From Media140, London
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➡ Nothing like being the early-morning “wake up”
speaker after a long flight.
➡ Fun topic for a conference. Looking forward to
engaging with people.
★ Single most common client
question: “Why should I care
what you had for breakfast,
➡ How many Twitter haters are in
the audience? How many Twitter
lovers? How many are Twitter–
curious? [Ed–largely lovers]
➡Fascinated by Twitter haters.
Endless number of journalists
actively looking for the chance
to give Twitter a bad press. If
you aren’t selling papers, bitch
➡ Ashton Kutcher has pushed Twitter to the foreground
of the traditional media. “It’s engendered a huge
pool of Twitter haters.”
★ Journalists hate Twitter in
particular because it’s a “Journalists hate
threat to their sense of
journalism. Twitter in particular
because it’s a threat
So what is the point? Why
do people care about these to their sense of
➡ Once asked a multinational
CEO: “Do you use social
media?” “No, I don’t have time.” There’s the attitude
that people got Facebook, and they’re outraged: “Now
I have to do Twitter too?!”
➡ Client meeting example: found that an in-house
marketing team were all using Facebook/Twitter but
weren’t following each other. “We just work
together.” They tried to hire AKQA to do their social
media but they weren’t social together.
➡ Haters are particularly interesting. Best way to get
a headline is to do a study into Twitter being
★ Widely reported study: 40.55%
of all Tweets are “pointless “40 million users
babble.” Question reflects almost overnight gets
the prejudice of the study.
Do people measure telephone swept under the rug.
conversations and text
messages? Conversations in People enjoy beating up
the street? What proportion on Twitter.”
of these would be “pointless
➡ Interesting that these studies get so much traction.
Teens not using Twitter is another one.
➡ Any time people find a tiny piece circumstantial
evidence that Twitter might be a fad, the print it.
40 million users almost overnight gets swept under
the rug. People enjoy beating up on Twitter.
➡ Some stats: 11.30am is the top pass along timeslot,
and Monday is the top day. Put out your tweets then!
News is heaviest at 2pm.
➡ So why Twitter? What’s the point? It’s enjoyable.
➡ Specifically: As CEO of six offices, on the road a
lot, it’s a great way to keep up with people, send
short messages, and make connections with people
online who you don’t have time for normally.
➡ More broadly: Stay in touch with the industry as a
whole. Follow people in the industry and split them
off from the “bff list.”
➡ Even more broadly: Zeitgeist. Can stay in touch with
news and top trends. Can tell when Kanye West is
dead, and when he’s alive again.
➡ Why don’t more agency people have time for it? It
helps @tombed understand the Real Time Web.
★ Shows that AKQA is authentic and authoritative. When
people ask about Twitter, the CEO knows.
➡ Tweetfreak blog singled out @tombed as a person to
follow: “Tom is the rare agency CEO who comes across
as somewhat normal on Twitter.”
➡ Proud to be ‘somewhat’ normal.
➡ I’m not going to tell us anything new about what
people are using Twitter for. That’s what the other
panels in the day are for. And the articles, the
books... there should be a Twitter film.
➡ Pace of development: There’s a book that came out a
few weeks ago that’s already out of date. It said
that Comcast had a full-time Twitter manager. Not any
more. Now they have a team of twelve.
➡ Hollywood is in love with Twitter because it’s free.
They’re trying to find new ways to promote films on
➡ Ashton Kutcher has 3.88 million followers. He tweets
to promote his films (which is good because can you
remember the last one he was in?)
➡ Who’s in the audience? [Ed–a few publishers, some
media, some client people, overwhelmingly agency
➡ How can brands and advertisers and publishers deal
with consumer adoption of Twitter? How do you engage
with people as a brand?
➡ Looking forward to crowdsourcing discussion from
Unilever. The ethics of using real-time media. How do
we listen and who do we listen to? Who is in charge?
➡ Nothing like seeing the blood sport of agencies
fighting over a scrap of new business.
➡ Convergent agencies all staking out a claim for who
will manage social media. How are clients going to
figure out who to assign it to?
➡ Of the 40 million Twitter users, estimates that 35
million are social media experts.
➡ Today is about reflecting on innovation. The
challenge is to form what the right questions are,
not getting answers.
➡ People are starting to solve “The challenge is to
things. Still a lot to do.
Measuring the effectiveness form what the right
of a campaign–there isn’t a questions are, not
tool to provide clients with
ROI on Twitter. getting the right
Q: Do you think that the majority of your clients are
trying to engage you in social media campaigns, or
are you having to bring it up as an option for them?
A: Social media is the number one thing that clients
go to AKQA for. Everyone is asking about it; clients
& prospective clients too. The media are also asking.
It’s taking over the conversations. On the one hand
there are a lot of things that AKQA do which aren’t
social media, so there’s a lot of conversation but as
much money through the door, but social media is
being intertwined into everything that we do. GAP
hired us for the Back to School campaign. For 20
years that would have been TV work and some outdoor
placements. This year we did some bus shelters, but
the rest of the campaign was built on Facebook. Born
To Fit (borntofit.com) took you to a Facebook page &
experience. It was all about people sharing their own
ideas about fashion. There was an iPhone application
that tied into it also.
Q: Generally, how do we as an industry tackle clients
who have managed their brands more traditionally? How
do we turn them from pushing to engaging? Allocating
spending. How do we change perceptions?
A: Clients struggle with change. Got to be careful as
some clients are in the room! People don’t spend
their lifetime on a brand in marketing. They are
caretakers. They get an assignment for a year or two
most. They want to make sure they do a good job based
on historical factors so that they can get their
next, better, assignment. You start with what was
done before and tweak it a little. Hard to get people
to make the shift. FMCG brands aren’t the largest
online advertisers, they’re tiptoeing into that. Good
news is that whatever is new and interesting gets a
lot of attention. Last year everyone wanted an iPhone
application for their brand. Then people wanted a
Facebook page. What are we going to do with Twitter?
How do we get involved? Twitter is more confusing
because it’s about dialogue, it’s not something
static. Who owns it? Corporate communications
department? Brand team? Client meetings are complex:
PR people, corporate communications teams, brand
managers... lots of overlapping people. AKQA
evangelise on social media.
Q: Can you provide some feedback on the GAP campaign?
A: Too soon to tell. Send me an email and I’ll get
back to you.
Q: What are the emerging standards for how to measure
A: This is something that people will be talking
about all day today. I don’t have a ‘single’ answer.
You can measure followers and fans and Tweets...
clients want to measure sales, but increasingly there
need to be links between immeasurable activities to
sales. People who were on top of Twitter early on
have received millions of dollars of free publicity.
Dell’s attempts to use it as a Customer Service tool
in particular. Should we use Twitter as part of our
CS dialogue? How much does it cost to put one person
on it full-time? If there’s just one person using
Twitter and just one solitary success story comes out
of it, then it’s worth the expense.
Q: What are the limits of Real Time Web and Social
Media? Don’t they shift the focus so we become
A: What would people
have thought the
limits of Facebook
or Twitter or iPhone
We’re in an exciting
era where technology
and dialogue are
being taken over by
people. It’s people
powered. That’s why
I’m here in London.
Groups like Media140
will keep raising the
Q: How do you make sure that AKQA have their own
strategy right? How much time do internal teams spend
A: I’m only “somewhat normal” remember! We’re having
the same discussions everyone is. Most of AKQA’s
engagements and client teams involve social media.
Lots of internal dialogue. Should we have a dedicated
social media team or should it be a part of all
groups? No answers yet, that’s something we’re
Q: Twitter is used very differently by the super-
followed and the normal user. Does this impact the
platform as a whole?
A: The uses for the platform are just beginning to
blossom. There are interesting start-ups everywhere.
San Francisco bay company called StockTwits, sending
out Real Time stock information. Up-to-the-minute.
One of the fastest growing applications of Twitter.
People are creating business opportunities using
Twitter. Everyone will find a use for it that fits
their needs: that’s the exciting thing about it.
That’s also why I don’t understand Twitter haters.
All you have to do is look around and see blossoming
business opportunities. Twitter is 100 people and
they are turning down billions of dollars. People who
don’t care about Twitter: Google cares about Twitter.
Facebook cares about Twitter. They are scared
shitless. That’s why they want to write cheques to
buy it. They want Twitter on their side. It’s
inevitable that the platform leads to great ideas and
great business opportunities.
Finally: please follow @tombed so I can hit 5,000 users.
Also please tweet what you had for breakfast with the
#media140 hashtag, just to piss people off.
Tom Bedecarré is CEO of AKQA. You can find him on Twitter
Photos courtesy of Paul Clarke: www.flickr.com/people/34916866@N02