As discussed in that last piece, processing fluency is the phenomenon of a people seeking the simplest explanations to things and accepting those as true. And, so long as that simple explanation does not contradict a core belief, the person believes it.
Now, what does that mean for us as marketers?
Our friend picked up the phone.
“You smell bad!” we said in unison, masking our voices in creepy falsetto. Then we slammed down the phone and laughed.
I was a tween in a time before the ubiquity of Caller ID/Display and prank calls were in vogue. I was slightly ashamed of what we were doing, and yet we made the calls, and our ability to do this ugly, passive-aggressiveness and hurtful thing was facilitated by one critical factor: anonymity.
Without this cloak we were kind to our friend with whom we, clearly, had some issues. There were certainly more effective and decidedly more respectable ways to address our problems. Did we have the emotional maturity to do so? Clearly not. And the lack of identity gave us free reign to express our feelings honestly – and distastefully.
The benefit of online anonymity is often provided in the extreme. It enables users to offer information or perspective without fear of retribution or recrimination (e.g. whistleblowing, expressing political points of view under repressive regimes). Stigma is also a consideration: a person might be hesitant to attach their name because the revelations might lead them face discrimination (e.g. at their workplace for certain points of view or for their sexual orientation) and someone, for instance, who experienced sexual abuse or is dealing with depression might want to comment on a blog post or forum to express solidarity – but not if it meant revealing their identity to everyone.
Of course many anonymous remarks don’t fall under these categories. And while online anonymity, which has long been a contentious issue, allows for the expression of honest points of view, it is also an appropriate shelter from which to fire off damaging or defamatory remarks. It is theorized that “Good Lamps Are the Best Police” and anonymity - and even the illusion of anonymity - provides a cloak under which to operate, and is an excellent sanctuary for those wishing to use the internet for hateful comments, intimidation and character assassinations.
Recent occurrences have once again thrown this issue into the spotlight. There are, as just a few examples, a court case which requests the unveiling of anonymous posters who made defamatory comments, a newspaper which revealed their discovery that the anonymous comments on their site which were “disparaging a local lawyer, were made using the e-mail address of a judge who was presiding over some of that lawyer’s cases", Anonymously authored blogs exist, as do as skewed Amazon reviews made under a pseudonym and social sites or applications that encourage anonymous feedback.
The sad truth is that people sometimes comport themselves differently when their identity is not known. Even those comments which express honest dissenting opinion frequently lack respect when posted anonymously. The anonymity adds yet another layer of distance from the other party: without the person in front of you, you can avoid considering his/her emotions and possible reactions, but now that you that your identity is also concealed, it is easy to dispense with any civility at all.
Take for instance a comment on a blog that remarks something such as:
"This post makes it clear you are a complete moron. I would be embarrassed to be you."
With anonymity the opportunity is presented to phrase even one’s legitimate opinions in an inconsiderate and scathing way. Were there an obligation to attach one’s name - and all the reputation that may go with it - the user might be more inclined to take into account the other party’s humanity and feelings and rather than release vitriolic comments, perhaps provide constructive criticism.
Scott Rosenberg of Salon.com makes the argument that moderation rather than “real names” would help to encourage responsible discourse. This makes good sense with respect to online conversations not descending into “barroom brawls” but does not address the difficulty in distinguishing between true and untrue statements made online. And, without attaching identity, there is also no way of gauging the perspective/conflict of interest of the party.
Writes Randy Cohen: “’Says who?’ is not a trivial question. It deepens the reader’s understanding to know who is speaking, from what perspective, with what (nutty?) history, and with what personal stake in the matter.
Certainly, anonymous posters aren’t the only ones who write distastefully or choose to grind their axe online. But this allowance does grant a great deal of power without responsibility. Power on its own can be a dangerous intoxicant. Without repercussions it becomes even more worrisome.
Recall the question: “Would you kill someone if no one would ever know you did it?” Replace “kill” with “defame” and you have a fair concern for the internet age.
Measuring the effectiveness of your PR process is not a simple task, especially if you don’t have the budget for PR-coverage subscriptions. Just as challenging is demonstrating that your organization is better than the competition with leveraging PR to save on ad spending. Following is real-world method to handle these chores. Use Demand Metric’s Competitive Ad vs. PR Analysis Tool to start tracking your media coverage and benchmark your ad/PR-spending ratio against your competitors.
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By Peter Mosley
This article is rife with sensationalism, trite snippets and sound bites. Sadly, it has no relevant connection to the Net.
I will not denigrate NOW Toronto regardless of their political views nor their chock-full-of-escort-ads section and ad revenue - what I will put down is this search for something to say about the future of the Net. Oh and for all you folks who read NOW Mag denigrate means to put down (Borrowed from Bob Newhart!)
Ok, I am old. 59 years old, in fact.
The Net has been around as long as I have. It was created in 1951. So was I. And since 1951 it has done just fine regardless of the Web 2.0, Social Media and now Web 3.0 labels folks want to create. If you were not there since the beginning, trust me, everyone and their brother, sister, cousin, wierd old Uncle and son-in-law has tried to port over Shovelware online. It is a virtual mall, it is a magazine, it is DM, it is a record label, it is cheap TV etc etc etc etc (Notice 4, count em, 4 etc!) It is none of these. It is the Net. If ya want to see someone NOT getting the Net, watch someone spouting these tired, hackneyed terms.
In this article, for the record, lets just point out that there is no such thing as Web 2.0. The underlying intent of Mr O'Reilly's coined phrase was that the web had changed. The best explanation I have heard was that when the web came along we put our word docs there. We hyperlinked to them. Then we got fancy after a while and put up all sorts of jumping bunnies and throbbing gristle in these docs. But we were simply serving up documents.
When the Web changed it changed fundamentally. We were able to have all your your data talk to all my data. Think Excel vs Word. Google is the best example of this. Hold on, I must stop and sigh. I do love Google.
Anyway, je digress ... this new Web NOW talks about - in the guise of Apple and the iPad is so not new. AOL did all this in the 80s. A closed-circuit-go-to-my-server-dial-up-thing and we will pretend it is the Net (Don't ya just love a tmesis?) On AOL you are not really online. Just like a Bulletin Board System was not online.
Apple is an amazing company - the digital centre of your life. Hell, I know it's mine. My iPhone, my iPod, my MacBook Pro, my desktop iTunes, Logic etc etc - Oh, I want an iPad, and will get one. Not right this second, mind you, but I will get one. I look at it as the ultimate interface and control device. Imagine controlling Logic with that device. [le sigh ... ]
As for the Net - it is still wonderfully simple and elegant and slightly broken. The Cluetrain written in the late 90s really spelled out all of this - please have a peek http://cluetrain.com/. Sadly, most new-comers have neither read, nor heard about this. When folks mention the net as a conversation The Cluetrain coined that BTW, they say this with absolutely no concept of what an online conversation really is. It is not the real world modality of you in a mall chatting with your friend. It is much more. It is a way for you to be at one end and me at the other. And the plain truth is that the more shit we have in the middle the more the conversation is devalued. Apple is not building a conversation tool. They are building a digital interface. Avec neat apps.
The idea that Apple is, or will, take over the Web or make something that emulates an 80s AOL is laughable.
If it wasn't for Apple there would not have been the proliferation and wonder we saw online. Most folks built all the early sites on Macs. I was part of MAGIC - the Macintosh Awareness Group in Canada which turned into one of the very first ISPs. Apple was and is the easiest way to get online. Full stop.
Apple is doing what Apple does best. Increase shareholder value. And if they could do that supporting gambling and porn they would. But they don't. They have amazing products - I use em daily - and their closed-circuit culture is just that.
iTunes arguably the best music delivery system. Their stores, real and online, the new bookstore and all of the wonderful stuff they put out, well ... le sigh encore.
Stop with the BS!
Posted via email from mose's posterous
Recently on Linkedin in the Brand and Communication Management Group there was a lively discussion. By lively I mean 15 pages representing 265 comments. There was some incredible thinking. You should do yourself a favour and check out this group.
I thought it would be interesting to port this over to One Degree and see what you think?
The question was posed ...
Can you describe, in one sentence or less, the difference between a brand and a commodity?
Here are some of the responses to get the juices flowing!
So lets hear it! What say you?
June 9-11, 2010
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Let's talk a moment, shall we, about New Business. "Yeah, yeah, yeah!!! New biz,new biz, new biz!!!!" (They all scream salivating heavily!)
I believe the time is just about perfect for all us little cowboys and cowboy-ettes to start thinking that "Well, maybe there is a damn light at the end of the tunnel!" And, it ain't the train...you know the rest of that saying. The econo-clypse is passing and time to get back into the game.
"New Business, you ask? "Yes!" I exclaim emphatically! And not the recession type (Where your Uncle Herman happens to strong-arm a Lodge Brother in order to give you a taste of his retail clothing, storm door emporium and deli account...) I'm talking about New Business. The real stuff.
Here's a couple "Rules of the Pitch."
Now, let's expand on these ramblings...er, I mean truisms...or well, truth be known ... crusty-salty-old-dog-urban-lore-chestnuts.
1. You never, ever, ever win an account in a pitch - you only lose it.
If, for whatever reason, you are in a shoot out or make the finals in a pitch-a-rama and you haven't got, in your little sweaty hands, inside information, have at least three quarters of the decision making team on your side or have absolutely positively researched and developed the "right" plan of attack and nailed it beyond belief (That is generally seen when the VP Sales and The VP manufacturing start hugging, celestial choirs are heard in the background and the CEO starts to cry during your Dog and Pony!) well, don't be surprised when the other guys win. Because they have probably gotten all of the above and then some. Ask a quick question "What kind of relationship do I have with the key decision maker at the prospective client?" "Oh yeah, you know ... what's his name."
2. If you are an incumbent agency - decline to pitch. Full stop no exceptions. Without fail incumbent agencies just don't win. Unless there's major miracles like agency mergers and takeovers will, in fact, give an incumbent a leg up. But if you have an account and the client calls for a review it certainly isn't because you are the reason they get up in the morning to go to work. Something is definitely rotten in Ads-ville. And quite frankly the cost, time and effort spent against a long shot ... well, that's not why we're in business. Is it?
3. If you're going into a pitch and you are unsure whether you will win. You've already lost. How can you run your business on a long shot or gamble? The big picture here is to grow your business. If you haven't gotten a really good read on what the prospective client wants, how they want it, why they want it and where you fit in, you are wasting a lot of time. I would recommend revisiting your New Biz strategy and try more growth from existing clients and their connections.
4. Research, homework, more homework and then more homework inside info and investment spending (Notice I didn't say spec here!) wins new business. And I love this part. Agency X has a design on some new biz. What do they do? They scour the rags and see who's up for a review. Well a/ that's too late and b/ if you read it in the papers how the hell do you think you're going to get an advantage! Let's look at where new biz comes from. 1. Existing business...it costs roughly (I say roughly because I can't be bothered to look this up...and you guys don't want a page of stats) 6 times as much to get new business as it does increasing your business from an existing account 2. Relationships of many kinds with your customers and their customers and associates. With suppliers and associates and lastly with your network. 3. From the sky (As in dropped in my lap!) I really like 1 & 2. 3 I'm always happy about 3 but don't put it up as collateral at the bank.
5. Always drive the new biz effort from your position of strength. And new biz should be approached from your viewpoint. Like, hey man what's your agency's USP eh? Like, do ya do retail? Or financial institutions or drug companies? Hi tech or cars??? Then if ya don't have a USP...get one. And if ya do "What the hell are ya pitching some retail coffee chain if you specialize in financial service related companies or industrial hi-tech?"
Look at your organization. Where can a new piece of business fit in. Are you light in media? Do you have hot-shot suits? Are you known for your creative? Look at the departments and see where a new piece of biz will fit with the least amount of investment and change... "Hey we are doing a ton of media specialization in this category...it's really similar to that type of industry... Hey we won't have to reinvent the wheel or staff up to meet their needs... or better hey we have a ton of expertise in this type of advertising "Who needs this type of advertising?." And don't forget you make money by driving out costs.
Now, a very important element is time... and timing. First designate resources to the task. Have a NEW BUSINESS department or at least a person with appropriate funding.
Someone sitting on the phone cold calling doesn't provide the best results.
Nor does it bode well if the CEO has to do all the cooking, bottle washing and selling. Know that it costs money. I do not believe in spec but I do believe in advertising (Yeah, you should be advertising too!) and I do believe that stuff costs. Furthermore if you don't have a specific person handling this type of activity and a decent budget, it either gets lost in the shuffle - especially if some other day-to-day stuff gets in the way, and it also falls prey to on again off again strategic thinking. Because lot's of times the agency owner who ends up doing this is busy paying bills, hiring and firing and putting out assorted fires.
Now a word ... about research. You want to beat another agency. It's easy. Out-work them. Out research them.
Interview the prospective client - at as many levels as possible. And if they are reluctant to sit with you and your key personnel for a few meetings either you are being used as "Well we'll give the account to my brother Joe, but we better get a couple of others in here to make it look good." Or these guys don't take what we do seriously. Both reasons prevent you from getting close to your prospect and should send up huge red warning flags. Interview their food chain up and down ... suppliers, customers, channels of distribution ... even competitors (and that is very interesting because who knows how many of them might need an agency ... because I believe you are after this prospect because you have specialization.
God forbid someone recognizes this and snaps you up before their competition does. Any organization that is involved with your prospective client should be investigated. (Associations, Securities Commissions - if a public company - community groups and trade shows and conferences within their industry.
Search the press-clipping services and retain a research company to provide you with detailed packages. Utilize the media monitoring companies for samples of ads the company has done and get a full rundown on media spending (by category, spending by month, by region, by product/brand and full category overviews - look for trends!) And talk to the media. Trade mags are the best for this type of info. These guys have some pretty interesting information if you can tap it. Talk to somebody at the old agency (somebody always knows somebody - ask around.) and find out what the scoop is. Why the change? What happened? Mind you, don't take all you hear as gospel truth. After all, they probably just got fired.
And then, if you can try the product or service yourselves. Really look at what this prospect does for a living. Get under their skin. Think like they do.
Does this make any sense? I hope so. I have seen so many great agencies that should have won clients but didn't because they didn't understand the process. It has nothing to do with pretty pictures charts and slick presentations. It has to do with results and relationships. If a client is assured that you know his business, that you understand him and see the future you're a winner.
Also I believe the client doesn't care what you did for Blogs & Company last year. They want to know what you're going to do for them ... tomorrow.
This certainly is a "skim-the-surface" going-over of a very, very important subject and I don't take this lightly.
Take care...and don't take any prisoners.
The Art of Negotiating
“When selling you never get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate for.”
Definition: Negotiation is a mutual exchange of concessions, which provides both buyer and seller with a profitable deal, or a win-win situation.How is Negotiating Different?
Lately I have ranted about the lack of brilliance in advertising and the seeming pablum we must endure. I am eating my words.
This NIKE spot leaves me speechless. It takes unbelievable courage to do something like this. This is as close to the power and breath-taking clarity of the Toscani ads Bennetton ran years ago. Wow.
Over the years I have given lectures in different areas ... email marketing, presentation skills, creative development and one of my favorite topics ...user experience.
While I was with marchFIRST, formerly USWeb/CKS I developed this for my clients. This was presented many times for The CMA.
Part III The Art of negotiating and Closing techniques tomorrow
Use a Key Account Planning Tool to determine where your revenues will come from.
Part II Business Communications & Process coming tomorrow
If you have ever watched The Colbert Report, the on-air persona constructed by Stephen Colbert often talks about “Truthiness”, a word created by the entertainer to refer to a phenomenon of “if something sounds true, it feels true and so therefore must be true.”
The term was coined to parody how misinformation often becomes “common knowledge” or “gospel truth”—particularly in politics. But as marketers, we are the promoters and guardians of credibility for ourselves, our companies, our products and our clients. We cannot be effective if we cannot establish credibility.
So, what’s the truth about truthiness?
In the world of consumer psychology, truthiness is known as “processing fluency”. In other words, the simpler something is to understand, so long as that thing isn’t an obvious contradiction to firmly held beliefs or experiences by that person, the more likely that person is to accept that thing as true.
Humans, as a species, are lazy. Let me re-phrase that. We conserve our mental and physical resources as much as possible. So, when looking for information, we typically look until we find something that satisfies our basic needs and then call it a day—often without fact checking, seeking out alternative viewpoints or sources or otherwise “kicking the tires.” Think of our political views. If you are a liberal, do you often read conservative columnists to get all points of view? If you are a conservative, do you consult liberals?
If you do, then mazel tov, but you are very much in the minority.
What reinforces “truthiness”?
Congruence with previously held attitudes.
In politics, if someone from your party of choice says something, you probably take it as fact. In consumer goods, brand attitudes are the dominate force. If you think Sony makes the best consumer electronics, when you see a new product from them, you are highly inclined to believe that product is the best—even without looking at another brand or product review from a third party.
What conflicts with “truthiness”?
Motivation and contradiction.
If people are highly motivated, they will seek multiple sources of information. Often, the moderator of motivation in consumer goods is risk. And the two greatest sources of perceived risk in consumers are experience and price. The less people know about a product or brand, the less secure they feel.
Perceived risk also correlates with cost. If you love BMWs and have always wanted a BMW, you are probably still going to look at Consumer Reports before plunking down $70,000. But if you love Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, you are probably not going to do exhaustive research before plunking down three or four bucks for a pint.
Additionally, if a person is confronted with information that runs counter to their expectations and beliefs, they will be slow to accept it as fact—no matter how simple the information is.
What does all this mean for marketers?
In my next article, I will get into applying what we know about Truthiness/Processing Fluency to achieve the highest impact with your customers and prospects.
John Dinsmore is a marketing consultant based out of Cincinnati, OH where he is also pursuing a Ph.D. in Consumer Behavior. He can be reached at dinsmojb [at] mail [dot] uc [dot] edu or www.PiledHighMarketing.com
What constitutes an attack on the web and why does it happen?Some situations are very clear while others can be interpreted differently from the angle at which one views or is participating.
“The self does not exist separate from the environment in which that self is expressed. If someone contains his aggression in face-to-face living, but expresses that aggression online, both behaviors reflect aspects of self: the self that acts non-aggressively under certain conditions, the self that acts aggressively under other conditions. When a person is shy in person while outgoing online, neither self-presentation is more true. They are two dimensions of that person, each revealed within a different situational context.”Further, many consider making negative comments more acceptable and less severe than enacting such behaviors offline. One reason is that there are often no real world repercussions (especially when the commenter is anonymous) and for those wanting to bully it is a perfect vehicle.
I can't see you ...
But not all intents are as malicious, sometimes there is simply a “lack of awareness” for the other party’s emotions. Additionally, offline,“[t]he self-conscious emotions of shame, guilt and embarrassment” are shown to “play an important role both in regulating our everyday interactions and also alleviating interactions that have been disrupted.” But online it is easy to post harsh words as “[t]ext communication offers abuilt-in opportunity to keep one’s eyes averted.”
Avoidance of attacks or negative judgments is why some people choose to not post (for instance, a YouTube video, or not to have a blog), or why some may even opt to shut down their online presence on a social site pursuant to an onslaught of negativity. To consider the impact that just one “bad apple" can have, think about the way one person’s presence in the offline world can lend negativity to an environment. Just as a workplace can be tainted by the behavior of one colleague so can one’s interest in participating in online discussions be dampened by interactions with one person. What was once a comfortable and positive haven can rapidly morph into a minefield, one where a user may question each decision to post or spend unnecessary time dealing with a fallout.
Insult is in the eye of the beholder.
In a Master’s Thesis which studied of concept of “flaming” on YouTube , the author, Peter J. Moor, pointed out that interpretation was key. Just as in email, lacking knowledge of the sender and/or his/her body language leads to interpretation of message other than was intended. While some comments were made to insult the party, in some instances miscommunication was also present. Referring in this case to those posting videos on YouTube, though it can well apply to other forms of online communication (e.g. blog post comments, twitter responses etc.):
“posters may think too often that comments are primarily aimed at them, and they may think that comments are intended to be offensive or provoking when they are not. Also, they may interpret comments different from their intended purposes ...”
“Thompsen describes how some of his ideas in a philosophical discussion are met with disagreement. The sender of the reply, who is called “B” and is known to Thompsen in real life, expresses his disagreement and ends his message with “Sorry, but knowledge/experience/reality in any formulation shouldn’t be subjected to that sort of crap.” (p. 54). Thompsen is not sure about the intent of this reply especially because the word “crap” is used. He feels frustrated and offended, which he makes clear in a reply to B. When B responds, it appears that his first reply had no offensive intent at all. Also, the word “crap” was wrongly interpreted as such: “Of the "crap" line, well, I have been hearing that line used about the kind of work I do for a long time now from hard-core quantitative types and I guess it just rubs off. Don’t take it personally.” (p. 61).” 
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