An audience of 100,000 – how powerful is that?

So Stephen Fry has become the second most followed person on Twitter. He is now only bettered by a certain US President!

[Don’t worry, this isn’t a jumping on the social media bandwagon post]

That is quite some going and 100,000 is a big number.

In the PR game, where ‘reach’ is obviously important, what does this say about media and influencer outreach?

A few things to consider:

– 100,000 people wont be seeing (let alone acting on) every one of Fry’s tweets

– I wonder how many of the 100,000 use Twitter on a regular basis

– Targeting is also important and perhaps difficult here

– Being ‘remarkable’ is surely even more important when targeting people like Fry

Having said all that, I was just on TweetDeck looking at the TwitScoop (a constant update of what is ‘hot’ on Twitter) and I noticed that “Bletchley” and “bpark” were coming up particularly strong.

When I clicked to find out more, I found that the only reason for this was that @stephenfry had just tweeted about it and his followers were re-tweeting his post.

Power indeed!

Never say die – the Woolworths challenge

So Woolworths survives:

“Just weeks after the shutters came down on the last Woolworths store, Shop Direct, owned by Sir David and Frederick Barclay, has paid an undisclosed amount for the group’s name. The pick-and-mix to children’s clothes chain will now re-open as an online store in the summer.”

It’s good news for the brand and hopefully for some of the staff at Shop Direct.

It’ll also be a fascinating branding/marketing exercise for the new owners. How do you retain the obvious brand affinity that exists whilst building the company into one that will profit and develop in today’s highly competitive (online) retail space.

Using the internet is surely a good start. But it wont be enough on its own.

Pitching this just right is phenomenally important. But it also presents a great opportunity. Taking an incredibly well established brand and doing something new and fresh with it.

Will this happen? Who knows. Here are some pros and cons for the new owner.

Pros
– A loved brand
– Chance for a fresh start
– Opportunity to do something ‘different’ – different to the old Woolworths and other etailers
– Using the online channel, doing away with the image of ‘offline Woolworths’

Cons
– A loved brand
– A damaged brand
– Online competition
– Negative PR
– Old ‘1p sweets’ associations

They are making a good start. The homepage currently has a form encouraging visitors to leave their details (data capture) and inviting users to share “thoughts on what you liked most (or disliked!) about Woolworths so we can make sure we’ll be even better when we return.”

Nice. Time will tell…

Digital Britain? No sh*t. Too little, too late

“Our digital networks will be the backbone of our economy in the decades ahead. We know that every aspect of our lives – every school, every hospital, every workplace and even every home – will depend on the services the digital network provides.”

Gordon Brown, PM, 29th Jan 2009

What does he expect? Stop stating the bleeding obvious.

It’s no surprise, from the government that believes it is worth exploring age-ratings for websites.

I’m really starting to get pissed off with politics.

Others have highlighted further examples of the shortsightedness of the Digital Britain report, and yes, I know, we’ve only had the first part. But why bother with this bit?

As Emily Bell states, there is nothing in the report to argue with. But, there’s also nothing that inspires confidence about how we might survive (and lead?) the digital age.

Why bother merely summarising what everyone already knows? Digital is hugely important to our economy. We know. It will become even more important. We know. Everyone needs to have access to high speed internet access. We know.

How?

That’s the question.

How are the government going to do this? How will we achieve these things?

The time for simplistic analysis is over. Other countries are plowing full steam ahead. We need action and we need it sooner rather than later.

For once the opposition are spot on:

Jeremy Hunt, Tory shadow culture minister: “We thought the report was going to contain a strategy.  In France and Germany they are laying fibre, in Japan they already have it.”

Don Foster, Lib Dem culture, media and sport spokesman: “We’ve spent lots of money on reviews, but all we now have is a strategy group, an umbrella body, a delivery group, a rights agency, an exploratory review, a digital champion and an expert task force. This report has been a complete damp squib.”

Come on Gordon. Action, not words.

Rant over.

Barack: the ultimate marketing case study?

Tuesday was a great day. We sat in the office, in awe of an undoubtedly great man. We were transfixed.

As Paul Carr said in his weekly column, the usual British cynicism that so often comes to the fore when anything American is concerned disappeared like $1 Obama water offered to a million-strong crowd.

The reason: he’s a great, natural marketer.

From day one, Obama has marketed himself brilliantly. There was a great comment piece in last month’s Revolution magazine which compared some of Obama’s early speeches from before he won the nomination to the email he sent on the night he was elected. The messages were almost identical.

That’s great branding. Great messaging and great strategy. We are always telling our clients that if you get the messaging right at the start, then everything else follows and works much better. It’s true and Obama knows it. I guess from a political standpoint, it suggests that this is also a person who is true to his beliefs and his vision. A good business lesson too.

Sure, he was very different to what went before, and that certainly helps. But so is the best marketing. And Obama accentuates and plays on these differences, if subtlety. Marketing the same message in the same way as everyone else is only going to get you so far. Doing something different, something unique, gets you noticed.

David Meerman Scott has brilliantly demonstrated the linguistic differences between Obama’s inaugural address and the one Bush gave 4 years ago. It’s subtle but it seems to hit home.

As Seth Godin says: be remarkable. Obama is certainly remarkable – the person and the brand.

Politically speaking, the hard work starts now. And, at the end of the day, he is a politician, not a marketer.

But in the days when countries are hiring PR agencies, what better leader to have than one that seems to understand how to inspire, persuade and communicate effectively to his own country and globally.

Interesting Stuff i

Interesting things, links and themes that don’t justify their own post (yet) but still worth sharing:

2009 will be the Year of the Re-Tweet

Seeing the RT or ‘re-tweet’ as a viral marketing vehicle is not necessarily a new concept, but as Twitter seems set to take off in 2009, this is worth thinking about. Of course, the success of this is dependent on numbers/influence of followers. Lance mentions two useful tools that could help: Retweetrank.com and Retweetradar.com

The Euro and the problem with the music industry

I really enjoy Weber Shandwick CEO Colin Byrne’s blog.  Whatever your political leanings, his take on the polictical landscape is usually spot on, informed by his obvious experience in this field. This post is slightly random in terms of the themes it covers. But I agree with much of what he says about the Euro and also about the state on the music industry. Having worked in the music industry in the past, I totally agree that social media presents a great way for artists that don’t want to go down the ‘Simon Cowell’ route. And by this I don’t just mean Myspace. This subject (with an obvious US slant) was also covered on a recent TWIT podcast – about half way through.

Something to talk about?

A new blog is born. Lots of blank space to fill.

Blogging has undergone something of a rocky patch recently with many feeling blogs are not what they used to be. But that’s surely a good thing? Nothing should stand still. Especially something as young and evolving as blogging.

So here goes with another evolution.

And it’ll be something of an experiment I think. I’m still involved in ‘blogging’ elsewhere – at work (where obviously the purpose and audience is probably, but not exclusively, different) and in my work with clients. And I’ve been involved in blogs in the past too.

But, there is scope to explore other, less traditional (if you can use that term in digital yet!) ideas, concepts and creations. And also new ways of blogging, of writing and of expressing ideas and thoughts.

So what will you find here?

Probably a bit of technology, some PR and marketing, all things digital and online, not to mention some random bits and pieces.

I’ve picked a Dave Winer quote to adorn the top of the blog. I think it sums up what is great about blogging and the internet.

It’s why we come back to places online, because they send us away again – either in the way Winer originally meant – through links. But also in other more abstract ways.

Hopefully something will grab your attention. Enjoy 🙂