Saturday, March 31, 2012

Increasing Listener Engagement One Can of Coke at a Time

Want some topical inspiration?

Have a Coke.

Coke's special ‘Carpe Diem’ cans can promote causes (like Coke’s World Wildlife Fund or Diet Coke’s heart health awareness cans) or capture the spirit of the moment (Santa and snowflake cans). 

Often the packaging is part of an integrated marketing effort (this one for the Final Four is part of a Coke Zero ‘watch and win’ promotion). 

Coke knows a lot about its consumers. 

Beyond promoting a contest or a cause (watch how Coke’s Sr. VP/Integrated Marketing, Communications and Capabilities describes Coca-Cola’s vision of engagement and responsibility here), cans like these also subtly reinforce Coke’s relevance. The packaging says, ‘you’re interested in this and so are we.’

Taking a cue from Coke, the days leading up to the ACMs (or the CMAs, Memorial Day or any event that our listeners are interested in), are perfect times to show that we’re excited about what our listeners are excited about.  

Over the course of a year, how many different "Coke cans" can we create and, in doing so, engage our fans and demonstrate our shared enthusiasm?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Twelve Tips from the World's Most Innovative Companies

If you could ask Google’s Johanna Wright for some business advice, she might suggest, “Constantly seek new ways to delight your users.”

According to Ms. Wright, Google adds “about 100 quality upgrades to the search engine each quarter” and notes that any time the company could be running between 50 and 200 experiments.

Here are some other tips from businesses featured in Fast Company's "The World's 50 Most Innovative Companies."
  • Never lose sight of the customer experience. Empower employees to be creative in their goal to create addictive products.  “One of our core values is that everyone is the CEO of the thing that they do,” says Mark Pincus, Zynga founder and CEO of social gaming company (think Farmville).
  • Make the commonplace sexy (Groupon, Trader Joe’s).
  • Recognize opportunities in trends (as in “sustainable” and Nissan’s Leaf)
  • Redefine how you communicate (Twitter)  
  • Use mobile to increase engagement says eBay’s VP of mobile platforms Steve Yankovich. “We want consumers to engage even when they don’t have a purchase in mind.”
  • Use creative copy to get attention. is headed by a Bronx science teacher who uses “catchy headlines” as part his fundraising efforts that have raised roughly $30-million for needed schools.
  • Grow your user base (Facebook)
  • Create communities among your fans (Reddit, Awl Network)
  • Reward loyal customers (Foursaquare)
  • Find creative ways to extend great campaigns. Over two days, Wieden + Kennedy  shot 200 videos of the Old Spice guy who responding to tweets in real time.

You can read about these companies and see the full list as it appeared in Fast Company here.

Inspired? Want to add your own ideas? Leave a comment.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Airline Safety Briefings and Imaging: The Challenge to Capture Attention

Fly the same airline enough and you can pretty much recite the pre-flight safety briefing from memory. It’s easy to tune out because it rarely changes.

Recently though, the new United has given their safety briefings a lot of creative attention. Now, when the screen drops down, you could see any number of different versions of the safety briefing.   

While United President and CEO Jeff Smisek casually updates fliers on what the airline is up to, there are multiple messages. The update may have been recorded in a control tower or while walking a concourse in O’Hare. 

Different hubs are featured which adds to the visual interest. 

Embedded videos could show the painting of an airplane at warp speed or feature employees in a spirit of cooperation. 

There are a variety of cabin shots that accompany the traditional copy.   

This safety briefing is no longer the easy-to-ignore, same old thing.

Probably inadvertently, the pre-roll to the video I watched (yes, watched) this afternoon was shown. "March 1-15." An expiration date on an airline safety briefing video? 

I’m impressed.  

I don’t know what percent of their fliers United projects will see any of these videos more than once or twice but I’m guessing it’s a pretty small number which makes this initiative all the more noteworthy.

Could any of your station imaging be minimally effective (particularly for heavy users) because it’s been running unchanged for a long time?

Could a change in style or voice or copy recapture attention?

Could setting a start and stop time for each piece of imaging help it stay fresher and more effective – even something for you own ‘frequent flyers’ to look forward to?