Story Making: a talk for the Sandberg @ Mediafund Masterclass

Sandberg team presentations

On Saturday, I gave a presentation to participants in the Sandberg Instituut’s “Unmapping Europe” masterclass. As part of this, 16 documentary makers, artists, programmers, researchers and designers work in small teams on innovative projects, and to kick things off, came to Brighton for a ‘sensing weekend’. Continue reading “Story Making: a talk for the Sandberg @ Mediafund Masterclass”

99U Podcast: Gabe Weinberg on Getting Traction

A solid episode of the 99u podcast, featuring Gabe Weinberg,  tackling that dilemma faced by anyone who makes (product, art, software – anything that;s intended for an audience):

As a maker, you’d probably much rather be creating than selling.

But, as we all know, marketing your work is just as important as making it. So how can we make sure our project or business doesn’t launch as a dud?

As well as facing up to this immediate problem, he also knocks down some of the myths around marketing your work, such as channels topping out on the growth they can afford, and becoming too reliant on the channels you think you know will work.

And in this piece, Weinberg also lists out all the channels (or traction verticals) he considers in his book, Traction, which looks like a good read on this topic.


Somewhere to_ create


I’ll be on a panel tonight with a bunch of smart people working in the creative/culture world, talking about the paths we took to get to where we are today. My path has been meandering, and rarely well-mapped in advance. I hope that will be some consolation to the young people in the audience, who I’m guessing will mostly be seeing a great uncertain fog ahead. I’ll be interested if my guess is wrong, and they all have it planned out.

Marketing != Advertising

I love this line (emphasis mine) about marketing too often ending after purchase. It encapsulates something that I’ve always found frustrating about how many people try to connect people with products (or brands, or creative endeavours). So often, it’s just shouting at those people about your product.

The other powerful question a marketer can ask is: where in the journey are we spending most of our resources? The answer for incumbent brands in markets is usually that most is being spent at the awareness / consideration phase. Sometimes no money at all is spent at or past the point of purchase – the marketer’s job is done. A brand is a promise kept, the saying goes, but somehow marketing has drifted into just making promises.

From the rather promising-looking new book by Brilliant Noise: Stories that scale.

Playing by somebody else’s rules

In my last post, I argued that authenticity needs to be considered in the light of digital mediation. That while it’s always been important to speak with an authentic voice, algorithmic targeting and data-driven personalisation change the rules for writers, designers, and everyone involved in product development and marketing.

Another big digital disruption with equally profound effects on voice, is the increased availability of metrics to measure the ‘success’ of different pieces of content. Where ‘success’ could mean: number of views, shares, visit length or depth, and so on.

Clumsy measurement gives rise to perverse incentives that skew individual behaviour. (1) Aggregated over an entire media organisation, that can put strain on the core business of that organisation. Hence the fall of newspapers, and the rise of BuzzFeed, Huffington Post et al. Continue reading “Playing by somebody else’s rules”