A good story – the rise and rise of Susan Boyle Youtube

A Star is Born!

UK TV’s – UK’s Britans Got Talent, Susan Boyles Youtube video singing “I had a Dream” from the 1985 stage show Les Miserables now over 13.6 million (Friday) 20.6 million (Saturday) plays and over 100,000 people compelled to comment in less then a week – fantastic, this clip a great study in digital media convergence, online customer engagement and a reminder that although first impressions are important, you can never judge a book by its cover – ie a Universal Truth .

So what are people saying right now?

A quick check and real time graph of what’s happening

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Why so popular?

Apart from the fact the girl can sing! It’s also about how the clip was edited and put together, it has all the elements of great story telling and movie making.  Set the scene, introduce the characters and problem, create the conflict points and character arcs, deliver the twist and finally the resolution.  From a technical point of view – professionally produced, great music, professional editing and very clear messaging.

But not every Hollywood picture wins an Oscar – so what makes a good story?

Universal Truths

A good story has to touch our hearts, to create an emotional response, something we can relate to and can embrace.  If we are moved enough we are compelled to comment, blog, share the experience (or buy/ complain).  In advertising and marketing there is nothing more powerful then trusted referral and word of mouth to drive your brand influence.

A happy customer tells three and an unhappy one x10!

Interestingly, Les Mis was first panned by the critics back in ’85 but acheived success through a groundswell of word of mouth support and went on to international acclaim, countless awards and still runs today in Londons East End.

In todays online media world, referral is as simple as a click but the key here is that the content has to be worth watching and of value to the reader (we’ve all known those web newbies that feel compelled to mass send those chain letters, virus alerts and cute cat photos).

With all online, email, search and social networks like Twitter and Facebook, your readers decide if they want to know more and click in contrast to the old shotgun interupt and repeat rules of conventional advertising – but don’t get me wrong, television is still the 800 pound guerilla of video  where most people spend their leisure time.  For finding information, sharing and creating for media the web rules.

The quality of your blog, your tweets, your photos, your videos all count.  What you say matters to building your brand, your subscribers and influence.  In the online world we are not all professional writers, journalists, musicans and film makers.  We don’t have to look pretty nor have the family connections to achieve success. Like singing in the village and being rediculed by the local kids – its your creativity and passion that matters.

It will be interesting to see the BGT’s TV ratings this week, the advertising rate card and to personally watch the rise and rise of Susan Boyle (rock on chick!)



Web site and CLIVE video brief

Web site brief

This page will help guide you through the process. It’s not the definitive list of what you will need, but it’s certainly an excellent starting point and will serve as food for thought.

We have broken this up into a number of stages to make it more manageable.


Any web design company will need to know a bit about your company in order to get a feel for how they should design your web site. A good starting point would be to list the following:

  • A couple of paragraphs about your company
  • The products your sell or services you provide
  • The size of the company. i.e. the number of employees, a rough turnover figure (if you want to provide it – there is a lot of difference between how a $100,000 company and a $100,000,000 company should look!)
  • Are you an international company? / if so, which countries?
  • How long have you been established?
  • Describe the company using five or ten words (e.g. young, vibrant, technology based etc)

The old web site

If you have got an existing web site firstly let the web design company know the URL! (the web address). Then answer the following questions:

  • What is good about the web site?
  • What is bad about the web site? (i.e. old colour schemes, out-dated design)
  • How long ago was it built? and who built it?
  • What levels of traffic is it currently receiving?
  • How often do you get a genuine sales lead through the web site?
  • Who is responsible for updating the site?

In order to meet your requirements any design agency would need to know where the old web site has failed. So also detail anything else that could be relevant.

The new web site

You must now examine what you need from the new web site. So a good starting point would be to consider the following:

  • Outline the aims of the web site (to increase traffic, increase product awareness, generate more sales, offer e-commerce, advertise a new product or service)
  • Who is the target audience? has this changed from the old site? What are their demographics (e.g. Children, Adults, Social Class, Income levels, location etc)
  • Is the new web site part of a re-brand or a new product launch?
  • Is there other advertising taking place that the new web site should tie in with?
  • What are the unique selling points for your company, your products or your services.
  • What industry are you aiming the web site at?
  • Is the market saturated with competition?
  • List a few competitors web sites.

The look and feel of the new web site

The web site should be an extension of any offline media, advertising or branding that you have. It is always helpful to be provided with a brochure, some marketing literature or the annual report to help get a feel for the company, so include them with the brief.

In order to get an idea of the kind of site that you like it is worthwhile noting three or four web sites that you like. Not necessarily competitors or sites related to your industry – just give a few example sites that you like the colour schemes of, the navigation or the interactive elements.

Do you have access to any corporate images and video? Does your company have an image or video library? In larger companies you may find that another cost centre has already spent hundreds or thousands of dollars on photography/ video and used it once. It would make sense to use these images/ video if possible. If your company doesn’t have an image/ video library, well it should have and we can build one for you!

Another area that is always overlooked is copy writing. Have you got the copy text ready to go into your web site? Do you have the resources or skills to create and supply the text to go in the web site? If the answer to these questions is no, you will need a web copywriter as well- we can provide this service if necessary

Technical requirements

You should outline any special technical requirements that your company might have.

  • Is it an intranet/extranet or internet site?
  • If it is an intranet, is it a Windows only environment?
  • Does your web hosting company or internal servers restrict you to a particular programming language? i.e. Microsoft only ASP or Open Source PHP?
  • Should you be catering specifically for text only browsers, Audio web browsers or braille readers?
  • What about WAP or web TV?


The ongoing maintenance of a web site is an often over looked aspect of the web sites design.

  • Who will be responsible for the on-going maintenance of the web site?
  • Do you have the skills, resources and time to maintain the web site in-house?
  • What happens if that member of staff leaves the company?
  • Would you prefer to make an arrangement with the web site design/ web site development company for them to handle web site maintenance?


You are proposing spending money on a new web site, so you want customers to see it, right? So now consider how you will promote it.

Off-line promotion

A web site should really be supported by an off line strategy of promotion and advertising, perhaps consider including the following.

  • Postal mail shots
  • Brochures
  • PR exercise
  • Sponsorship
  • Complimentary Gifts.

You might be thinking, “why do they need to know about off-line promotion” – there might be ways of linking the two together, for example extracting all the postal addresses from your mailing lists and using them to print all the envelope address labels on the fly.

On-line promotion

The on-line promotion of a web site is often overlooked when considering the web site brief. The promotion of your web site on the internet, both in terms of getting it on the search engines and also building links with other web sites are vitally important to the continued success of the site.

You should consider:

  • Building link partners
  • Search engine optimisation and submission
  • Search engine paid listings (the sponsored links you see on the side of your search results)
  • Email marketing – commonly HTML emails that are branded inline with the web site.
  • Banner advertising on high traffic volume web sites.
  • Online social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, StumpleUpon, Squidoo and so on


You should finish your web site design brief with a short conclusion, outlining what you would like to receive back from the design agency. As a rule of thumb at Maxys we provide a full proposal, detailing how the site would be built, the layout, the costs (initial and on-going) , the timescale’s involved and any assumptions and conditions that we have made.

Good luck with your web site design brief and don’t forget to include us on your list of companies to tender for the development work…