(This is part 1 of a post I tried to break into a few pieces because it’s too big and interesting to write a novel about. There’s part 2 on Netflix & independent content producers and part 3 about who sees your facebook posts)
As it happens with buses who don’t come and then 2-3 come at once, lately I’ve met people who were interested in my dissertation (or at least the idea of it). I feel embarrassed and flattered at the same time because the paper was meant to abide by the university academic rules and read like research rather than a long blog post (and relate to the degree I chose to study).
The reality – there was a disconnect between what I wanted to say and what I ended up saying as I had to pick a brand and work with that – and I conveniently chose GHD as I’d worked with Mr Northern at TBWA\Manchester. And I’m a woman and I know hair and internets and all. But largely I wrote it because I didn’t want to do just another dissertation on tourism or travel marketing, because consumer behaviour was more interesting and because I genuinely believed (and still do) that it’s the future. Never looking back, just in awe at what’s in front of me and all that.
So I don’t usually go and read old blog posts, nevermind a dissertation. I need to get over myself, yes, but I can’t help thinking it’s like reading stuff from when I was 5. I didn’t know then what I know now, but I’m happy that the landscape hasn’t changed that much since 2009. That’s good because in a way it means I was onto the right thing. The lecture talked about how different the landscape is now from what it was in 2006 when the Convergence Culture book came out. Twitter had only launched, Facebook was quite new, Social Life was getting lots of attention and so on. Six years is a lot, three not much so. I expect 2015 will be awesome.
What hasn’t changed: media fragmentation & how people consume content
Over the years I’ve come to believe it’s pointless to get bogged down in specifics of channels before the ‘big idea’. I was unsure in 2009 but I’m certain now (ie I can shout at people in meetings). Unless you want to reach every media user on the planet, a campaign doesn’t have to work in all media. Just the ones you’ve determined you will use to sell things.
Integrated campaigns are about reach, reach is part of the strategy and advertising fulfils that strategy and should know the channels in which it already works. Henry talked about his work with the infamous Invisible Children and how they were expecting their videos to spread/reach people, just not as many as the KONY 2012 video did.
Expectation vs. reality. You can have an informed/educated guess about what your reach should and might be, but you never know what actually happens and can’t always factor in places where you just can’t measure it. The essence of spreadable media: once it’s in the hands of people, it changes and replicates: what the book calls the degenerative aspects of circulation.
The idea with ghd was that they started as a salon-only brand (exclusivity and price premium etc) but people making videos with them on YouTube were telling each other where they can get them cheaper, how to avoid eBay scams before ghd became aware of them and how to style hair in ways that the brand website itself wasn’t telling people – they were also using salon products, the people of YouTube (largely) were not. At the time it wasn’t embraced as a good thing, but as a sort of flaw of communications: why are they not going to our website? What are they doing with our website? Are they doing anything? And so on. This question haunted many clients I’ve worked with.