There isn’t a month that goes by where I’m not in a meeting and the idea of our brand and what it “looks like” comes up. Those visual indicators like logo animations, colors, and fonts we call our “animation package”. And it’s inevitable that I launch into my speech on how we’ve come to nurture the package into what it is today.
I’ve been trying to implement Slack within our department for a few months now and the challenges in getting it adopted are a bit harder than what I've read in many an article online. Here are a few things I’ve run into that make it pretty challenging for Slack to become the de facto communications platform within our dept. Hopefully, others in similar situations or the team at Slack can find some of these useful.
If you haven't read The New Yorker's "The Shape of Things to Come", a profile on Jony Ives, it's a fascinating read. There are some great stories in there and some very rare accounts by designers who work for Jony. But what fascinates me, as a Creative Director, is going through the timeline from when the iMac was released in 1998, when Jony had been in charge for almost 2 years, to when the iPhone was released in 2007. It took over 10 years and 3 amazing products (iMac, iPod, and iPhone) for the design team to become "the hub of the wheel," according to Bob Mansfield.
During my TV transition week going from cable to internet only I’ve been testing a lot of apps and services. I can honestly say Hulu is pretty great.
I can also say that some networks just don’t get it. I’m looking at you CBS and FX. CBS only allows viewing though a browser - and no, airplay is not supported. FX requires a cable subscription - lame.
But honestly, NBC and Showtime have me the most confused. During my overlap I still had my cable subscription but wanted to try Showtime’s iPad app to watch content via Airplay and AppleTV. Except, for some unknown reason, Showtime doesn’t allow Airplay or even AirPlay mirroring. Now, why would a network who’s content you’re already paying a premium for and obviously wants you to watch their content via their mobile apps, purposefully restrict you from viewing it on your TV?
As I make my plan to leave Comcast behind, I put together a list of my shows over the weekend, along with the various ways to watch them1, and it’s pretty pathetic. As I started grouping them by network, trends would emerge.
For instance, FX really does not want you streaming their shows. They’re not available on HuluPlus or Amazon, nor through their own apps. Basically the only way to watch them will be to purchase them on iTunes. Meaning, I’ll be watching a lot less FX shows in the future.
Another trend, Broadcast networks like FOX, ABC, and NBC are very Hulu friendly, but CBS is not - that probably has something to do with the fact they have a vested interest in Hulu being successful2.
I know websites such as Can I Stream it and apps like fan.tv have sprung up to try and help viewers make sense of this crazy world. But I’ve found them to not be 100% reliable or they don’t explain all the restrictions very well.
I’d actually be a little surprised to find out if networks keep a running tally of their competitor’s streaming availability in a chart such as this so they could program against it. At PBS we basically put every show from every local station up for streaming if rights allow it3.
PLUG: We also have AppleTV, XBOX & ROKU apps for your TV. Plus, it’s ALL FREE. Hmmmm…maybe we should do a commercial about that.
Back in 2011 I decided to go through all my TV viewing shows and compare what it would cost if I decided to “Cut the Cord” by getting rid of cable and go "all in" with digital subscriptions and/or purchases. The results were pretty disappointing to me…
The cable option was $472 and the online option was $574. Cutting the cord was way more expensive that I had previously thought. These results might not be perfect but they show that, despite all the marketing and news reports about customer subscription rates dropping, this technology just isn't up to par with my old fashioned cable subscription - yet!
So, now it’s 2014 and it’s time to once again re-evaluate the cord cutting option. I’ve seen quite a few friends go cable-less over the years and I myself have had a love-hate relationship with Comcast. Oddly, in 3 years, the same players are still the only ones on the field - iTunes, HuluPlus, and/or Amazon. I could make a case for Netflix being new to the party with it’s original shows like House of Cards though.
Some think with the future of TV perhaps hanging in the balance given the rise of NETFLIX's new season model and others like it that typical marketing and promotions teams might not be relevant in such an "on-demand" world.
I would argue, that in such a world, promoting one's content might be more important. If such traditions as "Networks" go the way of the dodo bird, marketing and promoting your content among a sea of content is going to become even more relevant.
I can foresee a day when all a viewer may remember is that the show they wanted to watch had something to do with England and midwives. So they tell their TV, "Search for dramas about midwives in England." And up pops Call the Midwives from PBS.
At that point, marketing is the dominant force in that person's choice of what to watch. People are still going to need to be informed as to their choices. And the louder we are as content marketers, the more we'll be stuck in a viewers mind when it comes time for them to make the choice of what to watch.
"Brands" or "Networks" may not hold a place in the future of TV, but marketing one's content will still be a strong industry.
When presenting creative to someone who isn’t involved with creative on a daily basis has a lot of potential pitfalls. Here are a few things to consider first before laying everything you’ve worked on in front of them.
1. Who’s your audience?
Is the person you’re presenting to so busy the only way to get a reaction is through email? Or are they open to spending 15-30mins letting you present and then having an open dialog? Are they the type of person who understands the creative process and can easily see past the visuals to a bigger picture? Or is presenting final artwork in short bursts easier for them to digest?
2. What do you want from them?
Know what you want to take away from this meeting before the presentation. Are you asking for a full sign off on the creative? Or are you just looking to gauge their reactions and get initial feedback? Or, even more limited, are you looking to just wrangle them down from infinite possibilities to 3 or less categories of style.
Knowing the answer to these two very important questions are essential in presenting creative to people of influence within a company who are outside of the creative circle.