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A New Appreciation for Handcraft: The Balvenie Youtube Series

3 Sep

Raw Craft

In a world where everything is mass produced and affordable, most people lose the understanding of how valuable handcrafted items are. Handcraft itself has become a staple word used by manufactured goods. The real handcrafted items however has a long and cultured story that is born out of experience, hard work, skill, and passion of what they make.

To earn back the appreciation and value of handcrafted products, Balvenie, a traditional Scottish whisky company, created episodes of youtube videos entitled Raw Craft to show appreciate the value of handcrafted products. Recruiting Anthony Bourdain as the host of the series itself speaks volumes. Who better to talk about the appreciation of products made through rigorous hours of training, experience and passion than Anthony Bourdain.

The video series is a light conversation yet a deep understanding of the skill these man and woman have to their craft, understanding the process, the passion, the ego, the idealism, and the hard work it took to create the masterpiece most take for granted. It shows how value is given so much to a product from this, rather than the status symbol a mere logo gives to a shoe made and labored for $2 and sold for $100. No, this is how things are made right, personal, and valued for their worth in the work and labor put in. This makes the handcraft product special.

What I love from this communication is that it works. It draws in the Bourdain crowd that speaks to a variety of viewers from travellers, organic food lovers, to even hipsters out there. The series succeeds in bringing back the exclusivity that makes handcrafted items special, as it should as Balvenie itself is an old traditional whisky distilling company that still grow and harvests its own grain, and process its products without the aid of modern machines. The subtle way the product is introduced (although not too subtle in the first series) is delightful to watch and give appreciation to Balvenie’s craft, even to non drinkers like me.


Like Farming & Fan Fishing

23 Dec

Like Farming & Fan Fishing, this practice is quite common around the world, especially in the United States. And just as I thought everybody knew, I see friends of mine who are actually veterans in social media fall for these cheap sleazy tricks.

So let me explain what these Like Farming/Fan Fishing is and what is their modus operandi. Like the name suggests, the intention of these posts is to gain as much page likes through viral-able contents that usually promises insane good-to-be-true incentives, prizes or sometimes asks people to support a cause (which mostly involves a tear-jerking story or a ploy to get you curious).

The biggest Like Farming are in the auto industry. Why? Well, its because: a.They can afford to buy the finished product, b.The product it represents will make people go nuts if they are told that they could get for free, and c.Because the car industry are mostly idiots when it comes to social media.

rangeroverfarmSo here is a recent sample on the left.

A page called Range Rover 4×4 is offering 2 Range Rovers for the first time ever (shocking) on facebook by simply liking the page, liking the content, commenting and sharing on your wall. Now, why the f@#$ would a brand like Range Rover do that? A brand that has a reputation and image to uphold will just randomly give away their car to anyone where it will most likely land in the hands of someone that does not fit their target market requirements? Making it (the campaign) useless to use as future advertising tool.

Of course, this will go viral. People will want that car and follow the steps blindly, liking the page, sharing the contents, etc. And their friends, well, its human nature to not pass up a freebie opportunity, they’ll do the same thing and before you know it its viral and they’ll have hundreds thousands of likes.

To make it convenient, the winner will be notified on facebook, directly through personal message. For seasoned social media admins alike, they know that product pages cannot message other facebook users directly. This should be a big fishy clue for many, but for the general public, it seems legitimate.

Now, what is the MO; modus operandi or motive behind these Like Farming/Fan Fishing. Obviously its to get as much Like/Fans on a facebook page as it possibly can. The more fans it generate, the higher it will sell. The more engagement/comment/like it gets on its posts, the less facebook’s bots will think its a fake account. Yes, those steps supports this, and most people fall for it and does it blindingly. Well greed is a powerful thing.

Now then, you are probably thinking; “what good is a page that has a brand’s name but doesn’t belong to the brand? The brand already has a facebook page, so why bother?”

Well, when it comes to cars, social media and the vastness of the USA, most marketing people in the automotive industry has been to one of those seminars where they are preached about social media, and those guys are just plain blind about it. In the US, there are so many car dealerships that represents a brand and would like to also own a social media. So, the owner of that page can simply find the nearest Range Rover dealership with no social media and sell them a page that has hundreds and thousands of fans. A second option is to sell that page to an agency that represents a dealership or maybe even the big brand itself. By a simple flip of acknowledging the main page and registering it under one user of the same social media, you can actually combine the page and move those new fans into the existing social media.

There are other methods of what they sell these pages for, such as spamming, hacking, etc. Since you are a fan, after a few months they can either spam you with contents, or even trick you to download stuff and telling you that you have won something. Its devious, and my advice is to dislike those pages.

Like Farming & Fan Fishing have shown to have big disadvantages, such as the long dormant inactive fans who liked once, engage once and forget. These fans will be fans who are counted as has no interest and won’t likely receive any updates unless its a paid one. GM is such a company that found out about this the hard way, accumulating large number of fans and later found it expensive to activate them as most have been dormant fans on facebook.

So, if you should find some posts shared by anyone thats too good to be true with only so little effort, then its probably a Like Farm or Fan Fishing scheme.

Shortstop: Digital Evolution.

28 Nov

Its funny how things fast things evolve on digital. The days of chat rooms and mailing list groups are mostly over. Internet brought connectivity to the whole world, people enthusiastic to connect with others in God knows where part of the world, it was the new frontier. Then social media came along and brought not just connectivity, but also narcissism and fame. Then social media got more private, and now personal chat apps are coming back. What was once the brave new world just got more personal.

I wonder where this path will lead us in 2015. What digital evolution will arise?

Arby’s, You’re Doing it Right!

4 Mar

The Mountain Hat

It started with a Viviene Westwood hat that looked like the 80’s Buffalo Girls hat where Pharrel Williams thought would be cool and a homage to hip hop to use it as one of his fashion style. When the Grammys took place, a photo of Pharrell wearing the hat caught the eye of the Arby’s social media team and they punned at  the singer with a Zing on twitter: “Hey @Pharrell, can we have our hat back?”

Hat AuctionThe tweet had over 65.000 retweets and a reply from Pharrell, it was social media timing at its best. However, it ain’t over yet. A few days later Pharrell decided to auction the hat he wore to the Grammys for a charity he is supporting; the From One Hand To Another charity that helps teach people to code.

The auction took place on E-Bay and after 10 days of bidding, the hat sold for US$44.100 on March 2nd. Pharrell tweeted his gratitude to the bidder who bought the hat and guess who bought it? Yup, it was Arby’s.

Not only did they got something out of the tweet such as earned media and not to mention one hell of a good press, but it would’ve took a great effort to make corporate go ahead with bidding a hat. The result may not be as big as the Grammys, but its EPIC in my book. Arby’s social media showed follow through and the importance of not just those short term tweet glory, but the long term ones as this epic achievements to me is more memorable than the tweet they made at the Grammys.

My hats off to you Arby’s social media team, and may your posts be forever HAPPY.

Auction Tweet

Identifying Your Social Media Audience

10 Jan

The beauty of digital is that everything can be counted and measured. You can see how much people love or hate something, see the percentage of reactions to posts and basically setup measuring to any data you want captured. With that in mind it really blows my mind when I come across brand social media who cannot communicate effectively with its audience.

talkingtoselfI was recently invited by a hotel chain who were frustrated with their social media agency who never seem to be able to connect with their audience. Sure they bring in the number of fans, but the number of conversations, impressions are low, non-existent to be more precise. You don’t need to have a degree in communications to see whats wrong here. They represent these beautiful hotels and the topic they regularly posts are about how beautiful the sites, rooms, service and food of other hotels in the world. They don’t even bother to ask or include the audience in their conversations.

Some other social media I’ve found tried to hard at being a super hero with contents catering to everyone. You can see contents for kids, teenagers, and adults in one social media in one whole day. People are literally confused who you are trying to talk to. Just because the social media is for a company that cater all ages, lets say a mall, you don’t have to talk to everyone, you need to talk to the people that matter, that can influence others and are decision makers.

Insights are Important

Yes, those sites that offer insights services are actually important. They can show you who follows you, their age groups, which topics are popular, and what day of the week or time of day they like to interact with you. From these information you should be able to begin to describe what your audience are like. You can be more advance by A-B testing posts and measure their sentiments, create surveys or activations that lures user involvements.

Don’t forget to consider what your competition is doing. Why go head to head with a competitor who’s doing the same thing first or have better funding. For instance, a competing motorcycle company is using communities to be part of a testimonial video series published weekly on their social media. Using communities in similar way is just a bad move, try getting community members to spend a day with a motoGP racer and see him in action. Record their faces and testimonial. There is more than one way to break an egg, be creative. So be sure to have insights on your competition by running a competitive review at least once a month.

Know your enemy and know yourself, find naught in fear for 100 battles. Know yourself but not your enemy, find level of loss and victory. Know thy enemy but not yourself, wallow in defeat every time. ~ Sun Tzu

Case Study

After a month on social media, after market automotive parts producer Aspira has connected to a little over 10,000 fans on facebook and 2000 followers on twitter through an integrated campaign. We took another month to connect and engage the fans and followers through dishing out random posts that are according to the brand’s target market. We look at what post get the most likes, what post get the best shares, and what posts get them to comment. We also looked at the type of comment they make.

We find that our audience likes talking about automotive contents that relate to what they face each day: commuting, traffic jams, people who break traffic laws, etc. They love to comment on these topics both good and bad. The important thing is that it starts conversations with themselves.

Through these insights, we know that creating a post about the daily commuting life is easy, but we want something they can relate and share, even laugh at themselves. We wanted to tell a story, but we don’t want a long boring post. So we decided to take on comic strips as they can be sarcastic, funny, and have an emotional value all together.

We recruited comic artist Haryadhi Gee known for his comic strips KOSTUM to be part of the Komik Jalanan (street comic) project and deliver a satire of everyday life of motorcyclist in Indonesia. With a comic every 2 weeks, we started our first comic post on September 23rd 2013, and it was a big hit. We had 12x the impression, 5x more likes and share in the first day than other any other posts. The snowball grows bigger as we hit 33k impression in one day on the 5th issue, and the likes and shares have quadrupled from the first issue.

Kerukunan KeluargaThis is Busway

GPS AkheratNeandhertal

Listening to what your audience is like pays off, and in more ways than others. People are begining to download and share the comic on other social networks which Aspira has no investments in. Our team have found them shared on Path, Line, Kakao Talk, Blackberry Messenger groups, Whatsapp, even joke sites like and ( like sites). The comic went viral because its the content that the audience can relate to. With the brand on the comic, it was a bonus.

So start paying attention to your audience, because you are not talking to yourself. Your audience will leave you if your content can’t relate to what they expect of your brand.

How Much Fans is Enough?

25 Sep

What is this funny looking formula you may ask? Well its still a hypothesis I’m working on. Its dedicated to the dreaded question asked by clients to social media strategists about how much fans should I have on Facebook to be adequate.

Its my fault really. I was asking for it.

I like clients that understands how social media works and how to generate leads or even sales from it through the right conversation and guerrilla tactics. How to generate fans from targeted ads, getting the message across through reach marketing, influencing the friends and friends of fans, and optimizing posts for great impression performance. So I taught them about it.

Understanding all that, they’ll surely end up asking: “So how much fan do I need to get my message across to everyone?”

When you are able to optimize your message, boost it to reach your fan’s friend of friend, you do come to a conclusion that you don’t need to have all the fans in the world. So how much is enough or how much fan should I least have? Thats a hard question to answer. Not saying that its  impossible to answer, but there is no absolute number you can pull out of a hat, and you need to be ready to back that up son.

So I started googling for answers and there was none.  So I guess I’ll just make one. Started researching about Frigyes Karinthy’s “six degrees of seperation” theory, Robin Dunbar’s hypothesis about how a human can only have a maximum of 150 close friends at one time, to Facebook’s guidelines. and collaborative cheat sheets

Through a dozen theory and hypothesis I started to piece my own hypothesis:

  1. Those considered potential fans should be those that fit the product/brand’s target market; age, gender, interests, etc.
  2. Individual reach is measured by its closest friends, meaning that each users is only accounted for 150 of their friends, even though they have more than that number.
  3. The number of reach per individual fan is 3, as it is the number you can effectively reach friends of friends of fans on facebook marketing.
  4. Possibility of overlapping friends is taken out of the equation as in social media, the more you receive a story from friends, the higher the probability of friends trusting that information.
  5. Scores should be evaluated at least once every year to adjust to new data and changes.

So to determine the number of User Population (U.Pop), we determine the number of active facebook users in a specific country or area, and calculate that with the targeting data to come with a result. So lets say we’re targetting all women in Indonesia between the age of 25-34, that would be (52.700.000 x 47%) x 68% = 16.842.920

So roughly there are almost 17 million Indonesian women aged between 25-34 who have facebook accounts. You can add other specific variables like interests to the equation.

Sample Calculation

The number of U.Pop is then divided by the individual reach. So its 150 (close friends) x 3 (reach through boost). Why 150? Well you know how facebook only shows updates on the home timeline from friends you have good interactions with, CMIIW, well they didn’t release any data on how many friends updates they show to you. Manually counting from my own home timeline scrolling down and getting unique users updates I receive from the past 5 days, I counted 129 unique accounts. So Robin Dunbar’s theory should fit here, after all Path is using it.

So, 16.842.920 divided by 450 equals 37,429, meaning that this year the brand should at least gain that much fan, and recalculate those numbers again in the next quarter to new data.

As I have said before, this is a hypothesis. Its not exact or proven science. Its open to testing, ridicule, dispute, modifications and discussions. Feel free to voice what you think on the comment section below.

Nice Theory

A Clean Social Media Account Is An Effective Social Media Account

12 May

Effective social media reachI’ve seen it over and over again; diseased social media accounts.

It started with a facebook account that just wouldn’t perform despite my best efforts. After winning the account, we took over the client’s social media account from its former agency, I just didn’t know we were stepping into something bad. No award winning content or smooth talking engagement would lift the effectiveness levels on the analytic report. The TAT score was always lower than 2% and more times even lower despite the massive numbers of new likes and engagements. Social media being the most result calculated advertising platform; numbers do the talking, and when one of the number is far from the agreed KPI, its never good.

One Sunday morning I decided to spend the whole day in front of the laptop, breaking apart that social media account. Why are the TAT scores and the reach scores low. This also applied to their twitter account. With over 5k followers, a reach that low just doesn’t make sense.

I went straight to the bottom, analyzing the social media’s past activities (before we took over), the comments, the likes, to each facebook accounts that ever engaged with the page and still left their traces behind. I extended my search to the apps they used, their google analytics, traffic, etc. What I found was horrific.

Out of the 1607 facebook accounts I checked that ever engaged (commented, like, share, etc) 1092 of them was a fake/dormant account. All happened when the social media account held quizzes, like games (now banned by facebook), photo tags (also banned by facebook) and other events to drive new likes to their page with lucrative prizes like gadgets or tickets.

So if I took that amount and made it as a focused group model over the previous 18k amount of fans, that would mean around 12k of those likes could be made by fake accounts that were made on the purpose of to help win a competition the account held. This is actually common practice by quiz hunters as they are known, where its a growing community worldwide especially in Indonesia (CMIIW).

“So whats the damage? Aren’t the more likes the better?”
Put it this way. Its like having 8 friend’s phone number but only 1 actually answers any of your calls, its having 8 friends with only 1 that you can reach. The facebook page has 18.000 likes and you can only reach 6000 of them, and that is if whatever you post has a good edgerank. No matter how good your content is, only those 6000 has a possibility to engage, its a big black hole. Imagine you spend money on a targeted post to boost reach on your followers and that post appears on a fake/dormant account. Thats money wasted. Lets say it codts 50 cents per reach, thats USD$6000 down the drain.

When we reported our findings to the client, our solution was simple: delete fake fans. The client was of course held back. This means a cost for a dedicated individual to root around in the fans list to find fake accounts and deleting them, not only will they spend money, they will loose fans. The question was which would you rather have: “a social media account with fans that are interested by your product and can be reached by your messages” or “a social media with a high number of fans that you can show off but dysfunctional at delivering the messages you want to send out”?

It took a whole 2 weeks of complaints and deliberations, but we finally got the message through. However this was just the first of many. Its has now become a standard operating procedure for me when accepting new clients, even when we’re only pitching for a client that has an existing social media account. I have one of my boys or girls to do a health check on the accounts. I’ve been to a pitch where the client bragged about his awesome 2013 where he got 40.000 likes and we came with a pitch to burn more than half of those fans since they’re fake accounts. Facebook is currently doing us social media strategist a favor by deleting fake and dormant accounts, but its a slow process. I’ve witnessed a quiz hunter owning up to over 2000 fake accounts to win a competition, and some of those accounts are updated regularly to seem like a real account.

A clean and healthy social media account lets your team focus on what matters: strategy, content, edgeranks, and other creative methods to drive traffic furthermore extend the reach of your posts, engage and even create evangelists. Your ads will be worth the money you spend, and your social media content represents your brand to mass public, not to the fake ones.

If you are using a third party or an agency to manage you brand in social media, make sure they don’t buy your fans or lure fans with easy quizzes. There’s a better way to do this, a much better way.

Looking forward to your insight on this, give me your critics and comments.