Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook 12


Just days before I was supposed to turn in the drop-dead, final version of the manuscript for this book to my editor, Instagram launched a fifteen-second video product that competes directly with Vine. I was in Cannes, and as soon as I could, I went back to my hotel room and spent four hours looking at every Instagram video I could find. And since then, my team at VaynerMedia and I, and all of the most progressive marketers in the world, have been scrambling to figure out the best way to storytell in fifteen seconds of video on a platform built for pictures. I can’t think of a more fitting illustration of what kind of world we live in now. Forget Mad Men, and fuck Don Draper. He lived in an easy world where nothing changed for thirty years, where you could spend your whole career working to figure out how the print and television markets worked. This world, the one you and I live in, evolves every second, every day. The skill sets it takes to be a successful entrepreneur, a successful marketer, or a relevant celebrity today is a different skill set than you needed ten years ago, even though that was the skill set that mattered for decades. I have bad news: Marketing is hard, and it keeps getting harder. But there’s no time to mourn the past or to feel sorry for ourselves, and there’s no point in self-pity anyway. It is our job as modern-day storytellers to adjust to the realities of the marketplace, because it sure as hell isn’t going to slow down for us. Video for Instagram is just the most recent evolution. Soon Google Glass will launch and we’ll have to figure out how to natively storytell on a screen hovering at the top of our customers’ right or left eye. And as we go, we will have to continually reevaluate just how many times we should bring value through apps and videos and glasses before we can ask our consumers to do something for us. We have to remember to give, give, give before we ask. That will always be the real challenge. That, and moving fast enough to keep up. The upside of moving quickly onto new platforms has been proved time and time again. The people and brands that overindex on Instagram and Pinterest are not necessarily the same ones who saw popularity on Facebook or Twitter—they just got to the new platforms first and figured them out sooner than anyone else. They’re the ones that got out there and started testing, learning, and watching others. They went all in. I hope you will, too. I hope you’ll fight for your place in the social media ring with the same ferocity and conviction as Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier during the Thrilla in Manila. If you don’t know it, it’s been described as one of the greatest boxing matches in history. Ali was officially declared the winner, but it’s been said that both contenders fought so hard and so well that no one actually lost that day. I like winning; I hope you do too!

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