October 2017

Without intending to, I wrote a three-parter on the current state of uselessness of brands on social media. I took umbrage at: Brands using memes Brands 'hijacking the conversation' Brands masturbating with product shots   These are lazy strategies. They are easily copy and pasted (and often are), lack insight and usually lead to work that is generic and uninspired. Unfortunately, they often work. At least in the short term, in so much as bullshit metrics like Engagement Rate. If you do the above, it will get you a handful more likes. Even a lift in ad recall. But this is not how you win. (In same cases it may even do harm.) This is what happens when you give the kids a seat at the grown up's table. (I know, I'm one of them.) In the past it didn't matter because social and content had little impact. You'd joke saying it was a good job for the intern. But now, rightly or wrongly, brands are investing more time, effort and spend. Suddenly this activity is being seen and heard, with scale. Yet it's still the same unexperienced marketers behind the wheel. They're just not driving go karts anymore. Michale Goldstein compares it to fishing with a line or fishing with a net. To bastardise his analogy, line fishing has an immediate return but it's one fish at a time. Net fishing is a long game, with no quick wins or visible short term result. But they haul more fish eventually. And have the infrastructure to keep hauling every year. Brands on social have forgotten how to fish with their net. Peter Field has proven brand building drives long term growth. And everyone's favourite marketing academic Byron Sharp says "Most of your sales this year come from work that was done in the previous twenty." Do we honestly believe the Bachelor reference you tweeted last week is going to impact your customers' buying behaviour in 2037? We need the grown ups back. The ones who have been around long enough to understand how to build brands and think long term....

Today Pigs Don't Fly turns 10. From the very beginning it was naive and too often arrogant. But my early writing is a good reminder to voice a opinion, especially when it's controversial. And don't do too much self censoring - it's okay to piss people off occasionally (especially when you're right). I certainly write far less than I used to. In 2008 I wrote 153 posts (most of which were rubbish). In the last twelve months I published 15 (still mostly rubbish). What started as a side project at university quickly sparked an interest in writing. It became somewhere to explore digital marketing, and later brand, communications and entrepreneurship. It got me a foot in the door to advertising and helped build my personal brand, for want of a better term. In many ways it's come full circle, back to being a side project. In 2009 I did 45k pageviews, this year I'd be lucky to reach 10k. The once-thriving Australian marketing blog scene is largely dead. If I was smart I'd probably be publishing on LinkedIn or Medium. And I'd definitely have migrated from Blogger to Wordpress (which has been on the To Do list for about eight years). Most recently, Pigs Don't Fly has become the banner under which I freelance. We (read "I") just had our first project signed off that requires people other than me. I guess it's an agency now? Above all, it remains a place to think out loud, collect my thoughts and occasionally write something people read. Thanks for being one of them....