The true value of strategic leadership

Here’s a useful reminder by McKinsey of the value strategic leaders can bring to a company. Whilst the article is geared more towards business leaders/CEOs there are a lot of similarities for account planners. Providing leadership and direction, representing the voice of reason, seeing strategy through to execution, constant reassessment and invention…these are all key attributes or skills which planners need to emulate in order to add value and provide strategic leadership.

7 Dimensions of Virality

Coming up with a viral campaign is never easy otherwise we’d all be doing it. But I do believe there are certain skills and techniques which one can deploy to improve one’s chances of viral success. I call these the 7 Dimensions of Virality and have summarised them in the chart below. It’s intended to add to the growing school of thought known as Propagation Planning. If you want the narrative which goes behind my thinking in this chart, please read my guest post on econsultancy 7 top tips for viral success.

Creating buzz around mobile apps

So you want to build a top-ranking mobile app?  Nothing wrong with that but it’s worth noting that the barriers to success can be phenomenal. The competition is fierce now and unfortunately there’s no secret formula to success, even if your app is the next best thing since sliced bread. In fact, unless you’re extremely lucky you’ll need to market your app considerably through a variety of paid, owned and earned media.

I pulled the presentation together below for the EGB Mobile and Social Media Conference earlier this month and put forward two different strategic approaches to ensuring you generate sufficient buzz around your app. One approach adopts a more linear approach to promoting your app whilst the other  relies on a more 360 approach where the mobile app is integral to the overall campaign.

But I also argue that chasing app downloads for the sake of it is not necessarily the holy grail.  Considering the challenges of building apps which can generate buzz for the brand, there’s a lot of merit in developing apps which support lower funnel objectives too.

I’d welcome your thoughts.

7 principles of persuasion (website usability)

I’m in the process of reviewing the web strategy for one of my clients with a particular focus on improving usability to increase conversion. Our Senior User Experience Architect, Lynda Elliot (@lelliott0505)  shared this video by Dr Susan Weinschenk which is worth posting as it contains a few useful nuggets. I particularly like her overarching point that we tend to focus on creating online functionality and a user experience so that visitors ‘can do’ a particular task.  But that’s not the same as ‘will do’ where they are made to feel more inclined to undertake the task, or ‘still do’ where repeat visitors come back again to complete different tasks. To influence ‘will do’ and ‘still do’ behaviour you need to work harder to inject persuasion, emotion and trust.

She proceeds to outline 7 principles to help improve engagement and encourage ‘will do’ and ‘still do’ behaviour. I particularly like Principle #1 around the danger of providing too much choice as it can be counter-productive; principle #2 around the importance of social validation; and principle #6 around storytelling to get your message across more convincingly. There’s a lot more documented around  weapons of persuasion than this but I like the way this is articulated (or should I say spelt out!)

10 most popular reasons for ‘unliking’ Branded Facebook Pages

There’s a tendency when setting up a branded Facebook page or Twitter account to view this as simply another advertising channel to broadcast streams of content about the brand, products and latest offers. After all, these social handraisers have actively ‘liked’ your page so they must be receptive to this kind of content, right? Well not entirely. Unlike us, the average customer on the street doesn’t live and breath your brand every day and rarely gives two hoots about that latest press release or product video, let alone those glamorous photos from that launch party they were never invited to.

In fact, a new study by ExactTarget and CoTweet (via webpronews) has identified the 10 most popular reasons why people ‘unlike’ brands on Facebook. The biggest contributory reason is because the company posted too frequently or the content becomes too repetitive and boring. Other highlights from the study include 81% of consumers have either “unliked” or removed a company’s posts from their Facebook news feed and 41% have “unfollowed” a company on Twitter.  No real surprises there but it’s a helpful reminder to all of us that we need to try harder to engage and retain social handraisers than simply broadcasting brand announcements or promotional messaging.

Fanpage attrition rates is probably quite a new concept but it’s something I predict will become increasingly important as brands invest more of their precious marketing budgets on building social databases.  The good news is that it follows exactly the same principles behind any traditional  CRM programme.  So if you send them relevant, timely and engaging content, you can expect the brand relationship to grow.  But as soon as you start focusing on what you want to say rather than what they want to hear, your social handraisers will start to lose faith in this relationship and opt out.