From time-to-time I’m asked for comment on a broad range of topics about start up culture, building remote teams, macro economic impacts on the technology sector through to general opinions on social media platforms themselves (after helping build the leading third party analytics and management software for Snapchat & Instagram Stories).
Here are a few examples:
Lifewire: Why Clubhouse is so hot right now.
The Ways to Wealth Blog: an explanation of Snapchat’s new feature Spotlight, its answer to TikTok.
The Wall Street Journal: reducing video & Zoom fatigue by turning an old iPhone into a new piece of home meeting hardware.
Business in Vancouver: B.C tech poised to capitalize on U.S. pandemic stumbles.
The Economist: how to raise your profile at work while in a fully distributed team.
Campaigns & Elections: why all politicians need a vertical video strategy ahead of the 2020 Elections.
Due to COVID—19 many companies and even some sectors are pivoting business operations or entire models in order to just stay solvent.
Small businesses and startups — who generally are already short on resources — need to identify areas of highest likely return on current resources when looking at structural changes to their business.
Three common ways of pivoting a business are by changing:
Overnight bricks and mortar stores who predominantly relied on high frequency foot traffic shuttered. Industries like traditional retail and hospitality immediately needed to take their business online in order to sell anything.
Restaurants for example pivoted to selling 100% of sales via takeout, so the businesses already using delivery apps like GrubHub or UberEats were still in business while others scrambled to get setup. Now, with more uncertainty ahead, many are looking at companies like Mobi2go for their own multi-channel delivery app with a goal to have more brand control and deeper connection with customers.
Many companies who traditionally relied on internal sales teams or external wholesalers to get products on to shelves are now partially or fully pivoting to digital and direct to consumer (D2C) sales. Companies making this move are aiming to build and maintain a brand connection with their customers in a way that will garner repeat business, ideally increasing margins and lowering the cost of goods sold.
An example of this is GoPro, who in April let go 20% of its workforce to focus on a complete transition to D2C sales by the end of 2020.
Other brands have pivoted some or all of their current resources towards a new product line. Whether due to COVID—19 they were seeing major declines to their other products, or saw an opportunity for growth emerging because of it, being able to make small changes to create, build and sell new something brand new opens up a new pocet of revenue generation.
Peace Collective, a Toronto-based fashion label, quickly shifted from making clothes to also selling face masks; this foresight led to the hiring 14 new seamstresses purely to meet sales demands for face masks. Being aware of quick changes to customer needs and where your business adds value can even have a net positive outcome.
Take the time to identify if you believe changes to who, how or what you are selling is going to lead to the best success. If you aren’t completely sure take a look around your industry and see what other businesses similar to yours are doing. If you’re not in the same market or a direct competitor I’d go as far as picking up the phone and talking to others — you’d be surprised at the willingness around to help one another right now.
Once you’ve determined your path forward lean in on this first and do it exceptionally well before beginning to explore other areas more intensely.
I had the good fortunate of having a chat with The Economist about some practical strategies in raising your awareness inside your company while working from home. You can see the original article here, but I have C&P it below.
• • •
Telecommuting requires new interpersonal skills. That is especially true if you’re trying to stay on the boss’s radar or earn a promotion. Without brainstorming sessions and spontaneous coffee klatches, workers need to find new ways to strut their stuff and get noticed. Keeping your head down and focusing on your work isn’t enough.
So what’s the best approach? The experts we asked say that most “managing up” practices don’t change: keep learning, find mentors, take on more responsibility. But new tactics are needed when working remotely:
But managing up isn’t just about impressing your line manager; taking a broader view of your company’s activities can help too.
Above all, look for opportunities, not necessarily a promotion. Although working at home presents new opportunities for career advancement, look for ways to improve your skills, right now, rather than angling for a raise. “Crises are not a time to negotiate increased titles and compensation,” says Ms Mooney. “Jump in and do the work, learn new skills, build your network, and don’t be afraid to fail. When the time is right, the actual promotion will come, either at this company—or in your next job somewhere else.”
FROM THE VAULT: a version of this was originally published in 2017 but has become a topic of conversation again of recent (for all the wrong reasons). Its narrative is amazing and the campaign’s execution was awesome so it’s worth having a read (or re-read)
In late 2016 — which in start up years, was approximately 100 years ago — I dropped into Chicago for a few days to chat-Snap at Social Media Week & grab a few slices of deep dish (can confirm, both are a great time).
Anna Russett was one of the SMW speakers, and was the most on to it when it came to Storytelling. Anna hosted a session about How Snapchat is Redefining Traditional Media. The thing that was super epic about this presentation was learning how she’d built an audience across several channels and used the platforms to educate her fans and followers to be cognizant when it comes to (social) media. Or more simply, she gives a shit about the world around us and is actually doing something about it.
Chatting briefly afterwards we hashed an informal plan to run a campaign together, amplifying the voices of her followers through Storytelling & UGC. We didn’t know what (or when) until a the following year when I got an email saying she wanted to do a UGC Story with her community on the Muslim Ban so we jumped onto a call to chat it through.
That night Anna executed one of the most powerful conversations on the topic. It was overwhelming what she received from her followers — not just in the US, but all over the world (and all of it on Snapchat).
Traditional Media picked up on it too, with several stories on the campaign and on Anna.
Muslim Ban : Our Voice, outcomes:
The results were truly staggering, and showed not only the power of UGC on Snapchat, but also the willingness of Millennials and Gen Z to engage in conversations about politics and the world around them in a real and genuine way to drive social change. A community of over 11,000 on Snapchat made 40 minutes worth of video.
Soundbites that speak volumes:
By the numbers:
A version of this article was featured by Campaigns & Elections Magazine, you can see it here.
For years now, democracies around the world have branded their youngest eligible voters apathetic to the political system — unlikely to show up on the day and therefore not worth betting the house on.
The 2018 Midterm Elections in the US turned this narrative on its head, where 18- to 29-year-old voter turnout went from 20 percent in 2014 to 36. This is a 79% increase and was the largest percentage point shift of any age group.
Some of the biggest gains within this demographic are happening on campuses around the country. According to Bloomberg’s Balance of Power:
This trend in political engagement wasn’t just a one off in 2018, since then Gen Zers and Millennials have been triggering ‘youthquakes’ in democracies around the world.
Just last month in the UK, the largest jump in registered voters happened on the exact same day that Snapchat reminded all of its users via direct message to register to vote.
Looking ahead to 2020 in the US, this trend does not appear to be slowing down, where a recent report indicated 80% college students intend to vote, up from 48.3% in 2016.
The youth vote see the world differently to older generations. They prefer to hear from a peer or online influencer than from a brand. They are also more likely to trust a younger Amazon or Apple to an older Bank of America or Coca-Cola.
When pressed on these preferences a key theme arises: they perceive influencers and younger entities to be more trustful. Two of the most common words used to describe trust were: transparent and authentic.
Taking a step back then, a 2020 Candidate should be strategically positioning themselves more like a Megan Rapinoe and less like a Morgan Stanley.
Positioning for authenticity and transparency means engaging young voters on their level and getting cozy where they’re spending a lot of their time. That means embracing the ephemeral storification of platforms like Snapchat & Instagram.
Young voters perceive stories as a truer representation of individuals than the ‘easier to fake’ Newsfeed. Stories are short, unscripted, and to the point, which is why young voters watch them everyday, many times a day.
Stories are not the only form of Vertical Video though, Instagram TV (IGTV) and Snapchat Discover both cater to higher quality and longer form content. For Public Figures, IGTV is particularly advantageous, as it houses videos directly on their Instagram account and allows for the sharing of the first minute of the video directly on to the Newsfeed.
The Storification of Social Media means constructing a strategy specific these platforms and optimizing all of their feature sets.
Vertical Video allows for more regular and ‘real’ engagement with your audience, stories speak with your audience rather than at them. They are, by design, lower production value and add authenticity to your narrative. Beyond organic Stories each channels Paid Advertising options are inexpensive and effective. You only need to look at the aforementioned UK voter registrations to see direct response in action with those under the age of 25.
Today, politicians are already winning with these strategies:
If you’re a potential candidate planning for next year and don’t yet have a dedicated Strategy for Stories, you may not survive another 2020 “youthquake.”
Viewership statistics for the first quarter of the 2019/20 season were released this week. Given the the offseason hype — at first glance — they may appear alarming.
Major media outlets are blaming things like the NFL and early season load management of star players as key factors at play.
In 2019, only analyzing one traditional element of what we should consider ‘viewership’ is incubating a false narrative on the league’s engagement.
As the NBA itself, the 30 teams and hundreds of extended fan communities all vie for our “second screen,” our smartphones have quickly become a more robust source on game day than a singular cable network.
Here are a few reasons why these viewership metrics are misleading of the NBA’s true fan engagement this season.
As a fan, I follow @NBA, @Raptors, @BrooklynNets, + a handful of players from each team, along with all major outlets (ESPN, Sports Center, The Score, etc). Additionally, there are also unaffiliated New Media accounts like @SidelineSources, House of Highlights, @NBAmemes and The Gist Sports adding different angles to the game 24/7.
A typical game day looks like this:
As fans, our Feeds are full updates and highlights in near real time. Beyond that, high consumers of Stories, can find even more immediate updates where available
Take a five minute smartphone tour of any digital native fan and you’re likely to see conversations happening in private (WhatsApp, Snapchat, Messenger, SMS) as well as public (Twitter, Reddit).
Real time chat allows fans to closely keep tabs on a game or games without actually watching on cable.
In a busy world it’s not always possible to watch a full game… especially if a game tips off is at 10:30pm (more on that in a sec.).
Similarly, maybe you don’t want to watch a full Mavs game (sorry, Cuban), but you do want to see Luka drop those 40 points without breaking a sweat.
The NBA cranks out ~10 minute game recaps for every regular season game (i.e. 1,230 total) along with playoffs.
So whether you’ve missed your team, are a fane of the game, or just have a generationally youthful attention span the NBA delivers a very well utilized option to ‘view’ recent games.
You don’t realize how hard it is to be the fan of a western conference team living in the east until it happens to you (for me, RIP Vancouver Canucks 2016-present).
LeBron plays the majority of his games at the tail end of NBA game days (9-10:30pm EST). A lot of fans have followed him around the country (burning jerseys all along the way). With all the options available, many of east coasters may continue to sleep on these late night games until the playoffs roll around.
The only thing these viewership metrics are truly relevant for are long-term negotiations between Turner (TNT), Disney (ESPN, RSN) and the NBA (at +2.5 Billion/year is not an insignificant negotiation).
NBA viewership, if given a more modernized definition, is significantly healthier than publicized because the current baseline narrative is missing massive chunks of what, in my opinion, should be considered an element of viewership.
p.s. for reference, Billboard Hot 100 added “YouTube plays” to its metrics in 2013. Just sayin’ ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
As the Game II looms near it feels appropriate to highlight a key win by the National Rugby League (Australia) from Game I State of Origin — and that “W” was from the League itself… winning fans’ second screen.
NRL’s Instagram Story from sunrise through to post-game celebrations was incredibly well crafted. So much so, I wanted to break down the successful elements to help inspire creators everywhere.
First off, to pique the interest of anyone deep in the Stories game, here’s the high-level recap from this story.
There’s a lot to unpack exactly why this story ticked the boxes of Instagram’s algorithm and flew off the circular top shelf of the app.
So buckle up and get inspired by the team at NRL.
An engaging 10s intro (high paced enough to keep you from feeling the need to tap next or swipe out) the Story starts strong with historical moments from Origin’s of past.
(note: shouting out Network 9 their broadcaster reminds fans where to find the footy tonight)
Putting Instagram Polls at the top of the Story helps drive active engagement. This inevitably tells Instagram your followers like not only this Story but also content from your account.
Another power move was cross-promoting their Snapchat Lens with a swipe up. Australia has a highly engaged audience of young-Snapchatters, so ensuring fans know they have AR (augmented reality) to play with shows precisely how well the NRL understands the importance of connecting with young fans on their level — an epic few frames here!
In most instances, I would always advise a client to rethink having 2 x 15 second videos near the top of a Story as any videos over 10s tend to see an average drop off rate of 7-10%+. This can be an engagement killer and lead your organic reach in the wrong direction. Not with the team here.
There are a couple of reasons why this 30s clip plays, it’s:
That 30 seconds flies by in the palm of your hands.
Similar to the top of the Story, the tactic of active engagement to bring your followers back into the narrative across a full day Story helps immensely in Instagram’s algorithm.
Across these 5 Snaps (20 seconds) only saw a 2.12% drop off rate — total! (that’s insanely good)
Promoting the future NRL stars is a key to the game’s long-term sustainability so it was great to see them drop in details on when and where the U18 Game was going to be available.
Again, this was also a subtle tie to their own OTT – NRLTV (great stuff!)
We’re getting close to game time now, it was imperative to remind followers of the actual task at hand.
Cue stadium specific stats to highlight the home state and stadium advantage the Maroons have built for themselves over the past 39 years of Origin.
Always a win with fans is getting them behind the scenes. A couple quick locker room shots (bonus points for having team specific GIFs loaded into GIPHY) as well as a few of the team entering Suncorp Stadium.
Right before the broadcast fires up the full line ups were pre-scheduled to go live on NRL’s Story.
This is probably overlooked for its value by most. The reason this is important is it’s a timely reminder that the NRL has fans covered on their 2nd screen for the whole evening.
As the final festivities got underway the NRL went all out on offering unique content specific to the channel as both teams made their way on to the field
For those on their second screens, it’s a very timely reminder to get your first screen tuned into Network 9.
Again, another high quality pre-made and scheduled video helped to kick off the game in real time.
So there are a couple of things worth mentioning here (and it’s these subtleties which are those 1%ers that add up over time).
Twitter used to be the only spot you could get live updates… not anymore.
I absolutely love what they’ve done here:
After the final whistle blows they do an excellent job again winning that second screen by making sure unique channel specific content littered their Story through to completion.
Putting the phone in the hands of the victors is adds to the moment for everyone.
National Rugby League Digital Team credits:
Cassandra Wilkins – Social Media Manager
Reece Carter – Senior Social Content Producers
Another year, another MTA card.
This year I knew better than the last.
Let’s get it, 2019.
What an epic weekend of March Madness, if your bracket isn’t busted you need to go get checked out. Through all the ups and downs we’re looking at four from team mish into the Sweet Sixteen.
On the Snapchat front, one of the highlights we saw was Texas Tech getting fan centric with their Storytelling in the quest to find the farthest fan.
The Call to Action (CTA) was simple: send us a Snap from where you’re cheering on the Raiders — with a geo-filter to prove it (cuz, you know, nobody likes a cheater) — for a chance to be featured on the Story.
As you can see the outcome was pretty epic.
Texas Tech saw a 15% reply rate from their followers who were Snapping back #WreckEm, Guns Up and Go Raiders from all corners of the globe (seriously, Raiders are everywhere)
We’re looking forward to another big week ahead. In case you’re keeping track, here’s who we still got in our client bracket at Mish*:
Want to chat more about integrating your fans into your Storytelling? Let’s chat.
*we love all our clients equally
This year’s March Madness kicked off with additional excitement in the Mish Guru offices (this type of chat usually resides cleanly within the Slack channel properly titled #sports).
That is because nine institutions and/or departments lacing up for March Madness use Mish Guru to tell their campus story. And better yet, they’re actually having fans tell it for them (this is an example of Texas Tech pre-game today — Go Raiders!)
I remember when we didn’t even have nine SaaS clients (we’re not even talking about nine universities as clients… or nine in freaking March Madness!).
This is an example of why it’s important for startups to build predictable, scalable, sales processes aligned to solving the needs of an addressable and defined market — in this case, higher education — and doubling down.
Had Mish Guru spent all its scarce marketing and sales energies in its early days on the random lowest hanging fruits from all the trees in the orchard, rather than getting specific, there is no way 14% of March Madness institutions would be using Mish Guru on their campuses in 2018.
I’m super pumped to be cheering on the Blue Devils, Wildcats, Jayhawks, Spartans, Friars, Jackrabbits, Raiders, Racers, and being part of the Wolf Pack this March Madness… and even more excited to continue to build on these wins and learnings in higher ed as well as the new verticals we build out in 2018.
Cheers to the madness,