Category Archives: Multimedia Storytelling

SXSW day 2: Branding for Big Business

On my second day at SXSW I stopped by a social media for big business seminar title “Branding for Big Business”. I thought this talk to be especially worthwhile as my position as a Digital Content Strategist is with a large B2B group. The theme for that day was how a company should interact with its community.

Larger businesses must be both immersed in and customer engaged when involved in new media. To be involved in online engagment is to tailor multiple platforms for client needs. For many B2B (Business to Business) groups, Twitter and LinkedIn are useful methods. Both are suitable in showcasing products, updating public relations events and relaying corporate news.  Another method is the use of Facebook and its analytics system. Although the oldest social media platform, Facebook is also the most actively used across the globe. It is also the most used by the 45-54 year old demographic.

All three represent a comprehensive New Media approach to engaging customers and clients.

The discussion then turned to the use of analytics in order to properly engage an audience. Utilizing methods such as Hootsuite and Google Analytics provide an effective way to analyze customer interest and metrics. Among the most important data to review includes location data, view times and bounce rates in addition to clicks. Recently the merger of TI with Derprosa and the expansion of our Hungarian line has been greatly received in both Europe and North America. This is due in part to geographic authority. When an international company provides news of a region’s success, naturally that areas staff and customers will recirculate the article. As TI gears up for the larger conferences in May and the Fall months, there will be ample opportunity to reach out to all of our regional members.

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SXSW Day 1- How to combine new media with big business

I recently had the chance to go to SXSW 2014! It was an amazing feeling, being at the very cutting edge of new technology and research for both products and marketing strategy. Part of this series is dedicated to what I’ve learned over the wild and crazy experience I had in Austin.

The first bit of guidance given by the panelists at the convention was to understand your audience. The one I primarily work with is much older and more in tune with established business practices. The use of social media to drive traffic is a new phenomenon, albeit a cost effective one that expands a company’s reach. Establishing the value of this new medium to the older generation is broken down by the following factors.

The worth of social media and the rate of investment is measured by how many followers a company has. For instance, when initiating this program the number of followers has increased from 500 to 716. This is a roughly 30% climb in viewers. In order to have this number raised even further a company must look to its own culture.

Taghleef Industries is a richly diverse company founded in Dubai. It’s subsidiary organizations include operations in North America, Europe, Egypt, The Arabian Gulf, Australia and China.  The ability to perform as a global company includes the ability to reach across cultures and languages. By combining regions that produce our material and having sales offices in the major financial markets, TI has a formidable presence in the market. There is also another reason behind the success of Taghleef Industries. The primary topic that often comes up is how to be a more sustainable organization. The introduction of bio-resin based products, lighter films and more diverse markets has enhanced our marketability as an organization. Utilizing new technology such as social media and online metrics also assists in potential reduction in paper products. Before I get ahead of myself, diversity and sustainable practices must be embraced by all aspects of an organization. The culture of a company’s founders are to be embraced by all.

In a second conference about utilizing Twitter, the two speakers focused on getting businesses to utilize their best assets, their followers. In digital marketing using followers is a tremendous force multiplier. When a tweet or message is resent via a list of company contacts (clicking the retweet button), those individuals will have that message on their message board. An excellent example is of a sales officer giving a talk at a conference of 400 business people at a convention center. Before walking up to the podium, the salesperson tweets a link to the specific event that is his company is sponsoring. This message is then circulated to over 600,000 individuals online. The number is increased even more when photos and video of this event are posted. When this message is circulated by each of these users, the ROI (rate of investment) increases. The lesson learned is to always think of where company employees are, rather where they are not. Special events, philanthropy, new products, and public relations are all suitable topics with this new communications medium.

Tom Spano and Michale Duggan at #your hashtag is your event
Tom Spano and Michale Duggan at #your hashtag is your event

Text blog

The importance for writing for a web-based platform is not lost on many companies. The average viewer skims over thousands of articles a day and therefore becomes overwhelmed by the surplus of information.  The direct approach to writing a good web article is to be as short and concise as possible.

 

Some facts to take into consideration are that 79% of all Internet users tend to skim information, as opposed to reading entire pages.  Additionally, it is estimated that 75% of users recalled the entirety of a page’s content. Keeping these statistics in mind, a potential writer must follow a few guidelines for web writing.

 

The first step is to know who the intended audience is. The incorporation of keywords assists the casual viewer in finding specific topics.  Additionally the use of a good title in a bold font may subconsciously hold the reader’s attention as they come across the page.

 

The next step is to plan out the content. Being thorough on a subject is essential for follow-ups with interested members of your target community. The best way to link site pages with relevant content is embedded hyperlinks within the text. This will save time and provide a quick, easy guide for future reading.

 

One example of the bold font taking precedence over other topics occurs frequently on CNN’s website.  The breaking news stories and those of great importance tend to be several pixels larger than the others gathered at the lower brackets. In addition to hyperlinks to other articles, CNN boasts the use of iReport. This is a revolutionary concept that allows anyone in the world to essentially write on CNN’s official blog.

 

The famous tech magazine Wired has a website that follows similar tactics. Hyperlinks are once again used to great effect as they are embedded within the paragraph sentence structure. The site also uses bolded and enlarged text to signify the importance of articles.

 

The use of these multiple tactics gives the content producer an edge in the twenty first century. By knowing the target audience and usage of several methods, the guarantee of audience retention is far greater than traditional actions.

Interactive blog

The use of empathy is perhaps the strongest motivator that must be utilized by non-profit agencies. The natural sympathy that human beings have for one another is the reason why so many humanitarian aid organizations exist. The key to making a successful online marketing campaign for a non-profit seems to be the value of engagement and collaboration.

 

The first step is to identify your audience. The ability to find a community that can assist in furthering your cause is a fundamental step in establishing your campaign. The next logical step is to determine if the audience has a particular interest in the cause. The most direct approach is to determine an audience’s familiarity with the topic and if it carries emotional weight with them. If there is a connection, give them if not charge them with the belief that they can effect an outcome with their time, money and effort. The final step is to include a number of individuals or a well-known member of the community in your cause, a fact that helps your intended audience know that it is indeed a worth their time.

 

While it is relatively easy to become involved in a cause, the issue is that modern society’s data stream allows viewers to view hundreds, if not thousands of articles online at any given time. The viewer thus runs a risk of being inundated with an overabundance of facts and will consequently learn to tune out most of the materials. In order to remedy this, several methods can used to increase awareness.

 

The relatively easy use of digital recording devices such as SLR cameras, flip phones or even smart phones can assist in a website’s message. The usability of video is immensely popular as one’s message can be circulated to an exponential degree depending on the producer’s connections within their community.  It also fosters collaboration as many people with similar interests could become inspired and contribute to the overall campaign. The use of infographics is also of a great help. The tracking of statistics via effective pictographs and maps gives the viewer a better idea on the impact of natural disasters or other humanitarian problems.

 

Another method that has been utilized to effectiveness is the live stream video. The ability to host a webcast session is also helpful in giving your audience up to the minute coverage on your non-profit. Most importantly, ask people what they think should happen and what they can do to help. The success of a non-profit relies heavily on the actions of the community and what response they choose.

 

 

Still Blog

The definition of an iconic image is somewhat difficult to ascertain. The power of an icon is possibly one that is visually arresting. In the last century, the power of still photography was utilized to display the triumph, horror, joy, and determination of the human spirit. One can see that images that display a crowd can either elicit fear or somber gratitude depending on the speaker in the picture. Another instance is how a person’s portrait can be used to elicit respect, sympathy, or abject dislike. What must be certain is how an image’s social impact is relative to cultural context.

 

The first image that can be easily viewed as an icon is Joe Rosenthal’s photograph of the flag raisers on Iwo Jima. When the picture is viewed, one can see six young marines, their faces shadowed by the rising sun and clearly struggling to raise the American flag. To many, this image represents the culmination of fours years of grief, anger, and pride in the collective action of the American people. It is also seemingly an image of closure and vindication as the U.S. entered the war with the tragedy that was Pearl Harbor.

The second image has a substantial amount of infamy as the turning point of America’s involvement in Vietnam. This image is of South Vietnamese General Nguyen Ngoc Loan publicly executing a Viet Cong officer in the streets of Saigon. Photographed by Associated Press photographer Eddie Adams, the image is crucial as it first signified to the American public of the conflict’s ferocity and impersonal nature. General Nguyen displays himself as impassive and sociopathic, whereas the insurgent visibly has an expression of sheer terror. This image clearly signifies the savagery of war as a brutal, personal action instead of an abstract.

The final image is of Martin Luther King Jr. during his famous “I have a Dream” speech. The viewer can see Dr. King standing well above the crowd, numbering in the tens of thousands. His expression is of hope and contentment. What can be conveyed is the optimism of this scene. As a student of theology, he very well knew that his taking position above the masses is evocative of Moses and the Hebrews. The image is nothing short of amity and brotherhood.

Each of these images are unique in the sense that they are visually arresting, elicit emotions and are subject to interpretation. They are all visual representations of their period in history and evocative of the time’s sentiment.  Most importantly an icon has the power to connect the viewer to the event.

Audio Blog

The importance of audio in any production is as important as arresting video footage. The use of sound provides a narrative, a sense of familiarity that could provide an intimate message for a target audience. The inclusion of natural sound, sound effects, music and/or voice-over makes an audio/visual presentation effective.

The first example that I find as relevant is the National Geographic Live Curious ad. The use of trance music is effectively used to keep the tempo of the action.  It certainly fits well with the curious nature of the viewer, as the camera is a wandering, inquisitive medium.  The narrative, shared by many people across the world, drives the story.  The narrative begins with a sigh of exhalation, as though the viewer is leaving the familiar and entering a world filled with curiosity and wonder. We are also treated to the ambient sound of waves crashing, children playing soccer, and birds taking flight. The hopeful narrative ends on an anticipatory note, with the bearded gentleman sagely stating that one is alive through knowledge of the world.

The second example that follows this mood is a video produced by the South African tourism board. The most powerful elements in this composition are the use of traditional African vocal and harmony music, flutes, and audible dancing in the background. The composition seems to capture the ebb and flow of a diverse land, rich in the potential of self-discovery. The most powerful element in the video is the speaker. The gentleman doing the narrative speaks in a very strong and sonorous Xhosa accent, which, to the listener sounds both informal and friendly. The combination of all these elements makes this a strong example.

The final example that can be considered as a video with strong audio elements is the Shayna Rose advertisement for the 2012 Summer Olympics. The beginning of the track features soft vocals and piano accompaniment.  As soon as the production switches to glimpses of past Olympic events, the tempo increases with each instance of the Olympic flame being harnessed and carried to the ends of the earth. Over all the use of vocals and music transitioning from tranquil piano notes to an edgy rock score is worthy of holding a viewer’s attention.

Social Post

The social marketing campaign that had to be created is called “Shape Up NC”. In this assignment, research had to be conducted on what age demographic would be targeted, what methods would be used and what techniques would be helpful in motivating North Carolina citizens to take care of their bodies. The plan that I created was directed specifically for health care professionals and extreme sports enthusiasts. Several techniques that I wanted to incorporate into the regimen included the use of the Paleo Diet, Crossfit fitness training and the Israeli martial art known as Krav Maga.  The approach that must be utilized would be tailored for the current generation of consumers.

In studying the Oatmeal cartoon and the hub spot blog on social media tactics, several things can be determined by successful contemporary advertising campaign. During the 1950’s the consumer was meant to be passive, impressionable, given to trust and easily manipulated. Today the use of social media has created a generation of skeptics. The producer and consumer are now part of a two-way communications system that generates e-commerce. The means to engage potential clients has changed from creating an elaborate fantasy for the consumer to believe in, to being more direct in a presentation. If a product is presented and the features are explicitly detailed, then the consumer may have a better idea of what they are paying for. The idea of using a sense of urgency and implied desperation are passé methods.

The modern day advertising campaign of pragmatism and fact is a far cry from previous generations attempt at commerce. By demonstrating to the consumer that a company is both competent and accountable for their product only then can trust be built.