PR Tips for Startups » iPhone Innovative Marketing Strategies From Today Thu, 10 Oct 2013 08:18:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Innovative Marketing Strategies From Today Chikodi Chima: Public Relations, Content Marketing , Sales and Business Development Strategist no Innovative Marketing Strategies From Today Public Relations, Content Marketing, Media Relations, Business Development, Lead Generation, Public Speaking, Storytelling, Entrepreneurship PR Tips for Startups » iPhone San Francisco, CA Why Chipotle’s Scarecrow Mobile App Is The Future Of Business Communication Fri, 13 Sep 2013 06:56:26 +0000 Chikodi Chima

Screen Shot 2013 09 13 at 12.21.59 AM Why Chipotles Scarecrow Mobile App Is The Future Of Business Communication

Restaurant chain Chipotle yesterday released one of the most subversive, creative and ground-breaking advertisements, The Scarecrow I’ve encountered.

The dazzling short film tells the story of a disenchanted scarecrow who sadly bears witness to the mechanization of our food system. In a world not unlike our own, Crow Foods raises animals in factory-like conditions, and spits out burgers and chicken nuggets from an assembly line. Anyone who has watched Samsara will be familiar with the brutality

The Scarecrow’s act of rebellion is to grow his own food from the land, and set up shop in the shadow of a Crow Foods factory.

However, the real master stroke is that that The Crow’s touching animated film is just a trailer for a free video game available on iPhone and iPad.

The spot’s creators write:

“The Scarecrow” is at once an addicting game, a poignant short film, and a project that reflects what we believe in. The city of Plenty is a glimpse at a future that may not be far off. Processed food, animal confinement, and the use of synthetic growth hormones, non-therapeutic antibiotics, and toxic pesticides are rampant in our food supply. Educating people about alternatives is a journey for the Scarecrow, and it continues to be a journey for us.

This is truly the future of business communication, advertising and product marketing. Startups and businesses of all sizes should take heed. There many valuable lessons.

Space constraints are dead

In the old media world advertising was constricted by print and broadcast formats. No advertisement could be longer than the commercial break in a 21-minute television episode. The same was true for radio spots and print advertisements. In college I had a journalism instructor who joked that his job as a cub reporter was to fill up the space around the advertisements.

When I was a kid the Guns and Roses video for “November Rain” caused quite a stir because it was nine minutes long instead of the traditional 3.5. Had Axl Rose not been front man for one of the most popular bands in the world, there’s no way MTV would have agreed to air the spot. Kanye West a produced 35-minute  film for his song “Runaway,” because on YouTube space is infinite, even while attention is more scarce than ever.

Advertising as entertainment

Today’s content creators must compete against advertisers for the audience. Brands have really stepped up their game to remain relevant in a world of ubiquitous media access. My impulse on YouTube used to be to skip all advertisements, but I often watch all the way to the end for a number of products. And today a pre-roll video advertisement can be almost any length, as long as it entertains the audience.


Cost is no longer an issue

The cost to Chipotle to hire a crack animation team and another rockstar gaming studio is negligible compared to buying media. People love to talk about the soaring cost of a Super Bowl advertisement, but truthfully it’s a small expense for a multinational conglomerate like Samsung which spent $4.3 billion on advertising alone in 2012.

But here’s the genius part. While Samsung might have made it rain cash on publishers and, how many of their ads are you bound to remember. The haunting soundtrack and stunning visuals of Chipotle’s Scarecrow are likely to stick with you for a long time. And anyone who shares the video game with their friends is advertising on Chipotle’s behalf. How’s that for viral?

I doubt your startup has Chipotle’s marketing budget, but you’d be surprised how many ways there are to stretch your dollar with animated explainer videos and professionally recorded and edited live action film.

Transmedia storytelling will win

Chipotle’s subversive advertisement is a shot across the bow to former investor McDonald’s as well as to agribusiness and the entire industrial food complex. From a public relations standpoint it’s cashes in on the fact that many people watching will be consuming the video on their iPhone or mobile device, and will be able to immediately download the app.

Before starting Draft, Startup Edition blogger Nathan Kontny, was co-founder of CityPosh, which created branded video games for advertisers. At Y Combinator Demo Day Kontny told the assembled that Chipotle was one of the team’s earliest clients. While CityPosh is no more, I would be surprised if Chipotle forgot the lessons they learned about how video games can be a powerful advertising tool.

Don’t be afraid to get creative

As a startup you have more tools than ever to tell your story to the public. There should be no bounds on your creativity. Be bold and take risks, just as Eat24 did with their unprecedented online advertising campaign. Don’t be afraid to use humor. Just do something to be different. The Internet is remarkably forgiving, as my mentor Sree Srinivasan is fond of saying. Just don’t be tone deaf.

The future of advertising and marketing belongs to startups willing to take risks, as well as brands who are ready to be provocative, harnessing the power of stories. The time to add your voice is now!

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Great Entrepreneurs Are Great Listeners Sat, 11 May 2013 15:20:14 +0000 Chikodi Chima Listening  300x225 Great Entrepreneurs Are Great ListenersWhat do journalists and the most successful entrepreneurs have in common? They listen.

Entrepreneurship is a special way of solving problems and entrepreneurship demands a special kind listening. Where others hear complaints, and entrepreneur sees a fountain of actionable data. If someone person has a problem, he or she is rarely alone. Sharing that problem is the first step in creating the solution.

Entrepreneurs don’t let problems go to waste

Customer development is the Silicon Valley term for solution-oriented listening. But it’s not an easy thing to do. We entrepreneurs can be an arrogant bunch, thinking they have all the answers, and all the ideas. But that’s rarely why we choose not to listen. Customer development means getting out there and talking to strangers. It means the possibility of rejection.

Why listening matters

People want to talk about themselves and their problems. All you have to do is ask. The closer you are to someone’s pain, the more they will want to talk about it. Remember the golden ratio; you were born with two ears and one mouth. Use them in proportion. The more you listen, and ask, the more you will learn about customer need.


What entrepreneurs do who don’t listen

Often we choose the alternate path, holing up in isolation for weeks or months. And when we emerge we’ve built a solution for a problem that doesn’t exist.

“The market wasn’t ready,” some may say.

“Well who told you what you’ve built was a good idea?” is the reply?

“Me and my friends have this problem all the time.”

Your friends aren’t your customers

Listen to your friends when they tell you not to get a neck tattoo, but not when it comes to how to run a business. Their money and time isn’t on the line.

A dear friend of mine just built a horrible mobile app on a hunch. He’s brilliant, and has been starting businesses online since before he could drive. But the sooner he takes this project behind the barn with a shotgun, the better. I didn’t have the heart to tell him he was wasting his time on a mobile app for “hipsters,” when he’s the furthest thing from that audience, but chances are he wouldn’t have listened any. Funny how that works, eh?

All the good problems have not been solved


iphone converge 300x206 Great Entrepreneurs Are Great Listeners

Somehow people think all the hard problems have been solved already. No they haven’t.

It’s funny sometimes to hear people question whether all the really hard problems have been solved. If you listen, you’ll hear just how many problems there are left.

The iPhone combined a music player, camera, phone, web browser and computer. Does that mean there’s no room for innovation in phones any more? No! The iPhone has terrible battery life. That is a problem created by a solution.

If anything, Silicon Valley has gotten better about making life easier and more comfortable, while solving few pressing problems.


Every solution creates new problems

Every solution will create unforeseen problems waiting to be solved by entrepreneurs.

Get better at listening, and you’ll see pot-holed streets are suddenly lined with gold.

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