Competing at the Dubai Young Lynx

For those unaware, Dubai Lynx is one of the biggest creative advertising festival across the Middle East and North Africa. The conference and forum consists of speakers from across the world discussing trends in advertising, creative, technology and media across 4 days. The event concludes with an awards show honouring the best in various categories – including  Radio, Print, Outdoor, Digital, Mobile and more.

A small component of the festival is the Young Lynx Integrated Competition. As part of the competition, teams of up to three participants (below the age of 30) compete to prepare and present an integrated communication and media plan. Teams are given roughly 30 hours to prepare the plan in line with a brief – this year it was the Angel Appeal, and its support vessel, the Flying Angel

We (Clique Media) participated in the competition this year with a team comprising of myself, Soham Bhagnari (@sohamb), and Kunal Chandak (@chandak_kunal). It was a really good learning opportunity for all of us as we were required to modify our thinking process drastically; we went from just media planning (which is currently a large portion of our role) to integrated communication planning. We went from strategy to conceptualization and finally execution.

Although we were extremely happy with our idea – that spanned across print (newspaper & magazine), ambient, SMS, Mobile Web and social, the judges seemed to think otherwise. Of course we were a little biased :)

Nevertheless, we saw some stellar work from all the participants and congratulations to the winning teams of Aegis Media, Wunderman and Team Y&R. We’re coming for you next year.

Image Courtesy: Farrukh Naeem

 


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Facebook just made your Social Media handbook obsolete

One of the best things about Facebook is that it never stops evolving into a better version of itself. I remember reading Mark Zuckerberg is extremely paranoid of being ‘out-innovated’ by a smaller shop and this is probably what keeps him on always improving and growing the product at such a frantic pace. The users may not necessarily like the changes at first, but after the initial backlash, everyone comes around to it. The end result is a changed and improved Facebook, for everyone.

Last night Facebook revealed a bunch of changes which fixes 4 of the 7 things I wanted Facebook to fix for businesses (1 was already fixed, leaving 2 more to be done). Apart from a redesign of pages – making them similar to user profiles – Facebook now allows admins to browse Facebook as a page. This means the admin may like, share or comment on other profiles and pages, as a page. It may go on and ‘Like’ other pages and have a news feed of it’s own. A page admin will also receive notifications of likes and comments when he logs in and may even choose to receive email notifications. The page may also have ‘Featured Owners’ which allows the page to showcase their admins and for users to reach them directly.

The last but in no way the least change comes in allowing iFrame tabs on pages and future plans for deprecating FBML and FBJS. This now means brands can feature their applications on the page itself and users will not have to leave the page thus making a lot of brand owners very happy. There’s also another bunch of changes coming on Photos, allowing higher resolutions, improved tagging and a new lightbox style viewer.

With all these announcements, Facebook has definitely set the scene for a dramatic shift in user experience. The first step for pages/brands will be to try and set this up and use it right. Social Media agencies will definitely cross-post, both across their own and others’ communities to build audiences. This may result in an increase in spam and bacn. There still will be legitimate uses for this, the first example comes to mind of a brand with multiple fan pages (based on on geography) or a brand with multiple sub brands. (Microsoft –> Xbox, Windows, Office etc); these are the pages that will definitely benefit from this improved integration.

By improving the experience for brands and pages, Facebook is increasing its attractiveness to business by reaffirming its commitment to them. Although there may a fair amount of changes required, both technical and strategic, these are only going to be better for the brand in the long run.


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Here’s to integration in Mobile Marketing and Social Media

The rise of the Mobile WebOver the last two weeks, we’ve seen a lot of posts that either recap all activity in 2010 or make predictions for 2011, and apart from the sexified Social Media, the theme of Mobile has stood out. Buzz around marketing on a platform that almost never leaves the consumers’ reach has gained a lot of momentum and for good reason too; 2010 saw a phenomenal increase in mobile internet activity globally. The Next Web has a great infographic that tells us there are 5 billion people in the world who own a mobile, 31% of which are use the mobile web. African countries have leapfrogged the fixed line internet rung and jumped straight to mobile with Kenya and Nigeria showing 20% and 25% of total internet usage to be on mobile. Even locally, UAE has mobile penetration rates of around 205%, users spend 37% of their internet time on mobile.

However marketing buzz around mobile is similar to what it was around Social Media about 2 years ago. Adoption of marketing on this new medium is growing but it hasn’t exploded yet. All signs (and predictions) point to that happening this year – 2011 just may be the Year of the Mobile.

As for 2010, it was without a doubt the year of Social Media; which is why as we step into 2011 we have many marketers asking if the ad spend is going to be put into Social or Mobile. It doesn’t have to be one does it? @Siddhi_D delivers an answer right to the point with “With the capability to cross integrate the likes of social with display, social with mobile, search with mobile etc there will be limited fragmentation whilst reaching the core audience.

As much of a buzz word ‘integration’ is, I believe that really is going to be the key to effective digital marketing plans this year. Instead of it becomes an either/or situation with Mobile and Social, both can be used, in tandem to deliver effective results. An example of this is taking the banner to a landing page which features a Facebook fanpage like button or taking them to a YouTube video where they may subscribe to your channel. These are of course simple examples but it’s a start to the direction we should start exploring in.

I guess what I’m trying to say is by taking your focus off click and pageview that come in just today, we’re essentially building connections that will last for much longer (by fans, followers or subscribers) increasing the value your brand receives per click. Think strategic, not tactical.

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5 more things I’m sick of in Social Media

Augie Ray from Forrester Research has put up a brilliant blog post in which he talks about 8 things he is sick of in Social Media. Do read the post because it touches upon the different nuisances in Social Media, many of which are the outputs of the Social Media “Experts” that can now be found  dime a dozen. I’m of course not one to shy away from such a discussion so I present to you my own list of things that I’m terribly sick of in Social Media, and with the end of 2010 almost upon us, am hoping that we see the end of these things too.

1. Sheer abuse of Hashtags

This is actually a personal pet peeve of mine but I strongly believe #You #are #an #idiot #if #you #tweet #like #this. In fact you don’t even need to #tweet like this. Hashtags were used for adding context to a tweet which it may otherwise lack. If I tweet “the traffic today is horrible”, adding a Dubai or UAE hashtag adds geographical context to my tweet, without which it might not have made sense. But if I tweet “#Foursquare and #Facebook go head to head in geo location”, I just wasted 1.43% of the character limit.  A perfect example of using Hashtags is for tweets from an event. Use them sparingly to increase their value instead of #cheapening them. Ha!

2. Calling it the next big thing

Sigh. Alright, listen up, if Social Media was the next big thing in 2008/09, it can’t be the next big thing in 2010. So stop talking about Social Media as our saviour. For businesses it may a dramatic shift in the way how they can now  communicate directly to their audience, but these very users have been using ‘social media’ as tools to communicate amongst themselves for a long time now. Remember forums? That was ‘social’ media too. In some aspects it may be a revolution (and I use this word very loosely) but for the most part it is an evolution. And more importantly these tools are now here, use them instead of merely talking about them.

3. Assuming it’s cheap or free

Social Media is not cheap and it’s definitely not free. While some of the tools and platforms might be, the medium is not. The medium requires considerable investment of your time, staff (who you pay a salary too) and of course cash for a lot of tools. But Social Media surely is a ‘cheaper’ medium where the costs are lower than other media, more importantly it is a more cost effective and trackable medium. Free, however, it is not.

4. The cross posting noise

Ow my poor social ears. Every foursquare checkin on Facebook, every Facebook update on Twitter, every tweet on LinkedIn and every LinkedIn update on ? Relevance people, think relevance. Every platform was designed for a different set of social connections and a different kind of conversation, use it accordingly. If I want to know where you are, I’ll send you a Foursquare request, if I want to see all your links, I’ll follow you on Twitter, if I care about your babies, dogs, cats, anythingelseyoureallycareabout, I will add you on Facebook; chances are we’re connected on more of these networks than ones we’re not. So for the love of god, please add signal to the stream, not more noise.

5. The Automation

OK, lets recap on what social media is supposed to be; open, transparent, personal, engaging and insertBuzzWord. If you setup a bot to tweet all your RSS feeds, you’re not personal. If you spam users with pre scheduled tweets, you’re not personal. If you’re repeating tweets, over and over again, you’re not personal. I don’t care if Guy Kawasaki says you must use HootSuite, SocialOomph, ObjectiveMarketer or whatever other tool, if you keep spewing links in my timeline every 30 minutes, I know you’re not there, so stop trying to pretend like you are.

There, I’m done venting. I must admit I am guilty of having done some of the above at some point but never taken it to the extremes. I would like to know your thoughts though. Do you agree with me? Or am I overreacting Or maybe I’m just speaking into empty space. Hello?

Image Credit: Rob Cottingham

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A day in the life of Bhavishya Kanjhan

Bayt.com has a fantastic series call ‘A day if the life’ where professionals from various industries showcase an average working day in their lives. It serves as a good insight for individuals or even students who are looking to get into the field and want to know what may go into the role beyond the ‘job description’. I did this piece for Bayt.com where I discuss an average day in the life of a Digital and Social Media professional.

Click here to read the article on Bayt.com

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