Monthly Archives: October 2009

A Few Fun Things We Found On The Interwebs

Written by: Digitally Approved
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Just a little end of the week fun. Even the most diligent of workers takes a few every now and then to catch some of the cool new things of the Web. Hopefully you find these as sweet as we (or shall I say I) do.

Yearn to have the appearance of  being more productive while at the office? Check out CantYouSeeImBusy.com a cleaver little site that incorporates games into what looks like an office document, spread sheet or chart. I think my fave is the Breakdown. I won’t tell anyone if you don’t.

cantyouseeimbusy copy

With a mantra like ‘Adding insult to everything,’ how can you not love Tauntr. Using the basic premise that sports fans love to taunt, heckle and incessantly mock opposing teams, players and the people who like them, this little gem gives us the platform to let the humor flow – in video, interactive and mock editorial headline form. Hey Tauntr, nice work. Let the sports fan smackdown begin!

TAUNTR_logo

This one is special for so very many reasons, but it’s really for our Los Angeles friends and those coming to visit. If you are not already in-the-know, let me introduce you to The Grilled Cheese Truck.

gc_stretchtopHome

By now you’ve surely heard of the Koji Beef Truck, the Korean BBQ vehicle that travels around Los Angeles delighting those, who are lucky enough to spot it, with taco-style Korean BBQ. Well, The Grilled Cheese Truck makes the rounds throughout Los Angeles as well, but is pure comfort food heaven. TGCT has even taken to Facebook and Twitter to keep fans in the loop of their whereabouts.

If you’ve got traveling food vendors like this in your neck of the woods, of course I want to hear about it. Maybe I’ll do a post on these modern traveling food vendors.

Brand Ambassadors Go Global with Help of Social Media

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Consumers are getting more power these days from the brands they know and love.  Starbucks’ “My Starbucks Idea” initiative provided web savvy brand loyalists with the power to weigh in on new product offerings and advise Starbucks on how to improve the company.  JetBlue’s over 1.3 million Twitter followers participate in the travel and airlines’ conversation and are exposed to the personal side of JetBlue’s operations.

The value of turning a consumer into a “brand ambassador” has grown significantly since the explosion of social media and Coca Cola’s newest fan outreach campaign adds a new dimension to how companies can benefit from handing power over to their most loyal consumers.

Mashable reported last week that Coca-Cola has embarked on a mission to find happiness in the 206 different countries that sell Coca-Cola products across the world.  Coca-Cola is empowering a few chosen “Happiness Ambassadors” to travel the world for 365 days beginning on January 1, 2010 and use social media to document their findings.

Expedition 206

This brilliant global initiative is using top-tier brand ambassadors to dive deeper into Coca-Cola’s “Open Happiness” brand philosophy and what it means to various cultures.  In today’s expanding global marketplace and social media influence, Coca-Cola’s “Expedition 206” campaign will most likely become the poster child for brands using the benefits of social media, globalization and fan ambassadors to strengthen the brand’s image.

Expedition 206” will send a 3-person team, decided by online voting, to various global events like the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, the FIFA World Cup in South Africa, and the World Expo in Shanghai.  This team will utilize blog posts, tweets, YouTube videos, TwitPics ands other social media platforms to document their “Happiness” findings.

Coca-Cola’s campaign represents the opportunities that social media has opened up to global companies.  This highly integrated and buzz worthy campaign will raise Coca-Cola to a new level that competitors must, and should, aspire to reach.  “Expedition 206” will provide Coca-Cola with valuable global consumer insights about its brand and products while creating a network of dedicated “Happiness Ambassadors.” A brand’s ability to embrace social media and the value of fan ambassadors will better prepare them for the ever-changing digital marketplace, especially in developing quality buzz-worthy content.

Marketing using online Street Teams

Written by: Digitally Approved
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In response to the “Record Labels Are Losing Power to Fans, Artists” post last week, I’d like to highlight a shift in the effectiveness of marketing a new or upcoming artist through social media- based street teams.

George Howard, the former president of the Rykodisc label stated that “Record labels in the future will concern themselves with all the heretofore locked assets that an artist has, and [with] utilizing music as a sort of gateway to a more dynamic relationship between artist and constituent.”

George’s comment illustrates the exact positioning of Fancorps.com, an online hub for street team management and promotion for music, film, video games, politics and sports.  Recently, Fancorps has been utilized to assemble the street team for latest season of American Idol’s 4th place finisher, teenage pop-rocker Allison Iraheta.

Fancorps page

I received a Facebook notification about the launch of Allison’s Fancorps street team, where I am a member of her fan page.  Allison also has an official Twitter account where she posted information about the street team launch.  I’ve been eagerly awaiting her December 1st album release and this opportunity seemed like a perfect way to pass the time and help promote her debut record.

Allison was signed by 19 Recordings/Jive Records back in June, and the label is taking a grassroots, fan-based approach to her marketing efforts.  Social media is the main component of Allison’s street team, and members are prompted to choose which categories of street team promotions they want to be a part of: Allison’s Artists, Flyer Fans, MYSPACERS, Facebookers, Tweeps, and Telemundo Fans.

FB Street teaming

After joining Allison’s Fancorps street team, members are asked to complete “orders” which may include a variety of promotional tasks like posting Allison’s debut album cover to your Facebook Wall or submitting reasons why Allison should come to your hometown during her album press tour. Completed orders reward fans with points, which can be traded in for exclusive Allison merchandise.

Allison’s Fancorps page serves as a direct link to Allison herself and empowers her fans to spread the word about her new single and debut album. Fans get exclusive access to Allison’s music and assets, which help develop an intimate relationship between fan and artist.  Fancorps’s philosophy isn’t necessarily new, but its prominence and legitimacy in the digital marketing environment has grown exponentially since social media became valuable marketing channels.

Fancorps may not single-handedly make Allison Iraheta a star, but like Fanscape’s CEO, Larry Weintraub, mentioned in his assessment of the future of the music label, “The chances for becoming a star are slim. But they always have been.”

Football Season: Getting into the Game

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Football Logos

Now that football season is in full swing, we here at Fanscape think it’s about time to take a little look at one of the most successful sports in US history. Whether you’re an every now and then fan or one of the most passionate – you know who you are you face painting season ticket holders and fantasy leaguers – the NCAA and NFL completely captivate us in the Fall and Winter months. And at Fanscape, we’re no exception.

In recent years the game has gone well beyond just what is seen on TV or in the stands; it has become a virtual communications juggernaut. Fans now have unprecedented access to players and teams: fan & team groups on Facebook; message boards galore; Twitter accounts, player websites; and UStream activity, all connecting us in such an intimate way. Because of the expansive amount of options that have been created to link fans to their respective teams and/or players, the doors have swung wide open for brands to captivate their audience in creative new ways.

Contests, promotions, players’ involvement and a team’s interaction all are important aspects of reaching fans, but as marketers we need to make sure our efforts are getting the right message across without being too intrusive. With the every day fan becoming increasingly more savvy on both the consumer and social media front, taking contests beyond entering a name and email is key to a campaign’s success. Some of the best we’ve seen thus far have been those that bring fans directly into the fold; e.g. Dorito’s Crash the SuperBowl and the NFL’s Super Ad.

Football has always been a social affair: gathering with friends, family or a group of fellow fans to watch your favorite team; tailgating, an experience in and of itself; and let’s not forget about actually being in the stadium for the game. True, football has always been about fans coming together to celebrate, but with social media in the mix, fans have the added rush of instant connections and instant interaction on a global scale, whether sitting at a sports bar, at home or in the stands.

Record Labels are Losing Power to Fans, Artists

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Fanscape CEO, Larry Weintraub participates in an industry discussion on Record Labels for PBS.org’s MediaShift and throws Social media into the mix.

Record Labels are Losing Power to Fans, Artists

by Jason Feinberg, October 9, 2009

Over the past month, I received a significant amount of feedback on my recent MediaShift article, What Will Record Labels Look Like in the Future?. People from all areas of the music industry reached out and shared their feelings on future business models, and strategies for moving forward.

Regardless of their background, practically every person I spoke with agreed on a core set of truths about the future of record labels (and the industry as a whole). The consensus is that:

  • Financially, the current situation most record labels find themselves in is not sustainable, especially for companies whose main source of revenue is selling music as their primary product.
  • Sales of digital music have not come close to replacing the revenue lost from the decline of physical sales. Overcoming this requires a significant shift in label expenditures, and revenue sources.
  • Investors are finding it very difficult to find opportunities that have an acceptable chance of return on investment. This applies to releasing music, as well as ancillary services and products around music.
  • Power is shifting away from labels and back to the artist and management. Labels still provide valuable services, but, for the first time in decades, they are no longer the center of the industry.
  • The ultimate power now rests with the fan. The dollars they spend are being fought for harder than ever before. At the same time, fans are demanding more content than ever before.

Here’s what the experts had to say.

Feedback From the industry

Paul Resnikoff, founder and publisher of music industry news site Digital Music News, has a bird’s eye view of the entire music industry.

“I just wonder if music can ever be monetized to the same degree; I think that [NBC’s Jeff] Zucker really hit the nail on

its head with his ‘”analog dollars to digital pennies“‘ comment,” Resnikoff said. “It might resonate for years to come.”

George Howard, the former president of the Rykodisc label, an advisor to Carly Simon and an assistant professor of management at Loyola University in New Orleans, feels financial sustainability is directly linked to an artist providing more assets directly to their fans.

“Record labels in the future will

concern themselves with all the heretofore locked assets that an artist has, and [with] utilizing music as a sort of gateway to a more dynamic relationship between artist and constituent,” he said. “It will be a direct relationship — no middle-man. There will be an increased focus on so-called sentiment analysis, and utilizing the social media tools to create an accelerated word of mouth.”

Jay Coyle, owner of Music Geek Management and a direct-to-fan marketer agrees

that the responsibility falls back on the artist.

“As for the future, I think it really relies on the artists themselves forging a small team to build and execute what the major labels used to,” he said. “I don’t think the old model is totally dead, but more success will be found with hard working managers and artists…who focus on direct-to-fan marketing and sales. If they feel they need a label involved, then all parties need to do their fair share of working hard for equal rewards.”

An Entirely New Model

Fanscape CEO Larry Weintraub is an industry veteran with 25 years of marketing experience. His extensive work in social media has given him insight into the relationship between the brand and the consumer. He has constructed a start-to-finish scenario of what the record company of the future looks like:

The record company of the future is a one or two person operation. It’s the artist and if the artist is not a business person, it’s their ‘manager.’

The artist finds a way to record their music on the cheap. Whether they record it live at a club or multi-tracked on their home computer, it costs them very little. If they want to spend a little more, they have a job and put a little cash aside each month.

With the finished product they go to Craigslist and find someone who can help them do their artwork for next to nothing.

Armed with a finished album and a nice piece of accompanying art, they give their music away to the world. It’s available to stream on their MySpace page; it’s available for free download in exchange for an email.

To the paying world, it’s available on a site like CDBaby.com that also helps them upload the music to iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody, and everywhere else. When the artist plays a show, they sell their “burned” CDs for $5 with a copy of the artwork and a personal letter saying thank you. They give each paying customer three extra burned copies to give to their friends.

Music is free. And they realize this. If people are willing to pay, they may do so. But the music is the gateway to the live show, the T-shirt, the licensing for a movie trailer.

Then they promote their album by managing a fairly simple website; a MySpace page will do. They respond to every single person who makes a post. They blog about what is going on in their lives. They ask for opinions about the music. They respond graciously. They have a YouTube channel for live performances, they have a Facebook page and a Twitter account. They communicate with their fans. They let them in.

The chances for becoming a star are slim. But they always have been.

Now the artist is in control. They are not indebted to a major company that doesn’t really care about them. It’s up to the artist to make things happen.

The Artist’s Perspective

Multiple Grammy Award-winning guitarist and independent label owner, Steve Vai has seen all sides of the record label equation. After years of major label releases, Vai recently released his new DVD “Live in Minneapolis: Where The Wild Things Are” on his own independent label, Favored Nations. (Disclosure: my company is managing the marketing for the DVD.) He offered an artist’s perspective on the future of releasing music.

“The two things that will always be needed in the music business are the content (the artist and their work), and the people that know how to sell it (the labels or the glorified marketing team),” he said. “The brain muscles between these two entities are usually pretty different and nary do the twain meet. The way in which we create, record, distribute, purchase and play music will continue to evolve into technology that we are not even comprehending at this time; but there will always be the need for music to be made and for someone to know how to market it to the audience that craves it. Because ultimately there is a vital need for people to be stimulated by the music that resonates with them. It satiates the soul… for a time.

We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming

Written by: Digitally Approved
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To talk a little TV
Me watching TV...sometimes.

Me watching TV...sometimes.

The new Fall TV season is in full swing and my DVR is already 88% full. The one in the living room that is. The one in the bedroom is a healthy 56% full. Did I mention that I am a TV junkie.  It’s crazy, I know. Sigh.

Anyway, we recently brought you a case study on Online Fandom which talks a lot about targeting your audience. Now it’s time to talk a little bit about how we, the coveted viewer, are experiencing our shows and how our influence is helping to shape the direction of network and cable programming.

With every day life (like work, friends, family and you know all the important stuff) throwing one missed TV show obstacle at us at every opportunity, how does one make time to catch up on our favorite shows or see the new shows that have all the buzz of the new season? Hello TiVo and Hulu!

Big fan of the technology and can’t imagine life pre-DVR or pre-Hulu, even though it was only a few years ago. The advent and mainstream acceptance of this glorious technology along with the growth of message boards, fan pages and the marketing efforts by all the networks, has Americans more engaged in the viewing experience than ever before.

Think about it for a moment, how fanatical (and influential) the fans of Heroes and Lost are. I highlight these two shows in particular because the fans are so committed to the characters and story lines that even a small revolt can send waves through a production office.

Lost Fan Site

A great example of the power of fan involvement; a few years back fans of the (now canceled) CBS show ‘Jericho’ were up in arms that their favorite show was pre-maturely canceled. They created an email and message board campaign as well as a how-to guide to urge CBS President, Les Moonves, to return their beloved show for an appropriate conclusion. The campaign included legions of fans sending, of all things, peanuts to CBS and Mr. Moonves’ office pleading to save their show. Their plight was galvanized online and provoked a strong call to action, resulting in saving the show for another season. Not to mention CBS gaining 20 tons of peanuts in the process. Power to the fans!

As a result of all these online tools that empower the fan, networks, producers and the show’s stars have picked up on the value of such fan involvement and have begun to truly embrace the relationship. So much so that these key players are going beyond attending the likes of Comic-Con and appearing on talk shows; they are actually participating in fan sites, message boards and networking groups.

The power of the fan has become more prevalent thanks to and because of the Internet and all the resources it contains At the end of the day, loyal viewers have established an outlet to significantly make a difference. And a difference we can make.

… we now return you to our regularly schedule programming.