Simple Ideas Are The Best Ideas

We live in a noisy, cluttered world. One where people are moving quickly. We barely have time to read a 140-character Tweet, much less read and re-read it.  And as marketers, these are the challenges and realities we face. Attention spans of humans are less than a goldfish and consumers have gotten good at tuning out messages.

Too often we don’t take these challenges into consideration. We try to confound this already complicated world with more messages, more directions and more clutter. We overcomplicate instead of oversimplify, and in the end, lose our consumer.

I get it. It’s not easy to simplify your approach down to one big idea when you work in social media. Your strategy and content has touch points to many departments within the organization, from PR to marketing tickets and more. Everyone wants a piece of the social media puzzle. But if you want to make a splash with your consumer and fans, you have to streamline. Why?

Because complex ideas are less likely to catch on, survive and thrive. If a consumer can’t understand your message, campaign or CTA in one simple second, they’ll move on. If the idea can’t be explained in one simple sentence, people will go elsewhere. Great ideas are simple ideas… executed seamlessly.

Here’s a look at two of simple but strong executions in sports:

 

MLB’s THIS  Campaign

For the 2015 season, MLB launched a creative campaign called “This is Baseball”. Focused on the word THIS, it was ode to the great things in baseball that need no explanation (exactly how THIS is used in social media). The campaign’s strengths was is in its simplicity and ability to integrate across teams. THIS campaign was relatable to every fan, no matter which team they root for

Here’s a look at some of the posts:

 

Warriors Creative

For the 2016 season, the Warriors defined a creative look and feel using tally marks. The concept is simple, sleek and can manifest in different ways across content. The red thread, the tallies, are being used to celebrate everything “from their regular-season wins this year, Stephen Curry’s 402 three-pointers, the 120-decibel noise level in Oracle Arena (the loudest in the NBA) and more” (via Adweek).

The creative is simple, stands out and is easy to consume. Here’s a look at some of the creative:

 

#H73TORY

A photo posted by Golden State Warriors (@warriors) on

 

With both of these examples, the ideas are easy to explain. Next time you’re planning a campaign or creative, keep these things in mind to execute a simple, big idea well:

Can you explain it in a minute?
Ask yourself if the idea can be explained in a single sentence? If you can’t explain the concept in less than a minute, then you haven’t boiled it down to one big idea.  Do the work that is necessary to get your idea simple, strong and right.

Is there a red thread?
Is there a consistent red thread that ties everything together? Strong ideas can carry across platforms and content to to tie everything together. Make sure your big idea and CTA is cohesive. Too many messages across platforms gets confusing; nail down a big idea that can carry through everything.

Practice discipline.
When you have nailed a big idea, stick to it. It’s easy to want to throw in a lot of other tactics and messages, but in the long run if you define a strategy and POV then you will win. Practice discipline.

The world is already complicated enough; don’t confuse and turn off your consumer with a muddled message. Simple ideas are the best ideas. Practice it.

 


 

What campaigns in or outside of sports have you single that were simple but strong? Share them below!

Thanks for reading. 

Why Your Social Media Manager Says “No”

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Sometimes, after years now of working in social media, I feel like a no man. It’s not that I find joy in pushing back and saying no, but all too often social media is a catchall. And as someone who believes in understanding your why, I’m not afraid to pushback when things don’t align.

I get it. It wasn’t that long ago that social media in companies was a little rogue. People were still trying to figure out what this new medium meant for the organization. All internal requests happened because a young intern handled the social media accounts. Things are changing though.

Companies have started to build a strong foundation of what it means for their brand, goals and organization. And while social media will always evolve, we now know the power of social, what works and what doesn’t. As foundations and strategies are built, it means things won’t be the way they always were. With frameworks comes education, pushing back and standing your ground as a keeper of the accounts.

Internal partners have to understand that just because it’s easy to upload a piece of content and hit send, doesn’t mean it belongs on social media. As companies define their why on the platforms and take a consumer-first approach, there will be pushback. Otherwise, social media presences would just turn into a load of crap (I know, that’s not very articulate).

Yes, I’m saying that hearing “no” can be a good thing. Social media isn’t this free platform for us as marketers and brands to push anything and everything to our consumer. As the noise continues to grow online and consumers turn off more and more, we have to be thoughtful in how we approach things. Every organization needs a team of people who have outlined that why online and protects it.

Social media has evolved. It’s matured. We now know that’s not a silly marketing channel for interns to run, but the front door to our brand and a strong, direct connection to our consumer. A social media manager’s job is to understand how social aligns with organizational goals, protect the platforms and think about the consumer. That means that not everything belongs on the platforms and that’s okay. Just because social media is more accessible, doesn’t mean we should abuse the access and treat it lightly. We wouldn’t slap anything and everything on a billboard, so why should we do it on social?

This is the bottom line: If your social media manager says “no” sometimes, they’re doing their job. They know the goals, they know what works and they know the community they’ve built. When you hire good people, let them do their job. Trust their gut and know they’ve got the best intentions in mind. Not everything belongs on social, period.

Roundup of Selection Sunday Content

Selection Sunday is always a good case study for social graphics and content, so I’ve curated highlights below. From  GIFS to sharp design work, I hope this post inspires you in your work. Enjoy!

 

Graphics

 

Strong Content

The tweets below are fun and relatable for fans. Social media doesn’t have to always be serious. Have fun with your content and be conversational.

 
I’m a big believer in quote graphics to help tell a story. Not only do they tap into emotion, but they do a good job of bringing to life the team’s voice and sentiment.

 
WVU used the Twitter mirror to host a Q&A. A great opportunity to bring fans closer to student-athletes.

 
Inside access always wins.

 
WVU let their student-athletes run with the Twitter mirror. The result was fun, silly content that really brought to life their student-athletes’ personalities.

 
Reaction videos are always a common theme on Selection Sunday, but I love this up close and personal angle from the Sooners.

 
A few of my favorite GIFS from Selection Sunday. GIFS don’t always have to be labor intensive; subtle animation goes a long way in getting content to stand out from the noise.

 

 


 

 

What content stood out to you on Selection Sunday? Share below!

Thanks for reading! 

Super Bowl 50 Social Highlights

The Super Bowl is one of the best days of the year for all of us who geek out over social media + sports, ads and content. It’s not just a powerful production for those who spend $5 million on a spot. Thanks to social and digital, it’s a content production for all the big players (teams, leagues, sponsors, etc.).

For this year’s Super Bowl coverage, I decided to curate a lot of things for you all. From highlights to the bad cases of FOMO, I hope this post inspires you in your work (or things not to do).  Enjoy!

 

PANTHERS

Leveraging Tweetstorms.
When you reply to one of your tweets with another tweet, they show up in a sequence on Twitter user’s timelines (known as a Tweetstorm). The @Panthers used this functionality to their advantage, pushing out sequenced content and taking up more real estate on fans timelines.

For example, they used this GIF sequence when the game kicked off.

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While I’m not sure of this exact use case (it could have been more powerful in one GIF), I think there could be something interesting here for brands, teams and leagues. What story you can tell in an interesting sequence? When does previous context help with your Twitter content? It’s something to think about.

 
Handled the loss and adversity. 
We talk about this a lot, but if you work in social media and sports the job is easy if you’re winning. It’s not so easy if you’re losing. The Panthers handled their adversity and loss well. Their Twitter account does a great job of being human, which I think rallies their fans. All throughout the game, even in the 4th quarter, #KeepPounding was trending.  A combination of humor and strong, emotional copy makes the Panthers content stand out. Below are a few examples:

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also love when teams think through how to a handle a loss and go beyond the score. The Panthers thank their fans, congratulated the Broncos and didn’t shy away from their content.

 
EMOTIONAL VIDEO PRE-GAME.
It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of emotional, video storytelling. I’m a big believer teams need to go beyond the plays and tap into the emotional element of sports that fans connect to. Forget highlight reels with rap songs before a big game; how can you tell the story of the team’s journey? This video is a great example of that.

 

BRONCOS

 
Access.
The Broncos had some solid access during Super Bowl 50. When planning for a big game or moment, find a way to get that inside access. Whether you’re showcasing the calm before the storm (in the locker room) or following players as they arrive to the stadium, BTS coverage should be essential to gameday. Make fans feel a part of the coverage.

 

 

Soon. #SB50

A photo posted by Denver Broncos (@broncos) on

 

 

 

 
Winning sequence. 
These days, nearly every team has prepared graphics for wins, even losses and big moments. The Broncos were no exception. And while they did a good job with their some of their pre-planned content (below), they led with a click-to-purchase. Emotion and the celebration should always come before a plug to purchase.

 

 

 

 

 

NFL

 
Coin flip cam. 
This is simple, but I really loved the coin flip cam content from the NFL. After so many games throughout the season, content can get stale. How can you take on different angles and provide fans with a different perspective? This is a great (and small example) of how you can do so.

 
Quality content, period. 
All season the NFL has done a stellar job with their content. From their graphics to their GIFS to their quality photos in near real-time, and the Super Bowl was no exception. I love how they diversify content too. It keeps it interesting! My favorite thing was their GIF illustrations:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GRAPHICS

A few highlights of graphics from the evening.

 

 

FOMO

As with every big event, many brands try to interject into the conversation and fail miserably. Brands shouldn’t understand some golden rules when it comes to real-time: Most great moments aren’t planned, you can’t force it and you still have to remain on brand. Below are some of the worst offenders from tonight’s Super Bowl.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

What stood out from the Super Bowl to you? Share your thoughts below!

Thanks for reading!

College Football Countdown Graphics

For anyone interested in social media graphics + design, here’s a gallery of inspiration from some of the 2015 college football countdown graphics: