Cat Armor gets 200K views!

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Cat Armor gets 200K views!

For those of you not of the stalking mentality you probably don't know that JWall the other half of Indie Mutt - is also a 3D Printing Enthusiast! He runs his own channel, Print-That-Thing, and regularly provides content of the 3D variety. He does tutorials, model overviews, and news summaries. 

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New Show: Watched It!

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New Show: Watched It!

We've started a new youtube series on our personal youtube channel, Indie Mutt. We watch a lot of streaming movies and have always loved talking to our friends about what to watch on netflix, hbogo, and redbox. But we noticed that when we searched for reviews on some of the more obscure titles... they didn't exist.

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What can we learn from Dove's "Selfie" Documentary?

Have you seen Dove’s new “Selfie” video posted earlier this week? 

It’s totally another genius marketing video that shows that the Dove brand is connected with humanity. It gives an emotional connection to something everyone who uses new media for social purposes struggles with - their image. 

Self image has been a constant topic of conversation for many generations - particularly for women. It’s something that over the last ten years alone has begun to prove itself incredibly powerful for brands to acknowledge and encourage healthier outlooks. 

I’m a girl so I’ve been guilty of the “why don’t I look like the negative 2 size model?” thing. However, I learned fairly early on that blaming other people for my self loathing was…counter productive and the wrong approach to fixing the problem.

This Selfie video definitely talks about female insecurities and points fingers at the source that has been ignored by those who like to point their fingers at men for women’s suffrage.

Women are their own worst enemies when it comes to body image. We do it to ourselves and subsequently pass it onto our daughters.

And this video brings up that potential conversation along with a slew of other imperative facts about youth and the internet. 

With Dove’s #BeautyIs campaign, American Eagle’s Aerie Real lingerie Campaigns, GlobalDemocracy.com’s Airbrush Time-lapseLily Myer’s Shrinking Woman performance, and even music videos like Boggie’s Nouveau Parfum - female body image is something that has been in the media a great deal lately and has no sign of going away. 

The thing I think is the most important thing to look at is the fact that the teens and mothers in Dove’s “Selfie” documentary are acknowledging the power social media has on social change through self exploration. (see 6:33)

Social change is totally possible on the internet. And so is self image. In fact that’s what makes the internet a personal experience for some. It’s an outlet for everyone to explore new things and discover truths about the world and themselves. 

This is an important fact for people trying to touch base with the younger generation. 

This video simply shows that it’s imperative to acknowledge that the teenagers that “new media marketers” are struggling to get a hold of online are struggling with the same things we struggled with when we were their age.

The only difference is that they have technology at their finger tips. And they’re using it to discover how to cope with social expectation. 

They have the power to generate new ideas in an open forum and explore in a much larger internet scape that we grew up with. The things we might think to be narcissistic and self indulgent of the youth online is actually how they’re learning to cope with themselves and learning who they are as human beings.  

The next question for all marketers is, of course; how are teenagers learning things differently than you did? How is technology changing their social growth? What can we do to help them through that process and how do we use this approach to connect with the “unreachable” demographic? 

Think about it. 

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Quality of Content

For a while there in 2013 it was believed that “Content is King.”

And even now the idea is repeated in occasional conversation. But, what I think everyone over looks in this epic debate is that it’s not the amount of content - but the quality of that content that sets the major media players apart from my mom posting pictures of her dog.

The confusing part about this for most people to understand is that quality doesn’t always mean visual appeal.

Instead, what I’ve noticed over my limited experience is that quality in New Media spans over many things. It’s about the value of entertainment from the content regardless of if it’s a craptastic photoshop meme, a cell phone video, or a blog post comprised of just gifs.

So long as it inspires some kind of emotion - the quality of that content is much more impactful than the amount one human or channel is generating in content. 

And that’s whats so beautiful about the internet. Quality is based on an emotional response whether it be laughter, tears, learning, and more. It’s not about who has the fanciest camera or the most production behind them.

If your content has no substance for anyone - it’s probably not going to get you to the KING status. If anything it’ll just be a whole lot of work virtually wasted. 

Now, it’s important to recognize that the reason “Content is King” is a repeated concept is because of the importance of overpopulating the market with well tagged and bagged things.

The general theory is: The more content you have promoting your brand the higher your chances are of showing up in a search. 

BUT….but…. if you have a bunch of BULLShiz on your site that offers no value to the people who find themselves there…. you won’t turn those click throughs into repeat fans. And that’s the truth.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the internet enjoys variety. That’s why the consumer choice is so incredibly horrifying to some big brands. The consumer’s choice can no longer be easily purchased by a time slot on television or in a magazine. Today the consumer’s choice can’t be swayed…. it needs to be earned.

The easiest way to earn it? Become the subject of word of mouth. That’s ultimately what makes the internet beautiful. It’s a perpetual and modern game of “telephone.”

Let me explain the steps:

  1. A fan of a brand finds a piece of quality entertainment that they decide to share on some form of social media.
  2. That person’s friend and/or fans who recognizes their content curation to be of some value then clicks.
  3. That fan of a fan shares due to finding quality entertainment in that content.   
  4. The cycle repeats itself until numbers populate and success can be measured. 

So, it’s fair to asses that once quality of entertainment is accomplished the next most important thing is acceptance is the Queen of Sharing. 

Together the two can rule kingdoms of new media DOMINATION! 

Yup. Just keep this in mind the next time you plan on doing ANYTHING …. anywhere. 

“Is this thing I’m about to post entertaining? Will people find it’s quality of entertainment shareable?" 

If the answer to at least one of these questions is "YES.” Do it! Do it now! 

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Fan Happiness

The Happiness of a fan is what makes the world of consumerism go round. It’s also what helps spread the word fastest. Keeping the fan family entertained should be one of our top priorities as brands/marketers/etc. 

I honestly believe that to be successful on the internet - you have to be a fan. You have to be able to acknowledge when something is awesome and when something is a sales pitch.

Because, I can guarantee other fans that make a difference can tell.

The following is a collection of “Guidelines” I have written on all of my creative spaces as personal reminders for things I’m posting. They are in no way scientifically proven and are what I generally aim for when partaking in New Media interaction. 

FIRST STEPS FOR OPTIMUM FAN HAPPINESS

Understand your brand

  • It’s imperative that you understand your brand’s goals, vision, message, and voice. Without these things solidly decided you’ll struggle to define your New Media voice. 

Know your demographic before you speak

  • Cater to your Reach: If you have access to analytics already - pay attention to your demographic. Be sure to note the demographic of fans engaged and reached - not just overall count.

  • Pick Your Reach: If you don’t have access to analytics or your trying to broaden your demographic - decide what demographic your brand needs to target for ultimate success. Know your demographic hopes and dreams will help you communicate better to them.  

Choose Your Platforms

  • Go Where They Are: Choosing your key platforms will be determined by your desired demographic. Do some research about where your fans are going for their social media needs. (ie: Facebook might not be the place to aim for teens according to some released news last year.) 

  • Be Smart: Generally there’s different rules of thought on how many platforms to engage. A healthy number would be to plan to keep up with 3-5 platforms for your single brand. Don’t spread yourself thin - but don’t neglect outlets worthwhile to your reach. 

BEGINNING FAN HAPPINESS

Understand your platforms

  • Don’t be a newb! Understanding the etiquette of the platforms you choose to engage will help you in the long run. Observe the platform before you start. A few hours of research never hurt anyone.
     
  • Contribute to the Community! Plan posts so that your brand is seen as a pivotal contributor to the community. This will convince your fans to engage with you on a regular basis.  

Remember Fans/Likes/Followers are Human

  • Human Contact: A common misconception for a lot of brands is that your followship on platforms is a big brick wall you’re trying to break through. But, if you remember that your fans are HUMANS and not just a number - chances are your preconceived wall will form a free flowing gate with time.

  • Respect the Individual: People like feeling respected as individuals and not just someone who’ll buy your junk. Believe me, everyone hates feeling like a number. And they’ll reward those who acknowledge their individual interactions.
       

  • Get them involved: Understand that people like feeling a part of something. That’s why movie theater’s, live performances, music festivals, and religion are so popular. Ask them to take part in campaigns, activities, and conversations - they’ll respect you more because you asked their opinion on something. 

  • Be Humble: Remember that your fan’s enjoy praise. Like all human’s they enjoy being told thank you and feeling appreciated. It’s important to humbly thank your fans for their involvement with you on the platform. This shouldn’t only be done during holidays - do it regularly and honestly. 

How to make Human Fans Happy

  • Laughter: Who doesn’t like to laugh? It’s the best way to connect and be seen as a human entity. To understand that we’re all human’s and we all just want to be entertained. (Example: Post relevant social satire, encourage conversation about a pop-culture topic, etc) 

  • Merch: Fans enjoy merch. They like to support brands that they truly believe in. So offer them the opportunity to find and or recieve new merchandise. (Example: Post discount codes for product purchasing, offer merchandise give aways, etc)

  • Opportunities: Job opportunities are cool - but collaborative opportunities are better. Collaborating online has become a trend since…well….forever. It’s an important part of a lot of online communities - so give them the opportunity to collaborate. (Example: Consider developing low cost campaigns where you ask fans to submit fan art, or captions to photos, etc.) 

  • Brand Knowledge: Brand Knowledge and brand sales pitching are entirely two different things. Brand knowledge can be basic facts that everyone knows because they saw your commercial - BUT imagine how much more connected fans would feel to a brand if they actually were let in on facts that aren’t in the fine print. (Example: Introduce staff members and their favorite colors, post photos of the company retreat, etc.) 

  • Don’t Sales Pitch - Share: Again the sales pitch is see through. People can see what your doing. But, guess what? After so many times - they stop caring and recognize your brand’s selfishness. Again, Sharing is the ultimate goal for all New Media. Not just that you hope someone shares your post - BUT you need to recognize that you’re SHARING information…. not delivering a sale. 

Why make Fan’s Happy? 

Um….why not? Truth is Fans are the only people that give a shit. They’ll share your content and brand for free if they feel a sort of personal loyalty to you. Word of mouth is what New Media is all about - so you best start making your brand something people want to talk about! And of course….the final statement of this post: 

“Without your fans your just another shitty facebook account that they can ignore.”

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Viral Video Case Studies

Ah, since the first realization that money could be had through online video and that video was the ultimate “viral” vessel of success - everyone and their mom has begun investigating the exact formula of the viral video. 

Being a video artist who has worked freelance on and off the last few years in a town known for it’s “Music Industry” it’s become increasingly obvious that anyone who wants a video….wants it to go “Viral.”

The problem with the word viral, in my humble opinion, is that 1…. it’s just an unattractive word when it comes to health. And 2 …. it’s truly ridiculous to gauge the success of a video based on whether it goes “viral” or not.

Lets look at my three favorite Viral Anomalies that I’ve heard so many people tell me they want to replicate….. 

Psy - GANGNAM STYLE

A lot of people still reference Gangnam Style as the ultimate “Viral Video” because of it’s success - and rightfully so. Breaking the 1billion views record in 2012 …. it’s safe to say it’s the current internet champion of viral.

What people fail to understand is that Gangnam Style - had a well placed system in place to make it successful to begin with.

It wasn’t a situation of someone posting their first youtube video and it blew up. On the contrary - Psy is a seasoned professional with 12 years of top singles under his belt. And YG Entertainment is a well respected source for all things Korean Pop in the American subculture. YG boasted 2million subscribers on their youtube prior to Gangnam Style - a number that pretty much guarantees that their uploads are instantly pushed to the top in view count. Because of that it found it’s way to the youtube top charts and the rest is pretty much history.

American Pop-Culture tastemakers and icons recognized the video and blasted it on their socials. The world blew up with all things Psy and Gangnam! To some it was considered a Viral Baby Miracle! To the more intuned it was - genius strategy.  

Because K-Pop isn’t necessarily mainstream in America a lot of people overlook the fact that it is indeed a subculture on the internet. (My little sister actually taught herself how to speak korean because of her mild fangirl obsessions with the culture.) That fact alone is why it’s so hard for people to understand how a pudgy little korean man could steal so many views from the likes of Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga. 

Fact is - he had a platform for jumping.  

Ylvis - The Fox (What does the fox say) 

This little gem is the 2013 win of viral in regards to view count. And like it’s 2012 predecessor was also the product of a higher platform than someone’s first video.

While their platform may not have been as large as YG Entertainment it was enough to make a dent in the numbers to get the attention of pop-culture icons and tastemakers. 

The Ylvis Brother’s are a Norwegien Comedy duo. They host their show,Tonight with Ylvis and make comedic music video’s as a part of their show. The Fox, was one of those videos. 

“The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?)” was the first to get recognized by an influx of American pop-culture. They had been getting a steady following in america prior to this for their 2012 song “Someone Like Me” a dubstep-showtunes homage. Yes. Really. But had been growing that videos’ numbers since 2012. 

According to the tone of conversation from interviews with the comedic duo they stick by the idea that it’s silly how a song intended as a joke suddenly sky rocketed them to international fame. But, considering they’re comedians who are known for their comedy music I think the real question is - are we as a culture really that naive to think that it wasn’t “intended” to move the needle? 

If you look at any of their music videos you can tell they have some money behind each production. And the fact that they post them on youtube is an inclination that they’re hoping one of them catches. Was it unfortunate that the most ridiculous of them all caught on? Perhaps. But, they put money into the project with some intention of some kind of return.

Add to the fact that prior to the release of the song they signed with the Norewgian arm of Warner Music and actually recorded the song with Stargate, a top norwegian born New York based producer leads me to suspect whether their “innocent shock” is truly genuine. (NewYork Times article)

Either way, it’s a ridiculous hilarious song and the budget on that video wasn’t cheap. So it’s only natural that a video that’s pretty child friendly and filled with ridiculous replicable sounds be put on blast for a media generation eager to see it. 

HARLEM SHAKE 

Ah, who hated to love this song in 2013?

Originally released as a song on Aug 23, 2012 - the Harlem Shake wasn’t made popular until some blokes from the youtube channel DizastaMusic posted a silly dance video on Feb 2, 2013. Then the user Sunny Coast Skate (above) posted their response with a little more form - and…. the Harlem Shake trend blasted off! (YoutubeTrend.com

Note: Both of these youtube channels have six figures in subscriber-ship each which generates a pretty decent launching pad for content release. 

I’m not going to go into the numbers of all of it - but… basically everyone everywhere was doing their own version shortly after the release of their two videos. Maker Studios took part in the trend and then every office and company was doing one too. Needless to say …. it all got pretty ridiculous. 

BUT, it was the first “video meme” that took the world by storm. The fact that the dance was simple, the music was ear catching, and the trend encouraged people to not give a rats who-ha about having fun - it spread….and it spread like wild fire! 

WHAT DID WE LEARN FROM THIS RETROSPECTIVE? 

Basically…. It needs to be recognized that there are some distinct differences between what happened in these three scenarios and whats likely to happen to your iphone shot music lip-sync video… 

Gangnam Style & The Fox are both videos of larger than your house big budgets, and a platform that while not “in the mainstream” of American culture was big enough to make a splash once they had content worth sharing and maybe even some under the table “publicity” lineups to push it. 

The Harlem Shake, on the other hand was an epic social experiment. It was a video meme that started from two youtube brands with a decent following. But once it launched it encouraged people to remix a simple and easy to execute idea. The thing we need to all pull from this is that 6months went by after the ORIGINAL song post for it to be discovered.

It didn’t happen overnight. And viral videos generally don’t happen on whim. There’s time put into it whether it’s actually developing your idea or actually building your brand’s launching pad for potential viral reach. 

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Online Viral Video

Within the last few years it’s become increasingly obvious that visual media is the premier type of content on the web. Why? Well maybe it’s because pictures and videos spread faster because they’re easy to digest and instantly entice an emotion.

And like I’ve said before - the secret to the internet is that their’s humans on the other end of that username. And what makes human’s act the most?

Emotional attachment and/or connection. 

Being an individual who spent a ridiculous amount of money to get BFA in Film I learned pretty quickly that being a filmmaker in “Music City” kind of limited my opportunities. 

Because, lets face it folks, it’s cheaper to pretend we’re in Tennessee while shooting in Georgia and South Carolina where production companies get better tax incentives. Instead of actually coming to Tennessee to shoot. ALAS! 

Well, thankfully, my interests in the internet and the beauty that is Youtube has pretty much made distribution of video….instantaneous. 

Being someone who works pretty avidly on the creation of youtube channels I’ve noticed a trend in the TYPES of content currently making it’s rounds on youtube. 

Think of them as Youtube Genres if you will. 

1. The Talking Head / Vloggers

The talking head is where a number of “youtube stars” baffle the masses. Personalities like Jenna MarblesGrace Helbig, and the Vlog Brothers are “comedic personalities” who make their living by making youtube videos talking to the camera. Using fast talking wit, sarcasm, and sometimes “obvious observation” these videos make a connection with their audience. Usually through laughter - but ultimately they share their voice, opinions, and insights with the world.

And believe it or not - people like it.

Why? Majority of the time they appreciate their fans more than other celebrities. They take the time to respond and read comments. They interact and entertain. They are what made the pre-commercialization of youtube so popular. People could share their opinions and thoughts and people would listen. It’s beautiful.

While it’s unlikely that everyone reading this would ever really understand the popularity - the fact of the matter is people relate to these people. They are a face that people recognize and connect with. It’s the easiest way for fans to connect with a voice. 

2. The Narrative Web-Series

The Narrative Web Series is initially what got a number of filmmakers excited about the Youtube Venture. It was a way to tell stories in an entirely new way. Quick, fun, and powerful. Ultimately, it’s storytelling at it’s fastest and most effective. 

With the likes of The GuildWigs and many more you get amazing filmmakers trying their hands to get seen. Blip.tv is another source of how narrative web series is getting more and more popular. And the land of content is becoming more and more populated. 

Why do they work? Because people love stories! Thats why people adore television and movies. But with the Narrative Web Series entertainment and stories are told much quicker than traditional entertainment and they ultimately are easier to digest in quick succession. 

3. The Skit Based Web-Series

Skit WebSeries, while similar in “production value” of a number of Narrative web series tends to be single one off comedies. Each episode doesn’t connect in any way - but they fall under an all linking concept. 

Epic Rap Battles of HistoryConversations with my 3 year old, Sugarboy5 Second Films, and others tend to range in entertainment level. They explore various forms of comedy and storytelling. They’re an active contributing factor to youtube land. 

Why do they work? They’re usually very short, high quality, and sharable. You don’t need to “catchup” like a narrative webseries. In fact you watch a one off and your entertainment needs are appeased. They provide a face to the performance and they entertain the masses. It’s also pretty common that the brands that do on-off skits talk back to fans and create videos based on conversational encouragement. 

4. The Inspirational Promo

The Inspirational Promo is what I like to call the classic “heartstring marketing ploy.” They pull at the heartstrings of the human psyche to bring awareness of a brand that may or may not be related to the subject matter.

There’s been some pretty epic Inspirational Promo’s over the last few years. 

Coca Cola has lead the way with their Happiness Machine and Security Camera campaigns. 20th Century Fox’s “Live Your Dreams” Video, West Jet and it’s Christmas Miracle (above), and though some may say it’s not a Home Depot sponsored video the Marriage Proposal of 2013 …. totally could be seen as a marketing strategy for the store.  

Why do these work? They show that the brands involved are more than just a name or some ridiculous mascot from the 90’s. It shows that the brand is connected to the human experience and they want to contribute to making people happy. It’s true Marketing Genius. 

5. The Educational Tutorial 

The Educational Tutorial is a part of youtube land that really kind of makes information go round in today’s society. You can practically learn ANYTHING on the internet right now. Everything from cooking a pineapple upside down cake to how to make DIY movie lights or even how to work complex 3D design software. The tutorial video is very popular because that’s what the internet is for. 

To ask questions and find answers. 

So, when the visual learner would rather watch and imitate actions - it’s just easier to watch a video instead of trying to decipher a blog post with pictures. It’s also that human connection of teaching and learning that we get out of tutorial videos that keeps them coming back for more!  

6. The Music/Lyric/Cover Video   

Alright…I’m not really going to go into detail on this one since it’ll be covered in future posts. But… with the disappearing act of MTV’s TRL and VH1’s Countdowns the music video industry had to go somewhere! Just like the rest of the music industry it became very obvious that consumers preferred to consume the content of the artists they liked on demand without being told to listen to anything else. 

So, the music video is where people get what is no longer available to them on television. The music/lyric/cover video is really how a number of artists can break into scenes and build a following based on their talents and their ability to appeal to a fan base. 

Some stars who became popular or reinvented themselves through their music videos includes, Lindsey StirlingRobin Thick (come on you watched both versions of that Blurred Lines video - we all did), and yes folks….lets not forgetJustin Bieber was indeed a youtube brat face long before he was pissing in public places and hoping Anne Frank was a belieber. 

WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED? 

The video world is vast on the internet and these were only the “Top of the head” list. Within each of these are even more complicated variations and styles that are replicated over and over.

All that really needs to be recognized about video content in marketing strategies is that there are PLENTY of different ways to go about videos. And just like doing your research on social media norms - one has to plan appropriately when planning your video content. 

There’s a subcultures within the world of Youtube and other than flinging out content blindly simply because someone tells you video is where it’s at. Choose your strategy wisely, select your genre, and ride the wave! 

Good luck! 

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We've got a blog!

In my part of the world that includes everything and anything involved with; websites, blogging, social media platforms, music streaming, video streaming, web broadcasting, podcasting, mobile connectivity, mobile applications, and so on and so on….and well you get the point.

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