Influence people

Sunday, May 29, 2016

The New New Age

Were he to examine Facebook, Freud would have a field day.

The good doctor said children, primitives and neurotics all shared an "animistic" view of the universe. Every object has a will that "magical thoughts" can command.

This self-loving "omnipotence" forms the very root of narcissism, Freud believed.

So it's no surprise today's selfie-obsessed customers are embracing magical thinking, as a new report from JWT Intelligence asserts.

New-age accoutrements like crystals, gongs, incense and magic creams are hot, the report says.

"As we navigate through the stress and mundanity of our everyday existence and parallel online lives, we are increasingly turning to unreality as a form of escape and a way to search for other kinds of freedom, truth and meaning.

"What emerges is an appreciation for magic and spirituality, the knowingly unreal, and the intangible aspects of our lives that defy big data and the ultratransparency of the web."

And it's not just Trustafarians who are into magical thinking.

According to Pew Research Center, while the percentage of Americans who attend church declined between 2007 and 2014, the percentage who say they routinely "feel a deep sense of spiritual peace and well-being” increased.

"This is being played out via a third-wave New Age for a post-digital generation, which is seeking spirituality through crystals, astrology, sound baths, tarot and tapping. What differentiates this new New Age from its previous incarnations is that the alternative beliefs and practices are now considered serious, irony-free, credible, millennial friendly and cool."

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Teardrops over Tarawa

In the middle of World War II, 2,700 Women Marines (average age 22) served in Headquarters Battalion at Henderson Hall in Arlington, Virginia. 

My mother was one of them.

She told many "war stories" later, mostly comical; and one, in particular, not comical.

The latter was set in late November 1943, when she helped operate a ticker tape machine inside the war room where the top brass worked.

The machine was dedicated to one purpose: transmitting live reports of casualties from the Pacific.

On November 20 of that year, 18,000 Marines began an amphibious attack on a Japanese-held "islet" called Betio.

A mere two miles long by a half-mile wide, Betio is a coral rock 2,500 miles southwest of Hawaii and part of a larger atoll named Tarawa—in 1943, the most fortified spot in the Pacific.

As the history books tell, everything went wrong.

As the first assault wave prepared to hit the beachcode-named "Red 1"—high seas slowed the Marines' transfer from the battleships onto the landing boats, so the attack fell behind schedule.

Then, planned air raids were delayed, so the boats had to linger offshore, sustaining terrible artillery fire from the island. 

Slowly, the tide went down—much lower than expected—and grounded the boats on coral reefs. So the Marines abandoned the armored landing crafts and waded toward Red 1 hundreds of yards through chest-deep water and under brutal machine-gun fire from 100 Japanese pillboxes.

Those who made it onto the sand had to crawl inland, to avoid the rain of bullets. 

But hundreds of Marines never made it. They drowned in the surf. Their bodies so clogged the assault path the second wave of reinforcements couldn't be sent until the next day.

In Arlington, the generals in the war room stood watching a sign of the disaster-in-the-making on Red 1: the ticker tape machine.

My mother said it was spitting out the names of casualties faster than anyone had ever witnessed, or thought possible.

She said the normally gruff men were transfixed by the clattering machine. They stood looking helpless, and openly sobbing.

Friday, May 27, 2016

How Publishers Will Survive

Antiquated mindsets bar publishers' way to monetizing digital content, Rob Ristagno says in Niche Media.

"Publishers often cite a 10% rule of thumb, meaning only one out of ten print subscribers pays for a digital replica," he says.

But exceptions to the rule abound (for example, with over one million subscribers, the digital edition of The New York Times).

Publishers' time-honored business model—amass an audience and sell ads based on CPMs—no longer works. 

Why not? Because, while print CPMs sell for $17, digital CPMs sell for $2And the bargain-basement price of digital CPMs only promises to drop, as more publishers abandon print.

Publishers need a new model, Ristagno says. They need to:

Corner a niche market. "Instead of worrying about CPMs, find the most enthusiastic sub-group of your audience and help them solve a specific problem." Once you succeed in one niche, extend to another and another and another.

Sell more than ads. Sell memberships, online courses, research reports and events. "Your business model should survive without advertising. Otherwise, you’re not providing enough value to the consumer."

Publish only great content. "You can’t fool smart people (or Google) with low-quality digital content."

Adopt new technology—now. Off-the-shelf technology is easier and cheaper to deploy than ever. So move quickly. You can tackle fancy integrations another day.


"Find a niche, not a nation," Seth Godin says in The Bootstrapper's Bible.

Niche is a time-honored business term and an ancient idea. It literally means a "pigeonhole," and derives from the Latin for nest.

Finding yours means your craft never has to compete on price, because your flock needs you/relies on you/likes you/talks about you/cares about you.

Take, for example, Joe Smith, an ornithologist, independent researcher and top blogger for The Nature Conservancy.

Because he practices his craft with skill and diligence, Joe Smith's flock needs him/relies on him/likes him/talks about him/cares about him.

"There's no such thing as a niche that's too small if the people care enough," Seth Godin also says.

Have you found your niche?

DISCLOSURE: Joe Smith is my son-in-law. Check out Cool Green Science.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Which Restroom Would Your Brand Use?

"Brands identify as many things—cute, quirky, rugged, industrial—but they are rarely male, female or other," says researcher Andreas Voniatis in Brand Quarterly.

"They may appear to be more masculine or feminine by design, but it’s rare for brands to speak in a gendered voice."

But shouldn't every brand man up to gender?

They short answer: Yes.

Voniatis cites a study by his own firm that asked how customers react to content when blind to its author.

Researchers presented 1,000 adults content grabbed from popular Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts. 
They found that content which typically produces negative reactions produced positive ones when anonymized.

"But the most interesting revelation was how responsive we are to content written by members of the opposite sex," Voniatis says. "We found that women responded more positively to content authored by men and vice versa."

According to the study, women are 2% more likely than men to react positively to content authored by a man; and men, 5% more likely to react positively to content authored by a woman.

The findings suggest brands would strengthen the appeal of their "personalities" by speaking in a gendered voice.

"By attempting to appeal to the opposite sex when writing or gendering the brand voice as the opposite of the majority of our customers, we could find new and interesting ways of engaging with our audience," Voniatis says.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

How to Choose the Right Email Marketing Consultant (Infographic)

Been-around blogger Matt Banner contributed today's post. Matt teaches techniques for better blogging at OnBlastBlog.

Email marketing offers an immensely high return on your investment, but in most cases you will need a consultant to help you master today’s top strategies. 

The right email marketing consultant:

  • Understands today’s underlying strategies and tools. 
  • Understands your brand and of the voice you use when speaking to your users.
  • Can build a list of people interested in your product or service.
  • Sweats the details, because everything about your emails matters, from the length of the subject line to the content within. 
The latter is where a skilled copywriter comes into play. The copy within your emails must be compelling and properly written to ensure that it grabs readers' attention immediately and keeps them engaged throughout. The ability to write strong sales copy is also a must, as the call-to-action is massively important. 
In order to properly choose a consultant, you will first need a basic knowledge of what makes any email marketing campaign successful.

Take a look at the infographic below to find out more about what defines a strong email marketing strategy. Using this information, you can better choose a consultant.

Email Marketing Infographic

Monday, May 23, 2016

The Art of Art is Simplicity

The art of art, the glory of expression and the sunshine of the light of letters, is simplicity.
—Walt Whitman

Simplicity's cool... so cool, brand researchers now index it.

But before it was cool, two artists preached simplicity every week on popular TV shows.

The beatnik, Jon Gnagy

Beatnik Jon Gnagy premiered in 1946 on NBC's first regularly scheduled TV program, the hour-long variety show Radio City Matinee

In the opening segment of the first episode, Gnagy stood at an easel and demonstrated, in a few simple steps, how to draw a tree. 

The show's producer called those 10 minutes of airtime "pure television," and within four months gave Gnagy his own 15-minute show, You are an Artist—TV's very first spin-off.

Gnagy used his weekly show to teach viewers how to draw the barns, haystacks and water mills that symbolized bygone America. He sketched his subjects using four basic forms—the ball, cone, cube and cylinder—with shadows cast from a single light source. When he finished each drawing, he matted and framed it, so—voila—the piece was ready to hang on the wall.

During each broadcast, Gnagy also pitched his branded art kit, complete with pencils, paper and a book of drawing lessons.

While Gnagy's prime-time show lasted only two years, it continued in weekend syndication for another 12, inspiring thousands of Boomers to learn how to draw chestnut trees, horse corrals and covered bridges.

The hippie, Bob Ross

Hippie Bob Ross preached simplicity for 11 years through his half-hour PBS show, The Joy of Painting.

Remembered for his fuzzy Afro and fuzzier aphorisms—"Happy little trees" being the most famous—Ross popularized the 16th century oil painting technique known as “wet on wet."

He also marketed a branded line of paints.

Throughout the 1980s, Ross' weekly show (which his business partner called “liquid tranquilizer”) inspired thousands of pre-Internet kids, if not to pick up a paintbrush, at least to contemplate das K├╝nstlerleben.

Ross himself finished over 30,000 paintings in his lifetime, many of which he donated to PBS fundraisers.
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