Get noticed with a video prospectus

It’s been a real delight getting involved with my son’s local school recently. We’ve been building their new website which I’ll talk about in another post and which will go live in September. I’m really excited about getting the pupils blogging and the parents more involved in what goes on.

Whilst that’s been going on, we’ve also produced a video prospectus for the school – 4 mins 31 seconds of a day in the life. Not too long, not too short. Narrated mainly by the headmaster – the fabulous Richard Jarrett, and produced quite brilliantly by a colleague of mine.

The beauty of having an asset like this – is that it started life as a DVD rotating on the plasma screen in the school foyer. It’s now going to be available online for anyone who wants it, as well as available on DVD for prospective parents. It will also be the start of a collection of video assets available on the school website, which will tell the story of the school year for parents and extended family, who can’t always get to events and see their children participating.

Customers love surprises (of the right kind)

I’ve always preached the opposite to the title of this post because I’m normally discussing communication with customers and I will never stop believing that surprises are normally bad.

The right kind of surprises are very welcome however and mobile operators are notoriously bad at not giving those. Imagine my surprise then when I got the text below yesterday.

Costwise, bearing in mind Vodafone own networks in most EU countries this will have minimal impact. Revenuewise, people are too scared to use data abroad anyway and so the majority of customers don’t use it. Financially it’s therefore going to have minor impact either way. From a customer loyalty perspective however, this is huge. Customers will renew contracts because of this and customers will leave other operators for this scheme too.

Vodafone I’m personally very grateful for this promotion. However in a corporate sense I also think you are very smart and I bet the others follow.

Is it time to ask yourself Why? once in a while?

I bought an iPad a few weeks ago and I love it.

I decided to get myself an O2 PAYG microsim – because they are the only operator offering pay as you go in the UK – hats off to them for offering something different and not following the others by demanding monthly payments.

So – off I go to the O2 page, order my sim and guess what…

Do you know what, actually it’s not… 14 days! Clearly they are embarrassed about the length of time it’s going to take to arrive – due to the statement above. As it happens I reckon it’s been at least 3 weeks since I ordered it – but that’s another debate.

For me, I’d like to ask


Why on earth can sending a sim card possibly take so long? I could have used it say 5 times in that period of time and generated £10 for them. Multiply that by the 1000’s of people who are also ordering but factor out the 1000’s of others who are probably ordering sims from other operators because they can’t be bothered to wait.

The reason for the 14 days I suspect is simple – the corporate ordering systems JUST TAKE THAT LONG. It takes that long because it does and guess what, no one has thought to ask why?

It would be cheaper, more efficient and speedier to hire a team to receive the orders, stuff envelopes and deliver sims within 48 hours. Customers could start using the sim quickly, which in turn would pay for this extra labour… but no one has thought to have done that, because that’s not the way it’s done. Why?

Don’t accept the norm. Don’t accept the answer “Because it’s always been done that way”. Question… ask why? and then do things differently. It’s the only way to get noticed.

Even the dullest products can get noticed. If you’re smart

Proof below a campaign can go viral for something as dull as a biscuit if you’re smart.

Have to say, I’m not sure whether this is staged or not, however it’s got them 400,000 views on YouTube in the last month – so either way it’s a great brand awareness tool.

What beats me is that you have to assume people will check out the Wheat Thins website and sadly I suspect there’s a different group of people building the site, to the viral campaign.

The site is a shocker, but the video is great…

Hat tip to David Meerman Scott.

The influencer project – boost your profile

There is a fabulous innovation going on right now called The Influencer Project, which is music to my ears. The 8.45 Club and everything we do here at Being Smarter is all about brevity and getting your message across quickly and so when I heard about this project…

Sixty of the Web’s Leading Thinkers Share How You Can Increase Your Digital Influence for Good and Profit in 60 Minutes

It went straight in the calendar.

Sam Rosen, the organiser sent an email out today – which was a stroke of genius in my book, in which he’s invited an unknown up and coming influencer to be the 60th speaker.

I thought I should share this with my network – so you too could play a part in this awesome-looking event.

So here’s the story: go to Twitter, and type in your thoughts on how to best increase influence online.

Use the hashtag #influencer.

Then tomorrow (Friday) at the end of the day, we’ll choose one rising star to be our 60th speaker and share their 60 seconds in front of our entire audience, on July 6th at 6pm ET.

UPDATE – July 5th – the winner was this Tweet.