Saturday, March 31, 2007

Los Angeles to Ibiza


Google cracks me up sometimes. The directions for a trip from Los Angeles to Ibiza show me that there are real people at Google. Make sure to check out Step 30.

April Fool's Pranks for Nerds



From Wired.com

Geeks love April Fools' Day.
Once a year, we get to take advantage of our non-geek friends' and co-workers' flimsy grasp on technology.

The best geek pranks involve making a gadget or a piece of software appear "broken." Since the tech savvy will quickly notice these pranks, they are best performed on the inept, the perpetually preoccupied and the woefully unaware.

I'd recommend starting with the suits in marketing or the over-50 guy who refers to his workstation as his "confuser." Actually, anyone who frequently steps away from his or her desk for any more than 90 seconds should be considered fair game.

Also, since you can swoop in and come to the rescue of a co-worker stranded in technological hell, pranks make great ice-breakers. Try these on the new girl in sales -- you'll be her knight in shining Linux T-shirt.

April Fool's Day falls on a Sunday this year, which is a day off for most of us. But don't let that little technicality stop you. It's the spirit that counts.

One thing you should definitely not do is break anything. Only make the device appear broken. The point when the joke can't be reversed is also the point it ceases to be funny. Trust me.

Switch Their Keyboard to Dvorak
The only reason people use the antiquated QWERTY keyboard layout is because they've never experienced the power and flexibility of Dr. August Dvorak's simplified eponymous layout. Make it your job to school these people. Yd.f-nn ydabt frg nay.p

To switch a keyboard layout in Windows XP, go to the Control Panel (make sure it's in "Classic View" mode) and click on Regional and Language Options. Under the Languages tab, view Details. Click on Add and find "United States-Dvorak" in the list. Now you'll see Dvorak show up in the drop-down menu of default input languages. Choose it and click Apply.

Mac OS X is much easier: Go to System Preferences, click on International and select the Input Menu tab. Click the checkbox next to Dvorak. You might also check "Show input menu in menu bar" at the bottom of the window. A tiny icon menu will appear in the top right corner (next to the clock), allowing you to switch between keyboard layouts with a single click.

Put the Mac to Bed
Newer Apple hardware comes with that cute little Front Row remote. Use it for pure evil by randomly putting the prankee's Mac to sleep. Perfect for Starbucks! Any Front Row remote will work (just hold down the Play button for a few seconds) as long as the person hasn't disabled the remote sleep option or paired a specific remote with their machine. But who does that?

New Key Layout
Manually rearrange keyboard keys with a Keycap Puller. Swapping letter keys only works on noob hunter-peckers, but you can still prank everyone else by reversing their 10-key keypad. When reversed, it looks just like a telephone, so they won't notice anything is amiss until they start typing numbers.

Blue Screen of Death
Install the Blue Screen of Death screen saver. When the screen goes to sleep, the machine looks like it crashed. Be mindful the victim might lose data if they pull the plug.

Mangle the Mouse
Hide the mouse ball. It sounds far too simple to actually fool anyone, but you'll be amazed at how long people will curse and slam their unresponsive mouse onto the desktop before actually flipping the thing over. On the bottom of most mice, you'll find a plastic ring encircling the ball. Loosen it with a twist and pop the ball out. Dropping the mouse ball into their coffee cup will render it magically invisible.

Berlitz the Phone
Change their mobile phone's language setting to Spanish. Almost every modern phone sold in the United States has English and Spanish as the two selectable languages. The setting is usually pretty easy to find in the menus, too. You Canadians should choose French, unless of course you're in Quebec where everyone speaks both French and English (in which case you're totalement vissé).

Look Closely
What's wrong with this picture?

Twitter Dicker
Everyone on Twitter has an RSS feed, setting the stage perfectly for some micro-mayhem. Create a Twitter account, get your friend to subscribe to it, then put their Twitter feed through a tool like rss2twitter. It publishes any RSS feed through your Twitter account, so whenever your friend posts, they'll see their own Twitters echoing back at them. Po-tweet? So it goes.

Right Is Left
Go into their mouse settings and swap the mouse buttons. Set left-click as right-click and vice versa. This one is so simple, it's best reserved for the truly helpless. While you're at it, slow down the double-click speed to add an extra helping of annoyance.

Prank Calls Via the Web
Use the web to reach out and touch some one. http://www.phonemyphone.com/

Nice Wallpaper
Take a screenshot of your friend's desktop and make it their desktop wallpaper. Minimize any open applications and hide all of the desktop icons or ferret them away in a folder -- don't delete anything. Then, set the Windows taskbar to auto-hide. Go to Control Panel, click on Taskbar & Start Menu then choose "Auto hide." On a Mac OS X machine, go into System Preferences, click on Dock and choose "Automatically hide and show Dock." Hang out somewhere close by so you can hear the frustrated clicking grow louder and more urgent.

Early Birds Welcome
Every year April 1 falls on a weekend presents a perfect opportunity to dust off an old favorite. Set up a fake garage sale post on Craigslist. Sat it starts at 7a.m. "Early birds welcome!"

Friday, March 30, 2007

Words to think about

From one of my heroes - Tom Peters

"The economist Alan Binder calls himself “a free trader down to my toes.” But what’s that goop seeping between his toes these days?

This from a must read-ingest, major Wall Street Journal piece (yesterday/0328): “Mr Binder … remains an implacable opponent of tariffs and trade barriers. But now he is saying loudly that a new industrial revolution—communication technology that allows services to be delivered from afar—will put as many as 40 million American jobs at risk of being shipped out of the country in the next decade or two.” And that staggering stat, per Mr Binder, is “only the tip of a very big iceberg.”

Four-zero million!
Just the start!
Zounds!

Suggests to me it’s time, per a Post earlier this week, to dust off the “Brand You Plan.” There probably will be, alas, counter-productive Federal legislation. But that will be a wee finger in the dike.

The message is clear—and, to a point, simple. Work on your “value proposition” with renewed urgency. Your odds of landing on your feet are directly proportional to the uniqueness of what you have to sell to the world.

(As I’ve said 100, or 1,000, times this does not translate into dog eat dog competition. To the contrary, you will be the architect of, valued participant in intricate Webs of Value Added that involve many, many others from here, there, and everywhere.)

Hence, unprecedented team skills and individual prowess are both a must.

I’m not an alarmist. (Much.) Still, I’d argue that … today is the day to act! (Yesterday would be better.) Is the project you are working on right now worthy of becoming a chapter, or at least a sidebar, in you emergent & urgent “Brand You Saga”? If not, what do you aim on doing to make it so? Moreover, what on-line course/s (or whatever) are you looking at as another part of your “investment portfolio”?

The problem is more or less simple. The solution is more or less simple. All that’s left is the 98.3 percent called Urgent Execution."


This inspired me to read 'Execution: The discipline of getting things done' by Larry Bossidy.

Hype sucks


I discovered another insightful blog: Science Daily. It's an encyplopedia of insightful studies that have serious implications on business practices.

Science Daily published a study of assistant professor Vanessa Patrick (University of Georgia) along with co-authors Debbie MacInnis and C. Whan Park (University of Southern California): “Marketing: Too Much Hype Backfires.” The study shows that “people take notice when they feel worse than they thought they would, but—oddly—not when they feel better than expected.”

The team invented the term “affective misforecasting” to describe the gap between anticipated and actual feelings. This supports the old marketing belief that people tell five others about a bad experience but only one about a good experience (“negative evangelism”?). One thing seems certain: “under promising and over delivering” is the way to go.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Travelling without moving


Sarah Morning has written an insightful paper about The Digital Consumer.

It's an insightful look at the current digital marketing landscape. Thankfully, she doesn't focus on the technology side, rather on the consumer POV.

She describes the curent media situation as "standing on the edge of a gigantic unchartered landscape, an unmpapped digital space."
And she recommends splitting the inhabitants of this space into two groups: A) Digitourists

Digitourists essentially look for embassies in the virtual world. They look for sites or brands that act as guides. Digitourists, like any tourists, know exactly what they want to see and what they want to find - whether it be a product or a piece of information.


And there are the Digitravellers:

Digitravellers are different to Digitourists - no less or no more technologically able in many cases, they want however to explore things for themselves. They want to navigate their own way around the wilderness of information and stories of the internet, roughing it unguided through the digital landscape. Their interest lies not so much in arriving at a piece of information or a particular site, as the Digitourist’s does, but instead on the journey itself. For the Digitraveller it is all about the people they meet and the unexpected, undiscovered places they stumble across along the way.

“A good traveller has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.”
Lao Tzu


She desribes further how marketers have to approach both type of explorers differently: Utilizing the old media model of disruption only makes sense for passive tourist, active travellers need to be engaged and they are the real, strategic challenge of the digital landscape.

Not just another channel


Frankly, I'm baffled that most brands/businesses jsut look at the Internet as another communication channel instead of embracing this opportunity and rethink their business model.
Too many brands see the Internet as an opportunity to optimize their CRM programs, get better consumer insight or more efficient marketing. That's not going to take you far because the Internet changes the core of each and every business.
You can think short-term by defending your turf and fighting to keep your current positioning (and budgets...). Or can think about the Web as the core of your business.
Paul Graham describes it better than I could:

“The Web naturally has a certain grain, and Google is aligned with it. That’s why their success seems so effortless. They’re sailing with the wind, instead of sitting becalmed praying for a business model, like the print media, or trying to tack upwind by suing their customers, like Microsoft and the record labels. Google doesn’t try to force things to happen their way. They try to figure out what’s going to happen, and arrange to be standing there when it does.”

Change is happening while the majority of business tries to stem the tide. They have no chance.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Brilliance, by mistake


An article in the New York Times describes the success of Sudoku that was drven by the creator forgetting registering the trademark in the US:

While no one knows how much revenue is generated by the global sudoku business, most agree it has easily topped $250 million over the last two years from an estimated 80 million devotees. The New York Times syndicate provides a variety of logic puzzles, including sudoku, kakuro and others, for newspapers and Web sites around the world.
Nikoli received only a sliver of that money. Mr. Kaji says his private company, with just 20 employees, had annual sales of about $4 million.
Sudoku’s popularity in the United States caught Mr. Kaji by such surprise that he did not try to get the trademark there until it was too late. As a result, Nikoli receives no royalties from sudoku-related sales overseas by other publishers.
In hindsight, though, he now thinks that oversight was a brilliant mistake. The fact that no one controlled sudoku’s intellectual property rights let the game’s popularity grow unfettered, Mr. Kaji says. Nikoli does not plan to trademark other new games, either, in hopes this will also help them take off.
“This openness is more in keeping with Nikoli’s open culture,” said Mr. Kaji, who sat on a sofa in his Tokyo office among pillows adorned with printed faces of racehorses. “We’re prolific because we do it for the love of games, not for the money.”

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Pluto is not a planet


Bob Garfield just published a provocative piece on Adage.com discussing the Post-Advertising Age.
Because he's a gifted writer, you should read the whole column. But because we're all ADD'ing through this life, I'll be happy to post some of the most poignant parts:

"Maybe you'd better lean forward. Presently you will be given five reasons to consider something barely imaginable: a post-apocalyptic media world substantially devoid of brand advertising as we have long known it.

It's a world in which Canadian trees are left standing and broadcast towers aren't. It's a world in which consumer engagement occurs without consumer interruption, in which listening trumps dictating, in which the internet is a dollar store for movies and series, in which ad agencies are marginalized and Cannes is deserted in the third week of June. It is a world, to be specific, in which marketing -- and even branding -- are conducted without much reliance on the 30-second spot or glossy spread.

Because nobody is much interested in seeing them, and because soon they will be largely unnecessary.

Perhaps you are already rolling your eyes. Perhaps you believe that vast structures on which vast societies and vast economies depend do not easily lose their primacy. Perhaps you believe that the TV commercial and magazine spread -- and radio spot and newspaper classified -- are forever and immutable, like the planets orbiting the sun. Good for you.

Now, say hello to Pluto -- the suddenly former planet. Forever and immutable, it turns out, are subject to demotion. This could be grim news for the agency business, which continues its erratic Pluto-like orbit around marketing budgets as if unaware that it has lost its stature -- and its relevance is next to go. In due course, you shall see how circumstances have conspired to threaten its place on the cosmic map altogether."


"Nor does the disruption end there. Since spring 2005, according to Magna Global USA, DVR penetration has doubled to 20% from 10%, and Forrester Research predicts it will reach half of U.S. households within three years -- well beyond the threshold at which 40% of advertisers say they will dramatically reduce their TV buys. Meanwhile, after years of steady growth in spite of steadily declining audiences, the broadcast-upfront market last year was down 5%. Coca-Cola, never a big upfront player, pulled out altogether. So did Johnson & Johnson, which shifted $250 million online. According to TNS, General Motors slashed $600 million from its 2006 ad spend. Is somebody nervous? Half of the 109 national advertisers surveyed by Forrester in 2006 said their ad agencies and media agencies were "ill-equipped" to deal with changes in the TV environment."


"Mass media, of course, do not exist in a vacuum. They have a perfect symbiotic relationship with mass marketing. Advertising underwrites the content. The content delivers audience. Audiences receive the marketing messages and patronize the advertisers, and so on in what for centuries was an efficient cycle of economic life. The first element of Chaos presumes the fragmentation of mass media creates a different sort of cycle: an inexorable death spiral, in which audience fragmentation and ad-avoidance hardware lead to an exodus of advertisers, leading in turn to an exodus of capital, leading to a decline in the quality of content, leading to further audience defection, leading to further advertiser defection and so on to oblivion. The refugees -- audience and marketers alike -- flee to the internet. There they encounter the second, and more ominous, Chaos component: the internet's awkward infancy.

The online space isn't remotely developed enough -- nor will it be anytime soon -- to absorb the advertising budgets of the top 100 marketers, to match the reach of traditional media or to fulfill the content desires of the audience. (Maybe viewers no longer demand their MTV, but what remains of the mass audience is in no hurry to surrender its Los Angeles Times and "Lost.") A collapsing old model. An unconstructed new model. Paralyzed marketers. Disenchanted consumers. It's all so ... chaotic."


(...)"Microsoft allocated to the introduction of its Vista operating system, 30% went online. If every national advertiser did the same tomorrow, Madison Avenue and Hollywood wouldn't be chaotic. They would be Pluto, relegated to some barren, subordinate outer orbit of the economy. And a lot of people would be singing a different tune."


Interesting stuff. I saw him speak tonight at the iMediaconnection Breakthrough Conference, and I was especially fascinated by the comparisons to the recent demise of the (former) planet Pluto and quotes from industry pros as well as folks like Bill Gates chiming in. This is a must read for anyone involved in the advertising industry. And make no mistake; if you work with digital signage, you are in the advertising industry as well. More than you think. I will have to let this piece sink in for a few days and will comment further on it. Until then, read it.
Now.

Advertising Agencies and Clients


Sometimes I think those of us who run advertising agencies or work in an advertising department forget that although we are mostly focused on the beginning of the sales process, we also need to be involved in the middle and the end. For at the end of the day, our bottom lines and the value of what we do are measured in sales, not landing page conversions, quote request or leads.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Breathing Earth


The Breathing Earth site displays the carbon dioxide emission levels of every country in the world, as well as their birth and death rates.
Web 2.0 at its best.

The future of design


Bruce Nussbaum of BusinessWeek wrote this manifesto about the future of design, who designers are and how this will impact the business world as we know it.
It feels very authentic, heartfelt, almost like the manifesto Jerry Maguire wrote.
The column is so refreshing and innovative, I almost want to subscribe to Businessweek after reading this.

Please, take your time and read it. Take a break of a few days and read it again. And, if you're too lazy to read the whole article, at least read the excerpts below.

"Are Designers The Enemy of Design?

In the name of provocation, let me start by saying that DESIGNERS SUCK. I’m sorry. It’s true. DESIGNERS SUCK. There’s a big backlash against design going on today and it’s because designers suck.

So let me tell you why. Designers suck because they are arrogant. The blogs and websites are full of designers shouting how awful it is that now, thanks to Macs, Web 2.0, even YouTube, EVERYONE is a designer. Core 77 recently ran an article on this backlash and so did we on our Innovation & Design site. Designers are saying that Design is everywhere, done by everyone. So Design is debased, eroded, insulted. The subtext, of course, is that Real design can only be done by great star designers.

This is simply not true. Design Democracy is the wave of the future. Exceptional design may only be done by great star designers. But the design of our music experiences, the design of our MySpace pages, the design of our blogs, the design of our clothes, the design of our online community chats, the design of our Class of ’95 brochures, the design of our screens, the design of the designs on our bodies—We are all designing more of our lives. And with more and more tools, we, the masses, want to design anything that touches us on the journey, the big journey through life. People want to participate in the design of their lives. They insist on being part of the conversation about their lives."


"So Lesson One here is that the process of design, the management of the design process, is changing radically. Egos and silos are coming down, participation is expanding, tools are widespread and everyone wants to play. People want to be in the design sandbox so you have to figure out how to get them in and do design with them. This is a huge challenge."


"But how do people who’ve spent a lifetime using their left-brain, suddenly shift to using both their left and their right? How do people used to deconstructing old problems into their parts and squeezing answers out of each of them then learn to see problems with fresh eyes and integrate parts of many solutions into one new one. Enter design and design thinking. Over the past decade, design has evolved to become an articulated, formalized method of solving problems that can be widely used in business—and in civil society. Design’s focus on observing consumer/patient/student—human behavior, it’s emphasis on iteration and speed, its ability to construct, not destruct, its search for new options and opportunities, its ability to connect to powerful emotions, its optimism, made converts out of tough CEOs."


"Today, I kind of coach a team of about 8 people, 6 women in their early 30’s, one guy in his thirties, and a women in her twenties (she’s Canadian and a generation ahead of the 30-something sisters in technology). Our process is totally different from the hierarchical way of writing and editing we had just a few years ago. We all write for both platforms—online and print, and do a little TV on the side. Our job today as journalists is to curate conversations among groups within our audience, with Jessi Hempel doing social networking and philanthropy, Reena Jana doing fashion and gaming culture, Matt Vella doing cars and green technology, Aili McConon doing sustainability and motion technology such as wii. We design stories with our audience. As John Battelle said recently, the conversation now is the content. It’s not about the finished story but about the ongoing story. It’s the conversation. And since most conversations don’t have a conclusion, they are ongoing. We live a life in beta.

A final point on language: Innovation and Design. Business men and women don’t like the term “design.” I think they think it implies drapes or dresses. Even top CEOs who embrace design don’t want to call it that. They want to call it “Innovation.” That has a manly right to it. It’s strong, techie. These folks are perfectly willing to use the word “vision,” whatever the heck “vision” is. They like “Imagination,” whatever the heck that is. But they don’t like “design.” Go figure.

I solve this problem by calling it all a banana. Innovation, design, eco-imagination, just call it whatever they want to call it and do your design thing. Because your design thing is a glorious thing that has the potential of changing our lives in a myriad of ways in a myriad of places."


I'm so drawn to this column because we're experiencing a real change how we develop and create. The top-down approach will face tremendous challenges in the coming years and we will encounter new ideas from unexpected places. All the superstar marketers, designers, copywriters and advertising gurus won't be around for long unless they develop their relationship skills. In the end, relationships will make you successful.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

My column on iMediaconnection

Read my newest column here.

Wow

Astonishing tool displaying daya about the gaps between rich and poor nations.

Addictive


Havent' heard of Twitter yet? You should because all of us will be part of this new social network soon.
What is Twitter?

According to Wikipedia:

Twitter is a social networking service that allows members to inform each other about what they are doing and what they think. It allows users to send messages via phone, instant messaging or the Twitter website.

Basically, it's a Micro-Blogging platform.

Fans say they are a good way to keep in touch with busy friends. But some users are starting to feel "too" connected, as they grapple with check-in messages at odd hours, higher cellphone bills and the need to tell acquaintances to stop announcing what they're having for dinner."


There are tons of mashups out there: One of the more popular one is Twittermap.

But nothing beats Twittervision, a Google Maps mashup. It shows you in real-world what's happening in the Twitterworld. It's like an entertaining Internet show, visualizing the 'connected consciousness' as Joseph Jaffe calls it.

Started my Twitter Addiction today - find me under username uwe hook.
Will you join?

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Reynolds Wrap


File under 'I wish I would have thought of that'.

Friday, March 23, 2007

What drives us


I read a presentation from a corporate psychologist the other day. He said, "You can't motivate your employees. You can only use their existing motivations to get what you want."
Then he gave this example.

Say you want to teach your dog to sit and you begin the instruction. You stand in front of your dog and say, "sit." The dog stares. You repeat the word again and again. If the dog makes the slightest move in the right direction, then you give it a treat. If the dog sits (perhaps he's just tired) you give him another treat. Eventually, responding to the treats, the dog begins to sit on command.

Who was motivated to sit?

The truth is, the owner, not the dog was motivated for the dog to sit. The dog was always, only motivated by food. But the owner used the dogs existing motivation (food) to encourage the desired behavior (sitting).

Consumers act when the action we propose through marketing leads to rewards they wanted in the first place. You can build awareness all day long if you don't align yourself with the consumer's existing motivations.

Brand mashup


Brands are trying to find their soulmates and life partners. Ipod found theirs with U2 and Nike. While the remaining brands are still looking, some creative mind created a brand mashup. Apple visuals matched up Jaguar audio.
This might be the beginning of a new trend. Or just a one-off. No matter what, it's still fun.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Molotov Alva


You have seen many videos about Second Life, but now there's a film that was shot inside the virtual world. In the film 'My Second Life' the main character is the hero and we follow his journey. According to the site, a man named Molotov Alva disappeared from his Californian home in January 2007.
"Recently, a series of video dispatches by a Traveler of the same name have appeared within a popular online world called Second Life.
In these dispatches Molotov Alva encounters everything from Furries to Cyberpunks to Neo-Luddites to Sex Slaves to the King of the Hobos. Orhalla Zander, who becomes Molotovs guide as he searches for the creator of the brave new world."



Second Life is maturing. Reminds me of the last 10 years of the Internet: It starts out as a people network, the almighty dollar almost ruins the whole idea until the creative community takes over and advances it to a whole new level.

The future of PR


PR Titan Edelman discusses the following, revealing facts:
"* Every dollar coming out of print advertising revenue for newspapers is replaced by only 33 cents online, according to Citigroup analyst William Bird. Print advertising accounts for approximately 66% of total revenue for newspapers. This money is ebbing away to web competitors like Monster.com or Yahoo.
* The largest 50 Web companies are attracting 96% of the ad spending on line, according to Pricewaterhouse Coopers, with the majority going to AOL, Google, MSN and Yahoo. (Editors Note: You might say this defies the Long Tail theory. Actually, it doesn't - half of the ad revenues for Google and its ilk are actually redistributed to thousands of smaller sites, via such affliate models as AdSense. It's actually a quite good long tail example.
* An estimated 9.5 million homes in the US now have TiVo or another digital video recorder. According to a study by CBS, 64% of DVR users skip all ads and an additional 26% skip through most ads. The number of homes with DVRs is expected to triple in the next five years.
* An estimated 24 million homes in the US now have access to video on demand. Comcast, the cable company, offers 4,000 on demand features at present. General Motors is now experimenting with short promotional films on the on demand menus of cable systems.
* Publishing companies are moving away from free content towards a subscription model on the Internet. The New York Times has put its very popular columnists (Tom Friedman, Maureen Dowd) into a paid format called TimesSelect costing $49.95 a year. There has been excellent response to this service, with 135,000 new subscribers in only two months.
* Circulation for large American newspapers is down 2.5% in the third quarter versus a year ago, continuing a decade long slide. Erosion is particularly evident among younger consumers. As a result, there have been reductions in head count in the newsroom. The Philadelphia Inquirer just cut 5% of its reporters. According to today's The New York Times (an article by David Carr), The Los Angeles Times announced cuts of 85 newsroom employees, while The Chicago Tribune side it was cutting 100 jobs across all departments.
There are several clear implications for the media business. There will be continued cost pressures on the companies, but with attendant questions about the ability to maintain quality of the product. The search for new revenue streams, whether from repurposing (such as podcasting) or pay-for-content, must accelerate.
For public relations professionals, these profound changes in media are both a challenge and opportunity. Our traditional channels are under siege, yet there are more media options, particularly if one includes blogs. Here are a few suggestions for the next year:
1) Retrain our work force. PR should move away from "pitching the story" mentality. We can be part of conversations on line. We have to be smart about our subject and careful with our facts because these discussions are always on the record.
2) Recognize the influence and credibility of blogs. David Kiley of Business Week wrote about Paramount Studios' success with a niche film, Hustle & Flow, which was promoted through music blogs and fan sites. Thirty five percent of moviegoers said they were motivated to see the film through discussions on line.
3) Experiment. We should be working with video clips attached to press materials to make it easier for bloggers in consumer technology to create v-blogs. We should seek out innovative sponsorships with traditional media, including cross-platform content creation such as a discussion of real beauty, brought to you by Unilever's Dove.
This truly is a time of unprecedented opportunity for public relations. As Paul Holmes noted in a recent address to our European management team, the Internet is a perfect venue for our industry because our business relies on conversation and we engage multiple stakeholders. At the same time, we must always cognizant of our responsibility to be transparent and trusted sources."


Just a few thoughts:

How can PR professionals innovate and lead? PR might rethink their model and focus on developing communities. Social networking has produced mass sites like Friendster, Myspace and Facebook. But that's just the beginning. Private social networks pop up every day and they are here to stay. These might not be flashy sites, but they are relevant, they deeply engage the consumer and they tend to keep Marketing and PR out of the conversation.

In the world of Wikinomics,journalists, publicists, bloggers and consumer might think about forming a community who share a common interest in a brand, an industry or a topic. There a technological solutions out there, and Marketing as well as PR professionals should speak to companies like Passenger and Communispace. What about an online community of journalists, publicists, bloggers, users and others who share an interest in a company, an industry or an issue? Communities like that might create a microcosmos that represents exactly the communication that needs to happen. And the discussion and interaction we need to observe and listen to.

Clearly, the brand/client does not own messaging anymore and they need to understand that messaging is now in the hands of consumers. Giving up control is a hard thing to understand. It's even tougher to implement new ways of dealing with this monumental change.

The old media distribution model is dead and brands need to understand that we live in a new world of media consumption. Brands have to be where the consumers are and, increasingly, they don't tend to watch TV, listen to radio, read the newspaper to engage with a brand. Consumers are watching TV to get entertained, they listen to radio to hear music or talk, and they read the newspaper to get information. Brand engagement and discussion happens on a different level and in different channels: on blogs, on messageboards and on social networks.

The only way to deal with this monumental change is to embrace it. Online communities are out there. Every brand should beat down the doors of those online communities and get in the game. Because the game is not where it used to be.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Obsessive


Kudos to MRM Worldwide for creating the MasterCard 'Golf Obessed' site.

Interesting push from digital to phone and back to site. Or as MRM Worldwide claims 'Physical and Digital World are colliding.' The video and phone feed wasn't synched 100% but it didn't diminish the impact of the game. This campaign is supported by TV ads, not sure about online buys.
We see more and more babysteps into the world of integration. Finally.

The problem with rebranding


Some companies try a new logo. Others a new logo and site. Or tagline. Or all of the above plus new uniforms.
Too many companies try to relaunch or rebrand by just changing the look of their brand.

And it doesn't make a damn difference. Because:
a) Nobody cares. Not even your employees care that much.
b) Your brand only exists in the mind of your consumers and staff, in their dialogue and emotions in regards to your brand.
c) Colors, logos and site are nice but your behavior positions the brand in the mindset of your customers and employees.
If you want to rebrand, you have to change your mindset, your behavior, the way you approach the product and your customer.
I'm all for changing the logo and site at the end of this process.
Not as an excuse for not doing the right thing.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Oh, those Germans


'Because it's love' tells us the song and because it's love, she flashes her goods and the new Porsche shows his masculine side. Yes, sex still sells. Sterotypical, yes. Boring, no.

Societing


If you haven't done so yet, you need to check out the brilliant Prof Bernard Cova.

He's been arguing that we're looking in the wrong place to understand consumption behaviour. We look down at level 2 (through individual's psychology/psychopathology) or if you're crazy in the head (and get easily overwhelmed by scientific stuff) down at level 1 (the physiological wiring in the brain). Or up at level 4 (aggregated versions of the individual stuff - markets, society etc).

All of which is the wrong place to look because being social creatures, our consumption behaviour (like everything else) is done in front of/with others (real or imagined). So go for the pink, he says: the tribal level...the many shifting 'tribal' groups we live out our lives in.

This really pushes traditional psychology (the science of studying individuals) aside and creates an intellectual framework for the tools of social science. Use those useful tools (Sociology, Ethnography, Anthropology) and try societing, instead of marketing

Monday, March 19, 2007

Consumers/voters in control


Maybe the most powerful political commercial I've seen in a long time. Not sure how it will affect the democratic primaries, but it clearly doesn't help Hillary's image. Passionate consumers/voters will create emotional, powerful ads. We always knew that. But until now we didn't have any idea that CG ads might change political campaigning altogether.
No more top-down political messages, that is so 1999.
It will be an interesting primary season.

(Sen. Obama's camp denied any involvement in creating this ad.)

Why can't they remember a word I said?


All of us have noticed that however hard one tries, most people’s ability to remember what you are telling them is limited. If you have, then don’t be surprised as this has been demonstrated by quite a few psychologists. One of the most interesting, classic articles on that subject was published by George A. Miller in 1956:

The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two: Some Limits on Our Capacity for Processing Information.

This not only is significant for the ability to teach and learn things but also on the ability to manage a large number of ideas generated through a vast idea generation process.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Are insights enough?


It seems that Insights is the new buzzword replacing the outdated sounding 'market research'. But for some reason it seems true gems of insight are hard to find.

So what is the point about insights? You can take a starting point in anything, to help guide a problem-solving process - but you could say there is value to be had in understanding how to better meet consumers' needs. That in itself may not actually be something you can find out by asking consumers themselves. It is down to you to collect information, process it, digest it, sleep on it, combine it with other things and collectively emerge smarter by having a more compete understanding of the multi-faceted picture, which is the reality for us all these days.

The danger with what people perceive as insights (consumer research) is that they can be easily confused with people's opinion on things. Opinions can change very quickly and aren't really fundamentally useful for anything long-term, as they hold truth only for short periods of time. This means that although you can have a quite healthy turnover and a bunch of seemingly happy customers, they may only stay with you until there is a better alternative around the corner. Their opinions are thus next to useless in telling you what you should be developing next.

A more useful area for insights is understanding people's lifestyles. These change too, but not too often, maybe 5 times in our entire lifetime - when we we are children, teens, life after university and before children, life with children, life after children have flown the nest - the lifestyles at these different life stages are quite different and they tend to last for a few years at least, before there is a significant change. The downside is that the change can be quite radical and both opinions and preferences held whilst in the previous life-stage, may change radically as a result of moving into a new lifestyle.

The most interesting area for insights are values. These change hardly at all. Children up to the age of 12 tend to mirror their parents' values almost exactly, whereas ages of 12-25 are characterized by the deliberate experimentation with and independent (from parents) search for your own values. After your 25th birthday you are very unlikely to change your fundamental values on things, and thus - gaining insights of these will be much more useful long-term than anything else you can find out there. One could argue that this very fact is what creates mid-life crises in people as earlier years of life and career may be linked to highly extrinsic motivations (proving to the world you have made it), whereas lasting happiness in life comes from satisfying your intrinsic motivation.

Transforming insights into innovation is another hurdle in its' own right - on one hand it is about finding those golden nuggets, then it's about defining and creating accessible platforms where innovation can happen - areas where there is growth potential, where your company can bring something unique to the mix and which is in-line with where your company wants to go and its brand. After identifying these areas you almost have to start all over again - sifting through your existing body of research to work out what is relevant in the light of the platforms you have identified for innovation. Some will add more depth and relevance to what you have already identified, others will highlight areas where you need to find out more and lastly, any new concept based on these platforms may themselves end up generating more insights in the process of being developed and tested.

But in many cases we are not there yet - the community specializing in insights and research are often not the people charged with implementing activities based on the insights identified, change is hard to digest among these specialists and being put in charge of it is even harder for many. Thus we still end up in the same dilemma as before: we may know what is right, but are we capable of acting upon it?

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Perspectives



"Experiences are as distince from services as services are from goods."
-Joe Pine & Jim Gilmore, The Experience Economy: Work is Theatre & Every Businessa Stage

There's even hope for him



Click-Shirt offers an innovative customizing tool for all your important shirt statements. Many big brands could learn from their customizing tool.
Happy Shopping.

Friday, March 16, 2007

We didn't start the fire


Took the time last night to read this eyebrow-raising piece by Sociologist Duncan Watts of Columbia. I've always questioned the Buzzmaniacs. A small percentage of people don't influence the rest of the world. Especially not across all topics and verticals. I might trust Friend in car advice but would never ask him what he thinks about Gadget A. Just like everybody has friends for bar nights and other friends for a movie night.

Watts bases the paper on various simulations that tests some of our common assumptions about influencers and how they spread their message throughout the world.
He claims that our mass society doesn't support the claim of buzz agencies that a few individuals spread the word more efficiently than others. The influentials don't have that much influence after all.

"In our models, influentials have a greater than average chance of triggering this critical mass, when it exists, but only modestly greater, and usually not even proportional to the number of people they influence directly."

Ultimately, he flips the buzz philosophy upside down by explaining that it doesn't matter who is particularly influential, but rather who is particularly susceptible to being influenced. And supports this claim with the image of forest fires:

"Some forest fires, for example, are many times larger than average; yet no-one would claim that the size of a forest fire can be in any way attributed to the exceptional properties of the spark that ignited it, or the size of the tree that was the first to burn. Major forest fires require a conspiracy of wind, temperature, low humidity, and combustible fuel that extends over large tracts of land. Just as for large cascades in social
influence networks, when the right global combination of conditions exists, any spark will do; and when it does not, none will suffice"

But, Duncan Watts understands where this idea of influentials is coming from: "...anytime some notable social change is recognized, whether it be a grassroots cultural fad, a successful marketing campaign, or a dramatic drop in crime rates, it is tempting to trace the phenomenon to the individuals who “started it,” and conclude that their actions or behavior “caused” the events that subsequently took place.

Indeed, because the outcome is already known, it is always possible to construct what looks like a causal story by picking out some of the defining details of the individuals in question—even when success is completely random...it is tempting to assert that these individuals must have been special in some way—otherwise, how could the striking event that we now know happened have come to pass? Just because the outcome is striking, however, does not on its own imply that there is anything correspondingly special about the characteristics of the individuals involved or that their participation was either a necessary or sufficient condition for a change of the kind that occurred to have taken place."

These are just excerpts and I encourage everyone to read the whole paper. And, if time allows, read Brandweek's interview with Duncan Watts.

WTF?


Surprise is the essence of life. And marketing.

Typically, when we market we know our objectives, know our target audience, know our success measures.

When we receive a call from a marketing organization, we anticipate the sales pitch, ignore every word and hang up as fast as we can. When we read a new book of our favorite author, we tend to except a certain arc, certain plot lines, certain dialogue.

If you always do the expected, you will never create real brand memories. Instead of 'I know that' you want to create 'I had no idea'. Add layers to the brand instead of reinforcing the same old over and over again.

Good actors understand this concept. They don't stick to blockbuster movies alone, enforcing stereotypes and typecasting them. No, they break out of that routine and act in small time movies, exploring new characters, adding layers to their acting skills.

Digital Marketing is still in its infancy stages and too many already stick to a certain formula: SEM, Display ads, repurposed videos. Most of us are too busy planning and buying the way everybody does. For a change, why don't we surprise ourselves and try a new approach?

(BTW: You have to look for a while until you realize the footprints are actually recessed, but once you relax your concentration and look away very slightly you can view them convex or concave at will.)

Thursday, March 15, 2007

What's love got to do with it?


Continuing the thoughts about brand/consumer marriages, I just re-discovered Tim Manners thoughts about the "vulnerable soft underbellies" of Apple and NetFlix in a Fast Company article.

"Apple won't let us do what is ultimately the most important thing. It won't let us easily change the damn battery when it dies... This is not the stuff of which undying customer loyalty is made. They have needlessly left themselves vulnerable to any competitor able to design something of comparable aesthetics and smart enough to let the consumer have life-and-death control over its battery.

The famous Netflix promise is that you can rent as many movies as you want each month for a flat fee. Well, not exactly. Netflix recently acknowledged that it slows down the rate at which it fills the orders of its heaviest users, a practice critics call "throttling."... As with Apple, it took a class-action lawsuit before Netflix would publicly acknowledge that it is giving preferential treatment to its newest -- and least loyal -- customers.

A strategy that punishes one's most loyal consumers is hardly sustainable."


Real branding doesn't happen in a fancy agency environment. Real Branding happens when your customers are frustrated, when they ask for your help, when they want cash in on your promise. Rather cut your marketing budget this year and invest in improving all touchpoints. In the end, media dollars don't pay for your services. Customers do.

Keep the spark alive


Companies are good at dating: they treat you to candle-lit dinners, charm you, focus on you and can't wait to hear from you. Once you close the deal, companies become the spouse that gains 70 pounds, the husband that just wants to be left alone and the couple that stopped paying attention.

Marketers know that it's much harder to acquire a customer compared to keeping your current customers. Why then are they treating their customers so much worse than their prospects?
(I wonder about that in relationships as well: Why do people get excited about new friends and do everything to accomodate them, but don't bother to connect with current friends on an ongoing basis?).

Why is a product brochure so beautiful and the manual filled with errors and printed on the cheapest paper on earth?
Why are brand sites so easy to navigate, and support sites feel like you just encountered the end of the Internet?
That's how bad relationships and marriages feel and look like.

If we want to create loving and emotional relationships with our customers, we need to develop a plan to keep the spark alive. Here are my Top 10 ideas:


1. Try to understand the personal and relational goals of your relationship. Modify them as necessary.

2. Identify and develop mutual interests, like sports, hobbies, entertainment, etc.

3. Be willing to try something new.

4. Participate in a weekly or bi-weekly small group - read what your customers have to say about you.

5. Build up your customer in front of other business divisions.

6. Attend seminars on relationships every few months. Learn how others are developing better relationships with their customers.

7. Turn off the television, radio and computer once a month and try to communicate with your customers in innovative ways.

8. Leave little notes/gestures to express your emotion towards your customer.

9. Once a year write your customer a letter to say why you're so happy he chose you.

10. Pick a special day once a year to express how important your customer is to you. Pick an ordinary day (not determinded by anniversaries or events) and make it a surprise.

I'll leave the last word to Oscar Wilde: "Marriage is the triumph of imagination over intelligence."

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Finally, a product for all marketers


Advertise without any distractions. Who needs content when you have advertising? At last, the Content Blocker is here and here to stay. Surround your messages with white space. And I thought we'd never see this day. Hallelujah!

And I thought disruption was dead


Proof that disruption works if it's coupled with engagement: Catchyoo is an interactive OOH ad that displays the ads on floors, walls, or wherever. Unlike other projected ads, the visuals are crisp and the poosibilities for user interaction are endless.

These ads, are projected on the floor and equipped with sensors to allow interaction. It's nice to see how Apple took advantage of the medium and demonstrates product features in an innovative way.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

How to network


Fredd Kambo, financier with Shell Oil:

“I don’t bother “networking” anymore, instead, I try to build relationships with people I find interesting, and who I think are doing interesting things. And I make it my mission to help them in any way I can to achieve their mission. I find this much more satisfying, much more honorable, and much more fun. And this is the cool thing about people….When you help them out in this way, they help you out. Not because it’s a tit for tat deal, but because both parties are engaged in a mutually beneficial relationship that extends beyond the next favor.”

Just another extension of our changing world: Instead of 'Return on investment' we are looking for 'Return on Involvement'. We don't care about 'What you need', we fight for 'What I want'.

Wikinomics - the revolution continues


Craig Newmark on the secret of craigslist:
"The more you think about business as being a community service, the more successful you become. What I've told newspapers -- when they've asked -- is that newspapers used to be in the community service business. Now they've been positioned as cash cows."

Monday, March 12, 2007

And we sent people to the moon?


Y2K happened. Just 7 years later.
Since we changed to Daylight Savings Time yesterday, my laptop displays the wrong time, my cellphone, my PSP. And don't get me started on my Outlook.
As long as technology continues to be burdensome, don't expect brands to open their wallets for the digital space.
Surprisingly, the only device that changed with the times was my cable setbox. Old school, baby

Brand Consistency


How many times have you heard clients talking about integration and brand consistency?
Branding doesn't have to be consistent. It has to be complementary. Each consumer experience complemeting each other is a much higher goal. And, contrary to what you'd expect, it's also much easier to achieve.

Think about the automotive experience. Do you really expect the commercial, website, dealership and service department to look the same? Or say the same thing? Consistency is overvalued. Complementary experiences is where we have to go. We need to reinforce each other's messages to create an engaging storyline.
Blended experiences that enrich the lives of the consumer is what we are looking for. Go create/find them.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Perspectives


Fascinating series of photos, titled Wee Planets, projected to look like small planets.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Likey


iLike is an innovative music community based software service, and, I believe, it will find many fans and copycats.

The UI is very clean, design modern and fresh, and the service is very simple in concept - you can organize and share your music, you may interact with people who share similar music tastes and recommend new music for your fellow networkers. Even though there are numerous music communities out there, iLike combines so many of the best ideas and presents in such a fresh packaging that it is way ahead of the rest.

Additional features: A gadget that analyzes what you play in iTunes or Windows Media Player. Ongoing analysis of your music listening habits in the most logical way, by making a note of every time you listen to music on your computer or iPod. Continuing to build up and ever more perfect picture of your listening habits. Pandora.com like features with recommendations, 30 second previews (Tryvertising, anyone?)but with the advantage that you don't have to remember to go back to a site, rather the deep integration with iTunes allows for constant reminder of iLike.

Last but not least, iLike allows you as well to peruse opther peoples libraries. Less alogrithms (Pandora), more social networking. You can also build up lists of friends and see what they are listening to, what is most popular and recommend tracks to them. This gives you an insider view of the future of music consumption analysis: Artists can explore who is listening to their music and which songs are popular.

An amazing aspect of iLike is that it not only recommends establish artists, but is a forum discovering new music talent. Capitalizing on the content of its sister site Garage Band, it acts as a filter on the many thousands of unsigned artists that have submitted their music to Garage Band. You can also recommended new unsigned bands who’s music is easily downloaded for free with one click straight to your iTunes library.

The little effort needed to experience this service is complemented with the delivery of good value. All the other services, such as maintaining a blog, building pages, making friends are just the admission fee to the world of social networking.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Artichokes and Tryvertising


I don't care about artichokes. My mother never made them. My father never ate an artichoke. As a frequent visitor to Whole Foods, I tend to encounter artichokes regularly. And I just walk by.

Why? Because nobody ever sold me artichokes.
On the other hand, Whole Foods tried to sell me on chicken wings, bread and salsa. Never on artichokes.

Is it really important to be sold on something? Are we that stupid that we need somebody to tell me what to buy? That's not the point.
The point is that we all have fear of the unknown. Yes, I've tasted artichokes before, but I have no idea what to do with them once I bring them home from the market. How long do I cook them? What ingredients do I need? And because I'm riddled with artichoke questions, I just pass them by in the aisle.

Expanding on my previous thread about Tryvertising, I would like to add that good sales people will help consumers overcome fear and trepidation. This may happen at the car dealership, electronic retail store or local market. Or the artichokes will never have a chance.

Sony goes Second Life


Wired reported today that Sony is about to launch a new 3D virtual world community, similar to Second Life, where users will be able to create a pesonal avitar, explore a high quality 3D world, purchase space and personalise it with purchased or made objects. Sony’s ‘home’ community will be hotly anticipated, as the machine has extremely powerful processing power, so the experience should be visually far more impressive than that of Second Life.

Sony’s move is a response to the recent explosion of social networking and so called web 2.0 sites that are eating into the time spent playing on games consoles. But to be seen will be just how they will learn from Second Life and other social networking sites to make the experience truely compelling and advantagous to the user.

Each person will have their own appartment to which they can invite friends and in which they can chat, play and share video, music and other content that they have on their Playstation. Their trophies from completing games will be hung on their walls. This is very likely to take the experiences that have made MySpace so popular, but deliver them in a far more compelling and enguaging way.

No doubt seeing how brands have been keen to jump on the Second Life phenomenon, there will be a queue of companies looking for new ways to be featured in Home. Appealing to the commercial potential for advertising within this 'game' Sony have designed it so that dynamic advertising can be delivered through the virtual environment including hi quality video.

The software will be downloadable for free, and is due to launch in late 2007.

Sony is the first big player to jump on the VR Social Networking badwagon. Is the long anticipated Google announcement coming next?

P.S.: After my last post about PS3, I moved Sony from deathbed to life-support.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Sampling


In their latest newsletter Trendwatching.com discusses the Trysumer and explains why sampling will become the new advertising.

"Since advertising is as trusted (or appreciated) as a certain president with two more years to go, performance is once again becoming increasingly relevant. (Forrester reports that only 13% of US consumers admit that they buy products because of their ads, and a paltry 6% believe that companies generally tell the truth in ads.) So trying out and sampling may well become the new advertising.

Two years ago, we dubbed this growing trend TRYVERTISING: "There's not even a 'relationship' anymore; there's a cold, calculating, experienced, and demanding consumer, and there are humble companies. So introducing yourself and your products by letting people experience and try them out first, is a very civilized and effective way to show some respect.’’

Not surprisingly, an entire TRYVERTISING infrastructure—from 30 second samples on iTunes to firms specializing in relevant product placement—is now in place, enabling consumers to try before they buy."

Basically, Tryvertising is real world product placement. Consumers used to base their decisions about brands and/or products on advertising messages. Now they base their decision on real experiences.

Hotels have become the hottest spot for Tryvertising. Consumers are open to new experiences and they don't mind trying out new bath products, drinks or sheets.

Too early for an eulogy


Piper Jaffray's lead Internet analyst Safa Rashtchy discusses in an Adweek interview his outlook on Yahoo! and other portals:
"In an earlier report you said Yahoo risks an "AOL-like decline." Why do you think Web portals are yesterday's news?
Early on people didn't know what this medium was, and they had to rely on portals to guide them through. They didn't know how to navigate easily, they wanted the convenience of having everything in one place, and they didn't really trust any other brands. All those things gave portals a tremendous advantage but now, as I mentioned, people are fairly savvy, sophisticated and confident. Online has proven to be a relatively safe and very efficient medium. People basically are saying, "I can find my way around here and I'll make my own choices on my interests very easily—if I don't I go to Google and find it." I think in some ways people don't realize this but search has helped diminish the role of portals.

How would you transform Yahoo?
Yahoo still has a good franchise in its brand name and the reach of its properties. I think it has to forgo the strategy of putting everything under the Yahoo brand. They have to own properties and services that users want. Yahoo has to think of five, 10 years from now, when there won't be much of a position for a pure online company. If you're going to be a media company then be a global media company, and think of ways to help people get things done and help advertisers get in touch with the community. It's kind of a long way to describe it, but I think Yahoo has to rethink its strategy of just relying on the Yahoo brand and instead look at smaller but deeper relationships with groups of people."

I agree wholeheartedly with Rashtchy. Yahoo! should leverage its acquisitions to make itself the king of social networks. Yes, YouTube and MySpace were picked up by competitors but that doesn't mean it's too late. Yahoo should either develop their own social network solutions (Yahoo! Answers was a good start) but, in addition, they need to snatch up smaller social properties. We're heading towards a major fragmentation of social networks and Yahoo could play the role of an aggregator. Let's face it: Panama was a great step but it came years too late. Google has won that fight and Yahoo has to develop a new niche. They have the cash and people to do it.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Stepford Wives meet Tab


Dr. Creepo must have been the Creative Director on this sexist abomination: While your husband is at work, drink Tab to stay in shape so he can lead you to the bedroom. Now I know why every other sitcom features an obese handyman with an IQ of 2 dogs. Revenge of the Stepford Wives.

Not ten. Not five. One.


If you had an evening with your main client, your boss or your loved one, how many things would you want to talk about?
Are you scrambling for your list of 56 items you always wanted to discuss? Or the 15 things you wrote on the back of a napkin? Maybe the Top 10 things that have to be done?
Powerful marketing only works if you have one message at a time. Not 10. Not 56.
Next time you sit down with your client, boss or loved one, just discuss one thing. Focus one item. Explore it. Discuss all facets of this one item. And then stop. And move on.

Why not give that a try? Use your time, all your time, to sell just one thing. Go deep. Sell. Then stop.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Don 't create advertising. Create content.


Forrester Research stated in one of their latest online video studies that brands should become content providers. The old advertising push model is dead and brands need to engage the users with their brand.
One of the premier examples is Kate Spade's Behind the Curtain site.

It describes itself as “News and Ideas from the Kate Spade Design Studio.” The content is highly engaging and interesting and the execution as well as user experience is superb.

The content ranges from simple features such as Red Hots and Laduree macaroons, to multimedia experiences such as a Flickr photo pool of guerilla knitting, The ADC Young Guns site, a You Tube clip of Michel Gondry solving a Rubik’s cube with his feet, and my personal favorite, We Feel Fine. The eclectic range of features represents Kate Spade's brand extremely well. In addition, the site offers opportunities to submit their personal favorites and allow a collaborative dialogue to engage even closer with the brand.

It's not a big surprise that a fashion brand is at the vanguard of Web 2.0. But it's fairly surprising that Kate Spade takes it to another level.

Strategic thought of the day


For the longest time ideation was about throwing out as many ideas as you can. We've realized pretty quickly it's really not about a bunch of ideas, it's about really good strategy, alignment with business, diagnostics, and deep customer understanding...Then, the ideas are no longer just about the product, they're about new business models and how you go to market, and what's your supply chain like."

- Sam Lucente

Monday, March 5, 2007

Infectious love


I admit. I'm in love with wefeelfine.org but I also developed affection for Lovelines.
While We Feel Fine explores global feelings, Lovelines examines thousands of blogs to "find expressions of love and hate, posted by all manner of people. When it can Lovelines identifies and saves the age, gender, and geographical location of the person who wrote the post, and then presents that information along with the post. The entries range from frivolous to profound, offering a glimpse into the hearts and minds of people blogging about their wants and needs."

The Loveslines project was funded by Oral Fixation Mints, a breath mint company devoted to "making everyday objects beautiful".
One of the artists, Jonathan Harris, is cofounder of Oral Fixation.

Interesting viral marketing idea: Develop an artistic project and attach the brand in a very subtle way.

I leave the last words to Jonathan Harris and Sep Kamvar: "We realize that the hearts of all fixations is the desire to own, possess, and consume. Great desires imitate the physics of giant pendulums: the higher they rise, the deeper they fall. In this sense, love is inextricably tied to hate, desire to despair. Lovelines walks the lines between these two extremes, painting pictures of the shifting landscape of desire.
Constructed entirely from found artifacts - words and pictures posted to blogs - Lovelines draws its identity from a world of strangers, brought together by shared degrees of desire."

Sunday, March 4, 2007

TV in need of help


"TV is not dead, but if you're going to do TV, you have to create stuff that people seek out. Just because you buy 30 seconds doesn't mean you'll have an impact. You have to do something remarkable with it."—David Lubars, Creative Director, BBDO

What are we seeing here? A $40 billion industry filtering the current marketing climate to save their own skin. So what industry do you suppose spends more than any other in the U.S. on TV advertising?

Automakers remain the biggest ad spenders, accounting for nearly 12% of expenditures, according to TNS. Especially the Big 3 continue to spend heavy on TV. Effective? Don't think so. Likeable? Maybe. Helping sales? Mhhhhhmmmmm.

Ironic


"I thought, 'What a dreadful mission I have in life.' I'd love to get six-thousand restaurants up to spec, but when I do it's 'Ho-hum.' It's bugged me ever since. It's one of the great paradoxes of modern business. We all know distinction is key, and yet in the last twenty years we have created a plethora of ho-hum products and services. Just go fly in an airplane. It could be such an enlightening experience. Ho-hum. We swim in an ocean of ho-hum, and I'm going to fight it. I'm going to die fighting it."—Barry Gibbons, former CEO of Burger King.

Besides their disturbing advertising campaign, I haven't seen anything innovative from Burger King in a long time. It's good to talk the talk but rather worthless if you don't walk the walk.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Your story has to be authentic


"The food was not so good. Ok quality fish, but not great rice flavor and the sauces they used on some of the dishes just was not good at all." That's just one of the quotes from Chowhound.

Geisha House has a great story to tell: the Hollywood models at the bar, velvet rope outside, the right cars lined up at valet, celebrity ownership and the fusion menu. Diners feels special that they were allowed to participate in this party.

In the end, who cares? Nobody does. If the food sucks, nobody will come back.

That's what people don't understand about marketing. Your story means nothing if it's not authentic. If the facts don't support your claims, your restaurant will be filled with pretentiousness for a while. Until the Hollywood crowd finds another velvet rope.