As a marketer and an entrepreneur, I am always on the lookout for cool, cost-efficient new ways to get the word out (which, ironically, is what I’m offering other brands). I heard about the combo of Powtoon and VoiceBunny and had to try it out.
With Powtoon, you can develop a video using their images and animation options at a very low cost. Then you pair it with a voice over from VoiceBunny, and (hopefully) end up with a nice clip that helps communicate whatever it is you are doing.
I think it’s fun when I can create something myself – to write the script, think about the visuals, and pull together a short and creative representation of my message. The process is enjoyable for me and keeps me interested and excited. I found both services really easy to use and I’m happy with what I came up with – 2 videos for under $100 each.
If you’ve got about 2 minutes and 20 seconds, check out the videos I did and see what you think (feedback is always welcome). If I can do it, you can too.
Video 1: this one I put together for my consumer audience:
Video 2: this one is for brands/other companies that can benefit from adpropo’s live, online Treasure Hunts:
If you are looking for a way to graphically communicate your message (corporate for sure, but personal could be neat too), I would recommend the Powtoon / VoiceBunny combo. Good luck with clever creations!
Recently at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco, Jack Dorsey (founder of Twitter and Square) said about founding a business, “Pick a movement, pick a revolution, and join it. Pick something you believe in, that you want to make an impact in, and then question everything inside those companies or movements.”
I think that’s a good way to think about things when launching and growing a business. It provides a motivation and a guiding force for all the efforts that follow. It takes the focus away from the product or service itself and puts it on the “why” of it all – the mission, the end goal, the benefits to participants…
I have my movement. As mentioned here before, I see a huge disconnect in the way brands and consumers interact. Brands spend tons of money, energy and creativity trying to reach consumers. But consumers are overwhelmed by ads, or worse, annoyed by them. And online ads are more and more omnipresent – you have to watch an ad before seeing the video you need. You have to answer a survey before you can read the article you want. A full blown “takeover” ad distracts you (and turns into a puzzle of “where is the Close button?”) when you are trying to see a homepage. Some of these are really cool and creative, but too often people just end up frustrated or feeling like it’s a part of the Internet experience that must be tolerated.
The revolution? To bring consumers and brands together in a much better way that is more fun, engaging and valuable to both sides. We need info from brands, we need deals, we need access to and knowledge of products. So let’s join together to let brands know HOW we want to interact as well as WHEN and WHERE. That can lead to a much better situation all around. My proposed platform to fuel or power the revolution is my new site, adpropo. The elements of the site itself I’m sure will shift and evolve based on the direction indicated by the “revolutionaries” (hmm, feels good to think this way!).
But… how do you start a revolution? How do you get people to know about it? To join it? Theoretically, if you have a good and meaningful movement, awareness should in large part equal participation. If you can alert a bunch of people about your revolution, but none of them join the revolution, guess what – it doesn’t really matter to them. That could be because they are the wrong people, or it could be because the cause isn’t as relevant or powerful as you thought. I get that.
But that first step is to get the proposed movement in front of people. How do I get people listening and talking? We are there on a small scale – how do we take it to the next level? If you have thoughts about any of this, I would love to hear them. Feedback on the merits of my specific vision- ie does it have the makings of a revolution (lightly speaking of course, I realize that we are not curing cancer or bringing about world peace)? Or more generally speaking, what captures your interest and gets you motivated to want to change something? If you had to propose a change to the “world” (or at least a small chunk of it), how would you do it? I know you believe in some great missions and visions that have gotten your attention. Please, share your thoughts. I will listen and be most grateful, and even better,… you will have a voice in this revolution!
I thought I’d write a few blogs to share my experiences / feelings as I get ready to launch (in beta) www.adpropo.com.
I feel like I am scheduled to be induced on Monday to give birth to my very overdue baby, at about 14 months. I am nervous and excited, and very much filled with questions: Will it hurt? Have I done enough? Have I done the right things? Will anyone come other than me and my mom? What if my mom doesn’t even come?! How will I get the feedback I need? What if everyone hates it? What if it’s a huge success? Should I be spending more $? Am I risking my kids’ futures by spending too much $? And the list goes on.
Then there are my real, live, human babies. Will this new baby take me away from them? How will they deal with it? Can we all get along and adjust to having a new, live presence around at all times? My human babies caused much less angst, because I knew that no matter what, they are mine to love and nuture forever. My technological baby is a little less certain, given the stats around start-ups. But I am committed to it, and will do my best to raise it into a strong being, solid but flexible, and full of integrity – something to be proud of.
OK, baby analogy over. After many months of meetings, development dramas, design decisions, sales conversations, etc., I finally get to put my concept into action and see how it all shakes out. That is a great and scary thing. This weekend, my last minute to dos include: clean out test content, get the real content done & loaded, create accounts for my partners, write a press release, finalize my welcome email to the people who were nice enough to sign up as beta users, create an email to announce the site to bloggers, and get my Google Adwords set up.
As I do all of that, my main struggle, honestly, is to really try to focus my message for each communication. I like lots of words, but people in general won’t read lots of words. My site requires some education and examples – so trying to give enough but not too much will be my real mountain to climb this weekend.
Then of course are my technology concerns. I am not a technology person, so am relying heavily on my partners who are. I need to trust that nothing major will break at a critical time, that processes will happen as planned, and that they are invested enough in me and my business to jump on any problems that do pop up (as they inevitably do!).
Thinking about what will occupy me once the site is live, I expect it will be around collecting the right data and using it the right way. I know what I want to find from my beta / Phase 1 launch. I do have questions though about how to find it. Yes, I have reporting tools in place. But how do I know when I have enough people involved to draw actionable conclusions? How will the fact that this is “small scale” influence the results I get? Will the metrics I see translate as the site scales up?
These are my reflections at about 72 hours and counting. I will update once the site is live and me and (hopefully) my mom are a tiny fraction of the crushing traffic engaging with brands in a fun and valuable way on www.adpropo.com!
Stay tuned for “Dear Consumer: Here is how I, a brand, deserve your respect and attention…”
I can’t get away from you right now, what with all the Superbowl ad buzz and all. And that’s OK, this is actually a fun time of year to deal with you. You pull out all the stops, get super creative, and make me look forward to what you will do next. I am amazed at the amount of time and money that goes into the days around the SB – trying to get the most attention, getting people excited for the event itself, and then trying to make sure the buzz translates into long term results.
I don’t know that I will make purchase decisions based on how you reach me this weekend (or any other time you can grab my attention). But… I will learn new things about you, better understand what you want me to know, and ultimately, that will influence me – for better or worse – when I need to go buy something.
So, let’s start with that as a good first step for what I expect from you if you want me to listen and act:
1. Be entertaining and creative – make me excited about hearing your message, and get me engaged so that I remember key things later when it counts. Make me laugh, make me cry, make me discuss with my friends.
Superbowl time is an aberration in terms of being able to have omnipresent brand messages. But it general:
2. Be careful where/how you talk to me. I personally get very frustrated by ads that I have to watch while my video loads. I don’t like ads that pop up unprompted on my screen while I am logging into email. Those things backfire with someone like me – and while I’m sure you’ve spent good time and money on getting my attention in this way, it’s not the kind of attention you want! Put things in context, and get me when I’m in the right state of mind to hear from you .
3. Don’t talk just to talk. I have Liked some of you on Facebook, and can get good info that way when I want to. Sometimes you post updates that have good recipes, deals, or news that I care about. But sometimes, it feels like you are saying things just to stay visible. Much like the above, that can be annoying and end up backfiring. It’s OK to be silent when there is no new news. That makes the important things you have to say stand out that much more.
A key question for you - what is my price for engaging or acting?
4. Shift some of your focus/budget into incenting me to care. There are lots of ways you can increase engagement, including the points above. Giving me the possibility to win something fun and unique for engaging with you would be very appealing. I did some research in the fall to help drive the direction of adpropo.com. I asked what features people “Must” or “Would Like To” have as part of a site that brings brands and consumers together in a much better way. Here are the results:
5. Address my questions, concerns, and comments. I have read alot of examples lately of brands that have messed up in this new world of immediate and widespread social communication. We all make mistakes, and we all appreciate people taking responsibility for their actions. So if you mess up, just own it. It might hurt at first, but if you step up and address it, I will respect you more in the long term for sure.
That’s all for now. I do appreciate your efforts (and look forward to much better and more meaningful connections on adpropo.com!).
Does anyone care what consumers think about advertising? They should!
As consumers, we are used to ads being all around us - it’s a part of life. One stat (found on http://facts.randomhistory.com/interesting-facts-about-advertising.html) says that by the time we are 65, we will have seen more than 2 million TV ads. Then think about the number of online ads, mobile ads, print ads, billboards, and on and on…!
So, ads are a given. We understand that brands need to fight for ways to get through to us and make us love their products. But, I would argue, at this point people are so inundated by advertising messages that messages are either a) not getting through at all, or (even worse) b) totally annoying people.
Brands are always looking for the places where consumers are gathering and doing their thing, in order to pop ads into the mix. But is that really the best way to go? It makes sense in a way since there are lots of people, but… is that where/when consumers want to be hit with messaging??? I see lots of stats about which types of ads are the most effective, which are most used by advertisers, and so on. But I’ve seen little to nothing regarding what the consumer thinks of those ads. So adpropo did a consumer survey in the fall, and guess what? People are annoyed by online advertising, and want to see things happen in a different way. Here are 2 charts to summarize the consumer side of the story:
Now, there are definitely some good ad strategies out there, and consumers can certainly benefit when they get the right/relevant info at the right/appropriate time. But if I had a nickel for all the stories I hear about how annoying it is to have to watch a 30 second ad while waiting to see a video, or how annoying brand posts on Facebook can be, I wouldn’t be writing this, I’d be relaxing at a fabulous beach house.
It seems to me that in general, a new dynamic is needed. Things seem to be tracking along a path that is more habitual than right. With so much money being spent on advertising (about $31 billion in US online spend in 2011, according to eMarketer), there has to be a way to funnel that investment into fun, entertaining engagement that is truly valuable for both sides. As a consumer, I say to brands - be very careful allocating your ad budget to sites/apps where you will be a distraction or interruption to my main goal. Give me your message in context, where I know exactly what I’m getting and am open to it, make it fun, and make it worth my while. That means special info, prizes, entertainment, interaction, deals, and more. I don’t want to hear scattered messages all over the place. Why not all come together and integrate messages and interactions within one platform where I know to come to engage with you?
We consumers need products, and we need to know what’s out there. But please, tell us about it in a new and better way!
Would love to see any comments from all the consumers out there about what you’d like to see – what will make you listen and pay attention? What will make you act? Where do you want to see brand info? What would be the best way for you to engage with brands and have fun with them? Comment here or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are launching the www.adpropo.com beta site soon and will be testing lots of cool concepts to address this issue, letting consumers get what they want from brands, while making sure they learn what brands want them to know. I’d love input from brands and marketers as well. Input from both sides is critical to achieving a new balance with greater value.