Archive for the ‘business’ Category

All thrown into one messy post…

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

Hello from London, here for another few hours then back to Dublin, then over to Galway, back to Dublin and then Cork for a little bit of work and a long bit of rest. 2009 has been a cracker and a killer of a year. More on that in later posts.

So anyways, London. I was here for another MeasurementCamp which is an event with some of the brightest minds coming together and sharing information and insights around social media. Real social media done by real genuine people. We should have one of those in Ireland … oh wait.

There were three speakers this time and all three made me consider how people do social media but two in particular fueled an epiphany (or two) for me. Two Johns, John Griffith and John Willshire talked about social media but from different angles yet both were honing in on the idea that it’s not just ROI and it’s not just about quick hits and moving on. John Willshire talked about social media being a bonfire when advertising is fireworks. It’s not about hashtags in Twitter so you can spam your client’s name to as wide an audience as possible and who’ll forget you a few day later. It’s hard to boil down John Griffith’s talk. It covered a lot in a short time but the way he views social media is how I’d love to see it in the future. We are not clones of each other and when a company realises this, everything can improve. He talked about delivering a marketing message to your granny and how what you tell her is not important but what she says to her friend in her version of the story is the important bit. Social media almost becoming spiritual.

Saw Stephen Malkmus in Camden on Wednesday night. Great gig. Photo:

Was in the Tate Modern on Thursday. Saw the Big Black Box installation. Great idea, giant art is always fun.

There was also this exhibition called: No Ghost, just a Shell, the blurb of which is:

No Ghost Just a Shell project, which was initiated when French artists and frequent collaborators Pierre Huyghe and Philippe Parreno purchased the copyright for Annlee, an animated figure originally designed a Manga agency in Tokyo. No Ghost Just a Shell proposes scenarios in which Annlee is liberated from ownership and allowed the chance to resolve the ambiguities of her fate.

Photo of one of the works:

Bought Charles Saatchi’s book on himself. I am Charles Saatchi and … which is excellent. Well worth a quick read. Used this quote before but if only every company had this printed out:

By and large, talent is in such short supply that mediocrity can be taken for brilliance rather more than genius can go undiscovered

Oh yes, got some media calls about the new Facebook Privacy settings. On Facebook and miffed? Get over it, public or not, you already upload all your personal data to the computers of a foreign company.

Oh yes and lastly, I normally use the Apple Store in Regent Street to check emails with my phone and upload pics to Flickr etc. And this time I logged into Foursquare and mapped my travels too. But St Pancras Station now has free WiFi and it’s worth a visit too after getting a beautiful makeover. Pic:


The Art Fair 10th-13th Dec – Some nice affordable art

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

Got this via email:
The Art Fair is on soon in the Nora Dunne Gallery. 52 different artists displaying, price range to suit all pockets, I’m told.

5000 complimentary tickets are all sent out…more are on the way. Each ticket once filled out will enter the customer into the draw for paintings by John Morris, David Nolan and Judy Glynn, Handmade silver jewellery, A TV DVD player, 200 euro voucher for the no-reserve Auction coming up on the 29th December and whatever else turns up on the day.

Big fan of art especially if at a good affordable price. Have a looksee.

Making (Real) Money With Social Media Marketing – The Komplett Experience

Monday, December 7th, 2009

This is a guest post from Aaron McKenna who is the Country Manager for, the Norwegian electronics etailer. Komplett launched a social media marketing campaign in May 2009. In this guest post, Aaron will discuss some of the elements relating to their experiences and lessons learned since then. This is a blueprint on how to do business online using social media. Download, print, send on and share with as many people as you can.

Komplett will make a high six figure sum out of social media marketing in Ireland in 2010, having made a modest six figure sum in 2009. By 2011 it will be seven. I don’t joke. I was reading an article in the latest BusinessWeek talking about social media consultants being the equivalent of snake oil salesmen in some senses: Extolling the mantra of social media as gospel, adhering to strict doctrines about ‘the conversation’ and selling many companies just that; expensive snake oil.

Personally, I’ve decided to class myself as a ‘sceptical convert’ to the idea of Social Media Marketing.

I’m a convert because we’re actually making money out of it. It’s driving revenue. There are results beyond how many followers we get, and impressions to our blog. These are nice things to have, and the brand value of our exercise is quite important… But at the end of the day, there has to be a bottom line result; and the word ‘results’ is something I find a lot of marketing agencies and consultants tend to shy away from when you quantify those results on the bottom line.

Yes the money is, in the grand scheme of things, not a massive amount of our total turnover… But another good piece of advice on business is, it’s a game of inches; and social media marketing for us has been quite cheap all things considered. And the potential I see for it is much broader than what it stands at today.

I’m a sceptic because I inherently mistrust anything that every business consultant looking for my cash is extolling the virtues of. The first thing I look at in any business/marketing consultant is how many successful businesses/marketing campaigns they’ve run, barring their consultancy. It’s low, for many of them, and I mistrust mostly their lack of understanding of the day-to-day fundamentals that business leaders have to deal with.

I remain committed to growing our social media efforts whilst in the back of my head wondering how much of this is a fad or a bubble. Surely some of it must be, I think…

But the trick to succeeding in the long run will come in being strong in the areas that will stand the test of time and still be around in five years. Not just platforms, but modus. I truly believe that you have to add value to reap success in this medium – Setting up a Twitter account, getting 10,000 followers and spamming them with ‘deals’ all day long; or talking about the weather outside your office, these things do not add value.

Adding value is writing ‘How-To’ articles for the DIY products you sell (in our case, computer components) and being around to answer questions for people on the fly. It’s hotels giving me a great guide for the locality so as I know where to go and what to do within easy striking distance of the lobby when I arrive for an overnight business trip. It’s being able to tweet the reception to say what time I’ll arrive because of a flight delay, and getting asked how it went in the end when I finally arrive.

The second lesson I have after adding value concerns the bottom line: It’s something that is often left out of discussions regarding social media marketing, whereas in my view and, I think, in yours too it is a central concern. How much money can I make out of social media, when and how?

While our circumstances and experience sure as heck won’t be yours, I find value in reading the stories of other businesses and applying my own lens to it.

The Beginning

We kicked off in social media marketing for four main reasons:

  • 1. We’re a web company, and web based marketing reaps direct results in a playing field we’re suited to
  • 2. Social media has been on the rise for some time now, and all that noise warranted some exploration
  • 3. Yours truly originally comes with a background in online media, and so you could say I have a bias towards this field (and knowledge of how to make it work) that aided our decision to explore it
  • 4. It’s cheap. Let’s face it, we’re all looking for the cheapo marketing option, and till now our social marketing campaign has cost us, per month, less than the cost of an advertisement, just one ad, in many magazines and newspapers

We tested the waters a little with some not very convincing and sporadic content for a few weeks, kicking the tyres, picking platforms and seeing how they work – A blog, Twitter and Facebook were chosen as our three main avenues of attack.

Bebo is popular in Ireland, but not amongst our audience – though not to say we’ll never go there. LinkedIn and other services like that have value, but focusing on them takes more resources and doesn’t provide enough value, so I made the decision that we should focus our efforts on these three platforms.

This, I suppose, could be a lesson pulled out for you right here: No matter what the mediums you choose, and the way you choose to approach them, you need to be able to focus daily attention to them. Spreading yourself too thin reaps poor rewards in all channels.

Finding A Strategy

After a while, having spent no money and a little time on the effort, I figured there was something in it and we’d need a strategy. Obviously it needed a strong ‘social’ element, with us becoming more active on Twitter and Facebook and growing our audience there… But I still needed to find the ‘Something’ that would add value and give people a reason to participate with us beyond our charm and good looks.

At the time we were running a fairly popular campaign, doing free ‘Build Your Own PC’ classes in our office on a Saturday morning. (A campaign that will see light again in 2010, incidentally. We’re working on ways to bring it to a wider audience.) A clear value add: We teach you how to build your own PC and you’re more likely to do it, and shop with Komplett because you know us – we’re the guys who taught you how to do it!

It doesn’t take a genius (which is fortunate, considering I was the guy doing the figuring) to figure out that we could make a jump into offering how-to content online via the blog. A phone call later and Marc McEntegart, a henchman from my days in media, was sat in my office and we discussed ways to shape it. The idea of how-to and technical content was my idea, as was the evolution from this into writing up product spots and doing deals. Marc came up with the idea of filling in the middle with tech news and general articles, growing our traction with a reader base whom we could later convert into customers.

He – and here’s another lesson – is also a sociable fellow. Take a look at us on Twitter, on, and the general tone of many of our blog articles. You ideally need a good communicator to front your social efforts. An introvert won’t cut it. Sounds silly, but there you go. Someone with tact is a bonus, too.

Our content heavy model won’t suit every business, but we spotted a gap (localised Irish how-to and technical content), and invested a near FTE into the effort… A big toe dipped in.

The flipside from the content on the blog – which we see as the anchor to our social media operation – is the communication channels, Twitter and Facebook. Here we’ve developed an offering tailored to the medium, becoming extremely chatty and friendly with people on Twitter, where constant conversation is the norm; and less sporadic updates to Facebook of the most interesting blog content.

So the ‘workflow’ of our social media campaign involves Twitter and Facebook conversations ultimately driving traffic to our blog, where the greatest value-add resides in terms of content; and from the blog we eventually convert customers with quality, useful content, like how-to’s and product spots highlighting what we think is interesting and why.

Not That We Forgot About The Conversation…

The blog is the anchor of our social media campaign, and it eats up the most time and resources. Our main focus is to drive people to the blog where we hook them with really useful and honest content.

That’s not to say that we think Twitter and Facebook are a means to an end. These, particularly Twitter, are places where we see a huge level of engagement with people on a daily basis; from answering questions about products to more social banter.

This engagement in conversation, be it with or without a blog, is extremely useful: For starters, we’ve got some of our best feedback from customers through this avenue. It’s a live finger on the pulse, and it’s proved useful to us on many practical levels… Including feedback from folks telling us that something in the webshop is broken and needs to be fixed, long before we would have ever noticed it.

How Do I Gain Traction?

No matter your strategy, be you tweeting alone or creating compelling content every day, you need to gain traction with your audience. Once you’ve hooked a customer into your social web – be they conversing with you on twitter or following your content via RSS or whatever – you can pretty much count on their loyalty, so long as the content remains good.

Komplett launched its non-traditional social media marketing campaign with a fairly traditional trick: we ran a competition for people following us on Twitter and Facebook, giving away a bunch of free games. Now, there is a discussion here about quantity versus quality in terms of your following: It’s relatively easy to get a thousand eyeballs on the internet. But quality eyeballs?

To my view, quality is all that matters – the customers we attract (for Komplett) have to be Irish (we’re an Irish webshop); they have to be web shoppers or people open to the idea of shopping online (believe you me, they’re not a wide grouping in Ireland per capita today); and buying the kind of stuff we sell: Computer components and consumer electronics. Whatever your audience profile, you need to target this group.

So, on the face of it is a competition going to generate quality followers for us? Depends on the competition. Our video game one was a bit of a wide net to cast, but we went about promoting it in targeted haunts – Damien here gave it a plug for us, and his audience would be right up our alley. We pushed it on where we have a long-standing customer interaction forum (their biggest… I say to social media heads sometimes that we’re probably the oldest Irish company with a social presence on the web); and so the potential net was wide, but the delivery method was not.

You do need something to get you some buzz to get some traction – be it a targeted competition (the easiest route) or something more elaborate – and after that, the audience will grow itself slowly but steadily. Always focus on that: Slow but steady. Quality. Once you get in a few dozen eyeballs, they’ll begin to spread your stuff around and you’ll grow steadily.

The Salacious Relationship: Social Media And Money

As I mentioned above, many marketing agencies and consultants don’t like to talk money. (Not in terms of results, at least.) Particularly in the context of social media. It’s sometimes difficult to reconcile yourself against being social and honest and opening people’s wallets. Brand awareness, brand value, buzz, goodwill, word of mouth… All great words and phrases, but the majority of you out there (I’ll bet) are just like me: fighting for your lunches. Fighting for customers, conversions, sales and, ultimately, to keep a chair under your arses.

In the daily reality, you need a dual-band approach: All the buzzwords do translate into real value for your company. All that goodwill generated from all those people you’re tweeting with or from that funny video you threw up on YouTube is worth something to you: Branding, customer loyalty, whatever. But this isn’t always a result directly seen on the bottom line today, unless you’ve got an eye towards driving sales as well.

Focus too much on one aspect and you won’t go very far, at least not very fast – schill too much for sales and you’ll alienate people. Make them feel good about themselves, great, but where’s the call to action to make a sale?

Short term revenues matter. So does long term customer relationships. But you need to eat your lunch this afternoon. Social media, to my mind, should be about getting you a sandwich today and building the kind of relationship that delivers a big turkey every Christmas.

How do you achieve this? Every industry and business will have a different answer. (It’s my hope that in reading this, of course, you see my logic and twist it to your circumstance.) For Komplett the answer comes through our business model obviously, we’re an online retailer, so we give you content about our products; making the most of them and what have you; and people buy stuff.

The relationship we forge brings them back: That relationship of trust between you and Komplett, that says we’re a human company that wants to do good by you. If we simply generated that goodwill we’d get sales, eventually… But there needs to be the call to action today.

If you’re a hotel and tweeting me on my journey, you’ll likely get the goodwill to bring me back next time. But how did you ensnare me the first time? Good content? A pre-sales conversation about the area the hotel is in, and what I can do around it?

What can you offer your customers, and where’s the call to action?

And what kind of results can you expect? For me, a quarter million added to the bottom line is alright, I suppose, a few percentage points, not worth a bankers bonus for sure. I won’t turn my nose at it. But I could make a half million in once off sales to a particular group of people if I invested time into it… So where’s the long term payoff in social media?

Well, that quarter million represents customers who are most certainly satisfied and will likely be loyal to Komplett; they may even tell all their friends about us. I need the quarter million today, the couple of million tomorrow, to justify the investment in time and effort in social media… But the long term takeaway, the thing that the social media consultants like to extol the virtues of, is still there; and that will build your business for the long term.

Depending on your business the fundamental numbers will be different. Five thousand or fifty thousand or fifty million, it doesn’t matter, it’s marketing 101 as to defining success: If you’re a hotel (sorry, I’ve got hotels on the brain today) and you follow my advice and offer content, how many hits do you get on that content a month? What’s the click through rate to your online booking form? What’s the conversion? The average order value? Wham, bam, thank you ma’am.

The long term virtue of the relationship with that customer is obvious. But the key is you just made some cash out of them today. That’s critical. And yes, tomorrow or the next day you might get the other people who took a peek and decided not to buy… But I’ll bet your boss (or bank manager) looks at the figures for customers who pulled the trigger, not the ones who played with the pistol and might come back tomorrow.

Dip your toes in. Define your strategy, and your criteria for success. Invest in it, you’ll spend money before you make it. If you’re not being successful, tweak it. Eventually you’ll get there. My recommendation is to drag in guys like Damien once you’ve figured out your criteria for success at different investment levels. Give the consultants a clear framework and they’ll bring excellent value to your efforts, defining routes to achieving the success you’ve defined, not some vague definition of it taken from the social media bible.

Social media marketing is new, it’s going to evolve tremendously in the years to come in terms of platforms, methods and tools (I already see people creating tools to track down potential sales leads on the social networks); but like any other investment you make in time or money, it needs to deliver money today as well as the long term promised value of customer loyalty and brand awareness.

On Twitter: Aaron McKenna

Foursquare Dublin advertising in action

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

Logged into Foursquare today and noticed I got a local ad/special offer:


When you click through:


People were wondering how Foursquare would make money and how businesses could use Foursquare for business. So you pay Foursquare for you to reward repeat customers or potentially new customers. See other post on Foursquare. I look forward to Irish Foursquare apps too.

Additional note: Expect to see more stuff like this photo of Cafés saying they’re on Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare. Kanum on Mespill Road already mention in their pamphlets that they’re on Facebook.

iPhone and iPod Touch Apps to use in Ireland

Monday, November 30th, 2009

For those giving and getting iPhones and iPod Touches from Santa and elsewhere, here are a few apps to have a look at. also contain an impressive list of Irish-made apps. Not being big into games, I’ve gone for more utility apps.

1. Encyclopedia Wikipedia App
Encyclopedia Wikipedia App for iPhone. Made by Patrick Collison. Costs €6.99. Allows you to view and search the whole of Wikipedia on the iPhone/iPod Touch with and without an Internet connection.

2. Shazam – Guess that tune iPhone style
Shazam is simple. Put the phone near the radio and it’ll tell you the song playing and you and you can go buy it.

3. eirtext – Use your free webtexts directly on your iPhone/iPod Touch
Made by Vinny Coyne, eirtext is an Irish App allowing you to use the free Webtexts from Irish mobile providers via your phone.

4. Flickr App – Upload your photos and see what others have
Upload photos from your iPhone to photo sharing site Flickr. Stamp GPS coordinates on the photos and also see other photos taken in the location you’re in.

5. Echofon – Nice Twitter interface on your iPhone/iPod Touch
Allows you to use Twitter on your iPhone. Really handy application. Easy interface.

6. Evernote – Information taking and retrieval
Evernote is a document management system, a note taking application and more. Take a pic, it converts it to text. Add notes to it. It synchs with their website and your desktop if needs be.

7. Facebook
Everything on Facebook except on the iPhone. Very powerful and simple to use.

8. Daft Layar – Snoop on local houseprices
See details about houses around you for sale or rent with this Layar app. Whip out the iPhone and as you look through it via the camera then you can see notes, photos and videos tagged on to buildings and streets. This uses Augmented reality to show off the data (adds links and notes as you look through the screen with the camera).

9. Irish Phonebook
Irish Phone Book. All phone numbers in Ireland, all on your phone. Free and pro versions. €2.39 for pro.

10. Dublin Bus app
Nice app to find our routes and timetables for Dublin Buses. €2.99 to buy.

11. iPhone app
Concerts, events, TV and movies. The Entertain me app is very handy for finding listings and then connecting to the venues to make a booking. Location aware too.

12. Phantom 105.2 radio app
Phantom, one of the best radio stations in Ireland with some superb music choices now has an iPhone app so you can listen to their web stream from your iPhone or iPod Touch.

13. Skype
Make and receive Skype calls on you iPhone. Crystal clear phonecalls and they can be done for free when you are in a WiFi zone.

14. Foursquare
New to Ireland, Foursquare is building up a healthy following worldwide. Right now a consumer application, it will become more interesting when businesses in Ireland start to use it.

15. Dublin Bikes Layar
Despite the Dublin Bikes people banning a previous app about this. This app is here to use. It uses augmented reality to show off data.

16. WiFiTrak
Via James Cridland is WiFiTrak, a way of searching for open WiFi networks and seeing can you connect to the net via them. Picks up more networks than the iPhone scanner. €0.79 for it.

Way way more out there to put on your iPhone too. Add your own to this list.

Software as a service workshops

Friday, November 27th, 2009

Got this via email:

it@Cork, ITAG and ISA in association with Enterprise Ireland would like to invite you to a workshop entitled ‘Managing your SaaS Business’ as part of the New Software Economy. (€100 a pop) These workshops will be held in Cork (Dec 1st), Galway (Dec 2nd) and Dublin (Dec 3rd) and have a limit of 20 places per venue. The workshop will provide insights from key thought leaders on the important topics at the forefront of the New Software Economy.

Dragon’s Den Ireland – Interview with Seán Gallagher

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

Seán Gallagher from Dragon’s Den just wrapped up filming an episode of Dragon’s Den this evening and has answered questions sent in via email. You still have time to take a punt and enter you and your business idea for consideration. Being on the Dragon’s Den is a huge opportunity, even if you don’t get investment. Thanks to Jane Downes for arranging this.

1. For you personally, what was/is the best thing about Dragon’s Den?

I love to see budding entrepreneurs come into the den with ideas which they are passionately committed to and the potential to be at the very early stage of the launch of a new business. I like to see how the picture of the proposed product/business unfolds and unravels over the course of the entrepreneurs pitch.

2. How much weight does the person have when it comes into investing in their company/product? I’ve seen American VCs who are more interested in the team behind a company compared to any cutting edge technology the company might be building. Is this the same in Ireland?

Yes. Having a product or business idea is important but only 1 of the key elements of growing a successful business. Ideas are ten-a-penny and what is really critical is the ability of the entrepreneur to gather the correct market research and the correct research team around them to deliver the project, this requires huge energy focus and tenacity. Very often good projects can fail in the hands of the wrong promoter while strong promoters can create successful business from quite simple ideas.

3. Should the amount of involvement an investor have in their investment be in proportion to the % of the company they have? For example if you have 40% should you be in very close contact with your investment compared to having just 20%?

Yes it would be linked to the % but also it would need to be linked to the amount of money. Also I think the amount of time I would invest would be directly portioned to the potential revenue on value that could be generated.

4. Dragon’s Den is huge and it seems to have inspired business creativity in the general population, it reminds me of the old Late Late shows where they had inventors on, from the guy from Ballygowan to the farmer guy that made feeding buckets for calves. There seems to have been a larger vacuum that has now been filled. Do you think Irish people, creative as they are in the arts are creative in business? Are we natural born business people or do we need a push?

I think is very much the nature- nurture argument. I believe we have a natural disposition toward business, based on a history of farming, trade etc. However I believe much can be done to stimulate and develop the natural predisposition through creating a combination of the right conditions for business start ups as well as targeted incentives such as training, early stage seed capital, mentoring and awareness programmes

5. With the economy the way it is, people are very negative about it but there’s silver in every cloud and a cliché to boot! What’s good about 2009, what can we do in 2009 that maybe was not possible in 2008 or 2007?

In 2009 we have seen a return to the core fundamentals of doing business; quality products, good customer service and value for money. The positive change we have encountered is businesses seeking to be more competitive. This now provides opportunities within the marketplace for start ups. Cost of labour and flexibility of working practices have come about as a result of realistic expectations.

6. Even for a small company, is working with the media and getting attention important or do you think a company should keep their head down until they reach a certain size?

The lifeblood of every organization is sales. And sales depend fundamentally on the marketplace being aware of the company and product. Marketing is critical to the push and pull affect of generating sales. Therefore a company needs to be promoting itself as soon as it has identified its core brand philosophies and its product offering.

7. In terms of marketing and doing direct business/sales, how important is the web nowadays. Are Irish companies tuned in enough to it?

All companies progressively need to embrace the web as people now search online for everything. This includes information about companies, products, services and most crucially they are shopping online too. Therefore companies need to find an appropriate way to promote, sell and create awareness of their brand through advertising, online stores, blogging, forums and search engine optimization.

8. Lastly, is there anything else you’d like to add?

The first consideration for an entrepreneur launching a business is their ability to embrace risk. You can’t swim unless you’re prepared to get into the water. So I encourage all entrepreneurs is to apply online to Dragon’s Den by going to

The longest journey starts with one small step. Yours could be Dragon’s Den!

If I dream it … will you come and build it?

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

There are a few apps I’d love to see built so I could go off and then use them. Two of these are Facebook related.

Facebook + Google Ad system application
Facebook have opened their ad system API and already two applications are being built so agencies and companies can manage multiple accounts and campaigns. Google’s Adplanner tool is a great way of finding out rough demographics on sites but a system that allows you to target inside and outside of Facebook will be much better. If an Irish company builds an app that allows me to plan an online ad campaign that uses both Google Ads and Facebook then I’ll use it and if I like it will recommend it to the greater world (and clients). Course just a Facebook Ad planning app would be handy too.

Facebook Pages Visual Editor
Facebook Pages are obviously big these days and one good potential for them is you can add customised tabs to your Page and make them the default landing page for them. See a tonne of examples here. I want a tool that I can use and clients too that allows visual editing and creating of these custom boxes instead of having to train people in FBML. This really feels like the days of Geocities and their basic web editor.

Emacs at Google Developer Day 2009
Photo owned by Sphinx The Geek (cc)

The €10,000 document

Saturday, November 21st, 2009

It seems like years ago that I created and then uploaded my Online Marketing Document to the website. Since I uploaded the document six months (ish) ago it’s been downloaded and emailed about 1000 times. It’s been reused by people who might class themselves as competitors, it’s been used as additional reading material in college courses, it’s been linked to by a lot of people, people who needed it found it useful to their business and I generally point it out at every talk and conference I do. Goodwill does come back.

It has also helped me get business, be it as the icing on the cake or the ice-breaker with potential clients. I’d estimate that I’ve gotten at least €10k of business from what is now a slightly out of date document. Given I keep saying giving away your company blueprints gets you business, the document was me putting my money where my gob is. If a company has to hide away knowledge to get business in a world where there are millions of webpages that directly compete with them then they’re losing a battle in a war that’s already lost. A document will never ever replace the knowledge and more importantly skill you have so why make it the lynchpin of a business? This document that I gave away for free has proved to have huge value to me. Interesting, no?

I also hope (it’s just a matter of time and resources) to give away the documentation for the Online PR courses I’ll be doing. Of course this is one strand of doing business, I work my ass off in other areas too which also drive business my way but that’s another blog post in itself.

In God We Trust
Photo owned by jeffweese (cc)

Chemistry’s rapid response eircom TV ad took a week…

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

Chemistry (the makers of the now famous France and the Croke Park box letters) made the recent eircom TV ad that was a response to the Vodafone switching ad. Vodafone had people painting their doors red and the eircom response had people stripping the red off and going back to orange. It’s common in the U.S. but unusual here to see companies directly challenge each other on TV. I don’t watch TV (much) but was told about the ad from friends who really liked it so tracked it down. Part of this promotion from eircom involves sending people in the media and bloggers boomerangs. Clever.

I got eircom to send some questions on to Chemistry about the ad and the replies are below (slightly edited):

Comments attributable to Sinead Cosgrove, Chemistry:

1. Was there a detailed brief for this or were you asked to create an ad in reply to Vodafone’s red door ad?

Our brief was to communicate eircom’s very clear and important message that 55,000 customers had returned to the company in the period 1st September 2008 – 31st August 2009. eircom had also carried out independent research that showed that consumers actually wanted eircom to stand up for itself a bit more. When competitors talk about taking customers from eircom, it gives the impression of a one-way street. It isn’t.

Vodafone’s latest campaign very clearly stated intent to target eircom customers. The eircom campaign is not just directly targeting Vodafone but rather is an example of eircom standing up for itself which according to independent research is what customers wanted. It also presents a balanced and true view that while customers have left, they return for real value and great service. We made the message engaging by deliberately being a bit tongue-in-cheek in our execution of the advert.

1 b. How did you come up with the idea for it?

Due to the requirement for a quick turnaround we brainstormed rather than worked to a formal briefing process. Part of how we came up with the idea was because we knew that consumers wanted to see eircom take a stance. We wanted to find an engaging way of responding to the general “sniping” from competitors but know that the manner in which you do this bears different significance for the consumer: too much aggression and bickering turns the consumer off; blow your own trumpet and you risk coming across as both arrogant and irrelevant. We knew that we had goodwill in spades from the consumer and that this was due, in large part, to eircom’s reputation for better service levels (which is partly why 55,000 people came back to eircom). We wanted to take this goodwill from the consumer and build it into something that they would recognise and engage with. Humour and simplicity of message helped land the tone we were looking for.

1c. How many times did those doors get painted at this stage?

This is a very famous street and many advertisers have used it because it has houses that are both characteristic and uniform. We only actually painted two of the doors, the rest were colour-changed in post production.

2. What was the turnaround for the ad? Perhaps I’m wrong but it seemed to come rapidly after Vodafone brought theirs out

The advert was conceived and turned around within a week. Using the “Doors” in the execution meant that we could be very clever, tactical and humourous in taking on our critics and competitors.

3. Was this purely for TV or is it to be seen in other media too?

This campaign included TV and press advertising as well as online banners and direct mail activity

4. What was the feedback like for this?

So far the feedback for this campaign has been extremely positive.