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Friday5: Trends in Big Data

For some, insights from big data are the promise of super-smart nuggets of information ready to guide that one great strategy or one big idea. For others, they’re the same old pony dressed in new clothes and the chance to play with a shiny new toy. However one thinks, big data analytics are here to stay. Here are five thoughts from the Future Foundation’s conference on Big Data and Insight held in London last month.

1. V is for Value

Big data has, by-and-large, been described as data that is high volume (think petabytes, where one petabyte is 1MM+ 1GB USB sticks), high velocity (now take the petabyte and imagine processing one per hour; Google does that) and high variety (i.e., multiple sources and formats, such as social data, spending data, customer data, location data, etc.). Now, at the center of it all is the high value, as brands are increasingly relying on data for strategic value. Big data-driven insights become an asset class of its own.

2. Surveys Stay

As most of our lives unfold in one digital format or another, we embrace different voices. We tend to put on our best behavior in public, social forums, as friends scrutinize our every post, like and comment. Meanwhile we allow our inner thinking to be expressed in private, more anonymous platforms, for example when Googling. This voice disparity is covered in detail in Future Foundation’s latest book, The Big Lie. The authors uncovered the voice disparity by coupling big data analysis with traditional survey-based market research. Contradictions in customer insights are not new, but both surveys and digital behavioral analysis have their limitations. Future Foundation proposes an overlaying of the two to ultimately allow for super smart insights to shine through.

3. Human Experiences get Datafied

Wearable technology – such as the Nike+ FuelBand or Fitbit Flex– is putting us all another step closer to the datafication of the entire human experience, according to Dom Harrison, global trends director at Future Foundation. In Britain alone, 1 in 6 people born after 1981 responded to an nVision survey conducted this year saying they use personal health tracking apps. These apps track the calories you consume, your heart rate, how many steps you’ve taken, and, perhaps most engaging of all, how it all stacks up to your friends’ performances. In real terms this is big data directly impacting our personal health.

4. The Revolution Will be “Impossible to Suppress”

All this datafication has led to privacy concerns which have, in turn, fueled political efforts on data protection laws and regulations that may limit the universe of big data. Stats such as “92 percent of Europeans say they are concerned about mobile apps collecting their data without consent” are quoted by the European Commission (Oct., 2013) to support the Data Protection Directive, for example. According to James Murphy, editorial director of Future Foundation, “politics cannot make a single dent in the future of big data”. The big data revolution is such that it would be like trying to stop a tsunami by standing in front of it and raising your hand.

5. Big Data Will Not Replace Creativity

The infamous story of Netflix and its big data experiment, House of Cards, was mentioned at the Future Foundation’s conference, only this time not for its predictive analytics, but rather its creative power. The claim being that brands require new creative approaches to compete in an insight-driven world. “Big data cannot replace the creative soul,” said James Murphy, but it is the job of insight to “look back stage” and determine why we like particular stories, what excites us and what bores us. So, while big data has a place in the creative process, it should not be seen as a substitute for creativity.

Where do you envision big data and Insights making the most impact this year?

Teodora Beleaga is a Digital Analyst at Edelman Digital London.

Friday5: Truths for a Successful Word-of-Mouth Program

We’re all in the word-of-mouth (WOM) business. In fact, it’s the grandfather of all things social media – social is but a tool in the WOM toolbox. And while it might be one of the oldest forms of marketing, it’s still (and increasingly so) the most trusted – because people trust people who are “just like me.”

At Edelman, we have a distinct POV when it comes to building sustainable WOM programs around ambassadors/advocates in both the for- and non-profit realms.

1. It’s not a product conversation, it’s a passion conversation

When you get right down to it, people talk about brands because of the impact they have on their lives. In other words, it’s hard to get consumers to be excited about your brand, but it’s easy to get them excited about how your brand makes them love what they love even more. So think about your brand as a conduit – the thing that connects a person and what they’re passionate about – and they’re much more likely to talk about you.

2. Don’t seek influence, create it

I’m not going to tell you that we don’t need influencers, because we do. But think of influencers as an awareness play. And while that top-down approach is happening, we need to also have a bottom-up approach. An effective way to do that is to find hand-raising customers that are passionate and give them the spotlight and opportunity to become influential. They’ll be a lot more loyal in the long run.

3. A barrier of entry isn’t a bad thing

These days, all you have to do to join a program is create a username and password and you’re in. However, we find that programs built this way have a lower engagement rate. When we create a small barrier of entry – like answering the question of WHY you want to join the program – we cut out the lurkers and engagement rates jump significantly. A small barrier of entry ensures the quality of members who join your program.

4. Create a strong identity

It’s hard-wired in your DNA to want to be a part of something bigger than yourself.  Creating a name, logo and online/offline tools that your members can identify themselves and one another to the world plays to this need. Get creative so it’s not “Brand X Ambassador Program.”

5. Think about content differently

Studies show that people share content online for three reasons (in order): A) it feeds their ego; B) it’s new or complicated information; and C) it’s emotional (specifically rage- or delight-inducing). So when you’re creating content, be sure to fill at least one of the ego, info or emo buckets.

Even though we live in an over-connected, digital world, 90 percent of WOM recommendations about a brand still happen offline. And harnessing those conversations is powerful. So every time we create an online “thing,” we need to make sure it ties to an offline action, and vise-versa. Because when you do that, you not only increase active recommendations, you increase sales.

How has word-of-mouth affected your personal purchases?

Friday5: Keep Your Eyes on Instagram This Year

Since its acquisition by Facebook nearly two years ago, Instagram has been making big waves in social media. The mobile photo and video-sharing social network has over 150 million users. With the relatively recent addition of its 15-second video sharing capabilities and introduction of paid media, Instagram is fast becoming a viable way to connect with young consumers. Based on these improvements from last year, here are some good reasons to keep an eye on this platform.

1. The Fastest Growing Social Network

The numbers don’t lie: Instagram users have grown the fastest in the past six months, increasing the active user base by an astonishing 23 percent. It is the most popular in North and South America as well as Asia Pacific, but still has some catching up to do in Europe.

2. From Selfie to Storytelling

The platform’s inherently visual nature takes us back to the roots of storytelling when children tales were told through picture books. Instagram is quickly evolving from a #selfie platform to one where brands and individuals can share their stories in a compelling way. Take for example the “world’s shortest cooking show” Fish Tales, or Delve.tv’s 15-second clips that serve as teasers for a more detailed intellectual adventure.

3. The Launch of Instagram Ads

The first Instagram ads were published at the end of October 2013. Due to their promise to maintain the use of high quality images, some of the first brands to utilize the new service reached a much wider audience, grew their followers and received much less of the negative sentiment than was expected.

4. Influencers

There are thousands of people on Instagram who influence culture and the buying behaviour of hundreds of thousands of fans, from Chiara Ferragni and Bryanboy for fashion, Theron Humphrey  for travel and Rachel Brathen for fitness. Some, like Jen Selter, who invented the #belfie (butt selfie) and #seltering (posing like her), boasts over 2.6 million followers and has recently been given a spread in Vanity Fair online as well as print, not to mention a selection of sponsorships and free promotional materials. Sponsoring Instagram influencers is proving to be a highly effective marketing tool and will continue to grow in 2014.

5. The Next Generation is Jumping on it

Approximately 53 percent of 12-24 year olds have an account on Instagram, coming second only to Facebook’s 80 percent. While Snapchat follows closely with 46 percent of the age group using it, Instagram provides a highly visual social media platform for teens.

How can your brand benefit on Instagram in 2014?

Friday5: How to Create Real-Time Content

Real-time content—it’s all the rage. For brands, creating content that is timely, prominent and relevant can potentially yield higher engagement, more positive sentiment and help spur organic community growth.

At Edelman, we call this process the Creative Newsroom. While you likely know why we create real-time content, perhaps it’s time to explore the “how?”

1. Research

It’s important to identify not only trends, but topics and themes that are relevant with your online communities. A social audit of your brand channels can help provide further insights and discover a way to insert a brand into trending conversations, helping to connect with fans in a believable way. Make sure to focus on topics and people that relate with the brand’s particular audience. In the below diagram, this is represents the “ideal content” intersection.

1

2. Concept

Your community manager will need to work with the newsroom and creative teams to brainstorm concepts. Got a tighter budget? Brainstorm with your account team and whip up a tweet or a quick image in PowerPoint. Whether it’s witty tweets or a full-blown illustration, regardless of budget, it’s important to develop a timeline for all teams in order to capitalize on the trend. Create shareable content, featuring poster-worthy creative and social-savvy copy. Fans are too smart to share branded content. They don’t want to advertise on your behalf. A simple, small logo or familiar brand template paired with a mention or link back to the original post will ensure brand exposure, but still make it shareable.

3. Publish

Get the sign-off from clients and internal teams, aligning with the community management team to post content to the appropriate channels. This is crucial to make sure all teams are prepared to manage the conversation, especially when the topics are outside of your regular routine.

4. Amplify

Monitor closely and consider paid media support to help extend its reach. If possible, work with partners and influencers to cross-promote with other channels.

5. Measure

Do the math and see how it performed against other posts. Is there a possibility to build upon the buzz? Is this a process you can repeat? If it’s not a big hit, maybe consider a different approach. While we can’t put an exact number value on a graphic, it’s hard to argue the success of a tweet with higher-than-average positive engagement. When we marry trending topics, audience interests and brand properties we create our ideal content – while building a positive rapport with an audience who trusts us and is willing to listen, making future marketing and messaging that much more noteworthy.

What’s you method for trend spotting? How do you engage in real-time content?

Image credit: wwarby

Friday5: Why Create Real-Time Content?

By now, we know that real-time content is not only important for a brand looking to join a social conversation or trend, but also imperative for successful storytelling. But real-time content doesn’t mean simply tweeting about anything and everything in the news. Making sure topics align with a brand’s short-and-long-term narrative is crucial in making a connection to the effective, real-time content.

Our work in developing the Creative Newsroom has taught us the pillars of success: content that is timely, prominent, relevant and recognizable. And yet sometimes, we still find ourselves asking “why?” Below we review why real-time content is an effective way to communicate in the digital landscape.

1. Drive Engagement

Brands often reap huge benefits when they do something unexpected – whether it’s a surprise and delight campaign or just a simple, unanticipated post, we often see an increase in engagement. When fans are pleasantly surprised by real-time content, they usually reciprocate with a flood of positive engagement. Users want to interact with timely, relevant content while it’s top of mind, and are therefore more likely to engage and share with friends.

2. Opportunity for Positive Sentiment

Timeliness and relevance are powerful generators of positive sentiment and perhaps even public endorsement. Establishing connections and developing unexpected but meaningful content creates new opportunities for on-topic, positive engagement. Not only can the community comment on existing content themes and messaging, but also at the intersection of trending topics and possible brand play.

3. Increase Reach

Thoughtfully inserting a brand into a trending topic organically extends the reach beyond the regular audience. There’s a higher possibility for more relevant brand exposure to new potential fans and followers.

4. Grow the Community

Creating a successful moment in time, especially when capitalizing on a trend, can be a big opportunity for organic fan growth. Increasing reach and tapping new audiences allows new audience members to discover the brand page and become more interested in the page’s content, making them more likely to follow your brand.

5. Humanize the Brand

Jumping into topics and trends that index high with the community shows that the brand is listening to and talking with the audience, creating conversations and dialogues, not just broadcasting announcements. This allows the brand to engage in a dialogue with the community leading to higher brand affinity and engagement. Users will no longer see the brand as a faceless robot producing cookie-cutter announcements but rather a real person engaged in the greater conversation.

When engaging in real-time trends, what’s your objective?

Stay tuned for Christine’s next Friday5, “How to Create Real-Time Content.”

Image credit: wwarby

Friday5: Is Your Competitor Using Paid?

It’s well-known that social media for brands—especially on Facebook—is now a pay-to-play platform. Only a small percentage of fans on Facebook will see a brand’s great content without paid support. Therefore, benchmarking your brand’s content performance against a competitor without understanding the impact of paid support can lead to a misguided Facebook strategy. Below are a few evaluations you can use to better understand if a competitor is using paid media, using Facebook as our primary example.

1. What is the Gap in Performance Between Top Posts vs. Average Posts?

Take a look at the brand’s most popular posts as measured by likes, comments and shares, and then compare them to the average level of interaction with posts. Do the top posts have a disproportionate amount of engagement compared to the average? Does the content differ significantly? If no substantial differentiation is found, this brand is likely using paid support. Generally, brands that use paid media to boost content will have the content in their top five posts look similar to the average post yet somehow have substantially higher engagement.

2. What Does Their PTAT Look Like Compared to Other Key Stats?

The People Talking About This (PTAT) metric can be an extremely helpful way to see if a page is boosting content, “buying” its “fans,” or both. This is because PTAT counts stories that are created when consumers “Like” a page as well as when they engage with content. When compared to something like net fan growth, you can come away with some quick learnings. If there’s spikes in PTAT that aren’t linked to increased posts, or seasonal spikes—such a snow gear in winter—and net fan growth stays flat then you have an indicator that posts are being supported by paid media. If PTAT rises and net fan growth rise and fall in concert, it’s an indicator that there is a paid fan drive.

3. What Does Their Fan Growth Look Like?

Take a look at past averages to identify periods of an active fan buying campaign. How many new fans do they get a day on average? What’s the maximum? What’s the minimum? Given those numbers, you can start identifying periods where more new fans are being bought, and spend is elevated.

4. What do They Look Like Compared to Others?

Another method to determine if a competing brand is using paid is to benchmark brands to one another, as this can illuminate relatively clear paid patterns. For example, if we look at PTAT divided by Total Fans, we have a benchmark that shows us if content was boosted or adjusted by audience size. It is normal for brands to have different ratios, but if you see a spike in one brand that is not reflected in the others, that brand may be utilizing a new spend cycle.

5. What Kind of Ads Are You Getting Served?

Often times the simplest way to tell if a competing brand is using paid is by paying attention to what ads you are personally being served. As marketers as well as consumers, we are often in the right demographic to see what the audience sees. If you start seeing lots of ads for a brand you are not following on Facebook, this is further evidence of paid.

You cannot always take performance at face value especially when benchmarking content against a competitor or planning a Facebook strategy. Strong visual content is still the most important part of any social media strategy but monitoring your competitors provides a nuanced understanding of the ecosystem while planning a strategy.

What tactics do you use to measure your competitors’ content and its promotion?

Image credit: Auntie P

This post was compiled by Richard Ng and Eli Draluk.

Friday5: Ways to Improve Brainstorm Sessions

Across our network, Edelman’s employees engage in brainstorm sessions in order to generate and perfect ideas that come to fruition as activations. These ideas also express to our clients the power of the firm’s collective mind, a criteria by which all agencies are constantly measured. With the understanding that we are judged on the power, potential and polish of our ideas, there are ways to improve the process that leads us to them. Based on research in cognitive psychology as it applies to creative theory, here are five short ways to improve your next brainstorm session to better your team and further impress current and future clients.

1. Mix the Informed with the Uninformed

A group of people in a room who all lack an intellectual grasp of the subject and task at hand may perpetuate misconceptions and misinformation. At the same time, a group of experts often give in to imitation, self-editing and repetition. Individuals that possess a pre-existing cognitive relationship with a subject will be able to share developed ideas and then refine and transform them in a brainstorm. On the other hand, the uninformed can act as a test audience for these ideas that may reflect the views of the audience. Knowing the right mixture of expertise and naivety comes down to knowing your audience, not just your client.

2. Limit Group Size

Swarms of people do not produce swarms of ideas. The swarm becomes quickly divided into factions that only support a few ideas. This is simply the nature of large groups that expect individual participation. In order to avoid this stagnation, break up a large brainstorming ensemble into small groups of two or three. Ideas collected from smaller groups will produce a greater overall variety that can then be understood and applied by a separate ensemble. Limited group size also prevents extroverts from monopolizing a brainstorming session while introverts self-consciously refrain from participation.

3. Work in Phases

Our deliverables are based on a finite schedule, so too should the process by which we create them. It is a fallacy to think that because a complete answer was not produced in a brainstorm that the brainstorm was not in and of itself worth having. Brainstorm in phases and sections to perfect the components of an idea individually. Paint the picture in quadrants, not all at once. Cast your nets reasonably.

4. Do What You Have to Do to Relax

Walking into a brainstorm with the pressures of a deadline, a fear of failure, and the anxieties of needing to be impressive are all distractions from the task at hand, which is creativity. Creativity in its pure form is the ability to have an original thought based on pre-existing thoughts, to make connections that have not already been made1. Stress impedes this, and so too does caffeine in its own way. Caffeine blocks adenosine in the brain2, which is the neurotransmitter that slows down the brain when it is exhausted or stressed. It allows for the intensity to continue long after the mind and body have lost their natural functionality. Beer, on the other hand, has been proven to increase creativity by lowering inhibitions and decreasing working memory, which actually frees up the brain to make associations and build connections it might otherwise not make in a state of excessive caffeine-induced awareness 2. If you don’t drink, try meditation. Try drinking a cup of warm tea, especially if it is designed to decompress your mind via either herbs or olfactory sense. Regardless of what you must do to relax, be relaxed.

5. Create the Right Environment

A study at the University of Maryland Baltimore County1 shows that “positive affect” substantially increases the number of creative solutions produced in any given session. “Positive affect” can be achieved by providing food, showing a brief comedy film, or any other means of general elation. As a leader in a brainstorm, it is up to you to elevate the mood of the participants to increase the efficacy of the process. As a participant, it is also your responsibility to be elevating and keep the clouds of pressure, disparity, and doubt far from the shoulders of your comrades in creative thought.

What’s another strategy you’ve used during an effective brainstorm?

1 Kimberly A. Daubman, Gary P. Nowicki. (1987). Positive affect facilitates creative problem solving. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 52 (6), 1122-1131.

2 Mikael Cho. (2013). Coffee vs. beer: Which drink makes you more creative? https://ooomf.com/blog/coffee-vs-beer-effects-on-creativity/

 

Friday5: A Play-By-Play Guide for Real-Time Content Creation

Edelman Digital played a large role in activating real-time social content during America’s Big Football Game this past weekend. From war rooms to real-time monitoring and reporting, we had a hand in key brands’ social conversations.

Joining the “social media bowl” was both challenging and rewarding, but most importantly, it made sense for our clients’ brands. Remember that not every brand should be present and active for every big cultural event – instead, brands must evaluate whether they have the right and the dedicated resources to play in the realm of real-time content.

Based on our experience, here are five tips for creating branded content for a live event:

1. Determine a Game Plan

It may seem like an oxymoron to plan for real-time content, but the secret behind the most successful campaigns is the legwork done in advance. The unpredictable nature of live events requires a strategy that leaves room to react to trends and audience sentiment. Clearly outline your reason for “showing up,” as well as processes for trendspotting, ideation, production, approvals, posting, analytics and paid media. Define the brand voice as it relates to the event. Establish a framework that acts as a filter for selecting real-time moments that align authentically with your brand story and key messaging, as we did for Volkswagen*.

Remember that some of the best cases of real-time content result from a combination of prepared creative elements (e.g. templates) and strong intuition for potential scenarios that might arise day-of. For example, you can pretty much guess the results of the coin toss, so why not plan for both scenarios?

2. Assemble Your A-Team

Make sure you have different roles for each member of the team to cover off on all logistics necessary for real-time content. Understand that not everyone can play quarterback – you need ideators/creators, listeners, trendspotters, strategists, community managers, production leads, legal resources and the people with sign-off authority to make things happen quickly. Real-time means fast and efficient coordination, so it’s important to ensure that everyone knows their role and where they fit in the process.

3. Be Prepared to Call an Audible

Once you’re in Game Day mode, you may have to amend your processes, but you’ll have the infrastructure and team in place to inform your minute-by-minute decisions. When the clock is ticking, you’ll need to determine when to comment and when to let it go. Ask yourself a series of questions in the moment to ensure you are making smart decisions. Is this an everyday occurrence or a buzzworthy moment? Can we comment in an authentic way? For example, when Denver had yet to score a touchdown, we quickly concepted and filmed a short video for Volkswagen that aligned our guiding concept of “The Power of German Engineering” to Denver’s plight during the game. For another Edelman client, Activision*, we knew the brand’s Call of Duty social community would respond well to a visual post recognizing Seattle for earning the real-world equivalent of an in-game achievement in Call of Duty: Ghosts:

4. Listen to the Roar of the Crowd and Respond with Strong Content

With the right technology and resources in place, you can use listening tools for two primary purposes: finding opportunities to map pre-planned, existing content to timely conversations and identifying new, trending conversations worthy of original content creation. In Volkswagen’s Game Day War Room, we used a combination of listening, trendspotting, influencer identification and image-recognition tools** to inform what to post when. We established foundational keyword taxonomies around general football terms and the brand itself, then plugged in real-time trending topics. Right as Joe Namath’s infamous fur coat appeared on screen, we tracked the trend and responded with a tweet that aligned with our sixty-second Super Bowl commercial. We also set up listening streams to search for relevant opportunities to proactively engage with tweeters talking about topics aligned with our pre-scripted content; when fans mentioned tailgating, we responded with this video about “hatchbacking.”

5. Embrace the Competitive Spirit, but Play Nicely with Others (particularly brands)

Engaging with other brands in real-time allows us to A) get extra exposure through their fans/followers, B) create a symbiotic relationship between like-minded brands and C) increase chances for potential press pickup. Wherever possible, try to pre-plan what the potential engagement might be. Is it a video spoof of their spot using your brand’s talent or stylistic treatment? Is it an image that marries the two brands together in a clever way? Or is it clever copy that plays off of the two branded hashtags? See how VW replied to this tweet from Victoria’s Secret below:

The process and best practices above can be applied to any events relevant to your brand, from product launches to conferences and panels.

What are your best tips for creating great real-time content?

This post was authored by Laura Goldsmith and Nancy Jeng

* An Edelman client

**Tools included Bottlenose, Dachis, Ditto and Visible Technologies.

Friday5: Top 5 Podcasts for PR Professionals

PR professionals, especially those in a metropolitan area, spend much of their day in transit. In addition to the daily commute, we are often called upon to travel near and far on any given day. Whether in the car, riding public transportation or hoofing it the old-fashioned way, podcasts provide an invaluable opportunity for a PR professional to capitalize on this transit time by staying current on an industry that is constantly evolving.

Here’s a list of five podcasts that should be in your weekly download. There are plenty of other valuable podcasts out there – ones that will offer increased specificity to your individual clients and industries – but these five form a strong foundation for any discipline.

1. On the Media

Occasionally investigative, frequently incisive, always engaging. After nearly two decades on WNYC, On the Media is now anchored by Brooke Gladstone and Bob Garfield. The pair, along with a crack team of producers, investigate how the media reports (or doesn’t report) on issues that can range in scope from border control to copyright protection. Each episode is a great way to keep up with the latest news, while also sharpening our critical thinking skills.

2. For Immediate Release – The Hobson & Holtz Report

A burgeoning PR resource empire in itself, the FIR community now includes recurring podcasts dedicated to topics as specific as LinkedIn and Internal Communications. But the must-listen is the Hobson & Holtz report. The duo is based in the U.S. and the UK, respectively, and they share a globally-informed, in-depth analysis of the week’s events that matter most directly to PR professionals, whether it’s the Twitter IPO filing or the latest brand kerfuffle on social media.

3. The BeanCast

Hosted by Bob Knorpp, The BeanCast offers a weekly conversation on all things integrated marketing. Each episode’s virtual roundtable provides an entertaining way to stay informed about multiple industries and trends that extend beyond the aegis of PR to a wider understanding of integrated marketing. The BeanCast also offers an opportunity to learn new thought leaders and taste makers through its revolving door of guest pundits, including bloggers, agency leaders and authors.

4. TEDTalks (audio)

While a TEDTalk is more powerful when accompanied by visuals – or better yet, witnessed in person – the audio version is still a great option for on-the-go listening. A treasure trove of persuasive thought and passionate discourse, TEDTalks is a fantastic source for trend and insight discovery, influencer identification and tips on key message delivery. Topics can range from technology to business to science and more, always delivered by expert presenters.

5. This American Life

Skilled storytelling is noted as a key differentiator between PR agencies and other marketing agencies. You can’t find a better example of consistent storytelling excellence across any medium than WBEZ’s This American Life. Stories range from the painful to the poignant to the absurd – and the format can change multiple times in a single episode, combining interviews, memoirs, field recordings and short fiction. No matter the segment, there is always a palpable emotional connection between the storyteller, the subject and the listener.

What’s your favorite podcast?

Image credit: Tim Geers

Friday5: 5 Reasons to Keep an Eye on Jelly in 2014

Earlier this month a new app was launched called Jelly, a sort of lovechild between Snapchat and Quora. Jelly is an image-based Q&A app that crowdsources answers from your social networks. Created by digital entrepreneurs Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter, and designer Ben Finkel, this app has the potential to change how consumers use search. In our effort to stay ahead of the ever-advancing curve in the digital landscape here are five reasons to keep an eye on Jelly.

1. It’s Crowdsourcing on the Go, to the Max

Crowdsourcing is a buzzword that won’t be “so last year” just yet. Jelly uses the power of social networks to bring together the wisdom of a global network and answer the questions a traditional search engine can’t—such as snapping an image on your travels and asking your network if they  know what and where the object is located all on a mobile platform. The app can link with Twitter and Facebook and shows questions to friends of friends. Those friends in turn provide answers to your questions in an interactive and fully crowdsourced platform.

2. It’s Visual

“Point. Shoot. Ask” is the premise and tagline of Jelly, reiterating that a photo is really worth a thousand words. While Twitter’s concept lies in the use words, Jelly is based upon the ever-growing trend of visual storytelling. Social platforms centred on images and videos will be the stars of 2014 and Jelly might just move in on Instagram, Vine and Snapchat’s turf.

3. Brands Are Already Having Fun with It

Some of the pioneer users of Jelly include General Electric*, Toms Shoes, Kenneth Cole, Asos (the UK online retailer) and Lowes. While asking questions on social media is usually an engagement multiplier, not all brands have actually “got” Jelly yet. They are experimenting with the new platform and testing the waters.

4. It Is Already Breaking News

A Jelly user asked the right question at the right time about Branch, a discussion platform centred on in-depth conversations, and probably got quite a surprise when two replies noted that it was indeed acquired by Facebook, before it was even officially announced to the public by major news outlets TechCrunch and The Verge.

5. It’s Funded by Rock stars

The investors of Jelly are rock stars. Ok, Bono is the only one in the traditional sense, but Al Gore and Twitter co-founders Jack Dorsey and Evan Williams are all strong contenders for environmental and tech rock stars, respectively. According to a Fast Company article, the app had 8,275 active users on its first day alone and had almost 100,000 questions asked in the week after its launch, which makes the app’s future look promising.

The founders say that they have more exciting plans for Jelly and we are excited to see what they have in store.

Are you using Jelly yet? Share your experience with the app in the comments below.

*General Electric is an Edelman client

Image credit: Steve Koukoulas

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