T+D Post: Social Media is the Customer’s Union

[This is an excerpt of a post I wrote for Waggener Edstrom’s “Thinkers and Doers” blog.  The full post is here.]

Micheal Foley
and I often chat online about the state of business communications. Although he and I disagree on many things, every time we get into a discussion, I feel inspired to post.

Today, we were talking about the relationship between customers and companies typically being an adversarial one. There are many reasons for this, but a major contributing factor is that many companies have historically thought of people as markets. In contrast, people (even groups of people) don’t think of themselves as markets and would be offended at the suggestion.Social Media Customers Union

People are quite attuned to how we are treated by those around us. We take thousands of visual, auditory and contextual clues in every second to judge our environment and potential conflict. We know instinctively when we are being slighted, when the tone is condescending, when there is even a hint of adversity, and it puts us on the defensive. We see loud car commercials, and subconsciously our defenses go up. We go into fight-or-flight. The only reason this is different than having a car come zooming toward us is that we are assaulted by so many messages throughout the day, that it’s changed our default stance.

[Read the full post and comment at Thinkers + Doers]

On Agency-Side Professional Loyalties: Some Questions.

[originally published on NewCommBiz]


Is our job to provide clients what would best and most cost-effectively address their needs, or what we think we can get them to pay for that may also address them?

Are we loyal to efficient, effective work or to increasing our percentage of billable hours?

Is it ever good business to say “no, this website already exists, we don’t need to build you a new one”?

Who do we ultimately answer to?  The gods of our bottom line or the gods of what we know to be right?

When they are in conflict, which side carries more weight? Which side should carry more weight?

Where does integrity lie?

Jeremy Meyers is an Engagement Strategist at Waggener Edstrom and also blogs at JeremyMeyers.com. He does not have answers, only questions.

Ew, put that thing back in your pants!: The Assault of Masturbatory Marketing

[Originally posted on NewCommBiz]

We’ve all seen it.  The website that proudly proclaims the awesomeness of the new product, the brand, the campaign.  The one that wants to give you a chance to be a part of the awesomeness! The one who invites you to submit your email address to get updates about awesome new things happening around this awesome product!

The tone-deaf “we love ourselves, so you must love us” content that makes a lot of us cringe as we are assumed to be a member of a mindless ever loyal, interested and open-walleted army known as “our consumers”.

I’ve figured out what makes it so uncomfortable to experience.

It’s marketing masturbation.

It’s a selfish, indulgent, isolating, base  activity acted upon purely for the benefit of oneself.  It’s based on the toxic myth of ‘us vs them’.

Basically, you’re unwillingly watching a company jerk off.

If you drop trou and do that in front of a subway car full of people, you get arrested. It’s an assault. You’re forcing unwilling and non-consenting individuals to be involved in your own self-centered fetish.

Do it in an ad campaign or a website, however, and you get featured in Ad Age.

Yuck.  Put that thing back in your pants, dude.

Jeremy Meyers is an Engagement Strategist at Waggener Edstrom and also blogs at JeremyMeyers.com. He does not like potato chips.

Google gets Pac-Man Fever: Keep it BLEEP BLOOPin simple, stupid:

Originally posted on [NewCommBiz].

Google’s logo today is Pac-man.  It’s playable.  You can go to www.google.com right now (assuming you’re reading this on 5/21) and play a custom developed HTML/CSS/JS version of Namco Bandai (our client)’s classic game  Pac-Man based around the Google logo, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the game.

They didn’t send out a press release, there’s no blog announcement, nobody was interviewed for it, they just figured out a way to do something cool, and made it happen.

At the present moment, it’s trending on Twitter, and about 80% of the tweets today (in my feed at least) have been about “OMG Google’s logo is a playable pac-man!!!!”, from fans of all ages and followings.

Let’s put all the talk about social media and content strategy discussion aside.  Here’s what it comes down to:

It’s not always the big flashy campaigns and press blitzes that create the most impact.  Sometimes it’s just doing something cool for your people that they’re not expecting.

In this business, we talk a lot (I mean a lot about creating client delight, connecting with customers, being ‘authentic’ and ‘transparent’), but here’s a great example of a simple selfless and well-executed idea capturing peoples hearts and attention.

Some things to consider:

  • It’s quick and in-flow. Google did not build a separate page for this. Users did not have to do anything outside their normal behavior patterns with the site. They simply did what they do already (go to www.google.com) and the experience was there.  They play for a little bit, and go on with their day.
  • There’s a minimal time commitment to interact. No “Go to pacman.google.com, use Facebook connect to log in, invite three friends and you can play a game!”. Just do what you were going to do anyway, play for a few minutes, go on with your day.
  • It’s easy to recommend to your network. The in-flowness also made the experience that much more shareable, because people know that their friends are going to Google anyway, so it was not “extra work” for people to experience the game once it was shared.
  • There is an element of surprise to the interaction. Google is known for frequently switching up the logo on their home page to celebrate assorted holidays, anniversaries and other notable events. This is the first time it’s ever been interactive.
  • Users discovered for themselves. There’s no “PLAY THE INTERACTIVE PAC-MAN LOGO NOW!” star burst image.  There was an element of ownership and discovery around the “hey, you can actually play this thing”
  • It’s timely and relevant. I didn’t know today was the 30th anniversary of PacMan. Now I do. So do you.
  • There’s no further ‘ask’ from them. User data jokes aside, Google didn’t ask you to re-tweet, they don’t want your email address, they don’t want you to buy a deluxe version of the game.  It’s just out there because they thought they’d create something cool for today. They provided value selflessly (though ultimately what they’re getting back in visibility and publicity more than makes up for whatever dev time it took to build the game)

Good on you, Google.  Way to add awesomeness to our day.  Much for many to learn, here.

[Update: You can play PacMan (I’m assuming) forever at http://www.google.com/pacman]

Jeremy Meyers is an Engagement Strategist at Waggener Edstrom and also blogs at JeremyMeyers.com.  He was always more of a Dig Dug fan, himself.