Reflekting on Reflektor
Arcade Fire released a new single, Reflektor, this week along with an HTML5-interactive-experience-slash-music-video — a techy art form they pioneered with The Wilderness Downtown.
Medium, message, McLuhan…you know the rest.
For Arcade Fire, experiences such as The Wilderness Downtown and Just a Reflektor are smart ways to extend and promote their core products (mp3s & concerts) with talkable, opt-in cultural statements they give away and share with others.
Here’s why it works:
1) It’s world-class — demonstrates deep knowledge of cultural zeitgeist as well as what’s happening in technology.
2) It’s novel — no one has done this before, and as we know, human beings need novel stimuli.
3) It’s ownable — it’s not easy to replicate this experience.
4) They found the right partners — Arcade Fire has partnered with Google, Spike Jonze, Vincent Morisset, and others to accomplish things neither party could accomplish on their own.
Big brands: Watch and learn.
[Disclosure: If I could own shares in Arcade Fire, I would. Huge, huge fan of what they do.]
If you sell a product, you are an engineering company
At Google, engineers rule the world. Larry Page’s rumored “Inner Circle" includes one sales & marketing person. This sets the tone: Anyone who wants to make a difference at Google must be technically fluent and understand it’s the technology that drives the business.
In other words, Google knows if its technology (i.e. its “product”) is inferior, nothing they say or advertise will matter. That’s why engineers are more valuable to Google than its marketers. It’s just a fact. It’s why they’ll pay $10MM - $100MM to keep top engineering talent. (Note: I’m not saying Sales & Marketing are unimportant.)
*If this didn’t work, you wouldn’t care about their doodles.
Here’s a call out for modern brands:
If you sell a product or a service, you are an engineering company.
-Amazon engineers world-class digital user experiences and logistics management
-Nike engineers equipment for athletes
-Red Wing engineers work boots
-Uber engineers frictionless taxi transportation
*Patagonia is an engineering company.
It’s essential that company leaders pay more than lip service to the supremacy of engineering. Culture, products, org charts, priorities, marketing, compensation, etc, should all point to the supremacy of the product over any sort of hype we can generate around it.
SEO Periodic Table
Danny Sullivan updated his ever-so-useful SEO Periodic Table:
Email is Dead! Long Live Email!
I love articles like this one from Wired.
Wohlson writes that while Twitter and Facebook enjoy digital marketing world’s attention, the steady, quiet workhorse — EMAIL(!) — was overall a far more effective customer acquisition channel over a two year period.
[Source: Custora via Wired]
To be clear, this is not an “either / or” proposition. Email would not work as well without a healthy social strategy, without search, etc.
It’s all connected.
Social media (and banners and content and pr) has a vital role to play in a healthy digital strategy. But this data should prompt a quick gut check on our digital priorities.
Three questions to ask your team:
1) Are we optimized for SEO and SEM — the top two digital customer acquisition channels?
2) Have we allocated enough time / resources on email and search to complement our social and banner efforts?
3) Do we know the value of Search / Social / Email / PR / etc. to our business?
The rumors of email’s demise are grossly exaggerated. Email can still work hard for your business. Just ask Twitter and Facebook who send their users multiple emails per week!