I recently realized I didn’t have one spot (outside of LinkedIN) that aggregated things that have happened/are happening in my professional life. Consider this post a work-in-progress…
A modern marketer & digital leader. I’ve been at the bleeding edge of marketing & tech innovation my whole career. In 1996, I launched EBSCO’s first web-based product amidst a business booming on CD-ROMs. In 2000, I started up the Boston office of Thoughtbubble and produced some of the first rich-media experiences for the entertainment industry. In 2003, I transformed Keane’s app development team into a global department adding talent in Hyderabad, India. In 2007, I helped clients at Digital Influence Group navigate the nascent social media marketing waters before they heard of a thing called Twitter.
I’ve always risen to lead during times of major shifts in the marketing landscape—on the side of innovation—in the face of uncertainty. I’m simply someone who can’tnot lead. I care deeply about mentorship having had strong mentors along the way, especially during my time in UNH's Student Senate.
I’m tech-passionate + business-savvy with strong POVs. I love connecting dots. I’m capital T-shaped doing whatever it takes to get stuff done. I believe in building bridges vs. moats. I’m forever a student; both right + left brained. I’m a gregarious introvert. And I tenaciously make things happen—always enthusiastically.
Facebook has become a place where people share content in all kinds of formats. Bandwidth and streaming technology is finally at a place that makes video extremely accessible and easy to consume across devices in various conditions. With its emphasis on native video, Facebook is beginning to contend with YouTube—especially for ad dollars.
However, just because it’s an autoplay video ad, doesn’t mean it’ll perform well. Relevance through targeting is an important factor of success and most of all, the actual creative is key. The power of autoplay is in its potential to break through the clutter and grab people’s attention. The first few seconds of the video is crucial to doing that.
Content matters big time both to draw audiences in and to sustain them long enough to make a brand linkage. Taking a brand’s 15 second TV spot and force fitting into a Facebook autoplay ad isn’t going to cut it. The creative must be tailored to the native format and consumption behaviors of the specific platform it’s running on. Facebook, Snapchat, Vine, etc. are all different in format, storytelling, and audience norms but they all must ladder up to a larger video strategy.
Twitter recently launched their autoplay ad solution and just last month CNN’s getting in on their own autoplay game. Publishers are going to chase the ripest revenue streams and build out their ad tech accordingly. It’ll continue to evolve as tech capabilities advance with consumer behavior. But one thing is absolutely certain: Video has been a central part of people’s lives since the dawn of motion pictures in the early 1900s. How we experience video will continue to evolve. And you can bet that advertisers will find ways to be part of it, as publishers need to monetize.
It’s ironic to think that regular TV commercials have always been inherently “auto play” but in a world of ad skipping, they have to work so much harder to grab viewers’ attention. That’s why brands are now creatively embedding themselves into actual TV programming with less singular reliance on the standard commercial pod.
But the bigger question is what’s “television” today, anyway? The lines between TV and video content have blurred. Gone are the days of TV campaigns. Brands today need a comprehensive video strategy that transcends media channels while creatively respecting their uniquely native opportunities. It’s time we’re all coloring outside of the lines.
Oh it's that's time of year. We're in full planning mode for Hill Holliday's 5th annual TVnext℠. Just like in past years, this is going to be one heck of a show taking place on Monday, October 26 2015 at Boston's Institute of Contemporary Art. With a theme of "Television Hacked" we're looking for provocative speakers that have a strong point of view of how the TV industry is changing.
We'll be launching the TVnext website next week where you can buy tickets to the show. Just follow the #TVnext hashtag for updates. If you're interested in submitting a proposal to speak or if you'd like to sponsor the event, just email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Almost 2 years ago, I blogged about what was to become the onslaught of smartwatches. And I ended by saying, “…and then, of course, there’s Apple with the rumored iWatch which is where I’d place my bets on disrputing the SmartWatch market from novelty into utility – especially if they find a way to make a device that is less reliant on the phone.”
Today the (highly anticipated) Apple Watch arrived at my door. And after a couple of hours wearing it, how does it perform compared to how I hoped it would 21 months ago?
iPhone Reliance What I’ve found, so far, is that although the Apple Watch is still tethered to the iPhone, it’s doesn’t feel like it is as much. The watch and phone can communicate over your home’s WiFi network, so the distance they can be apart is pretty significant.
What I like most about the watch + phone pairing is the interoperability of messaging between the Apple Watch and the iPhone. If you don’t want to use a pre-set reply or voice dictate a response via the watch, it’s really simple to pull up the message (or email) and reply on your iPhone—at just a click of a button.
Apple Pay also works without the need for your iPhone to be around – which is pretty helpful if you loose (or get stolen) your phone/wallet and are in a bind.
Your Life’s Remote Control Some say the smartphone is like a remote control but I think the true remote control of your life will be on your wrist.
With apps that already can control your car, unlock your hotel room, navigate you to items on your shopping list, and pay for things -- the idea of not having take your phone out of your pocket (or purse) is liberating. And it’s also just the beginning of what’s possible.
With the launch of the Apple Watch, Apple has already laid the foundation for a user experience that’s designed to be quickly accessible, “at a glance”, on the go – and built around complementary utility. As brands continue to jump on the Apple Watch bandwagon, hopefully they’ll consider (and build upon) those same principles for their apps. Ultimately we must ask: How can this device that's more intimately a part of us, help make our lives easier?
My Wishlist for the Apple Watch 2 I bought the Apple Watch Sport for a few reasons. It’s lighter than the regular Apple Watch. It’s also not shiny (I personally don’t like the shiny finish on the regular Apple Watch). And it’s also very likely that sometime in 2016, we’ll see the debut of the next generation Apple Watch. Out of the gate, there are several things I hope to see improved in the next version.
Battery life: It should last more than a day. A week would be nice.
Waterproofing: The watch is water resistant but it’d be great to swim with it.
Temperature: Like iPhone, in very cold weather, it can shut down. Scary for safety.
Decoupling: It’d be great to see more features independent from iPhone.
What’s most important to keep in mind is that this is Apple’s first generation watch. Before folks are quick to judge and dismiss it, don't forget the first iPod, iPhone, and iPad – and how far each has come in a relatively short amount of time. The same will happen for the Apple Watch.
But the best part? I've been waiting since 1982 to talk into my watch and say, "K.I.T.T., I need you buddy." After all, my first name is "Michael." ;-)
And there's a bit more to the story as I cut out a few paragraphs before submitting it that compared some of the first company posts when Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat launched (and then launched advertising). I felt what I wrote started getting too in the weeds (and somewhat off a tangent)--but it's worth mentioning here. It was fascinating to see how these social networks' seemingly pure ideals "evolved' over the course of time (when under pressure to make $).
Here's what I edited out...
When Twitter first launched in 2006, Biz Stone described it as, “a new mobile service that helps groups of friends bounce random thoughts around with SMS.” Twitter was always careful not to compromise its roots as it grew. Even when it launched advertising in 2010 it maintained, “we’ve resisted introducing a traditional Web advertising model because we wanted to optimize for value before profit.” Unfortunately when a company goes public, the rallying cry of “increase shareholder value” gets drilled into the very bowels of the organization – Compromises are made. Dick Costello said last week that ideally ads will “make up about one in 20 tweets that the average user sees.” And that means a lot more amplified 140 character desperate witticisms from brands.
When Facebook opened up to everyone in 2006, the social network reinforced that, “we want to help people understand their world.” And when it launched Facebook Ads a year later, it said that, “Ads will be getting more relevant and more interesting to you.” But what is interesting about a glorified banner ad? That’s pretty much what brand’s Facebook posts have become. Posting an ad-like object onto a social network isn’t exactly social media marketing. And with organic reach in the crapper, brands are shelling out more and more media dollars to ensure their networks see their, um, “content.”
Snapchat is arguably the darling of social media platforms, right now. When it first hit the App Store in September of 2011, its vision was, “about communicating with the full range of human emotion.” Being the newest kid on the block, you’d think its foray into advertising would be more than old school spray and pray. Except it’s not. Brands who pay $750,000 get to deliver their untargeted ad to the network’s 100+ million users and hope they hold down their fingers. And when Snapchat launched Discover last month? It was quick to point out that “This is not social media.”
My point in writing the AdAge post wasn't to be bleak but instead to say that there is still time, hope, and promise for brands to prioritize servicing over advertising -- and that both can coexist.
A few hours after Twitter's Periscope launched last week I wrote the following.
Why Brands Will Pay Attention To Twitter’s Periscope Over Meerkat.
This morning, Twitter launched Periscope—a live-streaming service it acquired and announced on March 13. Twitter is all about “now moments” and there’s nothing more now than instant live video. People turn to Twitter first in social media for real-time trends and breaking news which makes Periscope a smart move in Twitter’s evolution.
By now we all know that rival-app Meerkat beat Twitter to the punch to become the darling of SXSW. And while Meerkat has the early support of a vocal tech community, Twitter, as a company, has an inherent infrastructure and ecosystem already in place to ensure the blue bird trumps the yellow Meerkat bringing Periscope to the masses—from tech culture to pop culture.
In addition to national TV, big brand, and celebrity partnerships, Twitter’s real secret weapon is its recent Niche acquisition. As a result, Twitter now has over ten thousand content creators who will use Periscope and inspire their followings to use it too. And these are no ordinary content creators; they are seen as more influential by teens and millennials than Hollywood celebrities.
Periscope is a big opportunity for brands to legitimately connect with consumers in meaningful ways. While instantly published text, photos, and produced video is one way for a brand to communicate in social media, there is nothing more human and more intimate in the digital space than live video. Micro-streaming services like Periscope (and Meerkat) give new meaning to “now moments” and make creating them approachable, easy, and instant.
Brands will use Periscope for their runway shows, product announcements, press events, demos, and peek behind the scenes. Television networks will use Periscope to let viewers instantly connect with show talent adding a new dimension to social TV. And sports networks and leagues will use Periscope to bring players closer to fans.
But the real opportunity for brands is in the social business space. Brands should be using Periscope to transform online customer service. In the micro-streaming era of social media, it will become that much easier to show versus tell—and that’s the real power behind Periscope.
Out of the gate, Periscope is already a richer and more polished experience than Meerkat. This, coupled with the credibility, stability, and reach of Twitter, plus Periscope’s ability to archive streams, will be why brands will ultimately choose Periscope and not Meerkat.
And now 4 days after its launch--as expected--brands, celebs, TV networks, and Vinelebrities have all taken to the product. My personal favorite so far? Getting a birds-eye view of Jimmy Fallon's opening monologue rehearsal.
This is just the beginning of the micro-streaming era of social media. Stay tuned and see you live!
Last week I trekked up to my undergraduate Alma mater to address students who were being honored for earning a 3.8 or higher GPA. With the intent of not crushing this group of overachievers, I tried to explain that their GPAs don’t really matter outside of college.
It was a bit of a risk, but everything I said was from the heart. And it was also a chance for me to talk about my mentor, Don Harley, who had an incredible impact on my transition from college to career.