Here are all of the posts tagged ‘2013’.
Marketing Magazine recently published an article by me on dealing with internet trolls.They’ve been kind enough to let us reproduce it in full below:
In The Dark Knight, Bruce Wayne seeks advice on his latest foe, Joker, from his astute cockney butler Alfred.
Mr Wayne (logical, measured, likes to dress up as a bat) is stumped.
“Criminals aren’t complicated,” he tells his trusty manservant, “we just have to figure out what he’s after.”
Let’s pause there. Substitute the word ‘criminals’ for ‘customers’, ‘fans’ or ‘followers’, and you’ve about summed up the way most brands approach community management:
‘Customers aren’t complicated, we just have to figure out what they’re after.’
Most brands have a list of pre-approved responses, an escalation matrix, tone and style guidelines, brand voice guidelines, community guidelines and so on.
They probably have directives to respond to each post or tweet within a set period of time (after all, brands are being judged on how quickly and efficiently they respond to posts), and community managers are tasked with being the arbiters of these directives.
But these directives, these guidelines – these community management ‘principles’ – fail to take into consideration posts that don’t play by the rules.
Picking up where we left him, Bruce Wayne is failing to grasp why someone would commit crimes seemingly without motive.
“With respect, Master Wayne” Alfred tells him, “perhaps this is a man that you don’t fully understand.
“Some men aren’t looking for anything logical, like money. They can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned, or negotiated with.
“Some men just want to watch the world burn.”
Alfred is of course referring to Joker, but his advice is also true for the arch nemesis of the community manager: the troll.
You can put in place all of the measures and matrices and management you can think of, but there will always be exceptions.
Trolls aren’t looking for customer service – in all likelihood they aren’t customers at all. They aren’t looking for a measured response or a reply within 15 minutes. They aren’t trying to make a point or a serious criticism.
They’re looking for opportunities to create chaos.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a top ten brand or a mom and pop shop, if the trolls see room to ruffle feathers, they’ll have a go.
So if the usual measures don’t work, how then do you deal with a troll?
In The Dark Knight, Joker is ultimately defeated by the people. They refuse to play his game, not giving him the satisfaction.
You can always do the same. You’ve probably heard the expression ‘don’t feed the trolls’, and certainly, that is one way to go.
But comments left unattended look messy and can result in more trolls joining in. And if the troll hasn’t used offensive language, or insulted or threatened anyone, then you really have no room to delete their post or comment.
No, feeding the trolls isn’t the issue. It’s what you feed them that makes the difference, and to understand that, you need to understand the fundamental reason they behave the way they do.
In their own words, they do it “for the lulz”.
So give them what they want. Next time you have a troll, try this; simply reply to whatever they post with ‘lol’.
By ignoring the rules, you’ll both diffuse the troll and let them, and the rest of your community know that you’ve got a personality – that you’re not a machine stocked with automated responses.
Batman had to go to extreme lengths to defeat Joker, building a machine with the power to spy on every citizen of Gotham. But you don’t need to be that rigid, that inflexible. You don’t need to take the hard line.
As Joker would say: “Why so serious?”
So, have a little fun every now and then. Lol the troll.
Marketing magazine recently published an article from me about putting people first. They’ve been kind enough to let us reproduce it in full below:
A few years ago I attended a screenwriting class taught by a friend at UCLA. The topic that night was television.
After some discussion about the major television networks, a student asked what they generally looked for in a script.
“Well, who are their customers?” my friend asked the class – mostly mature students looking to break into full time writing. Hands shot up, and we all agreed that the viewers, the television audience, were the customer.
“Okay,” he continued, “what is their product, what are they selling?”
“The shows are the product,” a student answered, voicing the consensus.
“Nope,” my friend, a film and television producer, smiled. “Advertisers are the customers.”
“The product is you.”
It makes sense, of course, when you consider the origins of the televised serial narrative – the soap opera – funded by detergent brands in order to promote their wares.
It makes sense, and yet hearing it put like that, well, left a sour taste in the mouth. Something about that model just felt wrong. Obscured. Perverted.
But I’m not here to talk about television.
‘Advertisers are the customers.’
When Facebook went public earlier this year, much like television, people were no longer the customers. Brands were. Users simply became product to sell to advertisers.
When analysts spoke of Facebook’s need to monetise the platform, what they were really saying is that Facebook needs to monetise the users.
Since its IPO earlier in the year, Facebook has been building and testing, deploying and upgrading, optimising and tinkering. Why? To make its ads more effective.
To make users, Facebook’s product, more valuable. Users. You.
But I’m not here to talk about Facebook.
‘The product is you’.
Twitter is battening down the API hatches and locking the doors to its user base in order to more effectively monetise. Tumblr has begun rolling out (thus far relatively un-obtrusive) ad-supported content.
But I’m not here to talk about those platforms, either.
I’m also not here to talk about users, followers, likers, players, gamers, subscribers or customers.
Today I want to talk about people.
Today I want to consider the human.
Humans are an okay bunch. Most keep to themselves. They eat, they sleep, they love and laugh. They live. For a while anyway.
Humans have limited time, which makes them worry. They want ways to make their life easier, less complicated. They want less clutter.
They like new, shiny things. They like information. They like stories. In fact, humans love stories.
Humans buy what we sell. Sometimes because they need it, sometimes because their neighbour has one. If they like it, they’ll tell other humans. Sometimes, those humans will buy one too.
As marketers, humans are very valuable to us. But a single human can be subjected to as many as twenty thousand marketing messages a day.
That’s not very human friendly.
Marketers are human sometimes, but probably not often enough. Instead of finding ways to talk to other humans, to listen, to understand their needs, we spend time and money trying to shout louder than other marketers, and creating new places to put our messages.
How often do you hear a human say, ‘Well golly, those clever souls at Brand X found a devious and downright genius new way to show me ads. It’s amazing – the ad followed me around every other site I visited for days until I just had to buy one of their products. I just had to. It’s brilliant. I’m telling everyone!’
That’s not a speech I’ve ever heard a person give. Marketers… maybe. Perhaps this one is more recognisable:
‘I just read/watched/heard the most amazing/heartwarming/incredible/funny story. Brand X just shared it. It’s really good. I’ll send it to you.’
Humans love stories, not adverts.
When you’re thinking about your marketing plan for next year, when you’re allocating your budget and planning channels; consider the human.
Take some of that budget and hire content producers. Hire storytellers. Start campaigns that put humans first.
2013 is not the year of mobile, or whatever new social network your kids are using. 2013 is the year of the human. 2013 is about finding the right platforms and the right campaigns for the people who want to buy what you sell, and creating stories just for them.
Marketers are human sometimes. Why not think and act that way all the time.