Social Media Management or Leadership?

Management is efficiency in climbing up the ladder of success, Leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall – Stephen Covey

I’m subscribed to a lot of email newsletters and attend a number of conferences every year connected with the online advertising space.

It appears to me that even today, in 2015, 90% of what I hear and see are ways to ‘hack your leads’, ’10x your clicks/views’, ‘formulate your headlines’ and so on. All of these are good but are temporary devices used to game the system.

What this advice continually overlooks is …

The Friend Test

A breathtakingly simple and elegantly human solution to bypass gaming the system or worrying about the algorithms

Is it human?

Recently I was lucky enough to hear Paull Young of Charity Water speak at a Thankyou Group industry night.

Similar to Thankyou, US based Charity Water sells bottled water with 100% of proceeds going towards funding water wells in developing nations… all with zero ad spend.

So what’s their secret?


In winemaking, no two vineyards are the same.

Each plot of land used in a vineyard has its own unique characteristics, its own Terroir.

Terroir is what gives grapes grown on each plot their own unique taste and includes elements like exposure to the sun, vicinity to water source, nutrients in the soil, surrounding trees & vegetation competing for resources, access to shade, contours of the land…

Jay Abraham on copywriting

Sometimes the best copy to sell a horse is ‘Horse for sale’ – Jay Abraham

Why you need a $10k Apple Watch

Of all the announcements at yesterday’s Apple keynote, the one that really caught my attention was the one Tim Cook slipped under the radar: the 18 Karat Gold Apple Watch will cost $10k.

Ten. THOUSAND. Dollars.

Not only does this make it the most expensive Apple Watch, this makes it the most expensive Apple product.


How could Apple have the nerve to justify this ridiculous $10,000 price tag? …

The problem with cheaper

In the past, the decision to be cheaper meant sacrificing margin for scale: “I won’t make so much on each sale, however, I’ll make more sales” is what we justify to ourselves.

The problem with cheaper, is that this assumes:

  1. There is scale, and
  2. You can reach this hypothetical scaled market affordably

In the online world, both of these assumptions are becoming less and less true with every passing day…

Warlords and Scumbags

This card game goes by many names: Warlords & Scumbags, Emperors & Scum, Rich Man Poor Man, [email protected]#$hole, and perhaps most famously, President.

Although the names change, the game is the same – the more rounds that are played, the more the deck is stacked your way and the more difficult it gets to reverse your position

Adwords Line of Sight

We’ve all done it before – googled something, liked the first search result, clicked on it… only to land on a page that was completely off.

As a consumer, this process happens so quickly that we don’t even pay attention to what just happened – we just search again.

As an advertiser paying for Adwords ads, mistakes like the above cost dearly.

To understand the problem, lets …

Seth Godin quote on beliefs

“People don’t believe what you tell them. They rarely believe what you show them. They often believe what…

Warrior for Humanity

Two years ago I set myself a challenge to go from couch potato to running a half marathon within 12 months.

On that journey of educating myself about exercising and eating better, I started following Jess Ainscough (aka the Wellness Warrior) who was blogging about her determination to beat cancer with organic, whole foods and other natural remedies.

Even though I was researching nutrition for completely different reasons, I couldn’t help but be moved, encouraged and motivated by her …

Keep your accent

Arnold Schwarzenegger recently shared that he took elocution lessons for his now famous accent.

The surprising insight, though, was that he didn’t take these lessons for the purpose of losing his accent, but for the purpose of …

The Hero’s Journey

Star Wars has become a global, cultural phenomenon for many reasons, but there is one that George Lucas pioneered to intentionally be used on film, that is crossing over into marketing today (and we’re not talking about toy licensing!).

The reason the whole world could so universally connect to the story of a fresh-faced farmboy dreaming of adventure, a princess needing rescue, a rogue smuggler and the fight for freedom against an oppressive empire… comes back to one man named …


Lateral thinking guru, Edward De Bono, invented the word Po, to be used as a device to move ideas forward in a creative session.

The idea was that if someone starts a sentence with the word Po, all judgment needs to be suspended as there may or may not be a reason for the thing being said.

The point here is to use what is spoken to provide movement to the idea in any direction…

David Ogilvy quote on ideas

“No idea is big unless it will work for 30 years” – David Ogilvy

$10k in free advertising from Google every month

For a company that makes its billions from advertising, the Google Grant is possibly the worst advertised marketing service available today.

In summary, the Google Grant:

* Gives Non-Profits $10,000 of free Google Search Ads every month
* Has a maximum Cost Per Click bid of $2.00 (previously $1.00)
* Can be upgraded to GrantsPro which provides …

Sell them what they want, give them what they need

If we only ever cater to people’s whats-in-it-for-me filter, won’t we just be feeding an ever increasingly self-centered consumerist society?

In the one-way, broadcast Industrial Age, the answer is yes.

The opportunity that the Connection Economy brings is…

Happy Ruckusmaker Day

60 years ago today, a certain Steve Paul Jobs was born.

As I write this blog post on my Macbook tethered to my iPhone, its clear that this man I’ve never met from halfway across the globe has somehow managed to influence my life.

As incredible as his creations are, perhaps the biggest gift he gave the world was …

Lowest Common Denominator

Most businesses are consumed with one question:

“How can we sell more widgets to more people at less cost to us?”

This single question has driven scale, innovation and profits since the start of the Industrial Age and inevitably leads to a second Industrial Age question …

The Disappearing Middle

In the past, value was added in being the Middle Man – the one who connects large scale supply with volume demand.

Some supply chains even have multiple Middle Men, each adding their margin to the cost of goods.

However in today’s economy where everyone is connected, technology now advantages suppliers to bypass middle men and …

Buckminster Fuller quote on childlike artistry

Every child is an artist. The problem is to remain an artist once he grows up – Buckminster…

How old are you?

Every 5 year old is an artist – they can’t help but create, explore, experiment, adapt.

By the time they are 10, few believe they are artists anymore thanks to a school system skewed towards rewarding intelligence and killing creativity.

On the one hand, I’m talking about kids and the school system, but I’m actually talking about …


Toile is the word used by dressmakers & costume designers to describe the first wearable prototype of their design.

Just like prototyping in any industry, there is a journey from Toile to finished product – a journey of trials, failures, successes and unexpected discoveries.

And therein lies the art of this craft: on this journey, what do you say ‘yes’ to and what do you say ‘no’ to… and why?

YouTube killed the Video Star

Just as video killed the radio star, so too has YouTube killed the video star.

Back in 1981, MTV launched and provided a generation with a whole new way of experiencing music – 24/7 music videos.

The music video irrevocably changed the way artists got surfaced – music was now no longer for the ears, but now for the eyes also.

When YouTube launched, it changed the game for ‘artists‘ in every field …

Fail Like Mike

I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed. – Michael Jordan

Every year, social media has given every brand at least 365 opportunities to ‘take a shot’ in front of …

Can’t buy me love

Curiously, while doing Adwords marketing for certain clients, we get to see what the market is searching for on other platforms.

In the social media space, a classic example is where we see (and have to negative) an un-ending stream of queries around:

* How to buy fans
* Apps that get followers
* Tricks to get fans
* Instant followers
* Followers hacks, etc, etc

Peter Diamandis quote on becoming a billionaire

The best way to become a billionaire is to help a billion people Peter Diamandis, Founder of the…

Don’t go viral, go Fractal

Whoever has will be given more and they will have an abundance. Whoever who does not have, even what they have will be taken from them – Matthew 25:29

Every day we see the 80/20 rule at work inside our client’s advertising accounts.

Firstly it’s already fascinating that this principle holds true, regardless of client or industry.

What’s even more fascinating is that …


Our brains are bombarded with 11 million bits of data every second.

The only way we cope with such a barrage of information is for our brains to be constantly tuned to one radio station: Wii-FM, or, What’s in it for me?

Feed your winners, starve your losers

Traditional, one way broadcast industrial marketing relied on The Plan.

The Plan was the bible that was prepared months in advance of launch, that everyone was working towards and from which there was no deviation.

This is all well and good… unless The Plan itself is wrong…

Quote on copywriting for headlines

Headlines In Capital Letters Retard Reading. They Have No Ascenders And Descenders To Help You Recognise Words, And…

The Unattainable Quality, Speed, Cost Triangle

In my first paid online marketing role for a local architectural firm, I blogged about the unattainable Quality, Speed, Cost triangle.

Namely, that as a client engaging our services, you can have any two of the three, but you must choose …

The Impossible Brief

Our target audience is all males and females, in all age brackets, all over the world and we want them to take action on a campaign that we want to go viral over social media – The Impossible Brief

The Impossible Brief is actually the worst (communication) for the most (people) for the least (result to you).

By attempting to target everybody, you’re actually reaching nobody.

The Social Contract

Fashion does provide extra added value to clothing, but the additional elements exist only in people’s imaginations and beliefs. Fashion is not visual clothing but is the invisible elements included in clothing. – Yuniya Kawamurra

This post was provoked by fashion activist, Adele Varcoe

Reach vs Algorithms

Industrial Age marketing thinks in Reach – the number of people potentially exposed to your message.

Reach on TV was estimated by Neilson ratings based on a small population of survey participants. Reach on magazines and newspapers was based on the number of issues sold multiplied by a factor to take into account that a newspaper/magazine can be viewed by more than one person.

This Reach only counted the maximum potential eyeballs, but could never tell you …

Ed Catmull quote on the difference between art and craft

Our Craft is the work we do that’s expected of us. Art is using our Craft in unexpected…

This we believe

The Apostle’s Creed has been a statement of beliefs used by the Catholic Church to rally and unite believers for centuries.

Today, your current and potential consumers deeply believe (as distinct from ‘like’) all sorts of things about themselves – and will subconsciously …

Fences: Triple J vs Taylor Swift

Fences define boundaries which send two messages:

To strangers: “You’re not welcome past this line. You stay out there.”
To family, friends and guests: “You have the privilege of access – unlike the masses”

By proudly banning Taylor Swift from its traditional Australia Day Hottest 100, radio station Triple J was absolutely able to …

Death by a thousand sales

If the only way to draw people to your brand is to constantly be on sale – you eventually won’t have a brand.

If you only ever talk to us about your daily, weekly or even monthly sales, eventually we will tune out, unsubscribe or unfollow you (assuming the algorithms haven’t already done this for us).

As brand trust is eroded over time, it gets harder and more expensive to reach fewer and fewer fans – the fatal downward marketing spiral.

Where are we going?

Dear Brand,

Why am I following you?

Where are you taking me?

Who am I becoming as a result of following you?


Your Fan/Follower/Liker/Subscriber/Customer

George Bernard Shaw on creativity

Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at…

Opportunities with Commodities

What is considered a commodity by the Industrial Age majority today, will become a target for Connection Economy…

Generosity 2.0

For brands trading in physical goods, the idea of giving away something digital still feels very much like giving away something physical.

We still count the cost of our time to create this thing, and our time is valuable, so when we give it away, we feel the love, sweat and tears we put into it.

But this feeling is actually a carryover from an Industrial Age mindset.

Gaming the system

My first paid online marketing role was as a blogger tasked with learning Search Engine Optimisation, SEO.

Almost 10 years ago now, this was a relatively simple task as there were several niches with no competition and the Google Search algorithm was relatively simple.

Famous for 15 People

In the future, everyone will be world famous for 15 minutes – Andy Warhol, 1968

Andy Warhol was partly right and partly wrong.

Today it is possible for anyone (or any brand) to be famous, but almost impossible to be world famous.

Quote on ‘Going through the motions’

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got”

You only get one shot… is wrong

“You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime yo” – Lose Yourself, Eminem

Risking all or nothing on one shot makes for a great Eminem song and climax in a movie… but is based on zero sum scarcity.

Per Mission

Seth Godin prophesied 10 years ahead of his time, that in the future brands will need to earn the right to speak to their audience.

He famously called this concept Permission Marketing.

This prophecy has well and truly come to pass and most brands online have come to terms with this.

The rising importance of the Curator

What if you’re not an artist?

If we look to the art world there is another extremely important role that must be fulfilled (and not necessarily by an artist):

That of Curator.

The Peter Principle and Creatives

The Peter Principle states that within any company, managers are promoted to their level of incompetence.

This makes perfect sense – the gifts and talents that get someone noticed as a technician aren’t necessarily the same gifts and talents needed at an Executive Management level.

But this brings up something inherently broken in the system.