Sunday, August 23, 2009

Choosing a company name

There are several trains of thought on this.
  1. Pick a name which describes the business
  2. Pick a name which uses a made-up word
  3. Use your own name

1. If you have a complex business, then giving a descriptive name which does it justice will be difficult

2. Made-up word can be a great way to create standout, it also makes finding you easier. Seth Godin started Squidoo for that very reason. If you heard of it you'd remember the name because it is so unusual.

3. Using your own name may sound a bit lazy, but think about it. People all ready know you you already have a reputation and therefore a story. If you give a 'brand' name to yourself, there's a dilution of the story as you have to start explaining your decision.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Why long is better than short

In a world of sound bites where everything needs to be in short easily remembered sound bites, there's a common thought that everything needs to be short. Weather that's copy on a website, a TV series, a song, book, film, take your pick.

But all this flies in the face of the facts. Long things when engaging, interesting, artistic, of merit and relevant are pretty much always more appreciated over time, where as sound bites are just that and are quickly forgotten, there are notable exceptions, but most of those actually re-enforce the rule of long because they are made to entice you into the main long element.

I'm listening to The Stone Roses re-mastered on Spotify at the moment and one of my favourite tracks is Fools Gold, it's also a firm favourite of most Stone Roses fans. At 9.52 minutes for some people it's over long, but for a fan who's head starts bobbing from the opening notes it's just not long enough! In a similar vein Stairway to Heaven and Bohemian Rhapsody are stupidly long but and untouchable to their fans. Can you say that about 3 minutes of Lady GaGa?

Same applies to loads of other things which delight and amaze people, you try telling a fan of Lord of the Rings the films and books are too long and difficult. Try saying that watching 24 takes too much time!

In sport even. The World Snooker Championships takes two weeks to complete with some sessions going on into the middle of the next morning. The Ashes and test cricket take 5 days to play one game which may then end in a draw. American Football takes forever to finish as does baseball.

In art, is the Sistine Chapel ceiling too big and detailed? Jackson Pollock paintings too long?

In advertising, why do you think some infomercials are a whole 3 minutes long? And that long engaging copy in direct mail letters works better than short copy? Because it tells a story which is interesting and captivating to the customers who are disposed to buy the products. It's not trying to convince every viewer to buy, how could it? No it works hard on the relevant people and converts them.

What all these have in common is a craftsmanship which takes a long time to perfect, it's then perfectly articulated which makes it enduring, relevant and in a way addictive.

So when some one says that things need to be short because people don't have the attention span then they're clearly looking at the population in general. Fine if you want a quick hit and disappear.

But if you want to stay around for a long time better make things well crafted, interesting, relevant and if its needed long.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Using relevant targeted TV ads

It's Friday and I'm watching crap TV, that's why the ads seem a little more interesting. Lately they haven't been.

I spotted an ad just now that will never win any awards, the direction is functional, the script direct. It has no superstars in it and no whispering back and white film noir camera work. But this is a great TV ad, why is is great. Well because it speaks directly to the audience its targeted at. The ad is for the biggest dating website.

Don't click away

The ad for was so great because it was timely and relevant. The script is along the lines of "Last month we said we didn't have enough men on Well we now have loads more new men". It then signed off with it's 6 month guarantee.

There was no need to fill in the blanks of "So ladies that means there are loads of new men to date" because the ad had achieved that easily and the interested single ladies knew exactly what to do.

The best bit for is that they will be able to measure success. The equation is simple Cost of Ad/Number of new signups and returning users equals ROI. Simples! (as another measurable clever ad keeps saying)

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Get rich quick schemes on Twitter

The web is like any other medium it soon gets filled by spammers and get rich quick artists who sell on thier idea to poor unsuspecting suckers in the hope of creaming off a few quid.

Twitter has been caught up in that in the only way it could - incredibly fast!

The number of tweets promising ways of getting 1000's of followers is incredible, even twitterers who have good long standing reputation get caught up in the volume game (I question on such and didn't get an answer). The question is why? What the point of having millions of followers if:
  1. They don't know who you are
  2. They have no relationship with you or your knowledge

If there two things at least aren't met then there is no connect with your message and therefore no point having millions of followers because you can't influence their behaviour. It all comes down to permission to speak to people. Twiterers are far better off having and handful of followers who will listen act and respond than millions who don't care.

Quality over Quantity every time

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

The Internet as a social history or people sticking old pictures on FaceBook

The Internet now makes saving peoples personal history easier than ever. That's a pretty obvious statement to people who's been using the web for a long time, but for some it's nothing short of a miracle.

Recently my sister died, very suddenly and unexpected. She'd just joined FaceBook and hadn't added must stuff but what she did add is still there and it's nice to look back and see her writing and pictures, I can hear her reading them as I read them. When she died I created a group for people to leave their memories of her and also as a way to let people who she knew but had lost touch with what had happened. The response was amazing with over 100 people joining and many leaving memories of her as well as their own pictures with her in.

My parents aren't on the Internet and probably never will be so they'll never get to see the group. I printed out everything which had been posted and gave it to them and her husband. They were overwhelmed with the response and amazed that this could have happened. The great thing is that that group, which is still active is a social history of my sister in a way that could never have happened before the Internet and FaceBook in particular.

I was just browsing FaceBook again a few minutes ago and found a group all about memories and pictures of Sheffield, my home city. Normally the images here, well over 500, would have been in dusty boxes in a back room or in a museum collection. But know they're there for people to look through, comment and add your own to whenever you want.

If I needed to find out about my past I needed to talk to the older generation who would take their stories and images with them when they died. My children will have an amazing record of nearly everything I ever did and everything everyone else ever did too. I still find that truly amazing.