05 April 2011

Red Bull "More than Wings" Viral Campaign

For my New Media PR class (aka. Social Media PR) I had to develop a viral social media campaign of a brand of my choice.

The requirements were to choose a product, service or organization and produce a video which would generate a viral effect within the social media environment. In addition to the video, we had to create a fully integrated and interconnected social media environment. All social media tools had to have a very specific purpose within the campaign and assist in reaching the objectives of the campaign (raise awareness, brand reputation, increased sales, etc). I won't bother you too much with details, but if you do want to know how I executed the whole campaign, I would be more than happy to provide my pitch document to anyone on request.

As for the video itself, I chose to create an amateur-style video with the effect of mystery and surprise, while highlighting the consumption of Red Bull and how much 'More than Wings' it gave me. And yes, it's me in the video.

Would love to hear some feedback from the PRO's! Enjoy!

Drinking Red Bull and throwing a tennis ball over River Thames:

03 April 2011

The Business of Virtue: Corporate (Social) Sustainability & Responsibility?

"For many business people, CSR was just a case of BDF: babies, dolphins and forests."
Stefan Stern

Is that so? Are CSR activities really just about being a 'good person' with a social interest in humanity, or is CSR the way we need to go?

The importance of corporate social responsibility is undeniable: CSR activities are, if planned out well, desirable solutions for everyone involved. They only bring advantages rather than problems and with the current situation of the world, in terms of climate, finances and human social interest, it is essential for future business developments in all sectors.

CSR is defiantly much more than just 'babies, dolphins and forest'. Globalisation, aging population, scarcity of resources, climate change and change of behaviors are just a few areas CSR engages in. So essentially, CSR activities are not just important to the business and their stakeholders, but to everyone.

Sustainability within business is important in times of low resources and global problems. If companies develop sustainable practices within their operations, it benefits them on several levels. It improves brand reputation and allows them to position themselves as future-thinking companies. It also allows for future business opportunities from sustainable solutions. This can be implemented within their supply chain and eventually lead to operational efficiency, which creates cost savings and less usage of energy.

CSR activities make companies transparent. In an age of social media and high investigation through 'citizen journalism', transparency is key with any organization. It allows to get to know the brand better and see how their products, services or causes are developed. This insight creates strong bonds of trust, which brings stakeholders closer together. This bond may lead to increased awareness of the brand and eventually support for their operations (sales, participant in causes, etc).

Benefits may not be seen at first, due to the financial impact CSR activities may have. That is why CSR activities may seem out of place with senior management and financial advisors of corporates. But if we take a closer look what CSR does to the brand reputation and sustainability, benefits can be earned in near time. The benefits of well prepared CSR activities do not only add value to the organization, but to everyone involved with the organization. Therefor are CSR activities key if we wish to avoid future conflicts on resources, power and equality amongst humanity. Organizations give us the jobs we need to live and it is their responsibility to be sustainable to make a good impact on society on several levels.

CSR should not be questioned but fully integrated in any organization. It should not be used 'just to be part of the solution' and not actively and honestly engaging it, but fully enforcing it on all levels of any organization. CSR brings benefits to everyone involved and makes the world a better place. Besides the benefits, consumers demand CSR activities in times of massive distrust in large organizations.

Below you will find a very interesting presentation by Wayne Visser, who discusses the development of CSR over the past few decades.

01 April 2011

Social Media - How suggestions kill our identity

"Life is not about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself."
Brian Solis

Social Media platforms, such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, are already fully integrated parts of our daily lives. They provide us with information, current statutes of our friends and content we were most likely never really aware of before. All of them add so much value to our lives, make things easier for us to discover and connect the most important people and interest we have with each other. And to make things even better, all of these services are completely free. Or are they?

The Cost of Free
With the services we use, we tend to not consciously think how the corporations make their money. We see an advertisement or two and see how it somewhat connects with the interests we have. By participating in social media, we give out our details to the companies and they use it for their marketing operations. Our data is their money, the product they sell is us.

While companies promise us strict privacy rights of the content we share, they use our information to develop extremely targeted advertisements. Personally myself, I am surprised how accurate the advertising on Facebook is for my profile. Quite scary, but we can trust these corporations with our data not to be exposed to the public. The problem of the cost of free is not necessarily that companies own our content and may or may not do whatever they want with it. The problem is with user profiling and suggesting of content.

The Problem of Suggestions
In the old days when we discovered something like old rock music from the 60s or a movie we have never heard of before, we discovered these things by doing our own research or got suggestions from our friends. Each discovery we made was connected to a story and developed us as a person. We started to create ourselves over time by finding things we find interesting.

In the social media world of 'free', we are being suggested with products, services and content. All these suggestions are based on keywords we post, chat conversations with our friends, and content we already consumed before. While this may seem harmless at first, it essentially destroys our identity. As human beings, we are all individual with different interests and desires. By finding content on our own, we create the person we are today by ourselves. Online suggestions however, compare your interests with the interests of people with smilier interests, combined with the data they collect within our social media profiles. By doing so, suggestions put us into little 'identity boxes', constantly bombarding us with content they think is relevant for us.

Suggestions need to be consumed with extra care. If we entirely base our interest on suggestions, we will develop ourselves to people with identical interests and loose a significant amount of personal identity. While we may realize this now, we need to be more aware of the younger generations, who already use the Internet from a very early age on and are not too much aware of consumer profiling. These generations may fall into the problem of being put into these 'identity boxes' and develop themselves to identical human beings with too many similar interests.

The video below is a BBC's trailer for their highly interesting documentary series of 'The Virtual Revolution', discussing the digital age from very different perspectives.