If you are interested in brand communication, new media and creative research are even remotely your thing, chances are you have heard of Zooppa. If the name is new to you, suffice it to say that it is the leading platform for crowdsourced creativity , helping brands find creative professionals for their projects and creatives submit their ideas to brands they might not otherwise be able to reach. This innovative American company started out near Seattle and it currently has offices worldwide. It is also responsible for creating one of the most interesting a productive creative hubs in Italy, with local talent flourishing and breaking new ground in brand communication. We interviewed Giuseppe Azzaro, Digital Strategist and Community & Partnership Manager for Zooppa within the hi-tech incubator known as H-Farm. This multilevel project has been dubbed “the Italian Silicon Valley” and, so far, it has kept its promise and aggregated some of the most interesting players in the hi-tech field.
Let’s start this interview with an unusual question: tell me about the worst web marketing strategy you have ever come across.
I can’t think of any individual example right now, but I think the definition can be spread across all the firms that underestimate the importance of web promotion and approach it carelessly, making colossal mistakes that seriously damage their reputation and therefore their whole business. In other words, if you mess up people will punish you, which means that if you undermine your own credibility, you are going to pay for it out of your own pocket. This was the case with a number of restaurants that tried to launch into real-time marketing right after the earthquakes in Central Italy, which resulted in violent backlash on TripAdvisor and Facebook. This is seriously damaging in the restaurant industry. There are actually a couple of famous examples I can quote: Italian food brand Melegatti which posted a piece of Facebook content that was both homophobic and badly designed and used the payoff “love thy neighbour as thyself as long as they are attractive and of the opposit sex” ( the sentences rhyme in Italian ) and the recent “fertility day” campaign of the Italian Health Ministry ( shaming childless women ). The point is that it is vital for a brand to go social, but there’s more to it than having a Facebook page: you need consistency, research, analysis, monitoring, planning and most of all real presence and client interaction. That’s why you should always work with a professional.
Zooppa is a worldwide leading content crowdsourcing platform: what would you say are this system’s main advantages? Which business most profit from using crowdsourcing and which should be creating their own content instead?
There are several advantages to crowdsourcing both for firms, that can access the work of dozens of creative professionals, therefore browsing through more content and more ideas than they could get via the services of one individual agency, and for the creatives, that get to offer their work directly to companies and earn money. You only have to take a look at the case histories on our website to get and idea of how vast the scope of a crowdsourced campaign can be. Obviously, not every project can be crowdsourced, but if used wisely and backed by a solid strategy, this can be a very powerful tool.
Let’s take a step back: what led you to choose this career?
It all started back in 2007, when I started using Myspace to promote music: my father had a small label and I offered to manage his online communication to promote the projects he was working on and to find new artists. From then on, things snowballed, and I ended up working first with a London label and then crossing from music to brand communication, working both with agencies and as a freelancer. I basically started by trying things and geeking about and I discovered that I was good at it. I learned a lot and I was lucky enough to work with several experts in this field and that allowed me to specialise and turn this into an actual career.
What are the vital elements that an effective web strategy should never lack?
For a start, I think any brand wishing to communicate online should set clear marketing goals and know its target audience: this is essential, in order to avoid wasting budget and focus on false targets. Once the goals have been set, there are other elements that must be in place for a strategy to be effective, such as a detailed market research and competitor analysis. It is also essential to measure your strategy’s performance, which web tools allow you to to do in real time, unlike traditional platforms such as radio, tv and printed media.
Which new tools do you think will influence brand promotion the most in the near future?
I think social media will dictate the way in which both brands and people communicate, as we are moving towards forms of interaction that privilege real-time, on point and direct interaction, with an increasingly massive use of smartphones and wearables.Are you a creative or an entrepreneur with an interesting story to tell? Are you working in Italy or with Italian partners and creating something unique? We want to interview you! Contact us to share your story