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TODD SMITH — Marketers eye visual content, get view of future

TODD SMITH

TODD SMITH

Last week, we discussed how brands are using visual content more than ever to build marketplace awareness. This week, The Spin Cycle continues diving into the trend.

Visual assets help brands tell their stories, and usage will continue to increase. However, recent research indicates there’s a disconnect between the noted importance of visuals and the focus given to them.

In polling by the CMO Council in the second quarter of 2015, conducted in partnership with Libris, nearly two-thirds of senior marketers in North America said that visual assets were core to communicating their brand story, and the majority believed the importance would only grow.

Photography and video – the latter which is heavily in demand from consumers – were the most imperative visuals, with 46 percent and 36 percent saying these were critical, respectively. While just 19 percent and 15 percent said infographics and illustrations were critical, respectively, 57 percent and 54 percent said they were important.

When asked about the change in importance of select visual assets, respondents were most likely to say video had increased (79 percent). Six in 10 said the same about infographics, 50 percent about photos and 41 percent about illustrations.

In March 2015 polling by Ascend2, nearly half of marketing professionals worldwide said that videos were the most effective content type; however, they also ranked as the most difficult to create, cited by nearly six in 10. Fully 43 percent said infographics were effective, while 34 percent said they were difficult. Photos/illustrations were lumped together in the study and turned out to be easier to produce, though not as effective.

However, the CMO Council found that disorganization was a challenge to visual content. Just over one-quarter of respondents had a process in place to aggregate, organize and manage visual assets used across teams, while about four in 10 said there was no conversation about centralizing these issues due to competing priorities.

Overall, 35 percent of respondents had no process in place to keep visual assets in check. While more than half had some sort of system in place to aggregate, catalog and manage all visuals, the majority in this group only had it within specific departments, at 29 percent, vs. 27 percent who had a process across the company as a whole.

Those who can get their visual content organized stand to reap big rewards. When asked about the biggest benefits of having a system in place to aggregate, catalog and manage all visual assets across their organization, half of senior marketers said this created a unified experience, and the same percentage said it streamlined creative processes.

Facebook launching breaking news app

Facebook continues to carve out a space in the news game, and now the company is building a mobile app that will send breaking news alerts straight to your phone, Business Insider reports.

The stand-alone app is still in the early stages, but it will reportedly ask users to choose which publications they want to receive notifications from, and specific topics or “stations” they want to receive news about. Then, when news in those preselected topics breaks, the publications can send a push notification of up to 100 characters to users. All notifications sent through Facebook’s app will link out to that publication’s website. Only a select number of publications will be available on the app, according to Business Insider.

Facebook keeps growing as a news source, so it makes sense it would somehow try to capitalize on that, even if this app sounds like it’s not much more than a medium for publications to funnel their content to growing audiences. Recently, Twitter began testing a breaking news tab in its iOS and Android apps, and soon it will release the events and news-focused Project Lightning.

The app is still in “alpha” testing, Business Insider reports, and there’s no word on when it will be released to the public or what it will be called. Details are still vague, but here’s how Facebook’s new product will supposedly work.

» Users will download a new mobile app by Facebook.

» Users will then choose partnering publications they want to follow on the app and topics (or “stations” and “substations”) they want to receive breaking news alerts about. Facebook has apparently selected only a few companies to launch with

» When there is breaking news, partnering publications can create mobile notifications that will blast out to all of the followers instantly, as fast as a tweet would.

» The mobile alerts allow for up to 100 characters of text and a url to the news article on that publication’s website. One publication can’t create a notification for another, for example.

» The blast will go out, and when people click on the link, they’ll be taken to the publication’s website to read the article.

More NFL football scored through Twitter feeds

The NFL has signed a two-year deal to bring more pro football highlights to Twitter, which wants the NFL to be part of its strategy to emphasize big, live events.

This is an extension of a deal the NFL first signed with Twitter in 2013, and renewed again last year. The NFL also has deals with big platforms including Facebook and YouTube, and it’s reasonable to assume it will keep working with those companies and other ones that offer lots of digital reach.

The significance here, from Twitter’s perspective, is that it’s the first time it has done a multi-year deal with a big media company like the NFL. And while Twitter execs won’t say it out loud, it looks as though they plan on using NFL content — everything from highlight clips generated from games that are still happening to behind-the-scenes footage — as part of its Project Lightning effort, which will emphasize big, popular events happening in real time. Like NFL games.

“Any new cool, discovery path, we want the NFL to be front and center of that. The content is the most engaging stuff we’ve seen,” Glenn Brown, the Twitter sales exec in charge of the company’s deals with content companies, told Re/code

This deal Twitter will sell ads directly against the NFL’s content, and share revenue from those sales. That’s a change from previous “Amplify” deals, where Twitter and its media partners both sold the stuff together.

The NFL thinks Twitter is a good place to distribute some of the media world’s most in-demand content.

Moo Mic | Iowa State Fair icons butter cow, fried foods trumped

As Hillary Rodham Clinton walked among the booths of funnel cakes and corn dogs at the Iowa State Fair, trailed by a massive pack of media and onlookers, Donald Trump’s helicopter stormed the fairgrounds from the air above. That’s as close as Clinton and Trump’s massive entourages came at the state fair, a rite of passage for any presidential candidate. The respective Democratic and Republican front-runners each drew large crowds of gawkers as Clinton sampled a pork chop on a stick and Trump gave rides to children on his helicopter emblazoned with his famous last name.

The iconic butter cow sculpture had nothing on these presidential aspirants! For being at the center of the presidential campaign, the Iowa State Fair – and the cow – takes a gilded Moo Mic!

Each week, The Spin Cycle will bestow a Golden Mic Award to the person, group or company in the court of public opinion that best exemplifies the tenets of solid PR, marketing and advertising – and those who don’t. Stay tuned – and step-up to the mic! And remember … Amplify Your Brand!

» Todd Smith is president and chief communications officer of Deane, Smith & Partners, a full-service branding, PR, marketing and advertising firm with offices in Jackson. The firm — based in Nashville, Tenn. — is also affiliated with Mad Genius. Contact him at todd@deanesmithpartners.com, and follow him @spinsurgeon.

About Ross Reily

Ross Reily is editor of the Mississippi Business Journal. He is a husband to an amazing wife, dad to 3 crazy kids and 2 dogs. He is also a fan of the Delta State Fighting Okra and the Boston Red Sox.

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