Ask for Selfies, Try ‘Squares’ Instead of Bradys, and Create Video Stories – More Innovation Ideas

It’s always a proud feeling when I can write about innovation in our own SIIA backyard. Over the last few years, I’ve had the privilege of proofreading the very excellent Year in Review, an annual synopsis of member activities from another division here, FISD. Normally, the publication highlights members with photos from FISD events around the globe. That’s not possible this year, of course.

“Though the pandemic impacted our ability to gather together in person, your friends and colleagues, and we at FISD too, would love to see what you’ve been up to this year and include your photos in the Year in Review. Please send us your selfies…” To get their members in the mood, FISD included selfies of staff in the email (which you see above). Not only does this convey a fun holiday feeling to their community, but it makes staff feel good as well. Just seems like a win-win all the way around. I will be sure to include some snippets when the publication is complete.

Last week I wrote about the importance of this type of innovation and gave some examples. A 2020 survey from Marketing General found that “a culture of innovation is the critical driver” for creating member/subscriber value. ”Try something new or you’ll plateau and decline,” one respondent said. Those who have seen member/subscriber gains “are significantly more likely to have a process in place for innovation and new ideas.”

Since then, I’ve come across more examples and wanted to share them:

Extend and extol your events. Informa Markets pivoted—did you know “pivot” is the marketing word of the year?—their October 6-9 Festival of Licensing into an innovative virtual event. The restructured event featured Trivial Pursuit, an MTV-styled workout and Spongebob Squarepants-themed yoga. Also notice the time frame. They transformed the three-day trade show into a three-week experience over a three-month period. Wrote Matt Swenson on the TSNN siteAfter-hour activities and built-in breaks like the Spongebob and board game activations were added to alleviate the strain of attending a trade show on a computer. ‘We wanted to quell virtual attendee burnout,’ said Anna Knight, vice president of Informa’s Global Licensing Group. ‘We hope that these styles of events will be as inclusive as possible and enable participation for those unable to attend in 2021 and also those who perhaps have not thought about attending previously.’”

Use pricing research to grow revenue. In an article on Digital Content Next last month, Ashley Deibert, CMO of Piano, spoke to Veebha Mehta, CMO at Crain Communications, about how they use pricing research to make sure they are not leaving significant revenue on the table. “Using a combination of price research and live price testing, Crain ran a promotional program to drive up their subscriptions. Significantly, they discovered that many of their trusted products were priced far below what consumers were willing to pay. This data empowered Crain to adjust prices in order to meet revenue targets, as well as experiment with trial offers to attract and retain new subscribers.” Mehta said that it was also valuable to “decouple its print and digital pricing. Price testing for Crain’s Chicago Business… showed that the demand for digital was higher than for print.”

Get creative with Zoom. I mentioned this Friday but didn’t show the picture. The Editorial Freelancers Association held a virtual chapter meeting in October. “We are getting the hang of this new format and took advantage of Zoom’s features to maximize our time together.” Nothing special there, but the accompanying photo of participants is not the Brady Bunch boxes that we always see, but The Hollywood Squares! Can a Match Game or Family Feud configuration be next?

Conduct weekly live interviews on Facebook. Chesapeake Family continues to do hard-hitting interviews on their Facebook channel every Friday at 2 pm. On Friday, “Shantelle Bisson discussed tips for getting through the holidays with your kids, without losing your cool—a special challenge this year while we are living in close quarters due to COVID.” “I really like to do those virtual interviews as long as we can give 2-3 days notice,” publisher Donna Jefferson said, adding it’s a good platform to talk about timely topics. Previous interviews focused on Virtual School From Home Tips and Navy Football Takes on Racism with an assistant coach and running back. This Friday’s talk is titled Pay It Forward, quite appropriate for this time of year and 2020 when so many people are having a tough time.

Videos about innovation. On the National Association of Broadcasters website, under a section titled Innovation Stories Videos, a two-minute video shows how Beasley Media Group is reaching young audiences with a novel strategy for a radio broadcasting organization—investing in competitive video gaming. The clip features Lori Burgess, COO for Beasley’s esports division. “Younger consumers around the world…are heavily invested in video gaming,” she said. “And we really saw an opportunity to get very, very immersed in this space and start to attract and develop these relationships with younger consumers when they’re forming their decisions about what matters most to them.”

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