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Speaking to an Audience of One

Monday, April 14th, 2014

w031224c103For several years now, it’s one of the most common things I hear when speaking with clients about their websites and digital marketing programs: They have the data available and are able to define segmented audiences extremely well, but they are forced to compromise their targeted messaging on the flagship corporate website. They clearly wished they could have a more intimate conversation with their existing customers and prospects. God knows they had a trove of usage metrics available, but technology had not caught up with the need to speak uniquely to each of those visitors.

Successful marketing is about delivering the right content, or message, to the right audience, at the right time, through the right channel — and with the right product or tool. For years, I have spent a lot of time on behalf of our clients, trying to imagine a way to discreetly deliver targeted content and messages with surgical precision to the end-user, creating that perfect resonance and custom experience.

Michael Spinosa authored a Blog recently on the subject of “rich content delivery platforms,” which enables organizations to customize dynamic messages and offerings to specific user groups. Interesting, it’s member organizations he is speaking about in this post, but the technology is certainly available to anyone with the inherent challenges that comes with delivering content to multiple audiences, all with varied needs and interests.

Tips for Delivering Focused Web Content to a Wide Audience

All nonprofits are notorious for catering to many disparate audiences, even the public charities. I happen to think that professional associations have led the way with much of this work, adopting practices to remain relevant to all members, no matter their interest, concern, or question. Associations are what my consulting partners always termed “non-traditional publishers,” and like all publishing operations, they are direct marketers — data-crazy, metric-hounds. They’ve learned and applied a valuable lesson: By tracking and capturing each individual’s use of the website information and email promotions, it becomes easy to manage a customized experience for all users. In the case of associations, the delivery of communications and offers can be tailored around prospects or the defined needs of each existing member.

How can it apply to for-profit organizations? It easily converts to any company that has the user data and would like to create a more engaging dialog with their customers. Like everything, there is a front-end investment, but compare that to the archaic practice of continuing to deliver the same messages and offers across a broad swath with a scatter gun approach. The possibility for upgrading and improving results that are quantifiable becomes a compelling argument. Content marketing is all the rage in corporations, and customized content delivery systems are not just our future; they’re here now, and here to stay.




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Redefining the Corporate Video

Monday, March 24th, 2014

I love watching companies innovate. It wasn’t long ago, a few short years really, when we were all amazed to see the power of the web whenever someone uploaded a cute video of a kitten, or the global, breathtaking speed of a Facebook post that went viral in seconds. The spectacle with PR exec Justine Sacco at IAC comes to mind — she had no more tweeted and boarded her plane when the tweet went viral; reporters were waiting in South Africa to get comments as she landed. From its humble grassroots in consumer expression to the Boardrooms of major multinationals, viral content has grown up.

Advertisers are just beginning to imagine and redefine the opportunities available to them through viral digital marketing, specifically in video format. In fact, many of the top companies are studying Twitter trending in order to develop a better understanding of what works.

It was to be expected. The opportunities are clearly there and the cost-to-benefit is a no-brainer when marketers weigh the cost of purchasing traditional media space. Corporate video reminds me of all those dated hallmark cards that seem so stale and dusty in my local stationery stores; it’s a market that is ripe and just begging to be reinvented. I predict that branded content in video — the really good, smart kind with sophisticated production values — will be making its way onto social venues in the coming months and years, a wise way to get customers engaged that is infinitely more effective than broadcast and print, or those ubiquitous, digital tombstone ads.

Advertisers Use Social Media to Promote Brands in Real Time

From Virgin Atlantic, the good folks who always seem to set a new standard and lead the way for the rest of us, we have a customer/passenger video that presents us with something we could never fathom: An in-flight safety video that is actually entertaining.

Amazingly Good Branding Lessons From Virgin America’s New Dance Video (Yes, Dance)

It’s not only the choreography and performances that are impressive.  Virgin also made it interactive. When passengers (and everyone watching who isn’t on a plane) sees the video, there’s a box asking if you would like to participate in the making of the next video. Virgin committed to creating four videos per year and saw the chance to make this a fun exercise for anyone wishing to play a part. In doing so, they have engaged a far larger audience of customers than anyone could have imagined with an in-flight safety video. Some might argue, that reach is broader than a traditional 30 second spot which would have far more fleeting, less memorable, and more expensive. The in-flight series has a much longer shelf-life and can be repurposed for years across infinite channels.

Audition contests for performing arts? Inclusivity? Videos with exceptional entertainment value that also engages everyone in their brand, and gets customers to learn about safety? It’s not just a best-in-field execution — it’s innovation, a smart application of a new medium that should have marketing executives everywhere working to emulate the experience.

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Moving Pictures

Friday, February 21st, 2014

I love film. Most evenings I can be found sifting through Apple TV for that indie surprise that flew under everyone’s radar.

One might argue that film is more engaging, persuasive, and even more memorable than its static alternative: print. In today’s ubiquitous digital climate, our devices have ensured that we as customers will be able to enjoy what we want, whenever and however we desire it.

Advertising has used broadcast as a medium since the beginning of television, but like anything empowered by emerging technologies, whole transformations are taking place. Websites — even a platform of digitally responsive design — are all an accepted industry standard now. Organizations are rapidly turning to a new type of video as a form to express their brand image.

Imagine your brand finding fresh legs. Consider your key messages being projected during the course of a video experience that is enjoyable, on-strategy and on-brand, a 30-45 second film that has endless shelf life, drives attention to your social channels, and achieves that enviable, holy grail of marketing: Online traction. Finding a home for such a branded minifilms isn’t hard. There are endless venues online to upload these digital assets, small brand-building cheerleaders for our clients that are pervasive, viral transporters of their company image to a billion users on social networks.

In our offices, we are presently working on three short video expressions of branded content for our clients. In my mind, this genre of corporate marketing has yet to discover its full potential. There are not traditional terms to define this. Corporate video? No, it’s not talking heads. Motion graphics? Not quite. I want Iridium to be the company that pioneers, even defines this area of advertising for our clients, and we’re throwing all we can muster behind the investment.

Moving pictures, moving whole industries. Sounds to me like innovation. Sounds like business progress, and I like it.

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Re:Launch 2014

Friday, January 31st, 2014

The cobbler’s children go unshod. In the old allegory, the shoemaker is too busy working to serve his customers to make shoes for his own children. There are many folktales that apply to business, marketing in particular. It’s remarkable how much they still ring true.

After several stops and starts, our group launched the new global corporate IridiumGroup website this week. As Steve Jobs once said, “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”

We took this to heart and completed a rigorous phase of usability research to help understand the desires of marketers and communicators — which elements would help them and which were superfluous? What we learned guided and informed our work and alas, the result is a crisp, smart “best practice” website that we’re feeling pretty good about.

We aimed to offer a few strategic new features, but most importantly we wanted to site to be simple, direct and accessible — an accommodation to frantic schedules and the immediacy of the modern professional environment.

IG_HomeOur new website is built with a scalable content infrastructure that will allow us to soon add a resources section, with shared industry knowledge, trends and analysis on emerging technologies. Agile is the modern mantra, and our site will enable the easy expansion and contraction of features and content.

The site is responsive and device-agnostic, as we like to say. There’s more animation, which reflects our sharp aim to build cutting-edge capabilities in video production.

We’re on the cusp of another landmark shift in communications, as marketers realize the benefits of expressing their brand through video. The costs have decreased drastically, it communicates far more effectively in less time, is more compelling as a medium, and the bandwidth to publish no longer a concern.

Why not execute an application of marketing to social channels and events through a short, thoughtful, engaging video that can be shared and proliferated by customers? Imagine the power of your annual report for investors, or a corporate capability brochure as a video experience. For us, 2014 will be a focus on developing award-winning videos that project branded content in a fun, digestible and memorable way. (We’re looking for companies who will do this at cost of production, so email me if interested:

I hope you’ll visit the site at and share your opinion. We’re continuing to make amendments and will consider everyone’s feedback. Also, look for a newsletter and frequent updates to the site in coming weeks that are far less a promotion of our skills and experience. We’ll be spending a lot of time to evolve a website rich with links and articles that can serve as a platform for community, a resource on case examples, breakthroughs, and best approaches for digital marketing and communications.

A common misperception about the client-agency relationship is that it’s about buying and selling. In reality, we want the same thing you want: Success. We want to compete in a cost-efficient way, enjoy the process, and to create a dynamic marketing tool that inspires action and drives business.

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Founder & President,
IridiumGroup Inc.

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Follow @iridiumgroup77 on twitter.


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