#SeriouslySocial The Podcast
with Simone Douglas and special guest Kimon Lycos
Chris Irving 0:00
Welcome to the Seriously Social podcast with your host Simone Douglas. Today’s guest is Kimon Lycos from Mihell & Lycos. He and Simone chat about storytelling, the business of marketing and the immersive narrative of his podcast, Forever has Fallen.
Simone Douglas 0:17
So today I’m joined on the Seriously Social Podcast by Kimon from Mihell Lycos. Thank you very much for joining.
Kimon Lycos 0:23
Thanks a lot for having me here. These are lovely chairs,
Simone Douglas 0:27
These are my favourite comfy chairs.
Kimon Lycos 0:28
Simone Douglas 0:29
Yeah. So I guess some people might be wondering why I have you know, one of Adelaide’s leading advertising agencies sat in my red chairs, but it’s because you’ve done something super exciting. Yeah?
Kimon Lycos 0:43
Yeah. Well, we’re actually trying to redefine not all of global entertainment. I mean, we’ll we’ll be humble, but we’re introducing a new type of global entertainment because we kind of like why has entertainment always I mean, since the 1890s. Entertainment really has been a one way experience. So you sit there, you pay your ticket, you sit there and bang, you’re entertained. And that’s a great model I don’t think that’s going away anytime soon. But in this world, this digital age and social media age, why the hell can’t entertainment be a two-way interaction? Why can’t you as a fan, get involved in the story and be part of the story and interact with the story, both you know, explore the characters interact with characters explore companies and events and issues that occur within the story and go deeper so what we’ve created is an immersive experience that’s to storytelling and and also becomes a game.
Simone Douglas 1:44
Which is just crazy to me. But this was an all consuming idea for you quite some time ago. Yeah.
Kimon Lycos 1:50
Oh, it’s been three years.
Simone Douglas 1:52
Three years in the making. Three years in the making an interactive story that changes I think both the face of entertainment, like you said and changes the face of marketing to a degree because there are so many opportunities within it as well. But what’s been the most surprising or exciting part of the journey so far?
Kimon Lycos 2:12
We’ve gone a little bit Awesome Worlds. So if you remember Awesome Worlds was very famous for creating War of the Worlds and there was … actually still is the benchmark of audio, I mean, podcasting and so forth is taking off, but Orsen Wells actually established the benchmark of audio drama back then.
Simone Douglas 2:33
Well, he really did.
Kimon Lycos 2:35
Yeah, I mean, you can’t, you literally can’t beat that. I can’t imagine you could ever beat that, and so basically convinced of you know, America that there was an invasion. We are kind of a little bit there in terms of the fictional company that we’ve got, which is offering digital immortality. People are actually saying to think that it’s real, it’s because we’ve got a website for it, so foreverhasfallen.com you can check it out. If you like, you can sign up for digital immortality as we’ve had about 50 or 55,000 people do so far. And it’s just, it’s just weird like, how something that you’ve created starts to take on meaning in people’s lives, and that they’re talking and discussing it without you between themselves. It’s an odd feeling.
Simone Douglas 3:27
Yeah. So the, the product or the game itself is called Forever is Fallen,
Kimon Lycos 3:32
Yeah Forever has Fallen
Simone Douglas 3:33
… has feallen. So, from an age demographic perspective, how wide is the spread that you’ve managed to engage in this process at this point?
Unknown Speaker 3:44
It’s um, so we started off from the premise of would would look around the 23 to 45 year old mark, but we’ve actually gone now because we’ve opened it up and we can see that were engaging, you know, 18 even, I actually was engaged with somebody on our discord community and it turned out that this was a 12 year old kid and I’m like, Okay. This is where my life is going to, you know, I’m offering customer service to a 12 year old. That was awesome. So I would imagine that we’re reaching a bit of a younger audience now. I would say, around 16 all the way through the 50 now. Don’t forget 50 year olds, and I’m one of them, unfortunately, you know, where the Donkey Kong generation you know, we started off with Nintendo is and you were like, you know, king of the playground turning up with one of those handheld Nintendo things way back in the day. So yeah, it’s gone broader and broader, more broader than what I expected would.
Simone Douglas 4:53
What is like the next big challenge for this interactive experience? Where are you guys up to with all the episodes and things.
Kimon Lycos 5:00
So we’re we’re due to launch in a couple of weeks time actually, so we’ve got an embargo going out soon. We’re talking with a with big media and entertainment media company about an exclusive, so that’s yet to be nailed down. That’s why I’m in a little bit mmm when it’s gonna land, but come hell or high water we will be launching in within three weeks, the next two episodes. And then it’s we’ve got to start dropping episodes every three, three to four weeks. So yeah, so our next big challenge is to make sure that episode four or five is awesome, and then keep being awesome and then just growing our audience.
Simone Douglas 5:43
Yeah, cool. So I’ve discovered the website and I’ve made it that far. Let’s just say some branding person that’s listening to this podcast as it drops have made it to Forever has Fallen’s landing page. What is the beginning of my experience gonna look like?
Kimon Lycos 6:00
Well, first thing is you listen to the podcast. When we came up with this as a concept, I said straight off the bat to my team. We’re not doing anything until we come up with an absolutely awesome story. So we … which was good. But so Forever has Fallen does and should stand by itself just purely as a podcast, a fictional podcast thriller series. Now, if you happen to get curious, because in the first episode, for example, you hear a mobile phone number is mentioned. If you get curious and you want to chase that, then you can become a bounty hunter. So you sign up, you’ve come a bounty hunter, and you can chase that clue within the hunters lair, where we’ve got some communication stuff and some attractive and stuff. And from there, it’s just, I don’t know, it’s like Alice in Wonderland, you fall down that rabbit hole, and there’s all sorts of things to discover.
Simone Douglas 6:57
Yeah, cool. Well, and I think that it’s such a fantastic concept. And in terms of that immersive experience, so like I said, you can listen to it and you within it to a degree, but if you choose to go down the rabbit hole, then you will in a whole nother world really.
Unknown Speaker 7:16
Yeah. And you’ll find … so it’s around … It’s been really good fun as a storyteller to go from OK, so here’s a 20 minute podcast that we’ve written, and then OK, so how do we extend the story in the characters, you know, with email or with a text message or with some hidden content? You know, where we’ve made like little mini film clips. And in that it all still has to hang together. That’s been a lot of fun. And it’s been it’s been a huge challenge, because you couldn’t remember everything else that you’ve done to make sure that it all makes sense. Yeah, it all makes one complete picture.
Simone Douglas 7:56
Yeah, and it all fits together. Absolutely. You touch on the fact as a storyteller, which is obviously, you know, huge part of what you do in your day job. But what do you think of the modern day challenges for business owners in telling their stories? Because as an advertising agency, you guys, help businesses do this all the time?
Kimon Lycos 8:17
I think the biggest challenge is to really take it seriously. You know, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more and more pragmatic, and I’m just shocked at how many companies seem not to be in love with their own brand. Does that make sense? Like, they, they, you know, they’ve got a shingle out, they’ve got a logo, but got a name. They want to attract customers, but the scant detail that they put into telling their story, and about trying to engage their target audience in trying to build a community and trying to really connect on an emotional level. I mean, we do with, you know, a lot of different, you know, we’re dealing with everything from garden edging products all the way through to, you know, some of the world’s most advanced switchgear, that goes into mining camps, but throughout that whole gamut, there are customers who need to make a buying decision in consideration against the competitor, and it’s amazing how many businesses operate, almost like within the belief that they’re in this bubble, and I’m like, you are aware that there are competitors, you are aware that there’s somebody else trying to convince your customer that they’re better than you.And the effort that you put into convincing, it’s almost like going to getting going to court. Yeah. And just turning up on the day game, ah, look, I’ll make it up. You know, I’ll convince the judge whatever, you know, it’s like JC, you’ve got to put some effort into this. You’ve got to convince people who do not want to be convinced.
Simone Douglas 10:05
… but you touched on … You talked about emotion and emotional connection because I think often too, when I talk to some of our clients, you know, whether it’s business to business space in particular, or some of those really technical fields, they don’t understand often that there’s still an emotional component to that engagement with the … And that’s where we like to start and then find a story from there.
Kimon Lycos 10:28
Well, look, if it all came down to creating the best widget, then it would be very different world we’d all be, for example, would be driving Toyota’s, you know, but, you know, the most profitable company in the world is Porsche, you know, super expensive, you know, out-of-reach of most people, but by Christ, they got a brand, and they’ve connected it to a very good product. And then you look at if you still want to stick with automotive, if you look at Tesla, at the most valuable car company. they only make 300 thousand vehicles, you know his niche compared to Toyota, GM, Ford and so forth, and also nowhere near as old, and if that doesn’t tell you that people need to, you know, the power of getting people to connect with you on an emotional level, and the power of creating community, almost a movement around what you do. I mean, you know, it’s amazing like I actually I’m thinking of a guy now who owns a Tesla and he’s totally in he runs a it’s a it’s a software business, and the things I’ve said to him, the things that you love about Tesla, why are you trying to I mean, I know you can’t get the same depth as you can with Tesla because you know, your product, blah, blah, but at least make an effort. Because you’re, you created your product to solve a problem.
Simone Douglas 11:59
Kimon Lycos 11:59
And that problem has meaning to your market. Sometimes it’s a big problem, sometimes it’s a small problem. It’s still a problem, and if you’re not describing and connecting and engaging, what that problem is and what it means, and and that you connect with, because we’re all human beings, you know, and if you’re not using that as leverage, you’re deliberately disabling your ability to make sales.
Simone Douglas 12:28
Which is critical in the current environment.
Kimon Lycos 12:30
It’s a deliberate act, you’re sabotaging yourself by not doing something.
Simone Douglas 12:35
Yeah. Do you think that comes into play often too, when you encounter business owners or managers who are afraid to ask for the sale and so they don’t do the marketing in the sales messaging well?
Kimon Lycos 12:50
I mean, that’s a like, so in the b2b worldd there’s probably like, asking for the sale is a very different thing to when you’re constructing the story. I mean, like, I’ve spent a lot of my career in Sweden, and you know, I think there’s two things that we’ve got here in Australia. One is we’ve got a lot of business owners trying to save their way to success. Very, very risk adverse.
Simone Douglas 13:19
Yeah. I’ve never heard it put that way. But it’s so true.
Kimon Lycos 13:22
But that is what they’re tying to do, they’re trying to save their way to success, and there’s almost this stupid pride in and I’m sure you’ve had these conversations where someone will look at you and go, ‘Well, I achieved five, whatever’s and I didn’t spend the dollar,’ you know? Well, hang on, hang on. Let’s look at loss of how big is your market or $2 billion. Yeah, how big are you again? We’re $6 million turnover. Hello. And the other thing is there is a especially in the b2b world, there is a lack of real high calibre marketing talent. It’s .. and that goes if you trace something an adjunct professor with RMIT University in Melbourne. And so if you if you go all the way back through how marketers are educated and trained in this country, it’s all focused on consumer stuff. Hardly there is hardly anything for b2b, and then all the a lot of the talent wants to go towards, you know, selling beer or soft drink or, whatever. You know, that’s not to say there is no talent in b2b. I’m just saying there’s a lack of …
Simone Douglas 14:42
Yeah, absolutely, and I think, you know, that then becomes a challenge because there’s agencies, we’re working with the marketing talent in those businesses. But often, you know, not often, but sometimes they won’t tend to take our guidance even though you and I have been in the b2b market for a very long time. How do you get through to a potential client? Let’s say that’s, you know, he doesn’t understand well enough the value that you’re gonna bring to the table, because they’ve just met you.
Kimon Lycos 15:17
Um, for me, it’s about … Well, one, I mean, there’s track record that you can show and everything but everyone’s course interested in what can you do for them? And I like to create a sense of dissatisfaction in people. Because I think that’s the key to getting people to get over the fear of risk and the fear of change. So, I create dissatisfaction in terms of so I asked, you know, so how big is your market. Oh, you know, blah, you know, is a global? Yeah, okay. So, blah. Okay, cool. How big are youe? So you got some room to grow. Okay. So, do you want to grow? Do you have the ambition to grow? Because that’s the number one thing you know, clients they have to have ambition and money. Yeah, or else what’s the point? So if you’ve got the ambition to grow then what has stopped you from growing? Ah, now we can have a conversation. Now that generally speaking, you know you’ll of course have people who lie to you because either and not in a bad way but because they don’t know you well enough or but you know, it’s kind of like being a doctor and getting them to open up about what their illness is and getting them to own it and go. You know, so we’ve had some people where they go, ‘You know what, we really suck at this. We recognise we suck at this and that’s why we’re talking to you.’
Simone Douglas 16:41
They’re my favourite people.
Kimon Lycos 16:42
Yes. But then you also have this other people where, ‘No everything’s fine. Don’t worry about it.’ What do you want to talk to me in the first place? No, no, everything’s cool. Yeah. And then you find out you know, this happened to me the other day actually where I was talking to someone they basically bullshitted me, and then I knew from someone who knows that company very well that, you know, everything is not fine at all. And so I don’t know, if people are deluded people have made their own little kingdoms. People are selfish people are stupid, that there’s a whole range of … and we’ve all met them.
Simone Douglas 17:21
Yes, that’s very true. I think for me, one of the interesting things in the last couple of years in particular is I’ve become very straightforward with my clients, like very straightforward. So if I think that what they want to do isn’t going to work, because I have empirical evidence and that’s the case in the classroom, I would say, Well, if that’s really what you want to do, but now I go, if that’s really what you want to do, then we’re not the right agency for you because in three months time, you’re going to be very unhappy and you’re gonna upset you’re gonna be upset with my brand and that’s not good. We’re not playing. And then they turn around and I actually listen to you because he went, well actually no. Whereas if I go back eight years ago when I started Social Media AOK I wouldn’t recommend that, but you know …
Kimon Lycos 18:13
… you want to put your foot in the door. Fine, go for it.
Simone Douglas 18:18
So, yeah, I think maybe that’s, that’s the path of travel that every business owner has to go through at some point back themselves.
Kimon Lycos 18:27
Yeah, and I mean, to be fair to the side, to be fair to the client side, if you look at especially if you’re talking about a business owner, you think about all the components that it takes to run a business so for example, my big weakness, weaknesses around finance. So you know, that’s where I rely upon, you know, people who have expertise in finance. I’m good marketing bit then if you look at a business owner, you know, typically the you know, they’re an engineer or they’re there, they’ve got a professional background somewhere, so they’ve spent a number of years focused on a very definitive skill. Yeah. And then they’ve come up with a solution of, oh, I’ve got a better idea or a better way of doing this, and then they bang, they’ve got a business. The issue that I think we have as marketers is if I use my analogy of the finance thing is that a lot of people seem to believe that they can do marketing. And let’s be honest, sometimes people can fluke it, people can, and everyone can come up with a good idea and it could actually turn into something that’s commercially viable. But the difference between marketing and something like legal law or finance is that everyone listens to their accountant or everyone listens to the lawyer and the lawyer says, do this so you don’t get sued.
Simone Douglas 19:52
You’re like okay …
Kimon Lycos 19:53
… then you do it. But the the irritating thing with marketing is that everyone thinks that they can do it, and sometimes people get lucky so that encourages them to keep going, but we come across so many people who have been burned by really bad marketing or bad people, or bad marketing practices. And then they go, well, this marketing thing sucks.
Simone Douglas 20:19
Kimon Lycos 20:20
Yeah, it does. But anything sucks if you do it wrong.
Simone Douglas 20:23
Kimon Lycos 20:24
Yeah. So you’ve got to it’s that sort of paying for the sins of the Father. That gets really tiresome after a while.
Simone Douglas 20:34
And I think I was really happy when I took over the pub, because I got to make all the decisions and break every single rule. Yyou know, like from a marketing perspective, I put really bad photos. They were blurry I posted stuff with like grammatical errors in it like I was just me and stuff went viral, left right and centre you do like it would go in front of 77,000 people. We only had 2,000 likes on the page, but it’s just because I had a story. I had an emotional connection and I just talked to the humans.
Kimon Lycos 21:09
But you got to … because this is what we’re going through with Forever has Fallen is we this is what I like is that we are is this the same with your with your pub, you’re in the most purest form of judgement.
Simone Douglas 21:26
Kimon Lycos 21:27
Simone Douglas 21:28
The market. Right … and what I love about Forever has Fallen is we are making every single decision. Me and my team, and unfettered we haven’t got some we haven’t got a committee or we don’t have someone going, oh, maybe you should be blue or, or you know, coming up with brain fart things. We’re doing it, and we we live and die on our own decisions, decisions, and the market decides, and it’s really gratifying to see that you know what, we are pretty good this shit.
Which is a really nice way to finish. So as we’re in this current environment and everyone’s kind of being bombarded by all sorts of different things to do with COVID-19 and restrictions for all the business owners that are out there that maybe want to escape reality for a little while, I recommend that you go and find Forever has Fallen, maybe enjoy yourselves for a while and investigate that immersive experience, even if it just takes you away from the stress for like half an hour … it’s probably a good thing. Kimon thanks very much for joining me.
Kimon Lycos 22:36
Thanks for having me.
Simone Douglas 22:37
I appreciate your time.
Chris Irving 22:42
Thank you for listening to the Seriously Social Podcast. See our website for more details at www.socialmediaaok.com.au/podcast. Check the show notes for credits music used in the program and more details about our guests.