Cleve Gibbon

content management, content modelling, digital ecosystems, technology evangelist.

Summit at Sea

img_5139Last week was the first time I was stateside to witness firsthand a US Presidential Election.  Thankfully, this is not a political post.  Instead, I was there to join a gathering of technologists, musicians, entrepreneurs, writers, athletes, DJs, and so on heading out for the final Summit at Sea in Miami.

Nearly 3000 of us left Miami and headed out to the Bahamas for 3 days on the cruise ship Norwegian Escape. The Summit at Sea sessions ranged from politics to economics, technology to music, film to health,  and so on.  The talks were given by industry leaders in their fields of expertise (e.g. Will.ia.m, Quentin Tarantino, Erin Brochwich, Eric Schmidt, Carl Bernstein) and by seriously progressive thinkers.  The biggest takeaway from Summit, and it was rammed home by everyone, was that you got the power.  Ideas abound.   But to execute, well, that’s on you.

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Realistic Outcome = Outcome + Approach

outcomeWe like outcomes.  They tend to be simple things that we can wrap our heads around.  I need to be more focused. I want to lose weight.  I should listen more. Focus. Weight Loss. Listen.  All outcomes.  But are they a “realistic” outcome? Not quite.

A realistic outcome needs an approach.

The approach details precisely how you’re going to assure that outcome will happen. How exactly are you going to be more focused? Are you going to do less?  Focus on one thing at a time?  Bring in more help? Proactively prioritise? Do more planning? Or a maybe a combination of some or all of these things. A realistic outcome requires you to be clear on the approach as well.

When outcomes are business outcomes, the approach part of the equation is even more critical.  The business never prefixes outcome with realistic. Instead, they just expect every outcome to be realistic.  So, bake in your approach.

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Content Modelling Series – Done

KristinaAndCleveIt’s been fun few years, but my content modelling blog post series has come to an end. I started it to amplify what others were saying about structured content, and to make it accessible. When I started, there was gap: everyone knew structured content was important but there weren’t many places to go to show you how to approach it.

Content modelling is important.  It’s about designing content together, as part of a cross-disciplinary team.  Not from the tech up, or from the business down, but as a joined-up, sustainable team across the organisation.  

A content model is a communication vehicle.  Content modelling is the process to facilitate that communication. Value content modelling over the content model.

As I close out this series, I want to review where we’ve been, what we’ve learned and start to think about what comes next.

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To Video and Beyond

A couple months ago I met Lujza.  She’s into video. Big time.

We all know video is important.  Some already citing video as the most important type of content for truly engaging with consumers.  But what steps can we take to really understand how effective video is at doing that.  Well, that’s where Lujza’s story is really interesting. Over to you.

Lujza Bubanova, Co-founder of YouFirst & Divano

Lujza Bubanova

Lujza Bubanova of Divano and YouFirst – Video

Hi! Before co-founding Divano I was a professional golfer. I got into media tech while studying for a Masters of Digital Marketing at Hult International Business School in San Francisco. As a student, I started a conference called Startupism.  That led to me securing a spot at the Stanford Persuasive Technology Labs as an intern studying behavioural patterns and then media consumption of contemporary viewers. So what did I find?

We can gauge the ability of viewers to consume two sources of entertainment at a time and at the same quality level as if consumed from just one source.  Think TV and mobile.  Not only can be do both but the sum of the two parts is drives superior engagement.  This finding now serves as the fundamental hypothesis for Divano’s value creation model during ad breaks (more on Divano later).

I’m also tapping into the new area of emotion metrics focusing on youtubers and Mulit-Channel Networks (MCNs) allowing them to pre-test content before release.  With YouFirst, you can do what the big movie/tv productions having been doing for years but a fraction of the cost using technology.

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Get your Digital Power Steps On

Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose of the Content Marketing Institute always make me think.  This week their thought-provoking notes overlapped with something that has been niggling at me for some time now: future planning.

I’m a firm believer that the most successful leaders continually plan for tomorrow.  However, they must equally deliver value and realise benefits as they go. To keep the dream alive, and keep people going.  This is really hard.  How do you create a plan that has a beginning, middle and an end?  Cue some solutions from NASA.

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The Connected Customer Journey

Last week I had the good fortune to attend an unconference session run by Chris Satchell.  He’s ex-CTO of Nike. He understands customers. Now as Chief Product Officer over at Comcast, he led with this thought provoking one-liner:

Your brand is your customer journey.

Think about that for moment.

We’ve all heard that your brand is not what you say it is but how others perceive it.  Brand perception boils down to how your customers engage with you. The journeys you take them on.  It’s the sum total of all customer experiences – for better, for worse – across all touchpoints.  Your brand is your customer journey, but they must been connected.

 

 

The challenge lies in mapping out these interconnected customer journeys.  They are hard to create in the first place and really difficult to sustain ongoing success.  Continuously changing over time, connected customer journeys require so many people across the business to collaborate.   But that is exactly what success looks like for those companies building superior brands.  The ability to design and deliver connected customer journeys is a critical component of competitive advantage in digital today. No longer an optional, connected customer journeys are the new norm.

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Content Modelling Series – Update

Short update.  It’s been a little bit hectic over here in the content modelling series.  To summarise what we did:

The content modelling reboot got off to a great start and thank you to those of you that shared the articles and contacted me with improvement suggestions.  This month we’re going to hit content packages and design guidelines for content types and attributes.  Then in June we’ll tackle relationships and modules.

Again, if folks have ideas around the content modelling series, get in touch and share them.

 

Content Modelling Series – Rebooted

ShaftShootingI’m currently sitting at home listening to the ‘Theme From Shaft’.  It soothes the soul. More importantly it has helped me make an important decision.   Let me explain.

I’m sitting on a shed load of content modelling material that will most likely never see the light of day.  Not to mention grow old, stagnate and ultimately become completely useless.  Gathered from project work, workshops, presentations, conferences, talking with smart people, and a even a book that I started but had to put down for work commitments.  Instead of taking another year to try and reshape it into something, why not practice what I preach, test and learn, and get some immediate feedback.  So I’m hoping what I share today will be useful to you tomorrow.  I promise to share little and often over the next few months through my content modeling series.  I think that makes sense.

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From Design Skimping to Design Thinking

Mini CooperThis post has been on my mind, on and off, for about ten years now.  I know, I know; I’m slow.  It’s about the wide and numerous assumptions people make about design when creating digital products and services. I’ve been doing this for over twenty years now, and to sum it up, we just don’t spend enough time doing design.  We pay good lip service to design, but by and large, design is under valued, under sold and always under scrutiny.  This is blood boilingly crazy when clearly the likes of Apple, GE, Google, Tesla and Netflix are founded upon the results of great design. So why do the rest of us skimp on design?

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Grow Slow or Die Fast – Confab 2014

Remember Blockbusters?  What about Kodak?  Popular dinner time talking points for digital blunders.  Then the ranting starts.  I ain’t going down like that.  Not me. No way.  No how. Not on my watch.  This kind of corporate fear fuels popular grow fast or die slow digital agendas so convincingly that common sense doesn’t get a look in.

I'm speaking at Confab Europe 29 September - 1 October in Barcelona

I’m going to Confab Europe Barcelona in September.  Ahh, beautiful Barcelona, to join content strategists, managers, executives, designers, and others who believe that we have to think hard about content in order for it meet rising digital expectations.  For content to flow seamlessly across multiple channels, formats, and devices, to truly get everywhere it needs to be to engage with YOU, we must think big, but start small. Or, put another way, to grow slow or die fast.

Some things just can’t be rushed.  Baking. The waltz.  A good port.  I’ve seen many try and the majority fail with catastrophic consequences.  We all have our own war stories but our ability as an industry to learn from past mistakes is painful and predictably repeatable.  It would seem that taking a sensible approach to sustainable content is immediately at odds with business expectations to achieve that. What to do?

First of all, book your Confab Europe 2014 tickets and get yourself over to beautiful Barcelona.  All done, good, let’s move on.

It’s the way that you do it.

Remember Fun Boy Three and Banarama? Of course you do. Eighties pop groups that came together to give us this:

It ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do pretty much sums up the problem nicely. I’m a massive fan of starting small and continuously delivering value back into the business. It keeps you honest. For me, growing slowly at the start makes solid business sense.  The strategic tactician in us all should paint the big picture but move quickly to discover, design and deliver the immediate first step from all the competing adjacent possibles.  To focus.  With that step built and firmly down in the ground, it’s time to step up and take in the new landscape.  Check out the new horizon, it will look different.  Your new will give you new capabilities that means you can potentially do things differently.  Then see how this fits into the big picture.  What’s changed?  Shall we pivot or preserve on our current trajectory?  Big picture okay?  No, then fix it.  Done? Good, then make the decision and get one with making the next step.

Of course, it’s not as simple as that but even the mention of this common sense approach doesn’t sit well within some organisations.  It’s just not how they operate.  Some pay lip service to think big, start small, whilst others openly kick it into touch.  And when I say organisations, it’s people in organisations.  People struggle with agility.  Some have been badly burnt. People don’t have the confidence or courage to embrace change.  Or more likely, people don’t have the safety or support to learn from failure or admit they ever failed.  And so we protect ourselves and push to see the return before investing any time, effort or resources.  The fear factor is palpable.   I ain’t going down like that.  Not me. No way. No how.

Come to Confab 2014

In Barcelona we talk through the pros and cons growing slow using examples wherever we can.  Please bring your own. Why? Because building sustainable content and the digital infrastructure around it to get content everywhere is hard.  So let’s put our heads together and figure this stuff out.

See you there.

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About Cleve Gibbon



I'm Cleve Gibbon, CTO at Cognifide where we are passionate about digital content.

My sort of up-to-date cv tells you my past, linked in shows you my professional network and on twitter you can find out what I'm currently doing.

This year I plan attend a number of events. Hopefully I'll see you there. I'm easy to find as I'm always laughing. Find out more about me and get in touch!
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