Is social content going to cannibalize itself with its own success? The Pepsi-owned Mountain Dew brand, which by all accounts has done very well in the social / digital space, is launching its own website for branded content. A senior brand manager for the soda explained the move as follows: “We have a lot of heritage [in content creation]. This new digital destination will align everything we’ve done into a hub for youth culture. It’s all in one place, and it’s dynamic…a transition from a campaign-specific approach to an ‘always on’ approach.” I have to wonder if this is the future of the content game – produce content for social sites, build an audience, reach a pre-determined level of success, then move it all to an owned platform. When I was conducting research for (Your Approach To) Social Sucks, I thought quite a bit about the fact that we all spend so much time, energy, and money on establishing brands on third party platforms that we do not own.
Pivot Or Die (?). I’m learning some hard lessons in product/service launching right now (I’m hesitant to use the term “startup” just yet). But these are necessary lessons for the entrepreneur and marketer alike. Eric Ries once wrote: Without the tools to pivot well, startups get stuck between two extremes: the living dead, still expending energy but not really making progress, always hoping the next new feature will cause traction to magically materialize, and the compulsive jumper, never picking a single direction long enough to find out if there’s anything there. What strikes me is the thought that the act of pivoting is brought on by a set of tools, not just a one-off decision. I’m in the midst of conducting market research for a potential new service and the feedback coming in is not quite what I expected (or hoped for, perhaps). Now comes the hard part – do I pivot or plow forward? And is a market pivot or feature pivot right? Tough decisions, but ones that will ultimately determine the success or failure of this new venture.
Speaking of startups, here’s the quickest way to get your corporate company to act like one. My team has been working with one person inside a very big blue chip company on a brand spankin’ new content marketing project and the process has been a ton of fun, mostly because we’ve had to navigate the corporate red tape everyone is so accustomed to. Long story short, the client is 100% intent on making this happen, but she has zero budget, zero internal support, and just enough approval from her boss to say “go ahead and do it…but do it on your own, do it quietly, and make damn sure it doesn’t raise any eyebrows”. We’re essentially a startup inside a Fortune 100 company. It’s been…interesting. Contrary to the position we are typically in with this client, we’ve had to find creative ways to get funding, connect with potential partners that benefit the greater good for this specific project, move lightning fast (we have a month), and adopt a mindset of “launch a minimally viable product now, learn from it, make adjustments, and relaunch version two in a couple months“. It has me wondering why we can’t do this more often with Big Brands, but I suppose the access to big budgets and the lack of internal challengers negate the fundamentals of a startup process.
May I do a little humble bragging real quick? A month or so ago I rattled off a few posts (including this one, last paragraph) on what I deemed the future of brick-and-mortar retail – the pop-up shop focused on the overall customer experience. Not the boldest of predictions, but it’s got legs. Check out two fairly new services built on the same belief: PopUpInsider and Storefront.