by Penn. Those who are pro-vaccination will be keen to share and validate their own position. Those who are anti-vaccination will reject the facts, figures and approach outright. The frame is out of focus for the second group – and the argument will be based on the framing of the data as a way of disputing what is “true”.

This is why wheeling out big data will also be challenging. While the Mayo Clinic clearly states:

“Vaccines do not cause autism. Despite much controversy on the topic, researchers haven’t found a connection between autism and childhood vaccines. In fact, the original study that ignited the debate years ago has been retracted.” Mayo Clinic – Childhood Vaccines: Tough questions, straight answers (here)

… many still view this sceptically.

But if there really is a desire to change the point of view (or point of belief), behaviours and attitudes of anti-vaccination folks, there is a need to more deeply understand them.

Hungry? [Explored] Riccardo Cuppini via Compfight