Matt Cutts gets a cut.

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You gotta love a guy who follows up on a bet by posting a video of himself (below) getting a new hairdo by his fellow office mates on YouTube. It’s even more impressive when you are  Google’s SEO guru. Here’s the bet; Matt Cutts wagered with his team that they couldn’t keep up with an undisclosed turnaround time for a full quarter. Needless to say, Matt lost the bet.

The coiffure began as a chrome logo delicately chiseled into the back of Mr. Cutts’ head, but soon gave way to a full-fledged Telly Savalas … viola! It was an entertaining way to celebrate a milestone in a company; one million video views on the official Google webmaster video channel.  Again, nice work. Now maybe Matt would consider a future bet with the eyebrows included? Just a thought.

Google/YouTube grab billions of eyeballs in August

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According to recent August 2009 data from the comScore Video Metrix service, Google sites (including YouTube) garnered over 10 billion video views in the month of August alone. No other brands came close. Google has the majority of video views considering that overall numbers totaled 25 billion video views, according to the data. That’s a lot of traffic! Microsoft came in at a distant second with only 546 million views for the month with Viacom digital and Hulu coming in just behind in third and fourth place. It’s evident that Google/YouTube has deep penetration when it comes to online videos when you consider that they attracted 121.4 million unique viewers for August. Whenever you see numbers like that, you can expect to see advertisers and marketers flocking toward a medium that can capture that much traffic and keep growing. You can bet that video will be huge in the next year. Keep an eye out for more blog videos, how-to videos, branded content, viral videos, interactive videos, television shows, independent videos and all kinds of advertising to go with it. Let the proliferation begin.

Regular Joes and Janes are changing the way we advertise.

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It’s late Sunday night at the time of this writing and I just came across a press release announcing The Future of Influence Summit by futurist and entrepreneur Ross Dawson.  If I set my alarm clock for sunrise, I can probably get to the airport in time to grab a flight up to San Francisco for the event, which sounds like an interesting one. According to the press release a new trend of “influencers” comprised of self-made influentials like bloggers, social media gurus and individuals are taking the power away from more traditional influencers like advertising agencies, newspapers and corporations. The shift away from “group influencers” to “individual influencers” is really giving advertising and marketing agencies heartburn as they scramble to figure out how to understand this new trend. In the pre-Internets era, people got their information about brands from traditional advertising like print, outdoor billboards and television commercials. The more a television commercial or print ad ran in the days of old, the more likely a person was to buy the product or service from that brand. Fast-forward to the Internets of the present. The media landscape has been fragmented into a million digital outlets, which is causing traditional advertising to lose its heavy-weight status. Media planners at advertising agencies now have to look at social media, PPC, banner, online video, rich media, email marketing, viral marketing, SEO, Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, and on and on and on. Couple that with the fact that now anyone with an authentic voice can build up a community of “fans” and influence if you buy a product or service and you’ve got some huge learnins to do if you’re a media planner in a traditional ad agency. Many times these “influencers” get huge audiences  because they carry with them the reputation of being an authentic, reliable voice. Take a recent blog entry where I wrote about Dave Carrol an irate United Airlines passenger who allegedly had his precious guitar broken by the airline. Instead of relying on customer service or filing a complaint with United,  Mr. Carrol took matters into his own hands by expressing himself in his own way; he wrote a song about the experience and released it on YouTube. The result was over 5 million viewers of his music video. Advertising agencies are still salivating trying to dissect and replicate the success. The point is that one individual can have a huge impact on a brand if the voice is deemed authentic. Long gone are the days that we take a corporations word for it when they tell us how great their products or services are. The individual is now the centerpiece of the show and advertisers better take notice. For more information on the program for Monday, check out The Future of Influence Summit Agenda

Brandcasting. Growing your brand by seeding vast digital fields. (Part 7 of 7).

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Don’t expect people to come knocking down your door just because you have a website. The bottom line is you must have products and/or services people are interested in first and foremost. No duh, right? Let’s say you know there is a demand for what you’re offering and you are ready to attract traffic to your site. This is where Brandcasting comes in. Think of Brandcasting like casting a bag of seeds across a vast field (the Internet). Each seed that is cast will need to be nourished and watered in order to grow tall enough to have a presence. But once a presence is established, you will see many iterations of your brand sprouting up for any passerby to come across. The longer you nourish the seedling, the higher and more prominent it grows.

There are lots of ways to deploy intelligent brand marketing online. We’re just scratching the surface here. I haven’t even touched on press releases, banner ad campaigns, viral videos, ppc campaigns, newsletters, affiliate programs, email marketing and a whole slew of other tools a business or an individual can apply for effective Brandcasting.

The metaphor of scattering seeds and then nourishing them is an apt one. For example, lets say one such seed is intended to grow a branded blog for your company. Having the best blog or writing the best entries doesn’t mean diddlysquat unless someone is interested enough in what you’re offering. So it is really important that you nourish your blog with quality content and engaging information and “water” your blog daily, that is, add content to it daily.  Having a good mix of seeds is helpful too. Having a multi-level marketing strategy that employs the best combination of “seeds” may be the best way attract different niche audiences. So one set of seeds may be intended to grow the company blog variety, another seed is intended to create a presence via article marketing, another seed may be intended to give your brand a video presence, and so on. Ultimately, you want the right mix of seeds to catch the attention of the right mix of customers.

Whether you do it yourself, or hire a company like Brandsplat to deploy an intelligent online branding campaign, you have to choose a strategy and remember to manage your strategy as certain milestones are met. Brandcasting can boost your company’s visibility and over time can give your brand a lasting footprint on the Internet. Just remember that it takes time to build your presence online and don’t get frustrated if you don’t see results right away. Cast those seeds, water and feed them and watch them grow your brand into one that has a healthy presence on the web. Happy farming.

This concludes my 7 part series on Brandcasting. Keep visiting for more informative updates on the power of Brandcasting.

This viral’s gonna be HUGE I tell ya.

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Planning a viral hit is like picking the numbers for a winning lottery ticket. And anyone who tells you otherwise is either a liar or trying to sell you a creative ad campaign. Many companies turn to desperate measures by latching on to successful product launches by spoofing them. For example, there have been a rash of spoofs of the famous Shamwow and Snuggie Blanket next commercials that have appeared for a myriad of companies on Youtube. Here”™s one that Colgate recently released. It”™s really not that funny and seems to be gratuitous. You”™d think that a big company like Colgate would have had the funds to hire a funny writer. Firstly, spoofing should be left to people who know funny, like Jimmy Kimmel or the folks at Jack Films just to name two. And even though you may get in front of a lot of people, if your content isn”™t great, your un-greatness will stick to your audience like gum to a shoe. They call it reputation marketing, and like it or not, your reputation is on the line every time you release content with your brand”™s name on it. Are marketers trying too hard? I think so. Successful viral videos aren”™t trying to give you a hard sell. The best ones come from ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Check out this wedding video which recently got over 12 million hits in less than a week. According to an article from The New York Times , this video “set to the Chris Brown song “Forever,” had sent sales of the year-old song skyrocketing to #4 on the iTunes chart and #3 on Amazon”™s MP3 store.” Did Chris Brown”™s people plan this? Highly unlikely.  Did the bride and groom have their sites set on becoming a Youtube phenomenon? I doubt it. But I bet that won”™t stop salivating marketing people from trying to convince you that their whacky videos will help you reach your marketing objectives.