issue.2 - Impressed.
Not in the way you are thinking.
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2. What is an Impression?
Ink on Paper? Characters? Letters on a PDF? A metric on your paid ad campaign?
I will share a message below that is so powerful that I actually worry about the power it can give to those who can decipher it. As uncle Ben says in Spider-Man: “With great power comes great responsibility.”
So be responsible after this read, reader.
“A long, long time ago, “character” was a word used to define a lead block with a letter engraved on it. Which was dipped into ink and pressed into paper in order to impress letters into lines, lines into paragraphs, and paragraphs into books and pamphlets on a very large scale.”
”If you think about it son, the character is only revealed when you apply pressure to it. That’s exactly where that popular saying comes from: True character is revealed in the choices a human being makes under pressure — the greater the pressure, the deeper the revelation, the truer the choice to the character's essential nature.”
Lesson from a preacher in 2022.
Powerful, right? But I’m not talking about morality in this issue, I’m talking about the beating heart of communication: impressions.
As you can see, the word character has a long-forgotten meaning that relates to communication and printing. Because the invention of the printing press by Gutenberg represented very much the industrialization and mass production and distribution of human ideas in the form of characters printed on paper. Just talking about this is enough to give me chills.
You might have misunderstood the title of the email and the issue, the word “Impressed” meant that I caused a mark, not that I surprised you with a positive feeling.
Understanding the root meaning of the word “impression” will be profoundly important for your marketing goals. Because we won’t be talking about printing documents on paper, we will be talking about printing your brand on people’s hearts. Marking them with your message. Knocking on their pulsating compartment of desires with your solutions.
2.1 Impressing Your Existence Into the World
What is never seen, is never remembered.
I fear not the man who speaks to 10.000 followers, but I fear the man who speaks to one follower 10.000 times
There is a profound misconception nowadays in regard to what is effective communication. As we entangle deeper with the digital dimension of social networks, where the algorithms dictate what content is shown to users and followers, we see ourselves obsessed with exactly what the algorithms are in their purest essence: numbers.
To go viral is to break the matrix and wake up in a tsunami of success. How hard can it be? Miraculously impossible or strategically plausible?
There is absolutely no formula whatsoever to publishing something knowing in antecedence that it will make the algorithm skyrocket the reach of its impressions. That is impossible because algorithms are an unpredictable, ever-growing intelligence with a set of rules and triggers that adapts itself to the interest and behavior of the users (and advertisers), which in parallel adapts itself to cultural and social contexts.
This is an equation with so many variables that its solution can’t be reached with only pure logic. Yet, we get stuck in the sense that if we are not getting a high engagement rate, conversions, and sales, it is because we are failing and it is our fault.
This lack of numbers leads to a sense of failure which leads to a lack of motivation/action and you die on the beach. Because if you don’t act, you don’t communicate and if you don’t communicate you are not seen. (you don’t cause impressions).
You can always study the trends and see what type of content is being pushed by the algorithms so that you can make something trendy and booby-trapped with a higher chance of booming virality. Some cool video effects and trendy music, maybe some cats? This raises an important question though:
Do you really want your brand to surf a trend or do you want it to lead the actual trend? [How authentic you really are] VS [How mainstream you are open to becoming?]
Because if you are willing to adapt your content, and make your brand portrays itself in questionable ways to the world just to get these blessed numbers, I have to ask. How far are you willing to let go of the values and culture you are building as a brand just to be successful? Shouldn’t these actually be the pillar driving your success in the first place?
Do you still want to go viral? Then we need to dig deeper.
But first, I need you to break your own matrix first.
Flip the switch.
You don’t need to convince people that you have a good solution for them. They don’t need to be convinced because your solution is a byproduct of your hard work and they will perceive that as long as they find out about you and your brand. (Unless you haven’t been giving proper attention to your brand.)
You can be successful if your brand is authentic. Unique in your own way. Having your vision as a founder built deeply within every single aspect of its communication and culture. Its logo, visual identity, website, products, and content shall communicate its own singularity.
But sometimes, to be unique and fresh means not being understood or relevant and will result in low numbers or poor acceptance, right? Not at all.
Flip the switch again.
What are low numbers? If you publish something on LinkedIn and it reaches 1 person (causes one single impression), is that a low impact? Depends on the perspective. 1 person is a whole universe if you think about it. You are a whole universe, with your own interests, needs, traits, skills, fears, dreams, regrets, achievements, favorite flavors of wine, favorite TV shows, movies, actors, authors…
Unique in your own way, your way is.
But let’s get back to the topic before this turn into a motivational speech. I know you already have what it takes and I don’t need to sugarcoat it.
You are a person, aren’t you? Well, you are reading this and I’m causing an impression on you because this newsletter reached your eyes. It reached you because I communicated my message. I communicated my message because I wanted to cause an impression. I wanted to cause an impression because I want you to have agency and act.
I can’t truly control if you will engage with the content. If you will find it interesting or apply what you learn. If you will reach out to me with feedback, forward it, share it, like it, or comment. What I can control is the creation and emission of the message and this, I did.
This is after all the lesson of issue.2, this was something that was taught to me by one of the most inspiring marketing executives I ever met in my career back in 2021. Because at the end of the day, communication should have 3 pillars: creativity, accuracy, and frequency.
Creativity in order to craft the message in a way that is pleasant or interesting to consume because, after all, It needs to be designed (created) in order to exist.
Accuracy in order to have a target audience in mind. You might not know your first audience at first sight but your radio should be transmitting the message regardless until it finally lands on the right ears.
Frequency in order to be seen. To cause the impression. Because if your content doesn’t show up on inboxes, feeds, videos, or any other distribution channel, it doesn’t cause an impression. If your content shows up only once, it causes a shallow impression because it can be forgotten. If your content shows up constantly and with quality, then you are undeniable. An unforgettable brand. A brilliant spark of value amidst a sea of options. Your value will be seen by your target audience sooner or later.
Forget the numbers. Focus on the action of communicating, consistently and authentically. Because if you keep trying to communicate with robots (numbers) you will miss the shot of the actual people that needs your solution and is ready to share it with friends and family.
Remember, 1 person is a whole universe of consciousness, ideas, and opinions. If you are able to populate 1 universe with your brand, then it is only a matter of insistently knocking on their doors until you finally drive them to action.
And your product or service is adopted.
And you go viral.
2.2 Pandora’s Box
A Fresh Digest on my latest discoveries and some other things.
2.2.1 A Healthy Algorithm is a Gold Mine of Impressions
Have you ever heard of Reddit, Inc.?
Their old slogan was: “The Front Page of the Internet”
Reddit is a social media website that allows users to share and discuss content from a wide range of topics and communities. It is known for its user-generated content, voting system, and diverse user base.
Definition by my buddy ChatGPT
The new slogan is: “Dive into anything” because it perfectly represents the fact that you can find any type of community inside their platform. Communities where people actively discuss their interests whether it is cryptocurrency (web 3.0), AI, books, law, technology, marketing, Edgar Allan Poe, politics… Whatever you name it, you will find it on Reddit.
I have been experimenting with its algorithm while advertising my new AI-illustrated sci-fi book and I have made some valuable discoveries. Check these numbers below.
These are all organically published posts between Feb 26th and March 4th of 2023. It’s mostly content about my product spread in different communities that relate to my target audience’s interests.
It sums to around 114.500 impressions achieved without any financial investment (paid advertising) whatsoever, just time and dedication.
Your mind is about to be blown away.
Because when it comes to paid ads, the industry uses the term “CPM” to refer to the ad cost per 1,000 views. It is how much you pay for 1.000 impressions.
Here’s fresh data on CPM rates on different social platforms
Let’s make a calculation out of these numbers. If I were to get this same amount of impression by advertising on these platforms, here’s how much it would cost:
114,500 Views / 1,000 = 114.5 CPMs
114.5 CPMs x $10 per CPM = $1,145.00
114.5 CPMs x $14.40 per CPM = $1,646.80
114.5 CPMs x $6.46 per CPM = $739.97
114.5 CPMs x $3.47 per CPM = $397.52
114.5 CPMs x $3.12 per CPM = $357.84
114.5 CPMs x $7.91 per CPM = $907.20
My campaign caused 114,500 impressions on people without the need of spending one single dollar in paid advertising. As an immediate conclusion, we can identify that Reddit’s algorithm is still very healthy and it prioritizes original content for the feed of its users. A gold mine of niched impressions.
What are you waiting for? Create a Reddit account and explore the communities so that you can identify potential opportunities for your projects. You don’t need to use your real name, pick a cool username that represents your essence. It should be your alternate digital identity which you can use to express yourself freely. That’s what Reddit users do and that is why Reddit is useful and fun to use.
Talking about this made me feel nostalgic about the time I spent in Flavors of America back in 2021, one of the biggest tobacco corporations in Latin America. It was a job as much as it was a school because the reputation of their marketing team is known all around the world for its boldness and creativity.
This was a company responsible for not only bringing but also popularizing the cultural habit of smoking Hookah from the Middle East to Brazil. How many impressions need to be caused for such an impact?
Below are some cool memories!
A Message in a Bottle
Listen, I never emailed the issue.0 of Agency but it contains some extremely important information about this project, in case you haven’t read it yet. You should.
You should because I will start infusing a lot of storytelling into the upcoming issues and Issue.0 is very much the “genesis” of Agency. There’s a story there that is the foundation of all the editions that are to come. If you miss the first minutes of the movie, you won’t understand the ending.
Storytelling is a narrative tool to transmit messages in a way that is fun to consume and evokes feelings so not all issues will be just straightforward information like this one. Because sometimes that is not enough for the message to be understood.
If there is an economic crisis, we need to be creative and act fast.
a) If you are taking the wrong decisions, you can be in trouble.
b) You might have been trying to put out a fire by pouring gasoline on it.
See? Two ways of saying the same thing. When we relate an idea to something that is easier to imagine, that makes the message easier to consume.
But we have not been talking about fires, nor there is a need for a firefighter.
There’s actually a tsunami coming and each one of us is on our own boat. Without paddles.
And that is Agency, a factory of paddles.
For a sea of paddleless boats.
In a tsunamic ocean of uncertainties.
A project like this only starts to really make sense when people reach out to us with some amazing feedback. Not because a lot of time and research is spent on writing all this content, but because as humans, we need confirmation and support from other people (social proof) in order to believe in something for a fact. Otherwise, our ideas might become illusions that live only inside our minds.
I got this feedback from Issue.1 and it made me very happy and at peace, because while I was worried about being invasive, there are also people that were glad to reconnect!
I will be sharing all the support I get in order to nurture more interaction.
About the Author
Made in 1996. Born & Raised Brazillian. Bachelor’s Degree in Advertising and Communication. Adept to autodidactism. Curious Soul. Published Author. Founder of Sentient.
That’s me in a nutshell but you can learn more about Agency and myself on the About page!
Thanks for reading Agency.! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.