Interesting to see the FCC weigh in on this one. It’s important that policymakers don’t stifle innovation with broad definitions of tracking or personal data. With the myriad ways information is shared these days, I hope we all understand it’s more about fair usage of data than privacy.
While having a conversation about the possibilities of the semantic web with my creative colleagues Heath and Reid, Heath started talking about the idea of a web of empathy. Reid framed it up further - empathy decodes what users seek; the connections we strive to foster. I believe it shows us how advertising will progress.
Below you’ll find a scorecard I put together with the intention of helping brands navigate the coming information landscape. Use the scorecard to look at how a brand is interacting with individuals via their information. Overall, you’ll see that brands need to do much more with their information to better position themselves to foster deep connections and build brand empathy.
Head over to the Campbell Mithun blog to download a PDF version suitable for printing.
To build empathy (by delivering empathy) in this new landscape a brand should start with 3 things. First, a brand must be open to the information of its consumers. Is it easy for users to share their information with a brand? Does the brand let users log in via identity providers (FB, Google,LinkedIn) so that content can be tailored to their needs. Brands need to be comfortable with this new identity model.
Second, a brand should focus on how to distribute their content. Most brands have content strategies, but must also internalize that their content can live in environments beyond their own. Beyond a strategy for distribution, brands should apply semantic formats (or even supply an API) so that other services, sites, and apps can use your content in new and exciting ways. A brand’s information can be advertising itself.
Finally, a brand must seek to provide relevance by using the context of the user to affect the experience of every brand touchpoint. That is, brands should use the information that’s available to tailor the brand experience. If a user is providing a location - use it to streamline their search. If a user is coming to a deep link from an organic search or a social share - use that information to inform their experience with your content… don’t just track it.
I hope you find this scorecard useful.
If I were in charge of an advertising holding company, I would buy up as many content production houses as I could. I would organize the content creation activities into systems that foster serendipitous discovery of new content, products, and services (read: the opposite of Google search). This would include the embracing of new content standards, creation of new and enhanced consumption verticals, and a focus on providing useful, compelling, quality experiences within these verticals.
The goal would be to provide advertising within these verticals in such as way as to have it actually complement the overall experience. To avoid adding another needle to an ever increasing content haystack and instead to help sift through the hay.
Convergence - we’ve been talking about it for so long, I almost hesitate to bring it up again. Here’s the story in a nutshell - Without your TV, convergence amounts to a hill of beans. Apple has been on the cusp of creating a compelling version of convergence - and there have been glimmers of hope with Microsoft’s Xbox. But the latest Apple TV has fallen short and it’s been almost a year since the Xbox 360 launched its integration with Netflix, Facebook, and Twitter. The story of Xbox 360 and Apple TV can perhaps be similarly stated - Without the Web, convergence amounts to a hill of beans.
Now finally, I think we have a compelling vision of the future - with Google TV.
Of course, this isn’t a product review. There are many better places for that. Ultimately, what I’m interested in is the interplay between broadcast content, web content, and applications. And that’s where Google TV lives.
On the surface, the whole thing might seem very familiar. Even after watching the promo materials, (and before I had a chance to try it), I found myself thinking “haven’t we seen this before?” I mean, hasn’t the “Web met TV” before? You know… in a gadget called “Web TV?” I have my own point of view about the whole web-on-tv experience… in a past life, the fine folks at Web TV gave me device so I could optimize sites and evangelize the product. From a developer’s perspective, I found Web TV interesting - but rendering was slow. From a user’s perspective, without any true integration between Web content and TV content - who really wants a big keyboard on their couch?
It’s easy to see why Web TV failed. And at times Google TV can seem like Web TV all over again… browsing can be slow at times, and the Logitech Revue does have a keyboard.
But what’s striking is what Google TV gets right. This isn’t just the Web on your TV. This is Google for your TV. The first thing I did was a “Live TV” search… I Googled “ocean” and got a list of ocean-related content that was currently playing that I could immediately watch, and related content that would be playing in the future, which I could immediately DVR. That mental model - the Google search model - replaces channel surfing and aids content discovery in a profound way. Shark week will never be the same.
The “Live TV” feature was great, but I decided to turn on a football game. When the commercials came on, I opened up Google Chrome and watched the latest AOTS Around the Net segment, while still watching the game using picture-in-picture. In fact, once the segment was over, I turned the game off, and browsed to Comedy Central to watch the latest Colbert Report. And then to PBS Frontline just to see how other content might fare… everything worked great, and after accessing the vast content that is available from sites like PBS you get another idea of how this is different. Much of the video content is clickable and interactive.
In much of broadcast “interactive video” is thought of as a zero-sum game. It brings up questions of who creates the specialized content, how would consumers access it (ie did it have any mass), and who would pay to produce it? But with a TV that’s not just web-enabled, but web-friendly - interactive video is a natural and abundant alternative, even complimentary, source of entertainment. Of course it is. Yet, it’s a shift that can easily be downplayed, even while it is changing the nature of both how we watch TV and how we create TV content.
And I haven’t even mentioned the Android app platform or the coming TV app gold rush. The installed apps (especially Pandora, Netflix) are great and, while there’s no app store currently, when you look at how apps are changing how we consume Internet content across mobile devices - it’s easy to imagine how much apps alone will change TV consumption.
Google TV is a major milestone in a set of devices that will change how we consume TV. If it’s allowed to, that is. It’s clear any Web-on-TV device is going to have to navigate a whole range of issues brought by content providers and carriers. It’s also clear that the stakes just got a lot higher. Everyone wants a piece of the biggest screen in your house… the big question is how the pieces will be divided and if, after the feeding frenzy, there’ll be anything left for you.
(photo by flickr.com/egarc2/2437521787)
I wrote earlier about the Rule of 5 - an idea that implies that larger conversations have diminishing returns. Another idea I’d like to share is called “The Rule of 50” - and it also comes from the fine folks leading the Worldgroup conference in Richmond.
The Rule of 50 is a rule intended for effective leadership and refers to the amount of times an idea needs to be repeated before it becomes transformational. I’m paraphrasing here, but essentially the rule is that you’ll need to say something 50 times before anyone is listening. Once they’re listening, you’ll need to say it another 50 times for anyone to really understand what you’re saying. And once they understand what you’re saying, you’ll need to say it another 50 times to drive your idea home.
Of course you don’t have to take the 50 literally - but the idea of repetition of a message has always been good business sense. And if you think about what this means for social communications - then the implication is that the repetition of a message is beneficial, if not necessary for that message to gain any traction. So the next time you’re stuck looking for something new to say - something about yourself, your brand, or your industry - maybe think about what you’ve already said… and say it again.