Artists are Gladiators

8pm Warriors, Art, Creativity, Failure, Social Media 1 Comment »

Artists are Gladiators - 8pm Warrior Aaron Biebert

Artists are the new gladiators.

In a wealthy world, they are paraded around the internet “stadium” to get thumbs up on Facebook and YouTube if they are worthy, pinned to Pinterest if they make you look smart, or retweeted so you have something beautiful on your timeline.

But only the few. The loudest. The most fierce.

Only the ones who learn to be marketing agencies and artists at the same time. Only the artists who are willing to spend every waking minute fighting for your attention.

In the end, most die poor and forgotten in a world that likes to focus on no more than 5 people at a time. Just like gladiators.


Artists fighting to the death, are you not entertained?

I am not.

Artists are the new gladiators. In a wealthy world, they are paraded around the stadium of the internet to get thumbs up on Facebook and YouTube if they are worthy, pinned to Pinterest if they make you look smart, or retweeted so you have something beautiful in your timeline.

I am sad.

As a manager of musicians, husband to an artist, and filmmaker, I watch with horror as so much talent is wasted and people with gifts are slowly exiting their arena, ending the fight to make the world more beautiful and interesting.

Others strengthen their resolve and give up hopes of having a family, buying a home, or retiring. Instead they live with parents, pack into group apartments and live off Ramen noodles. All so that you can enjoy free music, cheap art, and pretty photos to look at.

This is reality.

 

We are losing something. We are turning the world into an ignorant land of McDonald’s and Ikea.

“That looks handmade, I’m sure I can do it myself. Will you make a tutorial? Can I get the recipe? Are there free tickets? Do you ever have sales? Will you price match that artist over there? They are cheaper.”

Cheaper?

Yes, we have made the world cheaper. Instead of paying our talented neighbors, we mass produce billions of one designer’s product, overseas, as we turn our eyes away from our neighbors and back to our Netflix, top 40 radio, and microwave dinners. The taste makers tell us how things should taste.

This will make us sick. It has made us sick.

Then what shall we do?

 

Don’t take pride in your cheapness, take pride in what you’re buying. Rediscover craft and the craftsmen. Yes, it costs more, but it is an investment in our culture, a shared sacrifice for a richer world.

Turn off the radio and TV. Listen to something new. Discover an amazing short film on Vimeo. Never buy your jewelry at Target. Stop eating at Subway or Chipotle. Limit the number of times you feed your kids chicken nuggets or Mac n Cheese. Buy something meaningful for Christmas, not just the easy choice from the Top 10 list you saw on the plane.

Know the name of who makes your food, music, art, and photos. Get to know them.

They are dying for your attention. Honor them tonight.

Aaron @Biebert

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Get future posts by subscribing to “Thoughts from an 8pm Warrior” via email for free. For more of my marketing thoughts or to discuss a video project, visit AttentionEra.com or follow @AttentionEra on Twitter.






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Time to Fire Your Marketing Director? #VideoMKE

Attention Era, Changing Times, Leadership Thoughts, Marketing, Milwaukee, Presentations, Social Media No Comments »

Why are so few companies using video for marketing? It’s ridiculous!

Someone needs to get fired.

As a director and producer, video marketing is a topic I’m very passionate about. I am biased, but what better way to connect people to your voice and your soul? Short of connecting face-to-face, there’s nothing better.

It’s expensive. Right?

Grumpy Cat on Video Marketing

Wrong. Professional video production costs have dropped significantly in the past five years. Limited budget? There are so many tools. Everyone has an HD video camera on their smart phone. How does every random band in America have multiple music videos? Heck, even cats have their own videos.

Why doesn’t your business?

Gone are the days of expensive media (VHS, DVD, etc.), all these new video apps like Vine, Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube are free.

Free.

But what about Business to Business (B2B) marketing?

B2B clients are people too. Video works for everything. Anytime you have people involved, they are moved to action by passion, information, people, and music, all core strengths of video as a medium. I challenge you to post one marketing scenario in the comments below where video marketing would not work.

Need examples? One small (but growing) business who sells directly to consumers and other businesses is basically putting on a clinic about how to use video…and it’s working. Take a peek at Johnson Creek Enterprises:

“How to” videos (5,500 customers know how to use their new item)

Company soul (2,200 spent 8 minutes watching what kind of company this is)

Unboxing (2,900 customers more comfortable with making a purchase)

Product launch (2,400 now aware that this company listens to requests)

Celebrating milestones (3,500 fans learned that this company has exciting plans ahead)

Of course these are just a couple examples from one company. Hardly proof, but they’re not Exxon Mobil. You don’t need millions of views (or dollars) to make video work for you.

Now lets get back to the whole business of firing one’s marketing director. Great leaders use their intuition and look around them. If you need to read a blog post like this to know you’re missing the boat, you probably shouldn’t be on it.  Video allows brands to share passionate, personal, relevant pieces of content for their community for free. 

If you don’t know that by now, then yes, it’s probably time to find a different line of work. This is old news. Boring.

Video marketing isn’t even experimental. It’s a clear cut way to reach people with your message in an increasingly connected and visual world.

If you’re not paying attention to trends, you need to get a different job.

Sorry for the rant tonight,

Aaron @Biebert

 

PS. I’m not criticizing people that don’t know how. I’m criticizing people that don’t want to know how.

If you’re in the Milwaukee area, I’m giving two free talks at the American Marketing Association and Social Media Club on the subject as part of my #VideoMKE series. Feel free to join us.

Here’s the fun trailer we put together:

 

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Why We’re Working On the Weekends

Motivation, Uncategorized 8 Comments »

Do you work weekends too?

When I send an email or tweet to someone on a Friday evening, it’s always interesting to watch who responds before the weekend is over.  Those are the 8pm Warriors.

They are usually the most successful people I know.

8pm Warrior - Live Inspired - Follow Passion - Work Weekends

The interesting thing about their success is that it has nothing to do with actually working on the weekend, but rather why they’re working on the weekend.

Why do you do it?

Most people don’t work weekends because they like to enjoy a break from work. They want some time to do what they love and spend time with people they love. Me time.

I totally understand that.

However, when people do work they love and work with people they care about, every day is like the weekend. Their work is joyful and exciting and meaningful.

That is why they’re successful.  Not because they need to work weekends, but because they want to.  That is the key to success.

You must love what you do to be successful.

If you don’t love what you do Monday through Friday, get a new job or create one.

Live inspired.  Follow your passion.  Work weekends.

Have a great weekend,

Aaron @Biebert

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5 Lessons for Old Marketers After @Applebees #SpiritedChef

Attention Era, Bravery, Changing Times, Creativity, Failure, Marketing, Social Media No Comments »

If you haven’t heard of the #SpiritedChef campaign from Applebee’s, click here to learn more.

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Applebee’s launched the Spirited Chef social campaign during their holiday menu.  It’s a brilliant social media play, and I think “old marketers” can learn something from it.

Old is just a state of mind.

Applebee's Spirited Chef Video - Minecraft Box Mask

They hired 19-time world champion flair bartender Christian Delpech to help them make the best video ever by their fans.   Their growing online community was invited to tweet suggested tricks, stunts, costumes, and pretty much anything else they’d like to see this amazing performer do, using the #SpiritedChef hashtag.

After a couple weeks, the #SpiritedChef hashtag has gotten millions and millions of impressions on Twitter and Facebook.  Many suggestions were made and the film crew headed out to Las Vegas to film the video the fans wrote.

Here it is the original video:

Here is the sequel:

I became fascinated as I watched the social media strategy unfold under the brilliant guidance of Jill McFarlandJonathon Brewer and the BTC Revolutions team (Applebee’s digital agency).

Here are five thoughts for “old marketers” that might need a little nudging into the new era.

 

1) Fear Will Lead to Failure

Our world is changing so fast.  If you want to keep up, you have to do things that are unknown and unproven.  Risk is part of leadership and leadership in a changing world is the only way to survive as a brand (just ask Circuit City).

Besides that, people are weird.  If you want to relate to people, sometimes you have to be a little weird too.

One of the things that Applebee’s does exceedingly well is keep an open mind and interact with their customers in a personal manner, no matter what sort of online sub-culture they belong too.

There’s a very large group of men that enjoy My Little Ponies.  They’re called Bronies. By some estimates, there are about a million of these gentlemen out there.

The Chili’s restaurant group decided they wanted to engage with their Brony customers and designed a Chili’s My Little Pony.  They then tweeted it out asking what were the Bronies’ favorite things to eat at Chili’s.  The responses got ugly and Chili’s quickly retreated and deleted the tweet.

Now nobody was happy.

Chili's Tweet about Bronies - My Little Ponies - MLP Bronies

Later on, Applebee’s had a customer ask if the Spirited Chef liked ponies and they engaged in their typical personal fashion.  The Brony tweet made it into the above video.

The community of Bronies responded and 12,000+ views came from blog posts on My Little Ponies related sites.  One group in Manhattan even went so far as to throw a party at the local Applebee’s to thank them for not being afraid of the topic like Chili’s was.

This is just one interesting example of success due to “brand bravery”.  When you watch the video, you see all sorts of other sub-cultures involved from Minecraft and unicorns to Corey Pieper and One Direction fans.

Lesson learned:   Don’t be afraid to engage with your customers on their turf, even if their turf involves a little pony. 

 

2) Keep Things Simple & Specific

Applebee’s tweeted many times about this project and I noticed that some types of tweets got more responses than others.  More people (20 people in top tweet vs 3 people in bottom one) added suggestions after the call to action made a specific ask (second tweet below).

People don’t really care about much, so don’t ask for much thought unless you have a huge payoff.  Keep it simple.  Keep it specific.

Lesson learned:   It’s okay to vary your posts and get more specific if you’re not getting the volume of responses you want. 

 

3) Transparency Builds Trust & Ownership

To add a level of transparency, the group was streaming live video from behind the scenes during production.  Not only did this combat the usual “camera trick” conspiracy theorists, but it made the hundreds of people watching the live broadcast feel more involved.  They got a chance to see instant replays, as well as interact with the Applebee’s brand on Twitter.

Feel free to watch the recording of the production:

Luckily we didn’t make too many mistakes, but even if we did, we’d probably get a lot of leniency from a world that appreciates honesty and transparency.

Lesson learned:   You build trust and ownership from customers when you open up and share the process. 

 

4) The Future is Social

TV commercials don’t usually translate well to social media and YouTube because they are one-way messages in a two-way social media world.  People expect to be engaged and entertained in social channels and if you do it right you’ll get tons of exposure through earned media and the subscription base you’ll build.

Keep pushing traditional broadcast commercials on your YouTube channel and you’ll keep getting the same poor results.  After switching styles, Applebee’s saw subscriptions rise by 20% in the first month of the #SpiritedChef campaign.

As long as they keep creating social video content, they’ll have those fans for years to come.  No advertising dollars needed.

More about that in this article.

 

5) Social Networks Aren’t Transferable

Despite having 5,000,000 fans on Facebook and 250,000 followers on Twitter, this video by Applebee’s only got 100,000 views in the first week.  Why’s that?

Each network has it’s own flavor and quirks.  On Facebook people statistically don’t like to leave the ecosystem when they’re browsing.  They may watch the video, but won’t generally click to the native YouTube page to comment or give a thumbs up.

This can get frustrating.

Why then do tons of YouTube video channels have thousands of comments?  It’s because they’ve built a YouTube specific community that waits for their videos, that comments on their videos, that shares their videos with others in the YouTube ecosystem.

Lesson learned:   In order to consistently get lots of views on YouTube videos without a huge advertising budget, you need to build a community of people that watch videos.  That takes time, and it takes consistently great videos that make people want more.

Applebee’s is finally on their way.

Think like them night,

Aaron @Biebert

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Are You Proud of Your Battle Scars Yet?

8pm Warriors, Bravery, Failure, Motivation 4 Comments »

I had dinner with my brilliant friend and fellow Milwaukeean Phil Gerbyshak the other night and he showed me the largest scrape I’ve ever seen. It went from his hand up the entire length of his arm…biking accident in Portland. (Wouldn’t be surprised if my buddy Robert Caruso had something to do with it, he’s trouble.)

8pm Warrior - Proud of Scars

It made me think.

 

It’s amazing how people are so proud of their scars once the pain is gone. I know I am.

I immediately dove into the lake the other day after my phone fell out of my pocket and off the boat. I somehow managed to grab it in the depths of the lake before it sunk to the bottom.  The phone was ruined, but I was so proud of it when I came back to the surface.

Proud of my broken phone?

 

Someday will I be proud of my big failures?  Will I be proud of the many mistakes I’ve made?

I’m not sure.  Some of these events are still so painful.  However, I will be proud I kept going…kept fighting forward.  The scars will be proof.  They will remind me of where I’ve been, who I am, and how I got to where I am now.

Precious reminders.

 

If you’re still in pain over your failures, I wanted to drop you this note tonight and tell you that someday you’ll be proud of what you’ve gone through.

We are warriors.  These battles we fight are painful.  Most quit.  We get hurt.  We have scars.

Be proud of them tonight,

Aaron @Biebert

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You (Yes, You) Will Change Today

Changing Times, Failure, Leadership Thoughts, Marketing, Social Media 2 Comments »

Some people fight change.  They think it helps them avoid losing their way, falling, or failing.

8pm Warrior - Move or Get Buried

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”  Right?

Wrong.

I look at my competitors who are still using elevator music, editing on outdated software, or shooting with old cameras and these words come to mind:

“Today, you’re either going to get better or you’re going to get worse, but you’re not going to stay the same.  So which is it going to be?”

- Joe Paterno

In a world of constant innovation and progress, staying the same is getting worse. Your position is slipping, even if you’re holding still. Everybody is changing.

Getting better is the only way to not get worse.

Lately, I’ve wondered if I’m slipping a bit myself.  I’ve been seeing a lot of time-lapse imagery in TV shows and movies such as House of Cards, Gold Rush, and Art of Flight. We’ve used time-lapse before, but not at the level I’m seeing out there now.

Regardless of what industry we work in, we’re all going to change.  That’s a fact.

Today I’m choosing to get better.  I’m saying goodbye to the wife and kids, jumping on a plane to one of the most beautiful places on the face of the earth, and we are going to master the art of time-lapse for our clients.

I want to be the best, and I need to keep moving forward.

(Here’s the link to the video if you can’t see it)

We’ll be using the #MKE2CA (Milwaukee to California) hashtag for Twitter and Instagram, as well as posting photos and videos from the trip on Facebook and the Attention Era Media blog.

If you have time, I’d love to have you along for the journey.  Maybe we can inspire each other.

Let’s all move forward tonight,

Aaron @Biebert

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No Such Thing as a Big Break

Business Opportunities, Goals, Motivation 8 Comments »

As a video producer & director, I work with a lot of creative talent. I also work with a lot of business leaders and entrepreneurs.

I constantly hear talk like this:

  • “I’m waiting for my big break.”
  • “That giant order was a big break for his new business.  Hoping I’ll get news like that someday.”
  • “I’m jealous of her because she got her big break before I got mine.”

After hearing it again today, I wanted to share a little insider secret.

The “Big Break” doesn’t exist.Big Breaks Come From Small Steps

Not only that, but it’s a damaging idea because some people are literally waiting for their big break. Instead of hitting the pavement each day, running for their life towards their goals…they are waiting.

They are hoping.

Every “big break” is really just a series of small steps.  The person got better every day. They made more connections.  They moved forward.

Then, they ran into the right person.  Big break you say?  Nope.

The right person isn’t Santa Claus, delivering big breaks.  The right person doesn’t help people who aren’t right for them.  They aren’t a charity.

You need to be ready when you meet the right person.  It won’t be your big break.

Just the next step.

Focus on the small steps tonight,

Aaron @Biebert

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Boston Marathon Tribute Video – All I Can Do

Giving 6 Comments »

I saw the graphic photos and the footage of the bomb going off at the Boston Marathon and it shook me too.

Boston Marathon Bomb Victims

I had friends running that race.

Yet, here I was in Milwaukee.  Powerless.

I couldn’t clear blast debris.  I couldn’t carry victims to safety.  The Red Cross didn’t need blood.  I couldn’t chase down the cowards who bombed the race.

 

So I did all I could do.

 

I’m a video guy.  I made a video, so that nobody would forget the heroes and victims…so nobody would minimize what just happened.

Nobody is powerless to help.  We must all do what we can.  Blog, tweet, share, pray, encourage.  Whatever we can.  We must.

Have a safe night,

Aaron @Biebert

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