What traditions would you give up?

Wow, Pepsi is not going to air an advertisement during the Super Bowl for the first time in 23 years, according to the Financial Times. They say, “With a major digital campaign that features its own website and a heavy presence on Facebook, PepsiCo is betting that a more interactive approach will resonate with consumers in the always-on age of social networking sites.”

So, Pepsi is willing to give up an expensive ad campaign and forgo celebrities for everyday people. What are you willing to give up from your traditional technical communication deliverables? With whom will you collaborate to make this shift happen?

Two Sun Microsystems technical writers wrestled with the same issues, trading time and effort for the payoff. They had surveyed their audience and found that they wanted screencasts, overviews, and tutorials. They rolled up their sleeves and ruthlessly slashed the “Duh” material from their traditional docs. Readers still wanted books to learn at their own pace, but they also wanted new media to enhance their learning experience.

Josh Bernoff just posted a new survey tool to help people understand what they are facing when embarking in new media territory – is that iPhone app idea worthwhile? Should we be taking on another social platform? From his post, he states, “It’s not just the value for customers that’s in question, and it’s not just the technical effort. It’s the political effort — all the people who have a stake and try to stop you or help you (or “help” you).”

We all have to analyze the value and effort and payoff. It’s great to have a survey tool that will help you navigate the waters.

3 Comments

  • February 3, 2010 - 10:48 am | Permalink

    Anne, great post. Glad to hear companies are not always doing the same-old, same-old simply because it’s what they’ve always done.

    When we began our social media campaign some months back, the temptation was great to jump in and do everything but… reality kicked us back down to earth. The effort was too great, the pay-off too small, and the value non-existent.

    The value + the effort + the pay-off is a great formula. We started off with a Google Group, some YouTube videos, and publishing in HTML instead of only PDF. The feedback has been tremendously positive. Next, we’re looking to wiki to help us streamline our procedures and encourage community participation.

  • February 3, 2010 - 8:48 pm | Permalink

    Hi Anne,

    For Pepsi the ROI is no longer there re: the Super Bowl.

    ‘Broadcast’ media doesn’t cut it anymore, so they’re switching to other fields.

    One a personal level, I’m more discriminating with my time, i.e. less newsletters, less groups on Facebook etc.

    Ivan

  • February 3, 2010 - 9:04 pm | Permalink

    Anne,
    Ivan again. In Groundswell one of the points Josh makes is that ‘creators’ provide a bwtter investments that passive reader/viewers.
    Moving to an interactive medium such as Facebook will let them touch this groundswell, so to speak.
    Not sure it will work though.
    Why?
    Because Pepsi need to change its view of how marketing works – end to end – and I’m not sure they see the bigger picture. Coke has it nailed though. Have you seen their Facebook pages? Rocking stuff!

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