brand

Insight, Interesting, Helpful, C_NCENTRATE+5

2015 MCL - The Year In C_NCENTRATE

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With more than 15,000 subscribers, the C_NCENTRATE newsletter is now read regularly in all four corners of the globe and continues to grow steadily.  We took a look back at what got subscribers clicking and have created a Top 10 Most Clicked Links of C_NCENTRATE 2015. 
Interesting points: content marketing does not feature in the 2015 list (despite being strongly represented in the 2014 Top 10 Links list), there has been a 200% increase of productivity and strategic advice links in this year's Top 10 compared to 2014 (likely based on the subscriber feedback from 2013).  Roughly the same amount of video made the Top 10 with Uber's Uber Rush intro video being the first of its kind to make the list.

1)  What your 2016 Video Strategy Should Look Like [#50]
2)  How To Plan Any Presentation [Video] [#25]
3)  How To Work 40 Hours A Week Sending These Two Emails [#28]
4)  The 30-Second Habit That Has A Lifelong Impact [#43]
5)  Introducing Uber Rush [Video] [#42]
6)  What Google Really Knows About You [#40]
7)  Why Startups Succeed [#30]
8)  Why Scientists Are Upset With The Facebook Bubble Filter Experiment [#19] 
9)  How To Write An Email That Convinces Anyone To Meet With You [#29]
10) Infrastructure For Modern Brands [#36]


(NOTE: Numbers were adjusted for size of list at the time of sending)

Interview, Helpful

INTERVIEW : Brian Eden - Creator of 'Tell Us Your Story'

We instantly loved 'Tell Us Your Story' when we came across it on Twitter - it's an impressive and passionate rage against a trend we have seen emerge over the last few years...the tell us your story campaign.  We grabbed the creator, Brian Eden who is a Copywriter in New York.

Why did you set up 'Tell Us Your Story'?  

I started the blog last year after noticing that every brand suddenly wanted to hear my stories. The cat food wanted to hear my cat food story. The bleach wanted to hear my bleach story. The disinfectant wipes wanted to hear my disinfectant wipe story. The more I started paying attention to it, the more I started to see the humor and absurdity in these requests. Because, when’s the last time you heard a good disinfectant wipe story? 

What is the problem here?

As long as there’s been advertising, there have been trendy executions. From side-by-side taste tests, to “your family will love you for giving them [insert product here]” to jingles and flash mobs.  It seems the newest advertising trend is that brands want us to tell them our stories. But most products - especially the more ordinary ones - don’t lend themselves to being the centrepieces of especially compelling stories.

Why do you think brands do this? 

It’s easy to see the appeal of “Tell us your story” for a company, because it seems like a good way to create social media content, generate conversation with customers, and collect a bunch of testimonials all in one.   And for some types of businesses, that might actually work out. Travel, sports, hospitals, charitable causes - people actually do have stories to tell about these kinds of things, so it’s not as strange of a request coming from a brand like that.

Where it starts to get funny is when the more mundane, everyday kinds of products ask us for our stories. Kitty litter. Iced tea. Nose spray. They’re funny because they’re so socially awkward. Who actually has a nose spray story? 

What do you wish brands would do? How can they be better?

There are a lot of companies that are using social media really well - Oreo, GoPro, Old Spice and Honey Maid to name a few.   Social media offers brands big opportunities to do great work. But the work has to be rewarding for the customers. The more time and energy you’re asking people to give you, the more worthwhile it has to be for them to give it. The work can’t be totally self-serving (at least not overtly).

Helpful, Insight, Interesting

3 Video Series You Should Be Taking Notes From

HERE/FORTH CEO, Paul Armstrong, previously wrote a post about great content series that brands should be learning things from - here are three new ones that have been catching our eye and setting our brain boxes on fire.  The common theme?  Helping your customers know more and be better.  

1)  Vox Videos - A great range of topics, clearly explaining - with data - important issues of the day.  Not only do they inform, engage and incite comments but they add to the story.  

BRAND TAKEAWAY : Videos don't need to dumb down content - curate information and help foster debate amongst your viewers.

2) The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows - Part of the YouTube incubator, TestTube, TDOOS is a highly unique and engaging content series that explores the (made-up) word for things that have no words.  

BRAND TAKEAWAY : A great idea, ruthlessly executed can be enough to grow a rabid user-base.

3) Life Noggin : A great series of Q&A videos in a simplistic style that challenge the user to reconsider preconceptions and generally start asking more questions.

BRAND TAKEAWAY : Content doesn't have to be about you to make a dent and keep people coming back.  A start and an end plate - or even integration - wouldn't hurt these videos.