Tuesday, 20 November 2012

My data obsession

Conversations around data have gone from being a regular conversation in my life to almost a daily one.  First party data, 3rd party data, big data, who owns what, where the data points are, what can be fused with what, what can we model, dashboard or derive from data....   Even in the days way back when when I was working at OMD doing hands-on media planning and working with amazing econometricians, like the team that formed BrandScience, I was still further away from data than I am today.  The proliferation of data points in the digital era, the asynchronous nature thereof, and the brain power being harnessed to try and make sense of it all is amazing and challenging at the same time.

All of which was inspired by this infographic via Mashable. Data data everywhere, growing every minute... and one more blog post means I've made a minor contribution for the day before I've even finished my first cup of coffee.

(click to enlarge)

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Coke leverage mobile to share brand love

I just tripped over this neat example of how brands with big global footprints, big ideas (and arguably big budgets to experiment) are leveraging technology across the digital/mobile eco-system to deliver brand experiences.  Coke have revived their original 1970s "I'd like to buy the world a Coke" campaign and given it a digital twist, leveraging mobile advertising, handsets and capability to bring virtual Coke giving to a new generation, beyond some of their various mobile vending "surprise" models.

Driven by (mobile) banners, consumers can send a surprise Coke via text message to a series of locations around the world where specially equipped vending machines can receive and display a gift message sent by text, and capture video footage of the surprise and delight moment to share back with the donor. Nice loop.

Clearly not a massive scale initiative but one which does nonetheless have nice global reach and touchpoints, which lends itself well to Coke's very publically stated ambitions to drive earned media as they increasingly focus on the value of content to their business.


Friday, 9 November 2012

Teaching 5 years olds about Twitter

I tripped over this excellent TEDx presentation this morning... 2 enterprising infant school teachers embracing new technology to equip their charges not just with an understanding of how to use a particular platform, but rather more importantly about how to use the internet responsibly, whilst building their basic literacy and creative skills.  I'm sure there are many parents that would do well to watch and follow their example rather than remaining either ignorant of what their kids are watching / accessing /participating in on the web or are just fearful, often through their own ignorance, of what's going on and feeling swamped and helpless about what to do about it.

The video also talks of some of the parents' and the schools reactions to the initiative and the challenges these two smart teachers have faced.  Well worth the 19 minutes time investment, whether you have kids or not.

We can't change the digitally connected world, we can only embrace and adapt to what is happening, and more importantly society has a responsibility to equip the younger generations with skills to navigate it, which we should be pushing proactively.  Hats off to these two inspiring teachers at Meltham Primary School, great work!

Kids are growing up in a multi-device, multi-platform connected world. Fact. Tablets are growing in penetration fast... it's no longer a world with one device that can only be used in a supervised location. The recent OFCOM report on multi-screen / tv alternative choices refers to many parents being surprised that their kids could access the web on their iPod Touch devices.

iPad's are intuitive devices and incredibly valuable as an on the go entertainment/keep quiet solution - I was in a pub last Sunday sitting next to a table of 3 families, with 5 junior school-ish aged kids all sitting there on a device each (plus one with a book). My parents would never have allowed it, kids do need to learn how to behave in social situations too, but I can see and understand the trade off.

What surprised me more than that scenario though was a conversation earlier in the day with friends who were staying for the weekend with their train-obsessed 4 year old, who whilst we were chatting was happily watching one train video after another on YouTube on the iPad WHICH HAS NO EASY PARENTAL CONTROLS and you can't uninstall the app - sure there's some convoluted workarounds but....  Come on Apple - I was appalled.  The parents had tried hiding the app in folders, but to no avail.. and so they were stumped.. a child happily pressing "related video" train pictures to watch video after video, but no means to ensure that he didn't randomly stumble over something inappropriate.

John Lewis continue strong storytelling theme with Christmas 2012 ad

It's no secret that I've been a big fan of John Lewis's advertising creative since their first big "story" creative in May 2010. I've shared that ad with delegates on training courses I've run all round the world as an example of great content (not just an ad), well executed and distributed.  It's nice to see people harnessing the power of strong story writing, carefully chosen music and strong visual execution to drive brand equity without having to force overt sales/product messages down our throats. Let's face it the world has enough of those already, and it's the emotional pull of the creative combination of those ingredients which makes these ads memorable, shareable and I am sure brand endearing, driving footfall.

Christmas last year saw the release of an ad that evoked a lot of empathy and online buzz...because it was based on a super smart insight... everyone can remember as a child the interminable run up for Christmas, full of excitement and anticipation.

This year, bonfire night put aside for another year (I'm sure I am not alone in being unable to remotely contemplate Christmas until after the 5th November), I spotted yesterday (8th November), this Facebook post from John Lewis teasing the forthcoming release of the Christmas 2012 ad...

Note: 1448 likes, 127 comments so healthy engagement levels both high & low involvement.  This morning at 9am I get a  Channel Subscriber email  (NB) from YouTube announcing the new video going up - so indirectly from John Lewis...

I watched the ad, enjoyed it, watched it again,  shared it on Facebook, saw it immediately re-posted by one of my friends, and then having noticed the #snowmanjourney Twitter hashtag, thought I'd play along, as it appears subsequently have been half the UK this morning (clearly slight exaggeration but I follow a broad spectrum of people on Twitter, some industry / adland, some "normal" personal users, and there's a fair mix of references).  Checking back to the John Lewis Facebook page this morning they've smartly refreshed the header image & icon into Christmas colours / snowman theme to go with the ad. Hardly marketing genius, but the little things are often overlooked. Nicely done.

Extra points also to be awarded for smart ad re-targeting too...  Sorry to demystify folks but it's no co-incidence that this leaderboard banner ad subsequently appeared on something else I was reading first thing.

A search for "John Lewis Christmas Advert 2012"  3 hours after my YouTube email (at which point I was viewer #20 of the ad) shows paid search live (tick!), and 18.7k results indexed already: Not bad for a few hours work, ok, well maybe some prior press release work too... but...


Feeling warm and fuzzy now?  Time to dash off and buy a nice toasty scarf from a retailer never knowingly undersold near you!   Another good example of connected cross-media execution and thinking, from a business that is demonstrating good integration of digital thinking beyond business-structure created silos.

Monday, 5 November 2012

There's NO such thing as a VIRAL

I'm well known for standing on my soap box as I continue my mission to get this complete fallacy stamped out amongst people I work with.  I refuse to take briefs for "virals". No such thing. It is not a noun.

Good pieces of content that are circulated and shared by people of their own free will  (virally) are rarely a phenomenon brought about by pure chance.  They are the result of good insight and creativity, smart execution and distribution and usually supported by a healthy dose of visibility driving measures (normally ads / paid amplifiers).

So case in point... a spoof video (from the creative agency that also brought you the legendary Catvertising video) about armies of paid clickers. It resonated because of my personal crusade on this one so I'm sharing it (voluntarily, no-one paid me to do so, even if the reason I found it was via Unruly Media's twitter feed (a content syndication company), and no doubt they were paid to share it.

Got the point?  It also reminds me of some research work from Starcom US a few years back on CTR (Click Through Rate) on digital ads and how the clicks of a few skew the results assumed to be of the many... Natural Born Clickers. (NB for transparency I frequently work for SMG out of London).

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Gamifying LinkedIn to drive engagement?

LinkedIn has changed again recently… 

Once upon a time you chose your key skills/ tags. You encouraged a few people you had worked with to write a few words of public recommendation. End of story.

Yet with recent changes, LinkedIn is encouraging members to endorse the skills on the profiles of your contacts in a broader, less effort intense way.  Whether this is a good thing or not in a world where wisdom of the crowd arguably counts more than ever in the way we process and trust information is debatable.  Does it make your claimed self-defined skills less credible if no-one endorses them? What if those skills were gained a while back working in a different context, and possibly amongst a crowd of people less digitally active or savyy?

I don’t have the answers but the questions arise.

What’s also interesting from my observations and a few conversations with friends. Is how LinkedIn have gone about encouraging these quick click “light” endorsements: On a site that’s generally more serious and functional in mindset, and all the better for not being plagued by endless achievement based status posts from the Zynga game of the month, all of a sudden appeared some pictures of my contacts with skills asking me to click to endorse person X with skill Y. 

There are rather a lot of parallels with many of the big social games… easy, quick, engaging. Photos and the question “Does X know about Y” make it hard not to at the very least entertain the thought if not respond.  It makes you think about your contacts and is really rather compulsive… once you start and the picture/skills tiles keep refreshing, it’s really rather easy to lose 5 minutes, just waiting to see who / what pops up next, given some of the skills would appear to be drawn from profile data beyond just the keyword tags.

 Smart experience design from LinkedIn at the very least.

 Maybe it’s the social gaming element that is behind the fact that so far, based admittedly on a small panel of my friends, over only a short period of time since the feature went live, that there seem to be more endorsements from women than men, and they are generally fair / on occasion generous ones.
 Gender bias towards gaming behaviours and benefit of the doubt/ assumption that if they were doing XYZ job then they must know about said subject seem to prevail.

Right, perhaps I’ll hop off and play some more. It’s rather fun. 

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Food for thought...or rather fuel for action?

I love this video piece from Nike to highlight the health issues associated with today's increasingly sedentary kids.  Frightening when you stop to think about it, a generation likely to die 5 years younger than their parents generation.

An inspiring, simple, and effective piece asking kids what they'd do with 5 more years to live.  Good question.  My particular favourite was the kid that wanted to teach his sister to eat tuna :-)  What a selfless thought - unusual in little kids to have such an outward facing perspective.

All this, to help the cause - well worth a mooch around. Sure it might help Nike sell a few more trainers but, it's the contribution to the bigger cause that I like about it.

 Technology might be a contributing factor in the problem, but I'm sure with lateral thinking it can also be harnessed to help solve it too.  It just needs some left field thinking about, just like the Westpac Impulse Saver app, which remains one of my recent -ish favourite examples of technology well applied to insight.

Kids love playing games, they're competitive, they're tech savvy. Technology has already been harnessed to help us track activity (think NIKE Fuel band amongst many such things, apps, hardware or a combination), now it just needs to be accessible and affordable - not many parents will be giving their 5 year old an iPhone and trusting them to use it responsibly.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Sound & Motion: Moments of posterity with Picle

I love the idea behind the MadebyMany Picle iPhone app launched for SXSW earlier in the year, and which I have quite probably bored a lot of people with already, if mostly in person.

Memory is a multi-sensory, multi-dimensional thing and whilst we are all adept photo-sharers, facilitated by the magic of the technology in our pockets and the platforms available to us, until Picle, our memory capture was limited to sound via services like Soundcloud or Audioboo, full video via YouTube et al or image.  Picle adds sound to image and makes that "postcard" moment so much emotionally richer. Smart.  I don't always want to capture/upload/share an HD video, or take the trouble to view it on my mobile when the signal is patchy, Picle's provide that snapshot moment but enhance it.

Now if only someone could add smell into the mix.  That would really send the food bloggers into meltdown. But imagine the potential for the Masters of Wine, virtual wine sniffing at the very least!

For starters I'd settle for an Android version of Picle to add into the mix though. Please!?

Meanwhile enjoy this collection of moments shared via Picle. Human, humble, mostly happy :-)

Picles from around the world from Made By Many on Vimeo.

Another tab I can close having looked at it for a month, with blogging intent but no time! Result.

Just imagine what an amazing record of human life and history we'd have if this estimate of the number of photos ever taken all had a soundbite attached. Mindboggling.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Great technology is no excuse for a bad idea

...just one of the quote's from today's Contagious Magazine Now Next Why event doing the Twitter rounds. Wise words indeed, and some that should be heeded by adlands all over the world. Just because you can doesn't mean you should!

But as a counter to the many bad, trying-too-hard examples that populate the webs' trends blogs everyday (this week there's been various debates around Nestle's GPS enabled chocolate bar prize promotion for example), sometimes you see an example that just makes you want to applaud. Ideas that combine good insight, with good harness of technology and good design to provide smart solutions: I offer you (via the ever fab Trendwatching) the phone charging handbag. Nice thinking and collaboration from Vodafone UK & designer Richard Nicoll.

Genius. Now if only they can develop a version that means if I throw my handbag on the floor as I walk through the front door and it will charge contact/wire free.... and then it will monitor the charge levels of my phone and kindle and wirelessly charge as appropriate...

Digital Dissent & Discontent

Nul posts for August, and I'm only just going to squeak in for September. Rubbish.

Yes, I've contributed to other digital spaces but not my own. Poor show. It's not even been for a lack of digital treasure or disaster. Just a lack of time either to keep a finger on the pulse properly or process it enough to put fingers to keyboards.

I'm not alone. Amongst more than a handful of my digerati brethren, the sparky digital brains I respect and love to kick ideas about with, I am detecting an autumn of discontent.  I've been under too much pressure over the last few weeks for my brain to have the space to properly put my finger on the cause, but the fact that I'm detecting a trend should be setting alarm bells ringing in more than a few board meetings.  There's talent turmoil in the offing.

And it's not just agency folk either.  What I'm seeing is a growing discontent between the few marketers who really "feel" digital and the organisations that are constraining their attempts to adapt and innovate, and, on the flipside, senior level digital bods in agencies equally frustrated about clients that aren't making enough true commitment to do digital properly, leaving us bored, dealing with tedious detail, and fighting the same political battles over and over, not focussing on the future which is what we should be doing.

Just increasing your investment in digital 1% is not enough. We're in 2012 not 2007. I've seen cases recently where organisations are talking up digital and its importance to the future of the business but can't step back far enough to realise that they are never going to drive digital thinking through the business without proper training both at grassroots AND board level, AND a proper commitment to investment in IT infrastructure. Just for starters. What sort of message does it send to the organisation about your commitment to digital if you are still asking your staff to use a browser that was released in 2006?!  Ask most people whether they have more up to date tech at home or at work and the answer will predominantly be in favour of home.  Sure there's good reasons in a BYOD (bring your own device) to work / cloud technology world why data security should absolutely be taken seriously, but again that's about corporate focus and investment in the right places. Investment to ENABLE a business to work efficiently in a fast moving world.

Maybe it's a level of digital maturity occurring that's fuelling our frustrations. Sure, we're all guilty of getting bored easily, we like problem solving and moving on, but endless repetition makes our souls shrivel, a state we can only cope with if we're being challenged elsewhere. iPhone 5, iOS 6 releases, yadda yadda, these things don't excite us in the way they used to, we've adapted, embraced and moved beyond that. The digital brains know that mobile OS devices are the future, that they offer many greater possibilities  on so many levels that still aren't getting enough attention, but we're still dragging along the baggage of 3 years ago when social was becoming the shiny toy.  Everyone has a "counting paperclips" element of hygiene factors in their job, the "are you spending enough money on search, is your website optimised, yes you could have a Facebook page but what are you going to talk about and how are you going to ensure people see what you do say" conversations we all have to have repeatedly, but there's a lack of focus on the future that's getting nearer faster all the time.

Data data everywhere, but not enough work being done to assimilate it into manageable and moreover useful information to react to. Identifying the data points is a good start, working out what they can tell you is progress but pushing investment on how you fuse them together, de-dupe and not just analyse the outcomes but drive "so-what's" that businesses are set up and ready to action is still far too far out for many. Yet I've seen various forecasts recently that suggest that by 2016 (yes, that's just over 3 years) CMOs will control more IT budget than CTOs/CIOs.  Right now that feels a stretch.

How do organisations marry us  savvy, commercial digerati who might not be formally IT trained but tend to have geeky leanings with the IT nerds to make that shift happen?  I can see the opportunity but not the organisations open to investing in talent with fuzzy edged remits and questioning minds.

There's a a whole bunch of talented, intelligent, creative people around looking for opportunities to make a real difference to organisations that are ready to be challenged.

The definition of insanity is oft quoted to be doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results, so why are so many businesses just tinkering around the edges? Madness.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Celebrating sport not just Olympians

The Olympics are in full flow here in London, my train this morning was full of excited spectators, and the sun's still shining. The opening ceremony was by all accounts spectacular,  and worthy of it's hefty budget, so I'll be catching up on that at some point soon having been out the country on Friday. I've enjoyed watching Her Majesty the Queen & James Bond this morning.

But for all the hype, the buzz statistics about more tweets during the opening ceremony than for the entire Beijing Olympics, the medals tables, the marketing messages, so far this piece from non-sponsor Nike is the piece that's touched me most. Nice observation & sentiment, along the lines of sponsor P&G's "Thank you Mum/Mom" work, it's well executed, embracing and makes you feel good.  Video content alchemy. Watch:

Now admire this piece that sees Nike taking a different tack, leveraging technology to deliver innovation & participation. Good stuff.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Samsung : Empowering people to do what they want to do

Happiness came to my inbox two days ago. This is a rare thing.

Touchnote, possibly one of my favourite favourite apps (which for the uninformed means I can send postcards all over the world from photos I take on my phone (and / or upload from desktop, not that I use that function much)) has partnered with Olympic sponsor  & leading smartphone manufacturer Samsung.  They sent me an email to tell me that thanks to Samsung, I can "share great moments" free, i.e send postcards all over the world. At least until the end of August at any rate. 

The trade off - well I have to allow a little Samsung / Olympics Sponsor branding on the cards I send & my pictures get shared in their gallery.That's a value exchange I can live with.  
This is one of the nicest examples I've seen recently of a brand understanding that they can add value and bask in a halo of positive brand sentiment from helping people do what they want to do anyway rather than trying to shoehorn people into doing what the brand wants them to do.  

Along the way they are also cleverly "earning media"  - not only do I get a Samsung related Olympic sponsor message going through the postcard sending process, chances are I'm using an image I took on my phone so I'm linking device to brand which may influence favourability for future decisions, and, the recipients of my cards (and I can send as many as I like - 2 so far) also get exposed to the brand message. 

Super smart. Well done chaps. I wish more brands could recognise the benefit of partnership and generosity of action and spirit rather than contriving awkward interruptive experiences that real consumers see little benefit in participating in or interacting with. 

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

How socially active are you?

My lovely buddies over at Global Web Index have recently shared this nifty Slideshare deck looking at social behaviours - who's active where and what are they up to - very pertinent in a world where there is no shortage of platforms to choose from, and where clients too often default to Facebook without really thinking about what the real barriers they want social engagement to help them to overcome, where the communities they want to engage with play and what content they need to serve them.  Enjoy.

Then as a variant on the socially active theme, I struck social listening gold this morning (well bronze at least): I found a tool that appears at least to be a useful start point (wearing my training hat) to get people to think about how language rather than geographical borders define the word on the web.  I seem to have stood on that particular soap box rather a lot on the last month for one reason or another.

Tweeting Earth is a data visualisation of who is tweeting about the topic you specified where across the globe... here's one I did for the Olympics early this morning, bearing in mind I'm in London and as host city and with the Games starting this weekend, there's lots of marketing activity live, travel chaos warnings rife etc...

Then here's another taken just now (late afternoon UK time now, and the US is well and truly awake east to west), predictably it looks rather different to when I found the tool this morning given a broader perspective on interest around the Olympics elsewhere. For me, the key indicators are the number of tweets and the content angle if you look closely (Click to enlarge the images). 

I can't find any technical details so I presume it's just an API scraper at a given moment but nonetheless potentially interesting as a discussion igniter around listening. Have a play.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Clever new toys as technology integrates more and more

It's been far too long since I've written a blog post.  Blame workload, holidays, too much crammed in (she says guiltily having read this very interesting article from the NY Times on "Busyness" ), and perhaps just a tad of digital jaded-ness.  2 weeks entirely disconnected from the digital world might just have cured me of that, even if my friends didn't believe I could do it!

So.. here's one of the first things that's tickled my digital fancy now that I'm back and reconnected...

Pebble: An ePaper watch that can be customised in both design and function to deliver not just the time but against a range of other tasks via connectivity with your phone. Fun and functional, not extortionate, and fuels my "turn data into useful things I can readily understand" soap box of the moment.  Watch: (forgive the pun)

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Turning tears into smiles with technology

After a month of rain, the sun has finally come out and to add to my buoyant mood I spotted this piece of  digital treasure this morning.

I've been boring anyone who will listen for months now on the opportunities AR(augmented reality) can bring to enhance product experience beyond the functional, harnessing accessible technology to great effect, and how I believe that we will see more and more of this going forward.  Brands continue to hesitate around content creation investment in a world troubled by economic pressures, yet because of those economic tensions, the importance of brand love and the willingness to pay more for those brand enhanced differentiating experiences should be getting a lot more focus than it is.

Character licensed Band-Aid (sticking plasters) aren't a new thing, I remember loving my Mr Bump plasters when I was 6 way back when.  Throw in some technology  and the possibilities are now so much greater. Anyone who's helped a little kid who has fallen over knows that "I'll kiss it better" is vital, but far beyond that, distraction is every grown up's gold card, which is why I LOVE this use of the Muppets not just on the plaster itself but enhanced by AR interaction via iPhone or iPad. How could you not forget something hurt when Kermit, Gonzo and Miss Piggy are casting their magic?  Gold.

Monday, 23 April 2012

From the young to the young at heart

Courtesy of my friend Dan I discovered this very cool time-lapse video - the first 12 years in the life of the editor's daughter in just a few minute. A stark reminder of how much tempus fugit.  Looking at my ever dwindling frequency of blog posts is evidence thereof... by the time I've emailed, tweeted, uploaded some pics and video, managed a few social profiles, some for me, some for organisations I am part of, pinterested... let alone done some work or glanced at a Tumblr... there's precious little time left for writing long form.

By contrast, tomorrow is Silver Surfer's Day, with events all over the country aimed at helping the young at heart build their confidence and skills in todays digital era. It's a great initiative, share the link with your parents and grandparents. We all have a responsibility to help educate those who may be less confident.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

2020 Media landscape - line up and take your bets

So the Easter news was all about Facebook buying photo sharing app/platform Instagram, just days after they finally released the Android version, but what's captured my attention more this morning is this piece by the CEO of Red Bee from the MediaGuardian Changing Media Summit 2012

Food for thought. With consumers armed with more choices about what content to consume on which device when, there's a balance to be struck between the "matching luggage" approach to multi-channel creative that was soooo late 90's / early 00's and creating screen neutral experiences that are tailored to the capabilities that eacy device can bring to the experience party.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Enhancing the pre-purchase experience @ The Fat Duck

I'm lucky enough to have been to much-talked-about chef Heston Blumenthal's restaurant The Fat Duck.  Far beyond the famed tasting menu (which was both curious and delicious) the entire experience was highly memorable, and certainly gave me something to dine out on for some time afterwards.  Heston's ever evolving approach to food and dining is now moving a leap further forward with the launch of a new pre-dining animated experience.... designed to tease, enhance and start the Fat Duck experience from the moment you've booked, usually 2 months before you'll sit at the table.  Smart thinking from the alchemy magician.


Like A Kid In A Sweet Shop. from The Neighbourhood on Vimeo.

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

In 2010 it was Elephant Parade, this year, London street art is getting a boost from the Faberge Egg Hunt. There are over 200 eggs to find around London, each with a unique ID, a QR code and a text to enter code for the chance to win a (Queen's) Diamond Jubilee diamond encrusted Faberge egg.

I don't have the time to write reams about how well put together this campaign is, leveraging smartphones to deliver easy participation, nor wearing my consumer hat do I really care, I just know that tripping over the eggs in my daily wanderings around town brightens my day. :-)

Kinect-shopping trolley demo

Convergence of technology and shopping is happening in so many ways.

 Payment integrations via mobile, be it NFC, Paypal, Google Wallet, or carrier billing (Facebook announced more moves in this direction this week at Mobile World Congress) is all driving mCommerce growth closer to scale, and better shopping experiences whether that's sofa shopping via Amazon's very addictive iPad app or Stop & Shop's US instore trial and more mobile enabled websites are all closing the path to purchase.

Microsoft's Kinect platform is also being used in more and more ways and my Microsoft buddies shared this video with me this morning. For sure it's clever use of technology but I have to say it needs a lot of real-time, speedier response magic applied. I can just imagine the chaos it would cause in my local Waitrose on a Saturday morning if trolleys were following users automatically, running over small children and taking an age to talk to you about every purchase! Worth watching though.  Food for thought.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Virgin Money - Building Projection

Big impressive building projection stunts are nothing new, but throw in a stretchy brand known for versatility and innovative approaches along with my past associations with animation and I can't help but love this piece from the fledgling UK bank Virgin Money.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

The content agenda

Is content king or is conversation king?  Debate!

It's a sporting joust I enjoy regularly with some of my digital buddies. You can play it from a variety of angles, but if it comes down to would I rather be stuck on a desert island with someone to talk to or something to talk about (to myself) I'd take the person every time.  Wearing my professional hat though, "content" is definitely something constantly on my agenda.

Most brands have now (finally) recognised that just collecting fans like a kleptomaniac serves little purpose, and it's a lot of effort +/ or money to spend to then allow to languish unattended and unloved.  So, with that context, undoubtedly content is the fuel for the conversational fire, and preferably content that's interesting, varied and added to regularly, if there's any sort of generated / earned media aspirations involved.

Embracing new models to translate the strategic into something that actually gets made isn't always easy for organisations used to just briefing 30" TVCs either, nor being smart about distributing the content and maximising the visibility thereof. Content influences conversation, which increasingly influences search and the circle rolls on...

There are brands out there who are doing a good job, some on a small scale whilst they learn,  (I like the work Nastro Azzuro are doing) and others on much bigger scales, experimenting, failing fast and learning as they go.  I liked this infographic on content via Mashable. Worth checking out.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Coming out in sympathy - Kleenex

Maybe it's because I have a nasty suspicion that I have yet another cold brewing, that's making me sympathetic to healthcare related marketing today but I just tripped over this nicely executed "random act of kindness" variant from Kleenex. Not the world's most original idea but the very human truth behind nice surprises will never fail.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Groupon shows a sense of humour

I've finally decided enough was enough with 4 superfluous emails a day from Groupon, so it was time to unsubscribe.

What was supposed to be a quick admin task turned into a moment of unexpected treasure with Groupon showing a sense of humour with their unsubscribe "punish Derrick" video.  Rather like a humorous, well crafted 404 error message, this turned my get Groupon out of my inbox experience into one that left a positive impression. Nice touch. Albeit having punished Derrick, I did decline the offer to change my mind.  For now at least.

Monday, 16 January 2012

The smart home @ CES: app controlled washer dryer

Last week's CES (Consumer Electronics Show) saw the usual array of new toys being unveiled. It's an interesting week for all of us with an eye to the future, as hardware releases will inevitably start to shape consumer behaviour of the future. I've been fascinated by the "Internet of Things" for a few years now, the way that technology can shape and influence software, hardware, and the homes we live in.  The internet connected fridge has been to many the easiest embodiment of this, but I'm choosing Samsung's connected washing machine / tumble dryer, remote controlled by an app as my IoT pick from this year's show.

Connectivity facilitating better control of our super busy lives, and hopefully helping us make smarter, eco friendlier choices along the way. I'm all in favour of anything that potentially reduces the ironing.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

2012 begins...

It's back to the office for many today after a well earned Christmas break.  Mine was sadly marred by a lousy cold so all those good intentions of writing considered year-end wrap up posts and getting rid of some clutter in my gmail sadly went out the window.  We'll see if opportunity presents later in the week, as year on year the number of posts I made in 2011 was down over 50%, and the quality of them down too in terms of general thought leadership over quick and easy sharing. Both factors directly impacted by lots of change in my work environment and demands that took me (far too) frequently away from what should be my core focus as knowledge sentinel.

Let's hope for change in 2012, more space to do quality thinking and writing. At least I'm not planning on moving house or dealing with builders this year. Great projects but demanding massive amounts of time and energy.  I'm starting with the making space attitude by unsubscribing from Groupon. That's 5 less emails to deal with a day for starters. I'm sure I am not alone in ceasing to find real value in a service that started out looking promising and then swiftly showed it's soft under-belly of delivery weakness.

Let's start the year with something positive, and sit up and take learnings some of the innovation in the luxury sector, starting off with Burberry's wholehearted embrace of digital and innovation: