Swedes love to share files. One blogger for guardian.co.uk claimed in December of last year that the country “could be considered the world’s unofficial home of internet piracy.” But a copyright protection law that went into effect in April landed file sharing website Pirate Bay founders behind bars and put a major dent in P2P activity, sending overall Swedish internet traffic tumbling by a whopping 33% overnight. Many feel that fear of being caught illegally sharing files will irrevocably change the nature of the web experience there.
The CEO of a Swedish ISP feels “if this pattern keeps up, it means the extensive broadband network we’ve built will lose its significance.” This may mark the beginning of the end for illegal P2P in Sweden, but I don’t see it as likely that social media participants and infrastructure will now sit idle. May I suggest (based on the limited research done) that there is a timely opportunity for companies wanting to build their brands in the social media scene in Sweden. The idea should be obvious enough…provide high-quality sharable content (with a creative commons license) to fill the gap left by illegal P2P.
One area in particular to focus on in the next year or two is the mobile arena. Sweden is a leader in mobile broadband already and will soon have a lightening fast 4G network. “We are now going to build the next generation of mobile networks and change the rules of the game for the Swedish mobile market,” said the CEO of one of the mobile companies involved.
Perhaps more than anything else, fast mobile networks allow for a superior video experience. It’s worth remembering the first viral campaign using high quality video in the hard line environment to imagine what can be done in the wireless arena. In 2001, BMW posted a series of short-format web movies created by famous “big-screen” movie directors (you can watch them all here). Each featured actor Clive Owen driving a BMW automobile. Action or humor was used to advance each plot, but the car was the real story and the movies were essentially long-format ads. The campaign garnered huge word of mouth by email (this was pre-YouTube and social networking) and BMW succeeded in sharing their message of high-performance, luxury and safety. The high-quality video format, production value and “you gotta see this” plot-driven approach were noteworthy and made it go viral.
The same characteristics should garner significant attention when introduced into the mobile environment, as they did eight years ago in the static setting. The major difference now is cell-to-cell (and social networking) would replace email as the viral connection medium. My recommendation for a corporate social media strategy in the Swedish market (and elsewhere where 4G is rolling out) takes advantage of the new mobile bandwidth to deliver hip, plot-driven HD video to tap the public’s demonstrated interest in sharing entertainment content.
A campaign could stop there and be successful. But to really leverage the benefits of 4G in Sweden, a company should create a stockpile of modular vignettes (that could optimally be constantly expanded) and be dynamically assembled to create customized and on-demand videos based on the specific location of a cell user, let’s say in Stockholm. Some outdoor advertising (billboards, public transport shelters, etc.) might be needed to get users to pull content for the first time. The idea here is to deliver “location contextual” video…that’s the power of 4G! A cell phone’s GPS data might be used to identify the correct geo-targeted video components to be assembled once the user is connected to the download server.
Other factors that could influence the dynamic assembly and make the video even more customized could be that day’s weather (another location contextual variable pulled from a weather feed and then used to select rainy or sunny clips) or any information the company has on that specific user from previous interactions offline or online (for example, women see actresses and men see actors). The more the video could match the user’s actual real-time experience, the more it should resonate and build a connection with the brand.
Companies could even use a variation of the practice of product placement in the dynamic videos. An actor in the location contextual video might walk into an existing store where they would buy the company’s product. It would be part of the plot, but deliver a sales message at the same time. This promotional aspect is completely optional, however.
The core strategy is to create engaging videos with relevant storylines…videos that individual mobile users would want to watch and share with friends and family in their mobile or social networking circles.