This video of robot ants working together to pull a car on BBC News made me stop and stare. I'm sure many others will have done the same. In fact, one of the social media tools we use shows that this article was shared nearly 800 times. Bearing in mind that engagement rate for content is usually between 1% and 5%, you can imagine a lot of people saw this story. A lot of those people that watched will have taken it in and then moved onto something else, perhaps back to the task they were meant to be working on. The individuals that were moved to share may have thought about it a little more in depth, but it really got me thinking.
Watch the video here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-35810224
The researchers apparently worked for months before switching their approach to focus on getting the ants to work together.
"...recently focused on making them work as a team to maximise the power they can exert."
Strength in numbers
After watching these little robots work together to achieve their objective, I started wondering about how many people were involved in that project. There would have been engineers and scientists, probably researchers and maybe designers. Then, to record their efforts and produce the news story, there would be the camera crew and journalists. Posting the content to the website would involve yet more people, before finally involving others to post the content on social media. All in all, quite a team!
This got me thinking about my day-to-day and how reliant we are on colleagues, clients, suppliers, partners, train drivers, the police, rubbish collectors, postmen, teachers, childminders...the list goes on! Rarely do we take stock and appreciate the roles these people play in our everyday tasks, but ultimately we couldn't do it without them.
We have written about story telling and content marketing in recent weeks. The creation of quality content and the distribution of it requires high levels of collaboration and teamwork. From developing the strategy, identifying the topics, sourcing the base content, shaping it into an engaging format, designing visual elements to support it, then writing and sharing social posts can involve a surprising number of people across a wide range of job functions and departments.
Without a focus on working together, clear communication and agreed goals, your marketing activity will struggle to succeed. So, look closer at these little ants and think about the team of people around you. Hopefully you are full of admiration and appreciation for what they help you achieve. I know that's how I feel with the team we have at brandformula and the clients that we work with.
Craig Freeman, Director of Digital Services