Hungry Like The Wolf Or Crazy Like The Fox?
“Strut on a line, it's discord and rhyme
I'm on the hunt, I'm after you
Mouth is alive with juices like wine
And I'm hungry like the wolf”
Duran Duran’s “Hungry Like the Wolf” seems like an appropriate song for this week and perhaps captures some of the sentiment I’ve been hearing in the Twitter-sphere, blogosphere and across the social web about Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram. The cacophony ranges from backlash in the Instagram community about the app being gobbled up by the wolf [Facebook], Facebook overpaying for a company that has no revenue and another group wondering if Facebook is crazy … like a fox.
No matter which part of the chorus you’re part of, what is certain is that this acquisition is a clear sign of the power of mobile audiences and photos being “atomic content” when it comes to what people like love to share. If you’re a brand, entertainment company or otherwise, you better have an “image strategy” on your digital marketing strategy short list.
Back to the deal for a moment and why entertainment brands need to pay attention.
My opinion is that the backlash will settle down as people choose to find an alternate service they feel is better than an Instagram owned by Facebook (a/k/a FaceTagram, InstaBook). For example, Via.me which lets users share pictures and videos, or Pixlr-o-matic if you just want to share photos. In fact, Via.Me makes it really easy to transfer all your photos over from Instagram.
If you’re in the camp that thinks Facebook overpaid for a company that has no real revenue model, you may be right but only time will tell. The reality is that the cost of capital for Facebook is incredibly cheap.
If you think Facebook is crazy like a fox, I agree with you. As an example of this cunning move, look no further than Google’s acquisition of YouTube. At the time, YouTube was a little-known video site with no revenue but a huge audience. Google made a bet that video was going to be big and that a lot of content would be delivered into homes via the Internet. Today, YouTube is the de facto standard for video search and is the largest video site on the web. The question for Facebook will be whether it is able to create a similar story for Instagram. To date, it has swallowed up the companies it has acquired vs. letting them stand alone.
So what does all this really mean for entertainment brands?
Brands should be developing an image strategy. In fact, it’s something brands should be doing on a rapid iteration basis, to figure out how best to use images to engage with their audiences. Pictures enable brands to curate brand persona, help explain core values and build excitement about upcoming products and movie releases.
How cool would it be to subscribe to a movie star on a service and get “sneak peek” photos from the set of an upcoming summer blockbuster? And with food photography a big category, celebrity chefs and food brands are turning their photos to entertainment assets they extend from shows, etc. As was recently said at John Battelle’s Signal-SF event, photos are “atomic content” blowing up when it comes to what people love to share.
Since somebody just sent me a photo of my favorite beer waiting for me down the street at my favorite bar, I need to go because now I’m thirsty after all this writing. I rest my case.