One point of clarity on the article, which I'd love your feedback on: I first showed it to some people who thought it was satire.
I don't think it is, even if it is humorous at points. I think drones will come to the workplace. They will have unexpected roles. They will generally not be welcome, though they will start saving some people's time and energy - and may make us a little more listless at work.
Not everything described in the column may come to fruition, but it's a starting point, and one that I think we will have to grapple with in the coming years. What do you think?
I recently had the honor of being interviewed by Bill Sobel for CMS Wire, where I shared some thoughts on ideas and collaboration, but also on how past experiences laid the groundwork for the present state of marketing. For instance, I shared a few thoughts on the evolution of search and social:
It was, at the time, a Herculean effort for marketers to shift from focusing on their reputation in Google to their actual reputation. Google was almost a distraction. It's as if marketers cared so much about sweeping the sidewalk in front of their store that they weren't paying attention to the people shopping there.
Another big change is that media companies didn't have any great ways for brands to reach people via social channels. Facebook in its fairly early days was tapping Microsoft to sell banner ads on its site. Meanwhile, MySpace let advertisers somehow make its site even uglier than it was before. It’s as if every ad was designed by Michael Bay. Marketers could also connect with bloggers, but even the word "blog" sounded like a noise people make once they realized they got food poisoning. Marketers weren’t in a rush to change tactics.
On Thursday, I'll be doing a webinar with my friends at Chute where you will get a great look at how to effectively market content or content market or something like that. There was a rehearsal. I learned stuff. You might too. Or you can at least block out the time so no one books more meetings on your calendar. Win win!
Read the full thing over on Chute's blog, but here's an excerpt:
Q: What do you think is the biggest opportunity and the biggest hurdle for brand marketers in 2015?
A: The biggest hurdle is that a lot of social activity is happening in places where it’s hard to monitor content and target consumers – especially messaging apps like Snapchat, WhatsApp, and Line. Consumers in such channels don’t want a hard sell, and if there’s too much advertising, the barriers to switching chat apps is fairly low. Just consider Facebook’s own properties. When someone’s using WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger today, they’re not exposed to any marketing messages. It will be very interesting to see how that changes this year.
Given that these messaging apps collectively have billions of users altogether, albeit with some amount of overlap, there is a tremendous opportunity for those apps to work with marketers and come up with ways for marketing to add value to the app experiences.
The Public CES is the one the media covers. Want to see the curved 4K TVs with OLED or whatever nanoparticles that make the picture a million times better than the set you bought last year? Want to see the new smart washing machine that has a smaller version of a washing machine built into it? (That’s a real product from LG.) Want to see lots of models running on treadmills to show off wearable devices? Want to see that startup being crowdfunded by the entrepreneur whose startup there last year didn’t meet its crowdfunding goal so he’s copying the guy in the booth next to him? All that and more abounds in the Public CES...
The other CES is the Shadow CES. This is the one that tends not to get as much attention, but for some brands, it’s more productive. It happens at places like the Cosmopolitan or Four Seasons. A more official version of the Shadow CES took place at the Aria this year. Dubbed the C-Space, it was where marketers could meet up with established media companies like NBC Universal and emerging ones like Samba TV. They could also meet with each other. I joined one private discussion with select executives from an advertising trade association. While it had little to do with CES directly, it was a terrific opportunity to learn from these people who I wouldn’t have readily met otherwise.
There's a lot more about this Second CES, so head to LinkedIn for far more context on this theme, and your comments are welcome there as well. It's actually the fourth post I've shared on LinkedIn, and except to see more there this year, especially when I have some thoughts that aren't a natural fit for an outlet like Ad Age, which will continue to be my go-to.
I was so outraged over the latest social outrage that I neglected to share this post that Ad Age had the audacity to run. You can catch the final version in Ad Age or read more below here.
How to Play It Safe in Social
Are you swelling with outrage over something so preposterously outrageous? Are you offended? Are you offended even more that people aren’t offended?
Then you must have read the latest brand’s tweet.
Of course, you probably didn’t see that tweet. It had already been taken down. So you read about it in a Twitter or Facebook post by a friend of yours that linked to an outlet that shared a screen shot of the tweet. That way, you still had a chance to be offended, but you didn’t have the rare pleasure of being one of the original offendees whose tweets about their outrage were probably quoted along with the screen shot.
It’s time for these offenses to end once and for all. As a gift to brand managers, community managers, and corporate lawyers everywhere, here is a foolproof, ten-step checklist to follow that will ensure you never offend anyone when posting through corporate social media channels.
1) Don’t reference anyone’s names. Some names are offensive to people. Take it from Dave and Buster’s, which made a reference to the “no one ever” meme by tweeting about “no Juan ever” hating tacos. Dave and Buster’s probably knows that some people named Juan don’t like tacos. Some people named Juan probably don’t even like quesadillas, or the especially delicious horchata. The good news for all the Juans out there is that there are a lot of Johns and Janes and others on Twitter who were so offended on Juans’ behalf that the tweet was removed within an hour.
2) Don’t use a hashtag. Not only can it be misappropriated, like #McDStories, but some can be misread. The best version of this was when Susan Boyle’s album was promoted using #susanalbumparty, which turned into an inadvertent nod to the Saturday Night Live sketches of Sean Connery misreading Jeopardy categories. Just avoid hashtags altogether.
3) Don’t ever host any kind of chat. It’s possible someone with a truly offensive name could respond to that post. When that happens, someone monitoring that campaign may miss the offensive name, and it will give everyone on the internet a chance to say that the brand is offensive. People won’t direct their anger at the person with an offensive name though; that would make way too much sense.
4) Don’t respond to or retweet anyone. That person could be a racist. Or maybe he took an illegal drug once. Or maybe he once went out to eat a nice meal and only left a 13% tip. He could even have an opinion on marriage equality or immigration, and someone else may disagree with that opinion. These things can all come back to haunt a brand that gives a voice to such an individual.
5) Don’t use any words that could mean something else in another language. There are 6,500 spoken languages, according to Infoplease. About 2,000 of those languages have fewer than 1,000 speakers, but those speakers still could be using the internet. And that also leaves speakers of 4,500 other languages who can be offended in all kinds of ways, including through transliterations and homophones and homonyms. Any half-decent community manager is fluent in at least 3,000 languages.
6) Don’t mention planets. At least one of them sounds like a body part that is usually kept covered, except when certain celebrities expose such a region to break the internet.
7) Don’t engage in real-time marketing. It’s not because it’s offensive. Most of the time, brands just don’t have to say anything that interesting about pop culture, memes, or news. Better still, don’t promote a tweet that falls under the real-time marketing genre, as it may make a blogger sad.
8) Don’t share links to any outside news sources or websites. Often news sources offend people. What brand would ever want to be aligned with outlets that cover controversial topics? To be safe, marketers should pull all their advertising from any property that they don’t own. That way, they will never be seen as endorsing the views of anyone, ever. Instead, brands should only run ads on their local jazz radio station because the last time anyone was offended by jazz was when the Utah Jazz kept their name after moving the team from New Orleans.
9) Don’t engage in any clever marketing stunts. All marketing should be even more factual than a Ken Burns documentary. If you try to get too creative, then some people may take your marketing literally and complain when an outlet “debunks” your campaign. It’s best to focus campaigns around factual elements, like your business owner (unless he or she is racist), or your corporate headquarters (unless it is located in another country to dodge paying local taxes). Maybe it’s best not to run campaigns at all.
10) Don’t actually be offensive. Yes, once in a while a corporate entity or business owner expresses patently vile statements designed to offend people. It’s generally a good idea not to do that.
Pardon some light posting lately, as I had some wonderful travels across Israel and Italy on vacation, followed by a trip to Spain for work. More on that in a moment.
Here's where I'll be this month. Let me know if you're at any of these events.
First, where I've been: I was just in Madrid speaking at Ideagoras 2014 at the BBVA Innovation Center, thanks to the invite by the incomparable host Angel Gonzalez. You can read a great recap of observations from my fellow speaker Silja Chouquet on Medium. Ideagoras also posted an excellent Storify to share the highlights. You can also find a video of my presentation (without the slides), and a press interview video too. Beyond Silja, it was a real pleasure to meet Leif Abraham, Alexandra Mecklenburg, Alex Gibelalde, Ryan Skinner, and Antonella Broglia, along with the gracias Ideagoras team.
Then comes the Brand Innovators summit on Millennials November 11. I know a lot about them. I'm kind of married to one. I don't even know as the definition of a Millennial keeps shifting. It will be fun being on a session moderated by my old college associate from student government Andrea Wolinetz, as well as Angela Gruszka from one of my favorite stores, ABC Carpet & Home.
Then I go out to San Francisco November 12 to officially open my agency's MRY West office.
While there, I will be speaking at the M1 Summit on cars and smartphones. This presentation will be a little more nuts than the usual fare, but only because Nihal Mehta has higher standards than the usual event organizer.
Finally, more or less, it's a pleasure hosting UJA Federation of New York's event onthe future of wearable technologywith Rom Eizenberg, Jeff Berman, Andrew Rosenthal, and Billie Whitehouse. The fun part of moderating this one is that there are quite a few questions I want answers to, so come and ask your own as well.
David Berkowitz is Chief Marketing Officer at agency MRY. A frequent speaker and media pundit, he has been published hundreds of times in MediaPost, Ad Age, eMarketer, Mashable, and elsewhere. Get to know him in the links below the blog's header.