5 Apr 2011

Anamma säger adjö, Buzz säger hej

Det här blir sista posten på Anamma. Nu flyttar vi över till JG Communications nya hemsida och blir en integrerad del av den. Framöver kommer du att hitta våra inlägg här, www.jgcommunication.se/buzz, tillsammans med en hel del annat som visar vad vi jobbar med och vad som är på gång

Jag hoppas att alla ni som har läst, kommenterat, risat och rosat inläggen här följer med oss över till Buzz. Det är alltid lika kul att upptäcka att någon tagit sig tid att läsa det man skrivit, och till och med lämnat en kommentar.

De första posterna på Anamma skrevs i augusti 2007, av det ursprungliga gänget Eva, Aimee, Helle, Sandra och David. Sedan dess har många skribenter lagt till sina funderingar och åsikter, om högt och lågt, kring aktualiteter och långsiktiga funderingar, om globala trender likväl som lokala händelser. Tack till alla som har bidragit genom åren.

Hoppas vi ses på Buzz!

/Pontus

Pontus Staunstrup är senior kommunikationsstrateg på JG Communication, och arbetar främst som rådgivare i kommunikationsstrategi samt med PR, webbstrategi och sociala medier. Han undervisar även i bl.a medierelationer och kommunikationsstrategi.

JG Communication är Sveriges största och, tycker vi, ledande kommunikationsbyrå. Vi hjälper våra kunder att skapa relevanta konversationer med de som betyder mest för dem. Vi gör det genom att använda de verktyg som betyder mest för oss, ord, ljud och bild.

JG Communications Blogg, Buzz om: Kommunikation.
Hitta alla Anammablogginlägg på JG Communications nya blogg:

30 Mar 2011

Finding the "hyper-local" (or real) world in the digital one

PaidContent just put out its list of the top 50 digital media companies in the US. They base this on actual digital sales, either advertising or subscriptions or of content - with no numbers from traditional media sales (like printed magazines) and nothing from device sales, such as the iPad or Kindle.

The top spot goes to Google, of course, with more than three times the revenue of number two Yahoo. Spots three and four go to Apple and Microsoft.

Yawn. Pretty predictable, right?

Well, the list gets more interesting further down. This is PaidContent's take:

Businesses that generate digital revenue by selling ads dominate our list; companies that make most of their money selling online content or subscriptions took only 13 of the 50 spots. And while many traditional media companies may be struggling to grow their overall sales, they are generating significant revenue online. Twenty-one companies on our list have a substantial presence in non-online media, such as newspapers, phone books or TV.

Fair enough, but what struck me in the list is the prevalence of old-school, basic functions like Yellow Pages, hyper-local classifieds and sites focused on small businesses. In other words, this list was not all about the new fancy digital world (though that is there) but also about what makes our daily lives run in our immediate neighborhoods.

A digital Rotary Club, so to speak.

You've got three yellow page businesses on the list - AT&T (with YP.com and its 23 million monthly page views), SuperMedia (home of Superpages.com, among others) and the Yell Group (home of Yellowbook.com). And while AT&T obviously has other digital interests, the company entry on the PaidContent list deals almost exclusively with its printed directory business.

What do these old school print directory companies have that newer players lack? A big local sales force, it seems.

On another front, you've got ReachLocal, which offers marketing services to small businesses, and there is Classified Ventures, which runs the very local-focused cars.com and apartments.com, among others.

And one of the digital companies with the most buzz and fastest-growing influence right now is also hyper-local. Yelp.com allows people to review and rate local businesses and didn't even make the PaidContent list.

And to stretch this a bit, both Yahoo and Aol are making significant commitments to hyper-local news. Groupon is also decidedly local, as is, in the end, much of Google's advertising.

(An aside - local restaurant owners apparently are not in love with either Groupon or Yelp. Read this press release to find out why. I can't tell if they have a point or are just whining because their competitive world just got a bit more ... competitive.)

The lesson here? That the digital world is based in the real world. That our basic needs for information are not changing completely. That there is a lot of money to be made out there away from the glamour Facebook and Zynga.


Nathan Hegedus is a writer and editor for JG Communication, with a focus on magazines, white papers and corporate responsibility.







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25 Mar 2011

Corporate responsibility reports: does anyone care? (I say yes)

How important are corporate responsibility reports? Does anyone read them? Do the right people read them, meaning, in a business sense, investors?

Or all they mostly for PR or to mollify a restless employee base?

Over The Guardian's The Sustainable Business Blog, Rory Sullivan makes a very convincing case that investors do not care about corporate responsibility reports, that they remain hyper-focused on the bottom line, not on the environmental or social impacts of their investments.

In other words, every environmentalist's worst nightmare.

But then, at the end, Sullivan turns a corner. This might be the business world today, he says. But the business world tomorrow will be different:

There is a growing consensus among investors that the production of a corporate responsibility report is effectively a minimum requirement for companies seeking to demonstrate that their social and environmental issues are being effectively managed.

The non-publication of a report, or the absence of published policies, targets and performance data, is increasingly likely to be taken as evidence that the company does not recognise social and environmental issues as management priorities, thereby raising wider questions about the quality of the company's risk management systems and processes.
Here at JG we have produced a series of corporate responsibility reports for various clients. So, obviously, I'm only writing about this on the company blog because I agree with Sullivan.

And I do really, really agree.

Right now, consumer companies are already judged by their perceived commitment to sustainability or corporate responsibility issues. And this trend will soon seep into the rest of the business world for what I see as two reasons.

The first is that poor communication on corporate responsibility will be bad business, as Sullivan says. But, also, to rip off a line from a presentation I saw recently, companies do not do business with companies. Instead, people at companies do business with people at other companies.

And people care about the environment now. They care about sustainability (at least here in Sweden). So even if it is subtle, a passive approach to environmental or corporate responsibility - meaning no one knows what you do if you have no report - will leave behind a bad taste, or the least, mean a missed chance for enthusiasm ... and sales.




Nathan Hegedus


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23 Mar 2011

Varumärkets olidliga lätthet, del 2

Det finns ett nyckelbegrepp inom varumärkesarbete som ofta feltolkas: Building the brand inside (Att bygga varumärket internt). För många betyder detta enbart att en framgångsrik implementering av varumärket måste börja internt, med medarbetarna. De har inga problem med att själva konceptet kring varumärket har formulerats utifrån. Men vad Building the brand inside egentligen betyder är att varumärket måste ha sina rötter inom organisationen. Eller för att uttrycka det mer rakt på sak: Varumärket är förkroppsligandet av alla de människor som är organisationen. Och om dessa känner att varumärket inte fungerar på det sättet så spelar det inte någon roll om man utser "ambassadörer" eller liknande, det kommer inte få dem att omfatta varumärket, än mindre leva det.

Efter min första post i den här serien kommenterade bl. a Micco Grönholm (mannen bakom bloggen The Brand Man som jag verkligen rekommenderar) så här "I slutändan är det trots allt (i de flesta fall) företagets beteende - produkt och personal - inte dess kommunikation - reklam, webb, pr, etc. - som avgör hur varmärket uppfattas." Hans ord understryker precis det jag försöker säga, och skiner dessutom ett mycket avslöjande sken på de varumärken som inte utgår företagets själ och kultur.

Vad jag försöker säga är detta: Om ditt företag är en supertanker så kommer du att få stora problem om du försöker bygga ett varumärke på att ni är en lyxyacht. För det första kommer ni inte att kunna leva upp till era kunders förväntningar. Men, minst lika viktigt, dina medarbetare kommer att vara vilsna och besvikna. En majoritet av dem har troligen börjat arbeta hos er just därför att ni är en supertanker. De har en utbildning som passar profilen supertanker, de håller med om och accepterar kulturen och de outtalade värderingarna som finns kring att arbeta på en supertanker. Om du då kommer och talar om för dem att inget av detta betyder något som kommer en del att gå därifrån, några kommer att protestera och en stor, tyst majoritet kommer att knoga på men lägga sina lojaliteter och sitt engagemang utanför företaget. Och ur den likgiltigheten skapas inga starka varumärken eller en serviceanda som ger kundlojalitet.

Varje varumärke måste ta sitt avstamp i vad företaget gör och vilka medarbetarna är. Och detta betyder att du måste känna till vilka värderingar dina medarbetare har, vad de tror på och värdesätter, vad de älskar och vad de avskyr, och ta med det i beräkningarna när du slår fast vad varumärket ska stå för. Om du inte gör det kommer ditt varumärke att sakna den starka kärna som alla uthålliga varumärken måste ha.

/Pontus

Pontus Staunstrup är senior kommunikationsstrateg på JG Communication, och arbetar främst som rådgivare i kommunikationsstrategi samt med PR, webbstrategi och sociala medier. Han undervisar även i bl.a medierelationer och kommunikationsstrategi.

JG Communication är Sveriges största och, tycker vi, ledande kommunikationsbyrå. Vi hjälper våra kunder att skapa relevanta konversationer med de som betyder mest för dem. Vi gör det genom att använda de verktyg som betyder mest för oss, ord, ljud och bild.

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16 Mar 2011

Churnalism and the complicated marriage between journalism and PR

I used to be on Oprah. Well, it was a media training where the training leader pretended to be Oprah and "interview" me about how a "real" journalist thought and worked.

And my core message?

Press releases do not work. As a newspaper reporter, I hated press releases. I threw away press releases. I did not trust press releases.

Move away from the press release, I advised. Yes, it might get you a brief in a publication if they need to fill a hole or if a reporter is especially lazy or overworked or desperate.

Except, ummm, it seems that I was just a little bit ... wrong.

A colleague just sent me a bunch of links on "churnalism," or the art of cutting and pasting directly from a press release into a news story.

The terms comes from the 2008 book Flat Earth News by British journalist Nick Davies. And it picked up serious stream recently when the Media Standards Trust foundation in the UK recently launched churnalism.com. At this website, you can paste in a press release and see if there any stories in the mainstream British print press based on it and see what percentage of the release was directly cut and pasted into the story.

Digression -- This is a brilliant idea, but the site itself is limited to the UK and to mainstream media, not the trade or tech press. I spent a frustrating half an hour yesterday plugging in English-language press releases from Sweden or from tech companies in the US with no hits.

In fact, churnalism.com highlights an important global communications issue but does come from a very UK-focused place. My gut tells me that larger mainstream US newspapers are not as likely to practice churnalism, but that trade or tech blogs in the US are more likely to cut and paste a press release, which is probably a big enough market for churnalism practitioners to thrive in. Not better than the UK, just different.

Back to the story -- To publicize the website, the Media Standards Trust had independent filmmaker Chris Atkins pull a series of hoaxes on unsuspecting news desks across the UK. Atkins got fake stories on a male beauty product called the penazzle, "chastity" garters, and the British prime minister's cat in a whole series of newspapers and radio outlets.

Then, in cooperation with Atkins, The Guardian in the UK exposed the hocus pocus of churnalism.








Embarrassing? Oh, yes.

In a PRWeek story, many PR execs dismissed the new site.

‘I’m not sure why anyone would want to go to the time and effort of producing a website to prove something that no-one really cares about,’ said Mark Stringer, founder of Pretty Green. ‘The fact is that good PROs know what journalists want and, in the main, write good press releases to help provide content for them.
Now, I still consider myself a journalist but I also mostly work in communications for corporate clients these days. So I see both sides of this. And I do believe there is a happy medium between the PR industry and journalists.

From a PR point of view, there is becoming a trusted source for trusted journalists who are not so lazy as to practice churnalism. There is taking the bad with the good and building credibility through honesty and openness. And this gets you more than the flash churnalism on the front page of a website for a day or two or the churnalism of your product filling up the briefs column that almost nobody might read.

Bypassing the quick and easy for building long-term relationships will almost always get you the big stories and the better brand building.

In a comment on the PRWeek story, Keith Trivitt, the associate director of public relations for the Public Relations Society of America, summed it up nicely:
The fact is that PR pros' value largely derives from their credibility with the media, their clients and the public that consumes the news ... [But] journalists, too, have a significant role to play in due diligence to ensure the articles they write include considerable third-party validation from sources other than those given to them by PR pros.

Perhaps, more than anything else, Churnalism.com will cause both PR pros and journalists to look at our collective work and see whether we are truly helping to expand society's collective knowledge.

If not, what can and should we be doing to fix that?



Nathan Hegedus



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9 Mar 2011

Apps, the mobile web and the battle between platform and content

I was sitting in a meeting last week when someone said that "apps" were over. Done. Like as in so 2010. It's all about the mobile web, they said.

This really shook me. I mean, I still have a "feature phone," which means a relic, totally useless for data and not even with a nice pad for texting. I also do not own a tablet. So I haven't even started with apps yet (though I was all excited to someday go to an app store and have my mind just totally blown, man).

And now they're over?!?

Well, yes. According to VentureBeat and The Telegraph in the UK, apps are really over. From the Real Story Group:

But more importantly, mobile devices are a very volatile market. Even if you'd have the money to waste on building four different apps for the most important platforms, you may be hopelessly behind in a year's time. If the new Windows Phone 7 or MeeGo make a surge, what will you do? Ask for the budget to create even more apps? And if existing platforms start coming out in new form factors, will you update each one to make use of tablet resolutions? Do you really want to tie your mobile presence to something this fickle?
And it makes sense too. Why develop an "app" for eight different smartphone or tablet operating systems when you can just have a good mobile website for all?

Yeah, I always thought apps were stupid. Really. I have been thrilled to have that feature phone so I didn't have to deal with them.

But, really, what this highlighted to me was how muddled and shifting the balance between content, form and technology truly is right now.

I wrote a story late last year, in which Lucy Kueng, a media management expert, said that content dominates. The technology follows:
Very few people buy technology per se; they buy it because of what the technology can do for them. And they buy technology they don't particularly like if it allows them to access certain content. Thus the most compelling content is becoming ever more strategic and expensive ...
But - and here I get fuzzy and am just throwing ideas out here - isn't the platform driving the content at least to some degree? Paul Carr at TechChrunch argues that the web is nothing but an effective advertising platform, and that content on it is destined - shaped by the platform - to be driven to the lowest common denominator.
The truth is that the grand idea of the web as a content platform has failed. To make money on a web it’s all about grabbing more and more eyeballs to compensate for plummeting CPMs. On that web there’s no place for quality, and in five years time we’ll see the medium for what it really is: a brilliant advertising platform, and very little else.
And then - and I had to go here, yes - we come to Charlie Sheen and the train wreck of his recent life and media appearances.

Well, Charlie got himself on the Ustream video streaming platform the other night for his own talk show - Sheen's Korner. The host of the American version of Survivor tweeted that "the future of television is happening now," according to PaidContent. And perhaps hosted streaming is the future, where celebrities and entertainers can communicate more directly with their audiences, cutting out the middlemen of networks and studios.

But it didn't go so well for Charlie. The numbers were disappointing, he was rambling and incoherent and finally walked off the "set" on his second "show."

But what if he had been good? Would you go to a new streaming service to watch Charlie Sheen live? Is the content that important? Or will his old show, Two and a Half Men, chug on without him because it is on the right platform at the right time, regardless of quality?




Nathan Hegedus



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1 Mar 2011

Three ways Al Jazeera is changing communication

No one knows what the future of media will look like. Are tablets and devices going to save the day for paid content? Are legacy media companies doomed? Is Facebook the new newspaper? Will Twitter bring democracy to the furthest, most repressive corners of the world?

I don't know, but I will venture a guess. Al Jazeera will be there at the end.

The Qatar-owned news network is at the center of a dizzying swirl of worldwide trends right now. Just to run down a few:

1. The role of social media in the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia has been widely debated. But whatever the actual influence is, Al Jazeera has been at the center of it.

A TechCrunch post detailed the surges of traffic to Al Jazeera outlets when former Egyptiain rule Hosni Mubarak resigned. And it turns out that during the heaviest surge, more than 70 percent of Al Jazeera's web traffic came as referrals from social media. And where did most of the referrals come from? Not Facebook, but Twitter. This is interesting because I've read that Facebook was the big driver for local organizers in Tunisia, not Twitter. But for Western news consumers, Twitter seems to be in the vanguard.

2. And Al Jazeera may also revolutionize the moribund US news biz. Demand is sky high for Al Jazeera English - even though it is available in only 3 million homes in the US. But people are finding it through its website, through YouTube and through set-top boxes like Roku. From the Guardian:

The Qatar-based channel's acclaimed coverage of the Egyptian crisis has been referred to as the broadcaster's "CNN moment", doing for al-Jazeera English what the first Gulf war did for CNN, pushing it to the forefront of the public's consciousness. Put simply, must-see TV. Now the challenge is to translate the plaudits into the major cable or satellite distribution deal the channel has long sought without success in the US ...

With China investing $7bn in foreign language media, we may also be witnessing the beginning of a shift, albeit slight, in the nature of global TV news and debate.
In a landscape dominated by partisan talk - see Fox News (right) and MSNBC (left-ish) - and with CNN seen as largely ineffective, Al Jazeera seems to be finding the strongest niche of all - the good reporting, hard news niche.

That this is happening in a country that demonized Al Jazeera during the Iraq War, in which its public perception was that of terrorist accomplice, is really something. It either speaks to changing American attitudes or a serious void in the American media scene.

3. There is another component to Twitter and Al Jazeera - the English one. As English becomes more and more widely spoken, it provides a larger platform for a tweet from Tunisia or a news outlet from the Middle East. I discovered this in a comment by statica from another Guardian piece:

How much more powerfully would international support for the protests in Tianamen Square, those crying for help in Rwanda or Sarajevo, have been raised if individuals around the world could have had access to specific images & statements put out by people on the inside?

I guess we're finding that out now.

Much of this is relevant to us here as communicators in Sweden. The English bit. The global platform (opportunity for people up in the far north). The role of technology and news in ordering our societies.

I wonder what more we will find out tomorrow. No matter what it is, we'll probably see it on Al Jazeera.




Nathan Hegedus



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23 Feb 2011

The perspective of a baby in a bar in las palmas

This post is about perspective, about communications. It is very deep, I promise.

It is also about a funny, drunk baby trashing a bar.

An award winning short film called "Baby trashes bar in Las Palmas" by Swedish filmmaker Johannes Nyholm has gone viral, with more than 3.7 million YouTube views and counting.

Here is the author's synopsis, via NPR in the US:

A middle-aged lady on a holiday in the sun tries to make new friends and have a good time.




As with most things that go viral, the film has tapped into the big swirling mess of human opinion and perspective. In the comments on YouTube, you've got people appalled at the exploitation of the baby, alcoholics who defend it, people talking about how it depicts youth culture, and this rather perceptive one from waves2light:
This video does raise ethical and moral questions. But isn't that what art should do? Extend our perspective.

This is how most kids behave. She explores the world around her to extend her perspective. It's a learning process. This kid doesn't behave like a drunk. It is drunk people who sometimes behave like kids, forgetting everything they've learned ...
The reactions to the video are a good reminder that other people are not seeing what you see, not reading what you read, not hearing what you hear. Babies are like drunks. Or drunks are like babies. Or it's OK to use a baby like this. Or it is exploitation. Or it's funny. Or you are overreacting. And so on.

This is a lesson we need to really internalize as communicators. We have to know that people will see what they want to see in our work. But we can also be as clear as possible about our message, our theme, our vision to get as many of our ideas past the filter as possible.

Or you can be vague and provocative. Like this movie.

This is from a post by Wendy Mack, Change Catalyst:

Hundreds of others have said it, but apparently the point bears repeating: If you want your people to accept and support change, you must first show that you understand the organization from their perspective.

When we try to motivate others or mobilize energy for a change, the most important element is being able to connect with people. An authentic connection has a lot of ingredients, including understanding:

  • What matters to this person;
  • What is this person’s reality;
  • What is this person trying to accomplish at work;
  • What is getting in the way?
And to hit the way way back machine, like way back to the 80s, in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People - which I just found in the back of our office library - you get this from author Steven Covey:
Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
I wonder what that middle aged lady in Las Palmas would say about that?

She'd probably just pour a drink on my head ...




Nathan Hegedus



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21 Feb 2011

Härdsmälta för varumärket Rolling Stones








”Just då var det som om något brast inom Göran. Tårarna började rinna ner för kinderna. Han mindes Kårhuset, FNL-tågen, mötena på Tehuset i Kungsan och Ewa… De som aldrig skulle sluta vara revolutionärer. Han tryckte den kinestillverkade slit-och-släng t-shirten med det färgglada trycket ömt mot sitt bröst…”
Bland kommentarerna på Dagens Medias artikel om Dressman och Rolling Stones samarbete skapades nyligen en novelett om nutiden som är smått genial. Och överlag var förvåningen stor över det oväntade samarbetet.
För Dressman är det onekligen ett kanonsamarbete, men jag undrar hur resonemanget gått bland de ansvariga för varumärket Rolling Stones. Att Mick, Keith och de andra ens hört talas om affären tvivlar jag på, men det kanske är synd. De har trots allt visat en sällsynt förmåga att bygga ett starkt varumärke sedan 60-talet som fortfarande håller. Sådant kräver fingrtoppskänsla, och den varan saknas i affären med Dressman.

Även om demografin för Rolling Stones-fans (till största delen män i 45-70årsåldern) i hög grad stämmer överens med Dressmans primära målgrupp (män över 35), så är jag inte säker på att dessa verkligen vill ha kläder som the Glimmer Twins har designat. Jag är inget Stonesfan, men jag har svårt att tro att bara för att man handlar på Dressman så vill man se sina husgudar förvandlas från detta:


till detta


Varumärket Stones är starkt nog att överleva en sådan här mindre devalvering, men om den upprepas alltför många gånger kommer det att försvagas. Relationen mellan fans och band är precis som mellan kund och leverantör, där krass girighet och brott mot de värderingar som är gemensamma sticker i ögonen.

/Pontus

Pontus Staunstrup är senior kommunikationsstrateg på JG Communication, och arbetar främst som rådgivare i kommunikationsstrategi samt med PR, webbstrategi och sociala medier. Han undervisar även i bl.a medierelationer och kommunikationsstrategi.

JG Communication är Sveriges största och, tycker vi, ledande kommunikationsbyrå. Vi hjälper våra kunder att skapa relevanta konversationer med de som betyder mest för dem. Vi gör det genom att använda de verktyg som betyder mest för oss, ord, ljud och bild.

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16 Feb 2011

Varumärkets olidliga lätthet, del 1

Jag tror på varumärken, jag tror att rätt använt så kan ett ordentligt byggt och vårdat varumärke skapa mervärden åt ett företag eller en organisation som annars inte kan uppnås. Friheten att vara ett premiumbrand till exempel, att inte behöva konkurrera enbart på pris. Möjligheten att skapa intern stolthet och vara ett attraktivt arbetsgivarmärke. Skapandet av starka relationer med kunder som gör att de vill interagera med och engagera sig i varumärket.

Men efter att ha arbetat med kommunikation sedan början av 90-talet, när begreppet varumärke var synonymt med logotyper för de flesta, har jag börjat undra om jag är rätt ensam i att tro att varumärken betyder något. När jag ser mig omkring ser jag alltför många företag och organisationer där det är mer snack än verkstad. Där värdeorden och laddningarna haglar, men utan att spela någon roll i verkligheten. Där man säger sig stå för något, men inte vill följa den tvingande logiken att man då också är emot något.

Att formulera vad ett varumärke ska laddas med, vilka värden det ska stå för och vilka associationer det ska väcka är komplicerat. Men det är lätt i jämförelse med den process som kommer innan: att verkligen genomlysa organisation för att se var man kommer från, vilka värderingar som sitter i väggarna, hur de tar sig uttryck i interaktionen med omvärlden.

Många företag och organisationer tycks vilja hoppa över det ledet. Men om man gör det blir varumärket bara ögongodis, utan verklig förankring i organisationen. Resultatet blir ett gap mellan det verkliga och det upplevda varumärket. Ett gap som gör att medarbetarna inte känner igen sig. Ett gap som kunder, media och andra snabbt blir varse och som påverkar deras förtroende. Och inte minst, ett gap som signalerar att du behöver inte tro på eller dela våra värderingar för vi tror inte på dem själva.

Starka varumärken, de som klarar av att ta smällar i dåliga tider eller när det går fel, har tagit avstamp i vad man är och var man kommer ifrån. De har formulerat mål och värden som säger vad man vill göra och vad man inte vill göra. De är tydliga och konsekventa, och jag tror att de kan skapa band till kunder, medarbetare och andra som betyder mer än bara prislappen och lönekuvertet.

/Pontus

Pontus Staunstrup är senior kommunikationsstrateg på JG Communication, och arbetar främst som rådgivare i kommunikationsstrategi samt med PR, webbstrategi och sociala medier. Han undervisar även i bl.a medierelationer och kommunikationsstrategi.

JG Communication är Sveriges största och, tycker vi, ledande kommunikationsbyrå. Vi hjälper våra kunder att skapa relevanta konversationer med de som betyder mest för dem. Vi gör det genom att använda de verktyg som betyder mest för oss, ord, ljud och bild.

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15 Feb 2011

The (social media) crowd is not always right

The crowd is wise. The crowd is true. These days it is all about the power of connections, of networking, of buzz.

Well, yes, but not always.

Before the recent Grammy Awards in the US, the social media monitoring firm Meltwater came up with a very cool chart predicting the winners on social media "buzz," which is, says the company, "based on the volume of mentions and sentiment of the social media community across blogs, microblogs, social networks, comments, message boards, videos and Wikipedia."




Cutting edge, right? A new way of using communication? Maybe. It was cool enough to get a write up in Wired.

Except none of their favorites won. In fact, in two of three categories, the least favorite nominee on their chart actually won the Grammy - Lady Antebellum in Best Album and Esperanza Spalding in Best New Artist. In the Best Record category, the winner - Arcade Fire - wasn't even in the top five (I would have guessed Arcade Fire based purely on this incredible collaboration with Google - best used with Chrome).

Now these victories were a surprise to almost everybody. From an Associated Press story:

"Good thing for the Grammys that the awards continue to be de-emphasized, because it was a strange night even for a recording academy with a long history of head-scratching choices. Esperanza Spalding for best new artist? Song and record of the year "Need You Now" by Lady Antebellum? We doubt anyone will remember that song five years from now as they will, for example, Empire State of Mind."
But, regardless, it just goes to show that the wisdom of the social media crowd was, in this case, no more perceptive than anything else.

And so the Grammys remain a critical and popular mystery ... and Meltwater has not updated their blog entry either.




Nathan Hegedus



Andra bloggar om: ,

8 Feb 2011

Can social media really change the world?

How much is social media changing our world? Is it simply a matter of keeping in touch with old classmates, or of supplementing the structure and activities of our daily life? Or are we talking about more radical change, of democracy spreading across the world, of entirely new models of content and new targets for that content?

There is obviously no easy answer to those questions. But people are starting to really dive into them, and as communicators, we need to pay attention, to be both attuned to the current climate and looking two steps ahead. It's that kind of world right now.

The hottest buzz on social media right now is in Egypt, with much talk about demonstrators organizing on Facebook, with the government shutting down the whole internet for days (with some unintended consequences like less spam) and with a Google executive jailed as a key leader of the democracy movement.

Stratfor has a long and nuanced take on the role of social media in the Egypt demonstrations. Basically, they say that social media is a tool, a powerful tool, but don't rely on it. Leaders still need to get out on the street and there needs to be personal contact. From their take:

The role of social media in protests and revolutions has garnered considerable media attention in recent years. Current conventional wisdom has it that social networks have made regime change easier to organize and execute. An underlying assumption is that social media is making it more difficult to sustain an authoritarian regime — even for hardened autocracies like Iran and Myanmar — which could usher in a new wave of democratization around the globe. In a Jan. 27 YouTube interview, U.S. President Barack Obama went as far as to compare social networking to universal liberties such as freedom of speech.

Social media alone, however, do not instigate revolutions. They are no more responsible for the recent unrest in Tunisia and Egypt than cassette-tape recordings of Ayatollah Ruholla Khomeini speeches were responsible for the 1979 revolution in Iran. Social media are tools that allow revolutionary groups to lower the costs of participation, organization, recruitment and training. But like any tool, social media have inherent weaknesses and strengths, and their effectiveness depends on how effectively leaders use them and how accessible they are to people who know how to use them.

This more or less agrees with Malcolm Gladwell's story in the New Yorker subtitled "Why the revolution will not be tweeted," in which he argued that personal links on social media were far, far weaker than links developed face to face. He got roundly criticized by social media advocates, as many in the blogsophere extrapolated that conservative Tea Party activists - more likely to have actual meetings - in the US were more cohesive than, say, the liberal (in the American sense) internet-based groups that helped get Barack Obama elected president in 2008.

But enough of the serious stuff. What about movies? Like "chick flicks" or action movies? Johanna Blakely at TED says they may not be long for the world.

In her talk, she points out that with social media, marketers and content producers know ever more about what we like and do not like. However, they actually know less about what big demographic groups we fall into. So they know that I am a baseball fan, like The White Stripes and that I went to journalism school, but they might not know that I am a white male in the coveted 18-49 age group.

Since most mass media and advertising is aimed at big demographic groups - if you are a working, married Hispanic 30-year-old woman you must like product X - this new source of information could cause a revolution in what groups content is made for.

She specifically talks about how this could end gender stereotyping, as women are targeted more for their actual preferences than for presumed "female" ones. She uses the demise of the fluffy romantic comedy as a prime example.

Is that as big a deal as Egypt? Nah. But it sure could change Saturday nights at my house ...





Nathan Hegedus



Andra bloggar om: ,

1 Feb 2011

Is Facebook the future of the newspaper?

It is easy to put even new forms of social media into boxes. Twitter good for news. Facebook for friend updates, social games, maybe marketing. But isn’t that just more of the same old thinking? In other words, could Facebook replace the local newspaper?

I worked at a local newspaper in the US for five years, first as a beat reporter then as a regional editor. This gave me a front row seat to the slow implosion of newspaper journalism in the US. Even at my paper, which avoided huge layoffs, reporting slots were constantly lost, even as we were expected - with little strategic thought - to put more news on the web faster and faster.

Yet local news is the one thing that can’t be outsourced to huge conglomerates like Google, right? Even though local newspapers have lost advertising and business space in every conceivable business and journalistic segment - real estate, cars, classified ads, personal ads, national news, international news - there is still no one else to cover the local high school basketball team. There is no one else keeping a watch on the city council, on the school board, or even with community reporters compiling lists of pancake breakfasts at the local volunteer fire station (I know I just dived deep into American, not international, cultural institutions, but I hope you get the idea).

So if local newspapers no longer had the money or the will to dive deep into the local market, I thought Patch.com, from AOL, was a great idea. AOL has hired up to 1000 reporters in the last year, each one attached to a website devoted to a single town or neighborhood. The idea is to make money by scale and going hyperlocal. AOL CEO Tim Armstrong sees local news “as the last great white space” on the internet,
a space still in need of gatekeepers to filter the relevant news for us..

Alleluia.

But the thing is, it might not be working. Turns out, not many local news sites have made it,
says the New York Times. And, it turns out, both Yahoo! and Google are moving in on this space, Yahoo! with news aggregation and Google just in ads and recommendations.

Oh, and
according to Ken Auletta in the New Yorker, the Patch content is, ummm, uneven at best.

But the idea I find the most provocative is
this from The Business Insider, that Facebook may already serve as a local newspaper. And sites like Groupon, with their daily coupons, give you a great sense of what to do. From the story:

Patch is supposed to be a local news outlet, but Facebook is already giving people the local news they actually care about. It has the local events Armstrong wants Patch to report, but also observations from friends, and photos that are better than any society pages …

Turns out Facebook is already giving them something that's "good enough" but at even cheaper cost. Facebook has just 2,000 employees to Patch's 800.

It’s just another reminder that communication is changing faster than most of us can keep track of, that our supposedly expert visions of the future may be obsolete by, say, next week.

But at least you can find out about it on Facebook.





Nathan Hegedus


Andra bloggar om: ,

31 Jan 2011

Angry Birds are killing my brain

I’ve always considered myself pretty well informed. As a former newspaper journalist, I have been something of a news junkie. I hate the thought that something important might happen somewhere without me knowing about it.

When I was living in London, I used to read at least two newspapers on my way to work. Here in Stockholm, when not riding my bicycle to work, I would either scan a newspaper (even the free Metro) or dive into The Economist. A ten-minute trip on the Stockholm subway would be a wonderful opportunity to sup at that weekly smörgåsbord of informed analysis.

At home, the TV was almost permanently tuned into the BBC, CNN, al-Jazeera. The internet was a joy: I could read news from dozens of my favorite papers and magazines, watch TV reports, listen to radio stations and podcasts.

Mobile internet made it even better. I was never more than seconds away from the BBC’s news site, Dagens Nyheter. I could keep up with breaking events, understand issues of global, regional and local importance. I was well read, and could make considered comments on the issues of the day.

Then something happened.

I downloaded Angry Birds onto my smart phone.

The game, one of the top downloads for both Android and Apple smart phones, is addictive. Instead of reading about developments in Cote d’Ivoire, I am hurling digital crows, gulls (I think) and strange exploding birds at evil pigs who have stolen my eggs. I am wracking my brains, trying my best to knock down the swine’s seemingly impenetrable lairs. Ten minutes, twenty, even half an hour can disappear. Just one more try. I almost got it. Yes! (I have even punched the air, discretely, and received a knowing smile from the passenger next to me, who is playing the same game.)

One claim to fame for the mobile internet is that it helps people pass the time. Some have said it and personal stereos are killing off small talk between fellow bus and train passengers (never really a big thing here in Stockholm).

This might be another phenomenon, with potentially devastating consequences for our society. Games like Angry Birds, Bouncing Balls and Alien Abduction might inadvertently be leading to a less-informed polis.

I would like to explore this theme in more depth. But not now. I have just worked out how to get the final pig on level 2-15. Talk to you later.


/John


John Ambrose is a communications consultant, editor and copywriter. After a career in newspapers in Australia and London, he has concentrated on writing about telecom, technology, travel and banking over the past ten years with customers including Ericsson.

JG Communication är Sveriges största och, tycker vi, ledande kommunikationsbyrå. Vi hjälper våra kunder att skapa relevanta konversationer med de som betyder mest för dem. Vi gör det genom att använda de verktyg som betyder mest för oss, ord, ljud och b

Andra bloggar om: ,

27 Jan 2011

Läsvärt om journalistrollen

Fredrik Strömberg skriver initierat och mycket tänkvärt om journalistrollens förändring och framför allt om det gap som finns mellan den bild av medielandskapet blivande journalister får lära sig under utbildningen och hur det ser ut i verkligheten. För alla som arbetar med medierelationer är detta måsteläsning, Fredriks analys ger bra insikter i hur många journalister och framför allt de som lär upp dem tänker och resonerar.


/Pontus

Pontus Staunstrup är senior kommunikationsstrateg på JG Communication, och arbetar främst som rådgivare i kommunikationsstrategi samt med PR, webbstrategi och sociala medier. Han undervisar även i bl.a medierelationer och kommunikationsstrategi.

JG Communication är Sveriges största och, tycker vi, ledande kommunikationsbyrå. Vi hjälper våra kunder att skapa relevanta konversationer med de som betyder mest för dem. Vi gör det genom att använda de verktyg som betyder mest för oss, ord, ljud och bild.