Tuesday, April 24, 2007

It's the idea not the media

+Joe Marchese of Online Spin comments on a quote from a recent Reuters article by Peter Griffiths: "Governments have been very slow to do this [expand into interactivity and user-generated content]," said Professor Helen Margetts, director of research at the Oxford Internet Institute, part of the University of Oxford. "If you look at governments across the world, there is very little use of Web 2.0 applications (shorthand for the second, more interactive Internet age), very little opportunity for citizens to generate content."

He argues:
What am I getting at? Say something worth sharing and the citizens will go to work for you. Inspire people. Don't tell people you will be the best candidate; make people believe you are the best candidate. Don't talk about a vision; paint a picture of the vision. Don't just empower people to add to the conversation; make people feel empowered by adding to the conversation. Make people feel something. Make people feel proud, hopeful, grateful, like they belong; appeal to our emotions and inspire us, and we'll use Web 2.0 to spread your message like wildfire.
Before you can leverage Web 2.0, you have to have something to say and really know how you want to say it. Of course you want to remember to make it easy for people to share — but even if it isn't easy, an inspired person will go the extra mile. We have all seen a less-than-tech-savvy friend or family member go out of his way to share a joke or story that drew an emotional response. This is why politicians, like brands, must first aim to appeal to people's emotions, rather than simply our logic, if they want people to activate the potential of Web 2.0.
And as Marchese mentions, this philosophy relates to brands as well. To expect that you want to launch something using Web 2.0 is bogus. It is like saying you want to launch a campaign using the color blue or create a website using flash. Well, that's fine, but what is the content of the messaging going to be? What are your goals? What is the key message you want people to walk away with? Just throwing out buzz words and methods of execution of an idea is not the way these things work.

So often this is how viral advertising is viewed as well. Everyone wants to create a viral, but what is the basis for creating that viral? Many "virals" never really become viral. They end up being duds. And a large percentage of the successful virals don't always do much for a brand. Obviously the good ones do, but there have been many things that have been sent around the world numerous times and if you ask any of the viewers of the viral piece who it was for, I bet you'd just get a blank stare in return. Integrating a bit of information that is memorable in something like a viral is vital to its success, not just that 2.4 billion people watched it.

Good advertising and marketing does not caught up in the execution of the idea but the idea itself. A great idea can work its way across channels. A bad one only works in one. And sometimes not even one.

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