Friday, January 23, 2009

Good Online Video Article Re-Run

Thought this was a good piece so I wanted to share. The only thing I think is kind of cheesy is the terminology "the web's revolution." Seriously can we stop with these huge statements. Hasn't the web been revolutionizing for the past 15 years? It is getting redundant and ridiculous.

Businesses Embracing Online Video Will Fuel The Web's Revolution
by Dave Dutch , Wednesday, January 21, 2009

IF VIDEO KILLED THE radio star, online video will surely kill the static Web.

Video is poised to permeate the Web in a way that goes far beyond YouTube's user-generated clips. The Web's design and flexibility make it a powerful visual medium, with moving images, Flash and animation fast becoming the lingua franca. This presents corporate America -- and private enterprise in general -- with a huge opportunity.

All Video, All the Time

Previously we took a quick look at some of the ways the video-centric Web is becoming a vital channel for driving user engagement and loyalty, as well as powerful internal tool benefiting employees. This article will demonstrate how some well-known brands are already defining the Web experience of the future. The following are a handful of ways video is impacting corporate Web strategies and business models:

Company news and information. Web video enables organizations to become their own broadcast networks. For example, rather than being greeted by the customary block of text and images on a company's home page, visitors may find a running video news feed. British Sky Broadcasting posts its top news stories as video. Organizations can populate the corporate news room with video news releases. To satisfy investors and meet compliance requirements, companies can populate on-demand libraries with shareholder meetings, annual reports and RSS videocasts on a host of topics.

Product information and how-to. Video can be a key enabler of product support and advice. Avery, the office supply company, offers a library of demos that show how to pull off that pesky mail merge, among other office tasks. Another example, Scott's Miracle-Gro Company, has turned its Web site into a consumer-centric source of advice on lawn care, gardening and related topics. Here, video serves as the primary format for "help" articles.

Branded entertainment. Organizations can deliver original video content directly to customers. offers sports-specific channels that, in addition to offering video-based training, feature stories about Nike athletes. A good example is the basketball documentary on Team USA's road to Beijing.

Best practices and knowledge management. If commercials and entertainment can be viral, so can internal company knowledge. A manufacturing company with plants all over the world could enable far-flung employees to record and share best practices. Along those same lines, investment in education and training can be expanded exponentially by giving distributed offices and facilities access to video-based programs, seminars and workshops. IT consulting firm Bluewolf provides an example of how businesses might accomplish this-the firm shares its case studies and testimonials with external audiences on Bluewolf TV.

Community. User-generated content (UGC) can turn customers and fans into a network of content creators who communicate through video. Cult footwear favorite Crocs, for instance, has set up a site that invites lovers and haters of the brand to upload videos about how they feel about the product. And look for more companies to build communities with video as the primary form of content.

UGC offers organizations a significant source of original content and can foster a natural community that keeps a pulse of the brand. This is where two of today's most powerful trends -- online video and the social Web -- combine to form a new capability for business: the power to create and sustain new communities, glued together by our most compelling mass medium.

Turning on the Spigot

So why should corporate America embrace the video-centric Web? Remember the lessons of a certain small appliance maker called Blendtec. This small business came out of nowhere in a crowded and competitive market segment to establish a vibrant business on the back of short, simple video segments. You never know where the best ideas or content will come from. Successful companies will be the ones that engage online communities with video that is compelling and continuous.

Jacob's Note - I wouldn't say this online execution alone will make for a successful company, conversely those that understand how to use this media based on their audiences' preferences will see more success.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

You = 1, Your Audience = Many

I had a great discussion yesterday with some smart people about a new application for the iPhone. After some discussion with Brian Phillips about the idea it occurred to me that more consideration for the target audience was critical to make this a viable app.

This is common. Not unusual. It always helps to get perspective from others when immersed in ideas for a new offering. Individuals in this day and age who are immersed in new technology often forget that the gross majority of the US citizenry is not as plugged in as they are. There is a learning curve, so to help make up for this curve an understanding of lifestyle and habits is needed to help make a new offering that is not only a good idea, but is a successful business. After all when coming up with new ideas that are intended to generate a lot of interest, thus turn a profit, they need to be viable from a business perspective, not just be something cool that you would enjoy. You cannot often will something into success, it takes many to make a successful product or service.

The moral of the story is, understand your market/audience, then apply your technology to somehow improve or affect their situation, life or outcome. To create a technology, then try and force the market to accept has proven to be matter how much you like it.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Intel, Flash Partner to Push Flash Player Towards Television

Huge news coming out today regarding a big viable leap towards interactive television. Adobe, the company behind the Internet's leading rich media delivery application, Flash, has been leading the push towards a legitimate interactive TV model for years, through the web screen - now they are focusing in on the television screen. They also briefly mention Flash 10's entree into mobile - FINALLY.

Check out this CNET piece to get all the details. This is what I have been predicting for a long time and it is nice to see it coming to life in a tangible way. Very interesting for the interactive media industry and for The Basement.

Stay tuned...

Friday, January 2, 2009

Eight and a Half Minute Audience Engagement

I have mentioned the work we did for Brandwidth and their client Transitions in the past. I wanted to post the major points of the official case study on this successful project. They are worth checking out because of the execution to success as defined by the goals of the end client.

It is important to understand before you read the case study that the client defined success by 1. driving individuals to the micro site and 2. getting those individuals who visited the site to completely finish the 27 question quiz.

Impossible with today's quick to opt out audiences? Not at all. Read on to find out how results of this campaign included 37,000+ monthly unique visitors to the micro site, an average web site visit time of over eight and a half minutes and over 70% of the unique visitors completing the quiz.

It is worth the read if you are trying to figure out how to KEEP your audience engaged.

Case Study: EGG 2.0
Date: 11/25/2008
Author(s): Adam Hayes, George Evans, Jacob Leffler

How an Eyeglass manufacturer nets a 63% conversion rate and an average site visit time of 8 minutes 42 seconds.

Can traditional mediums such as broadcast advertising, outdoor or print substantiate and quantify their value to a brand? Can a true conversion rate for these mediums be ascertained? Can it be done while driving qualified traffic to an online space? An eyeglass lens manufacturer wanted to find out.

The resulting multichannel campaign: a truly integrated program that combined offline and online strategies to promote an interactive online survey and engage consumers in an as-before-unheard-of level of dialogue with the marketer’s complex channels of distribution.

Stimulate dialogue between the distribution channels (eyecare professionals, dispensing optical labs, optical retailers) and prospective eyeglass customers. Interactive. Impactful. Dynamic. Compelling. Informative. And reflective of Transitions, the #1 manufacturer of photochromic lenses in the world.

Introducing EyeGlass Guide 2.0, a highly interactive, informative and easy-to-navigate web space that serves as entry to a revolutionary interactive online eyeglass selection tool as well as a host of rich media product information presentations. Versions are in production for Canada, South America, Mexico and now Pacific Rim markets. Merchandised with national consumer creative in Newsweek, People and Health magazines as well as in-store display materials.

Tactic #1: Concepts and Market Research

The concepts for both the online tool, the new resource web space as well as advertising support/merchandising efforts (trade and consumer advertising) were reviewed with both consumer and optical trade audiences (focus groups) and refined based upon input received. Objective: Underscore the importance of lenses in the buying decision. Theme: Turning Eyeglasses Into My Glasses.

Tactic #2: Site Redesign

The resource site was totally re-designed to make the experience more dynamic and the navigation more welcoming and intuitive. Conceptually, the preliminary site design was based upon actual consumer testimonials that supported the underlying messaging strategy that EGG2.0 is the definitive eyeglass guide online resource.

Tactic #3: Interactive Tool

At the heart of EGG2.0 is an interactive tool that allows a user to literally design a pair of eyeglasses from the lenses up. Working through a series of questions, eyeglass wearers define their lives, their lens needs, lens options that fit their lifestyles as well as provide information that helps them start thinking about the frame selection process.

Tactic #4: Rich Media/Product Animations.

Specific product attributes (UV protection or the need for an anti-reflective treatment) and lifestyle requirements (lenses for kids, lenses for older adults) were featured in a number of animated product videos that could be accessed as needed from within the tool or from within the body of the resource site itself. As a consumer needed more specific product information, all they had to do was click on specially marked links that took them to more comprehensive product information.

Tactic #5: Internet Marketing & Media

Preliminary banners were implemented at launch to support an ongoing PPC campaign. A new program featuring animated point rolls and interactive ads launches after the first of the year, 2009. A new SEO proposal was also developed for 2009.

Tactic #6: National Magazine Inserts

Lifestyle ads in Newsweek, People and Health will drive traffic to the site and tool.

Tactic #7: On-line distribution of in-store display materials

An in-store version of the tool was developed as part of an integrated point-of-sale program. A brochure version of the tool, postcard mailers and in-store displays are all available through an online portal that allows download of support material by engaged eyecare professionals.

Tactic #8: Merchandising of efforts to the optical trade (presentations/sell in to eyecare professionals, labs, retail distributors, managed care companies, partner manufacturers (lenses, frames, etc.) and to the national sales force (feature presentation at annual global sales meeting)

A range of materials, from PowerPoint presentations to collateral support materials to on-line support materials have been developed to sell the program into retail partners, managed care companies, optical labs, eyecare professionals and internal sales managers. Extensions of the program to manufacturing partners as well as distribution channels in Canada, South America, Mexico, Europe and the Pacific Rim have made the merchandising of the program essential to its continued growth and success.

A 63% conversion rate (more than 60% of visitors to the web space engaged with the interactive tool), an average time on site of 8 minutes, 42 seconds and an 80% tool/survey completion rate across an average monthly volume of 37,850 unique website visitors! Response, conversions and simple engagement to the space and the tool are more than double that of the first-generation EGG. Manufacturing partners, managed care companies and global distributors are all actively seeking ways to integrate this program into their own sales efforts for 2009 and beyond.

Now that you have read about it - experience it at