What’s wrong with the current preoccupation with all things green? I have friends who say the environmental initiatives sprouting like weeds are the consumer and the market taking control – AT LAST! - of issues the White House would rather ignore. A global, cultural surge towards sustainability. Something to applaud and encourage! Maybe. But I don’t believe everything green is worth celebrating this spring.
Davis Brand Capital today released the 2012 Davis Brand Capital 25 ranking, which evaluates brand management and performance comprehensively. It is the only annual ranking of companies that demonstrate overall, balanced approaches to managing the full spectrum of brand and related intangible assets, providing an indicator of total business strength and effectiveness.
While the Penn State scandal and abdication of leadership is deplorable and unfortunately merits its sad attention, what happened at the venerable University of Virginia this spring is, in another way, astounding. It laid bare the unrelenting business assault roiling educational institutions, their custodians and their brands.
Web bots, the “internet of things”, machine learning and other converging technological advancements offer an early glimpse of our artificial intelligence future. And marketers need to start paying attention.
The LGBT equality movement has entered the mainstream. Now that we are here, I think there is a new type of work to do. As a long-time brand strategist for some of the world's leading companies, I believe our next steps are in the consumer marketplace. We must unlock the full power of influential marketers, going beyond sponsorships alone.
In what can be described only as a singularly courageous move, the new JCPenney unveiled a Father's Day ad featuring real-life gay dads Todd Koch and Cooper Smith, and their children, Claire and Mason. It is widely considered a direct response to the failed hysteria of the "Million Moms" boycott of the retailer after it named Ellen DeGeneres its spokesperson. And, indeed, this read of events is likely. Something more is going on, though. The ailing retailer has found the courage to be relevant, and with bold social intent.
The term "Guggenheim Effect" used to denote the positive role the brand played in Bilbao's resurgence as a destination site. It became well accepted vernacular, not only in the museum community, but among the wider community of brand and marketing experts. In recent weeks, however, the term has been re-appropriated by European media and citizens to express a much more negative and even sarcastic view of the cultural institution.
There is certainly humor to be had watching, sprawled out in the comfort of another century, the way previous generations handled – or didn’t – destabilizing changes that we now take for granted. We are now obligated to live in a culture of conversation with its simultaneous flattening of things like expert culture and its ever-expanding choice of content providers and options.
The ultimate proactivity of the Web is the semantic future of marketing. Every interaction is about data, and with enough of it, predictive analytics are possible. Is Big Data simply an idea to you - or do you have a plan to activate around information?
QR codes have become ubiquitous and so has the term digital strategy. Both are often treated by businesses as "silver bullets" without much understanding how to leverage either. QR codes, in particular, have been reduced to gadget status with little meaning but to annoy the consumer.
Davis Brand Capital today released the 2011 Davis Brand Capital 25 ranking, which evaluates brand beyond its traditional marketing function and considers it as a blend of key intangibles. It is the only annual ranking of companies demonstrating comprehensive and balanced approaches to managing the full spectrum of brand capital, which provides an indication of the strength and effectiveness of an entire business.
Public posts to Google+ have decreased 41 percent month over month, according to 89n data cited on TechCrunch. After a fast start out of the gates, quickly gaining 25 million users, is Google+ losing steam?
Unbound Edition today launches a new type of marketing interview: one focused on the struggles of bringing great ideas to market, not just recounting the successes of a few big winners. Our belief is there might be more to learn -- and share -- when talking about the roadblocks to “obvious” successes than merely celebrating them after the fact. We think even Starbuck’s CEO, Howard Schultz, might agree, having recently pondered why his next big hit, the Sorbetto, fell flat with consumers. Our first subject: an alternative flour that has made its way into big food companies but not yet to store shelves.
Davis Brand Capital today released the 2010 Davis Brand Capital 25 ranking, which evaluates brand beyond its traditional marketing function and considers it as a blend of intangibles creating value in the intellectual economy. The ranking compares the five key intangible categories by which the consultancy defines brand capital: brand value; competitive performance; innovation strength; company culture; and social impact.
There may be more bears in publishing than there are on Wall St. This isn’t new to the current recession; as Ken Auletta recently noted in the New Yorker, “publishing exists in a continual state of forecasting its own demise.” Now add to that traditional gloomy propensity today’s market conditions - a period when most industries are wrestling with digital disintermediation and even wholesale redefinitions of function. You get a complete meltdown.
This past weekend, the Wall Street Journal included a neatly illustrated article by Joe Queenan on the dearth of imagination in Hollywood in 2010. The Worst Movie Year Ever? lamented recent storytelling efforts in Tinstletown, painting a picture of movie theaters around the country where audiences sit “listlessly through a series of lame, mechanical trailers for upcoming films that look exactly like the DOA movies audiences avoided last week.” I’m familiar with the feeling that the popcorn is the only thing to be happy about in theaters this summer. But as I was thinking about it, I started to wonder: is Queenan simply describing the state of entertainment, or is he actually providing a metaphor for the state of business lately?
The Boston Globe recently launched a digital scavenger hunt that further blurs the lines between physical and digital spaces, news and entertainment, and social and traditional media. Boston Globe Trek is a prime example of innovation within an industry struggling to reinvent itself, and other news organizations should take note.
Ashton Kutcher is a figure I find so unsavory that it is difficult for me to see him as worthy of anything other than endorsing POS Clothing. He is the "dude" who stays at the party an hour too long, holding court and announcing his own coolness long after others have started to yawn. Image is hard to change. That said, the man is not stupid, and very well may be ahead of the pack in terms of social media and brand endorsements. His innovative partnership with Popchips, Inc. proves the point well enough. Kutcher built his fame on mild talent, good looks, and a variety of attention-grabbing stunts (whether via Punk'd or geriatric marriage). His cultural relevance, though, came through a carefully engineered drive to be the first person to have 1 million followers on Twitter (@aplusk now broadcasts in real-time to more than 5 million people). Mr. Kutcher saw what other stars -- and major brands -- have missed: that building an audience and managing a direct relationship with it is the way forward. Notably, his work with Popchips does not involve MadAve's services. It is the latest example in what I've written about as the the trend toward post-agency markets.
Last week, Santa Clara hosted the first global augmented reality event - gathering the developers, creative directors and engineers from around the world who are driving nascent “augmentation” technology into our immediate reality. If you said “Say what?” to that sentence, you will appreciate the following. In the first keynote of the conference, WIRED’s contributing editor Bruce Sterling defined a singular challenge for the assembled that had very little to do with technological wizardry and everything to do with communication: create and shape the language of this brave new world.
In 2007, I lauded BP's rebranding for its aesthetics and the company's willingness to position itself at the forefront of social and cultural debate. But I questioned its ability and willingness to "walk the walk" of its "beyond petroleum" talk. Sadly, the Gulf of Mexico spill will prove an excellent case study on the perils of disingenuous branding.
Last month a brouhaha emerged when US Supreme Court justices had a hard time differentiating between the technologies at the center of an important privacy case. Now, no one would reasonably expect a Chief Justice to know the nuances of Twitter as well as Lindsay Lohan, but Roberts allegedly inquired after the difference between email and pagers. Other justices needed a basic lesson in texting. This might seem amusing, except: how is it possible to responsibly adjudicate the issues of the 21st Century without a working knowledge of the platforms that pervade our social and working lives? Being conversant in these items, my dear sirs and ladies, is absolutely part of your job.
Every second, unfiltered information streams fill a growing data ocean. To sift through the depths, sort the finds and bring exactly what we need to the surface, we rely on the mapping and ranking algorithms of Google and other search leviathans. Their technology fuels our virtual treasure hunt, but without the right coordinates, there's little guarantee we'll salvage anything of value. Two startups, Aardvark and Hunch, think a greater emphasis on the people on both sides of the search will improve their chances of striking gold.
The Museum of Modern Art's recent acquisition of the @ symbol challenges, in the museum's own words, "the assumption that physical possession of an object [is] a requirement for an acquisition." The move has provoked varying responses, from mystified to dismissive. While some consider it no more than a clever marketing ploy, the move is not only bold and necessary, but indicative of something much more momentous: MoMA's redefinition of "modern" and evolution of the role of today's museum.
March Madness begins this week, but the madness around athlete endorsements has been around since the days of Michael Jordan. It came to its most recent head last Thanksgiving, when a certain superhuman hit a fire hydrant and set off a torrent of media, fan and sponsor action and reaction. The sexy unfolding of that incident and its subsequent tawdry revelations probably inspired the Developing the Athlete’s Brand panel at this year’s MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference – a gathering which usually focuses on wonkier subjects. The panelists, after a barrage of questions from conference attendees, touched gingerly on Tiger’s comeback strategy, but the real takeaways were about the industry, not Tiger. The resulting discussion raised larger questions about athlete endorsements as brand strategy, and whether the sports representation industry model is still relevant today.
Davis Brand Capital, which published the 2009 Davis Brand Capital 25 ranking in December, today announced expanded rankings in five industries: automotive, finance, retail, technology, and telecom.
Haute couture brands recently have been in the headlines for promoting an unhealthy body image, mourning the loss of one of fashion's brightest stars and, in general, dealing with a full-blown identity crisis. Meanwhile, an increasing number of mainstream brands have turned their attention explicitly to the end consumer: she now plays a central role in how we view and buy fashion. This reinvention and democratization of fashion has its origin in the mainstream, unlike most trends, which work their way in from the fringe. Moreover, it's a global phenomenon with brands from Japan to Germany embracing the everyday woman's new role.
I'm thinking of Jobs - not the big Steve variety - but the kind being discussed everywhere from Davos to Washington to the Main Street or kitchen table nearest you. The economists can debate how best to create jobs - my thoughts center primarily around how they are changing and how organizations are reading those changes from top to bottom.
Every year, in the weeks leading up to Super Bowl, we learn whose ads passed network muster and whose didn't. This year, CBS generated lively debate by green-lighting Focus on the Family's pro-life spot, while rejecting an ad from gay dating site ManCrunch.com. Much has already been written about CBS's implied endorsement of one "life choice" over another. But few question why slow-to-evolve CBS failed to capture a fraction of the value its platform created for either organization.
When Steve Jobs took to the stage in San Francisco's Moscone Center on January 27, the world knew what to expect: Apple would finally announce its long-awaited tablet. With that pre-determined focus and the anticipatory roar for the next "insanely great" thing, most missed the larger announcement of the day. Steve Jobs did not simply announce the company's latest creation; he completed a task first made public in January 2007, when the company dropped "Computer" from its name to become Apple, Inc. The real news hidden in plain view as Jobs unveiled iPad was the repositioning of the company that created the personal computer.
Recently, Slate's Ben Sheffer presented Apple's case against Gawker's Tablet Scavenger Hunt, suggesting the web pub's Valleywag blog may be inducing Apple employees to violate trade secret law. But to measure the potential loss for Apple solely in terms of trade secrets is to overlook a much larger violation not just to Apple, but to the customer as well.
Migros is Switzerland's largest supermarket chain and one of the 500 largest companies in the world. Known as the big M because of its iconic orange logo, the company employs more than 84,000 people and has recently posted sales of more than $20 billion. Turning 85 years old in 2010, Migros' unique history, business savvy and far-reaching vision make it a noteworthy case study for brands in and outside the category. Migros has been ahead of its time from its inception, and is a prime example of how a company can diligently build brand capital through innovation, social responsibility, thoughtful portfolio strategy and a careful management of brand voice.
This spring, Universal Orlando will open the much-anticipated Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which it promises will be "unlike any other experience on earth." If the park succeeds with what it's got tucked up the sleeve of its flowing robe, there's going to be a new owner of magical theme park experience (that sound you just heard was a 81-year-old mouse shaking in his over-sized yellow shoes).
New mobile applications from automakers GM, Mercedes, Ford and BMW advance the concept of branded utility in profound ways. Recent apps from these brands blur the lines between branded utilities and pure product features. And there are important implications in the auto industry and beyond.
GE (NYSE:GE) captures the number two spot in the Davis Brand Capital 25 for 2009. The world's largest company, GE has rebounded from a transition period and one of the most challenging years in its history -- one that saw its stock plunge to record lows. The company's nimble and effective management of its brand capital is helping it tackle new market paradigms and position itself to lead into the future.
As the year ends, we look back at the most read and shared posts from Unbound Edition's contributors, and a few more favorites chosen by our editorial team. We appreciate your continued readership and commentary and look forward to more dialog in 2010.
Microsoft ranks #4 on the Davis Brand Capital 25, besting twelfth-place rival Apple. Despite taking some hits in a year-long advertising tit-for-tat with Mac, Microsoft joins fellow technology brands IBM (#1), HP (#3) and Cisco Systems (#5) at the top of this year's list. The Davis Brand Capital 25 is the only annual list to evaluate brand as an amalgam of intangibles, including brand value, competitive performance, innovation strength, company culture and social impact. Microsoft's top-five ranking is a reflection of the company's successful management of its brand capital across a diverse portfolio of technology products and services.
Cisco's #5 ranking on the 2009 Davis Brand Capital 25 should come as no surprise. Cisco has taken an integrated approach to developing its intangibles for years. The following sections detail Cisco's success in carefully managing its brand value, competitive performance, innovation strength, company culture and social impact.
On Monday Davis Brand Capital released the 2009 Davis Brand Capital 25, and IBM took the top spot. IBM's #1 ranking may surprise some at first glance. After all, brand is typically viewed primarily through a marketing lens, and therefore tends to be more closely associated with consumer-centric - and arguably more glamorous - companies such as Apple or Nike. But the Davis Brand Capital 25 examines brand more holistically: as a collective set of intangibles, including brand value, competitive performance, innovation strength, company culture and social impact. The following commentary and qualitative assessment of top-ranked IBM highlights the company's successful management of these five intangibles that comprise brand capital and provides context for its #1 ranking.
Davis Brand Capital today released the 2009 Davis Brand Capital 25 ranking, which evaluates brand beyond its traditional marketing function and considers it as an amalgam of intangibles creating value in the intellectual economy. The ranking compares the five key intangible categories by which the consultancy defines brand capital: brand value; competitive performance; innovation strength; company culture; and social impact.
For more than a year now, I've admired an unusual vegetable garden in a middle-class St. Louis neighborhood. The owners, Chinese immigrants, have carefully designed the space to house lettuces, tomatoes, cucumbers, berries and all varieties of climbing and flowering foliage. What's unusual is that it's all in the front yard -- a space the other neighbors reserve for traditional landscaping. Compared to the austere evergreens around it, the garden is a beautiful, bountiful, dynamic space that transforms year round. And it reflects the reinterpretations and reappropriations of space I see springing up in the post-digital marketplace.
It seems a fait accompli, the death of agencies. I’ve made the case for the collapse of this industry business model several times over, and the Financial Times has recently detailed the challenges and the various players’ attempts to address them. It was, though, Nicholas Negroponte from MIT’s Media Lab who stated the issue plainly and first, a decade ago, saying that any organization that “describes itself as an ‘agency’ is doomed.” He was right, and the industry still has not taken on the fundamental question of the day: if not an “agency,” then what?
Hulu is hard at work transforming tv-watching into a social experience. They're encouraging viewers to watch the premiers of their favorite programs on Facebook with friends and strangers alike, sharing comments with one another (and with eavesdropping marketers) through streaming status updates. Judging whether television watching can be a social activity based on these efforts alone is to consider only a fraction of the social relationships possible around content sharing. The key players aren't thinking big enough yet. Fully realizing social TV's potential means rethinking all aspects of television watching, distribution and revenue models, and how each can become more social.
The motoring and mainstream media alike have scrutinized Detroit's Biggish Two-and-a-Half ad nauseum. Both experts and the car-buying public are questioning Detroit's ability to innovate in the post-SUV cash cow, post-bailout world. And rightfully so. Admittedly, there are a few bright spots on the horizon. But the real innovation story likely won't be the much-hyped Chevy Volt or even Ford's Fit-beating Fiesta. And it certainly won't be the ridiculous idea that positioning Chrysler to compete with Cadillac will somehow save the beleaguered brand (have you seen Cadillac's sales figures, Mr. Fong?). I'm betting Detroit's next disruptive innovation will be the rebirth of Saturn.
Dim Bulb’s Jonathan Salem Baskin wrote recently that rather than battling for the right to more broadly advertise mature and adults only-rated video games, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) would be better served investing in developers willing to challenge the gaming status quo. I share his hope that the industry will evolve beyond its current incarnation, and I too have written that the user-controlled sadism found in popular first-person games requires a different rating consideration than comparable subject matter in movies and music. Participants in this debate, for censorship and against, find common ground in calling for parents to better educate themselves about their children’s entertainment choices and take greater responsibility for their purchases. A few changes, however, are complicating matters.
Given that I last wrote about Hardee’s Biscuit Holes, I couldn't resist continuing the theme of fried dough. This time: doughnuts. Specifically, Krispy Kreme’s new international “Fave Fan” contest, celebrating six dozen years selling original glazed. Open to Krispy Kreme doughnut lovers in Australia, Canada, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, the Philippines and United Kingdom, "Fave Fan" invites customers to write, in 72 words or less, “how Krispy Kreme has made their lives special.” A winning contestant from each country receives 12 dozen doughnuts over the course of a year and a plane ticket to Krispy Kreme’s U.S. headquarters, where they will go head-to-head in a competition to “design the best doughnut.” Why Americans aren't invited to participate probably has something to do with the company's 2007 bankruptcy (and $3 stock price, down from a high near $50), but why celebrate an American brand through an international contest? Is "Fave Fan" the secret ingredient to a Krispy Kreme comeback, or is their marketing team one original glazed short of a dozen?
At a time when most leaders, including that of the western world, want to summon the “spirit of innovation” and change to reignite consumer confidence, a number of food companies prefer to bust that ghost before getting slimed by progress. From Wendy’s to Heinz to Haagen-Dazs, well-known brands are reminding us that it’s ok to push the “pause” button on innovation. None, perhaps, more joyfully than Post Shredded Wheat.
When I shot the picture of this little guy lounging in his highchair watching cartoons, I thought it was adorable. And admittedly, I still do. But simultaneously it terrifies me, because it foreshadows a new type of digital divide that will be created by mobile devices and the introduction of augmented reality.
Dog tired the other night after what seemed like endless work-related communication clarifications, I signed off with this tweet: “Done translating for the day…surfing all these lexicons is exhausting. Desperate for the Esperanto of changing times.” Within seconds I got a message: Esperanto is now following you. I had to laugh. So here’s the translation Esperanto: I am NOT interested in Esperanto (we’ll talk about the lack of context on Twitter later). What I AM interested in is the common language of change and innovation.
The very notion of “agency” is becoming a footnote in today’s technologically reshaped marketplace and media. And it is within this environment that the bold, if not always adored, Katharine Weymouth, publisher of The Washington Post, has decided to act as others sit idly. Ms. Weymouth and others at WaPo decided to host sponsored “salons,” bringing together reporters, lobbyists and corporations for quiet conversation and, one assumes, a deeper understanding of each other’s interests. Call it influence if you must. It is, after all, only new to discuss this type of paid access, not to grant it. Denying such is as charming and annoying as newsprint itself.
The new iPhone with video - coupled with GPS, compass and future iPhone applications - ushers in the Brave New World of augmented reality. And mobile marketing, which until now has been a relative afterthought for brand marketers outside of Japan, is about to go gangbusters.
The mouse may be dead to many netbook users, but if Disney has anything to do with it, The Mouse will remain alive and well for young technophiles. This week, Walt’s little company announced that it has collaborated with the unfortunately-named ASUS to launch the Disney Netpal.
In the wake of recent legislation allowing the FDA to regulate the tobacco industry, a variety of smokeless tobacco products are hitting the market. A few e-varieties promise a comparable experience without the stink and stigma of the earlier models. But will smokers find any of these alternatives up to snuff?
It’s not easy to buck entrenched conventional wisdom. Ask Galileo. When he advanced heliocentrism publicly, all hell broke loose. None of which had anything to do with the fact that the central notion was true. The earth really did revolve around the sun.
This week, fans of “Mad Men” were treated to some real-life drama about the upcoming third season of the acclaimed AMC original series. Strangely enough, a television show about an advertising guy and his model wife set more than four decades ago may be at the forefront of new revenue models for television advertising.
The phrase “black market” carries with it an ethical conundrum: goods and services that are likely stolen, controlled, illegal or immoral, yet still attainable via the right connections for the right dollars. Operating outside of regulation and taxation, black markets are, to some, considered pure economies capable of extracting the highest prices for those things in greatest demand. Things such as drugs, weaponry, prostitution, or copyrighted materials or designs. While regulators and the makers of luxury goodies understandably might want to concentrate on shutting down these markets, innovation leaders would be wise to get close to them and study them rigorously. As pure markets, they reveal a depth of unmet demand, a potential for mainstream commercialization, and a degree of price insensitivity that mainstream CPG companies and retailers sorely need.
Last week I spent a day walking around Washington. The weather was glorious and it was bustling. In the Newseum, an older woman examined photos with her friend from Scotland. At the White House, a family from Idaho asked me to take their picture. Near the water, the tables at Sequoia’s were full of international tourists. On the Mall, packs of school kids tried to buy lemon ice before they hit the lines at the National Air and Space Museum. As I carefully navigated the crowded steps of the Lincoln Memorial, I started thinking. The District of Columbia provides a beautifully rendered narrative of our nation’s history. But, for all those gathered here, what story does it tell of our future?
The hunt for my wife’s new laptop just got more difficult. Apple recently announced a planned reduction in prices for a pair of to-be-announced Macs. And the blogosphere is brimming with speculation.
If I had more than a second to think about it, I’d be thinking about the pace of change and reactions to change. As it is, I’m busy keeping up with the changes. From email to tweets. From broadband to cloud. From the risks of recession to the risks of swine flu. I’m thinking that if I can just get around the corner there will be time to catch up. But what if there isn’t?
Everyone wants to be a designer! Retailers are competing with the name brands on their shelves by focusing on private-label packaging. And some of them are simply doing it better. Last year, sales of private-label food and other consumer products jumped 10% to $82.9 billion, from $75 billion in 2007. Here are a few design standouts pushing those numbers higher:
Social Media is now truly social – permeating every aspect of everyday life across generations. It has spawned businesses that have become household names, from eBay to Amazon, and individual behaviors that are quite literally changing society. Brian Solis’ Conversation Prism demonstrates the explosive growth of social media and the new skills – listening, learning and sharing – it requires. Not only innovators and thought leaders – but also such institutional stalwarts as PBS and the Library of Congress have embraced the moment and evolved. Which begs the question: Where is the education community?
If Disney’s latest strategy works, moppets across China will be saying “Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down” in a most delightful way. And with perfect diction.
Trent Reznor is known in the music industry for being a risk-taker, musically and technologically. Though a critically acclaimed artist, Reznor has led an enigmatic existence, and his dark, electronic musical style conjures images of drilling down into and exploring outlying areas of a mysterious abyss. It's a natural fit, then, for him to feel at ease connecting with his fans in the virtual world.
Pop culture is a constant, complex data stream unfolding in real time all around us. And you can watch it flow by in text and pictures at Digg Labs using its Stacks, Swarm, BigSpy, Arc, and Pics.
Social media platforms, blogs, smart phones, online video conferencing and a host of other technologies will facilitate revolutionary changes for brand research and innovation. Many companies are already leveraging these technologies for more traditional types of data collection, such as survey research. However, few have taken advantage of the real opportunity these technologies collectively provide: crowd-sourced research models for consumer-driven innovation.
Clive Thompson’s recent article for Wired entitled “The Netbook Effect: How Cheap Little Laptops Hit the Big Time” details the adoption of the Netbook, machines powered by flash drives intended for running bare-bones applications. These low-powered lightweights took the tech industry off guard, and they point to a valuable lesson for companies in every every sector.
Glen Kertz has people excited about pond scum. His company’s algae biofuel system boasts staggering numbers. An acre of corn can produce 18 gallons of oil per year. Valcent’s algae: 20,000+ gallons per acre per year. The vertical system currently under development promises to push that number even higher, using a fraction of the water and energy needed to grow traditional biofuel crops.
1899 U.S. Patent Office Commissioner Charles H. Duell is commonly (and falsely) attributed with having claimed “everything that can be invented has been invented.” Woody Norris thinks the opposite is true. His latest invention, hypersonic sound, creates high quality sound without breaking the silence. What a brilliant gift for a culture with a noise problem.
Juan Enriquez can give a presentation. Funny and fascinating, Enriquez extracts laughter from an unlikely source: the collapse of our global economy. Then, quoting author Louis L’Amour, Enriquez imagines life after the deluge: "There will be a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning."
Sony's Vaio P Series was the standout netbook showcased at this year's CES. The sleek, featherweight laptop features a high resolution screen, instant-on OS, 3G mobile broadband, GPS, and built-in Bluetooth. Streamlined for music, email, web browsing, video and basic wordprocessing, Vaio P fits comfortably into a coat pocket or handbag, and is marketed as a "lifestyle pc." Sony is betting an elegant design and luxury positioning will convince consumers to pay nearly twice the price of other netbooks.
IDEO CEO Tim Brown discusses freedom from judgement and the importance of play to the creative process.
This week Burger King introduced Flame, a “body spray of seduction with a hint of flame-broiled meat.” The companion website features a variety of backdrops and groovy love tunes that guarantee the perfect ambiance for nibbling the meat-lover in your life. The scent retails for $4 exclusively through Ricky’s and online.
I’m a big fan of buying directly from artisans. Though I was raised in a Wal-Mart culture, I’ve found that buying from the people who produce the product is more satisfying. The brand is comfortably irrelevant, the quality (and yes, even unique defect of the item) is its own, and I feel good that the cash goes directly into the maker’s pocket.
The difference between a dreamer and an innovator is action. So what to do when your dreams are impossible to bring to life? Philip Rosedale created Second Life, and helped more than 15 million people make their impossibles possible.
From mountain bikes to hip-hop, Demos researcher Charles Leadbeater discusses how multi-billion dollar industries evolved not from R&D and venture capital, but from frustrated users collaborating to create breakthrough products, and passionate professional amateurs (pro-ams) searching for new creative outlets.
I was indoctrinated into the cult of car fandom in the mid 80s at the height of the pro-labor, “Buy American” movement. During that crisis in Detroit, angry crowds smashed Japanese imports with sledge hammers on the nightly news. Michael Keaton starred in the Asian stereotype comedy “Gung Ho.” And the American auto manufacturers bought some time with the SUV. We all rallied around the Big Three and their living rooms on wheels, and Detroit bought some time. Unfortunately they’ve been out innovated ever since.
Much has been written about President-elect Obama’s opportunity to globally rebrand America. I propose it’s not the “brand” that tens of millions of Americans voted to change, but rather how the brand is expressed and operationalized at home and abroad. One of new management’s first challenges is to determine whether one of the country’s most cherished sub brands, namely the American automobile industry, can create and market products that reflect this new brand expression. History suggests they can.
As debate over the Detroit bailout rages on, we look back at the Big Three’s record of foresight and innovation: The 80s. A rejection of the free-spirited 70s and celebration of conspicuous consumption epitomized by the "Greed is Good" mantra of Wall Street's Gordon Gekko. Ford Motor Co’s Mercury Cougar is ahead of the zeitgeist in this '78 spot for the XR-7.
There are an enormous number of American “knowledge” workers, companies and MBA programs whose work and whose professional standing is based solely on the agreed-upon script. They have long since stopped thinking, responding, understanding, questioning and interpreting. They can’t improvise to save their lives. It's a problem that might impact our country's competitiveness more than anything else.
Regardless of the results Tuesday night, the biggest loser of the 2008 election was third party politics. Bob Barr and Ralph Nader certainly deserve respect, but neither could provide true third party legitimacy or offer a remedy for a two-party system that continues to corral diverse voters into one of two catch-all ideological tents. Obama and McCain had the star power, change message, and political climate to finally do so, but in the end they chose to offer American voters New Coke and Pepsi Clear when we desperately need the Un-Cola.
Senator Barack Obama visited Google's headquarters nearly one year ago to announce his innovation agenda, speak with Google CEO Eric Schmidt, and take questions from Google employees. Senator John McCain also participated in a similar session as part of the company's Candidates@Google series.
Given the fundamental market shifts of higher gas prices and heightened consumer concern for the environment, adding another crossover SUV to an already crowded space seems like an odd choice for the iconic car brand.
“Tune in at this time” is one of the reasons the top-down, big-media model is struggling. By delaying the airing of the Olympics opening ceremonies, NBC limited its thinking to this old broadcast model and squandered the opportunity to leverage its online assets.
In one powerful night, R.E.M. concludes its North American tour with a meaningful set built for an election year and the digital age.
Aren’t we all waiting for the next big thing, hoping to catch it first? Something new and exciting, to follow blindly and believe in religiously, and to brag about to people still unaware. And in that sense, what is more novel than the next generation of new technologies such as the World Wide Web?
The fever for the flavor of a Pringle finally caught up with product designer Fredric Baur.
Ever wondered why some consumer review sites thrive while others seem like dusty repositories of stale content? Quality consumer reviews are among the most coveted content online—when you can get them to flow they build a search-engine friendly kingdom of page views. Sustain them, and your advertising inventory swells with content-specific pages. The problem, of course, is convincing users to freely contribute their time and energy.
Apple and iTunes have revolutionized the way we purchase and consume music. But there are newer and more exciting things happening in the world of digital music than the ubiquitous 99-cent download. And if you don’t think it’s true, perhaps you’re just a self-centered Mac-o-phile. (Don’t take it personally. I’m one, too.)
In a recent issue of California Management Review (CMR), author David Aaker makes a compelling case for the necessary link between innovation and branding. While I think it’s a good article, the suggested union between innovation and branding led me to focus on a larger topic about value creation within a company.
Or more accurately, Xylitol sweetener junkies.
There are a lot of left turns engineered into DLD . There is always the possibility you might look at a scheduled session and think, “what does this have to do with anything?” and then come away with a completely new idea. You might hear someone speak about their work and be certain they are brilliant and equally certain you don’t completely understand what they’re saying or what it actually applies to. Sometimes you are just knocked out by the beauty or ingenuity of thought processes and topics
Consumer Reports claims $8 billion was lost last year on unused gift cards. The industry's auction and trading leader responds here first.
Considering we’re dedicating an entire week to Noam Chomsky videos, this might not be a popular opinion amongst my fellow UE bloggers or its readers. But lately I’ve been a bit more optimistic that market forces and our good old fashioned love of money will actually help save our “Planet in Peril.”
After much procrastination, my wife and I finally bought her first new’ish car. I’m on crutches because I’m a klutz, and we needed a vehicle with an automatic transmission that I could drive while I recover. So the timing was right for somewhat selfish reasons.
In 1984, the Apple Macintosh brought the humble mouse widespread fame in the personal computing marketplace. By the looks of things, Apple may just be the big cat that puts the mouse out of its misery. Will your next Mac be the first computer to abandon the tried and true mouse interface entirely?
Books don’t translate well online. Marketing books? Yes. Ordering books? Clearly. Communicating with authors? Incredible. But the books themselves? No. It may be a good thing, too.
There are many, many reasons why I love PowerPoint. It’s intuitive…it helps make eloquent and impactful arguments…and pardon my dorkiness, but it can be downright fun to use. But I also hate PowerPoint. While it can be a very um…powerful tool, I believe it has dumbed down corporate culture.
Restaurant chains across the industry are looking to leverage improvements in tablet technology to order and pay at the table, but Pizza Hut is testing a new innovation that would let guests order and pay using the table itself.
Rapid advances in artificial intelligence now threaten the jobs of educated white-collar workers
Remember the days when students would come to class armed with only a notebook and a textbook? In some places, that time is long gone, as laptops and iPads make their way into schools. Now a creative technology studio has come up with a platform for classrooms that makes digital textbooks look ancient.
Last September, right around spring/winter Fashion Week, an unexpected group of people gathered for a round table discussion at the main offices of the Council of Fashion Designers of America in New York City. Present was Steven Kolb, the CFDA’s CEO, a few higher-ups from Intel and a handful of CFDA members who also happen to be big names in fashion and accessory design. Intel had called the meeting to discuss the idea of starting a collaboration between the company and the fashion industry at large, with the ultimate goal of figuring out a way turn their decidedly unwearable technology into something people—fashionable people—might actually want to put on their bodies.
Changing the agricultural game is what Monsanto does. The company whose name is synonymous with Big Ag has revolutionized the way we grow food—for better or worse. Activists revile it for such mustache-twirling practices as suing farmers who regrow licensed seeds or filling the world with Roundup-resistant superweeds. Then there’s Monsanto’s reputation—scorned by some, celebrated by others—as the foremost purveyor of genetically modified commodity crops like corn and soybeans with DNA edited in from elsewhere, designed to have qualities nature didn’t quite think of.
One of the entries in Co.Exist's recent list of World-Changing Ideas for 2014 is the concept of ingestible sensors, which people will swallow to monitor and improve their health. Biotech company Proteus Digital Health already has an early prototype: a "smart pill" made up of a sensor that is the size of a pinhead paired with a body patch that monitors activity and vital signs. Today, that sensor only transmits information about what pill a patient has taken and when they have taken it. But in the future, Proteus could go far beyond that.
Apple has been granted a patent by the USPTO today (via AppleInsider) that could fit in with its apparent plans to get into health and fitness tracking in a big way: the document describes a headphone system that builds in sensors to detect heart rate, temperature, perspiration and other info to track a user’s movements and activity levels.
Not so long ago, every act of consumption began with a ritual. We pulled records from sleeves and perched them on turntables, slid books from shelves, watched as VHS tapes were ingested with a soft ca-chunk. Qleek, from Paris-based startup Ozenge, aims to return our digital media to a state in which they can be collected, stored, handled, played and shared in the same way that physical media were, once. The makers of Qleek want you to pick up a wooden hexagon printed with, for example, the artwork for an album or mix, place it on a reader, and hear the corresponding tracks play on your device of choice.
The advances we’ve seen in the past few years—cars that drive themselves, useful humanoid robots, speech recognition and synthesis systems, 3D printers, Jeopardy!-champion computers—are not the crowning achievements of the computer era. They’re the warm-up acts. As we move deeper into the second machine age we’ll see more and more such wonders, and they’ll become more and more impressive.
Google's built a multi-billion-dollar empire largely on the strength of search ad sales. But that's starting to change as the years Google has spent nurturing side businesses that have nothing to do with search are beginning to show small, but growing returns.
Given the chance to redesign our world, there would probably be a few things we’d all like to change. Sure we could tackle the obvious ones like restructuring poorly designed highways or creating an effective mass transit system for a sprawling metropolis, but let’s get a little more creative than that.
2014 is starting off with a bang for hardware. The $3.2B acquisition of Nest, a four year old company, is great news for makers. The question is, then, should you be starting a hardware company rather than the next mobile app?
In the latest video of our Ask a Dev series, iOS Director Sean McMains discusses how to store encrypted data in an app, as well as what developers should learn to get ready for wearable technology.
Pinterest has a reputation as the social media channel for food and fashion, but there’s much more to the visual network. It’s a combination of eye candy and information, with businesses, educators and magazines now using Pinterest to complement their other online material. One surprising industry that has jumped on the bandwagon is that of museums.
Before this past December, when Google acquired seven robotics companies back-to-back, the company’s ambitions in the “Internet of Things” space looked as detailed as a freshly started jigsaw puzzle. But with its last three acquisitions — Boston Dynamics, Nest and DeepMind — it seems like Google is rapidly collecting the individual pieces to put together a “real life Internet,” a network of AI-driven robots and objects that could improve transportation, manufacturing and even day-to-day consumer life.
Hearst Corporation, whose holdings include Cosmopolitan magazine and a stake in ESPN, is continuing its push into healthcare and creating a division called Hearst Health. The unit consists of five healthcare-information companies, as well as an innovation lab and venture fund with a commitment to invest $75 million in startups in the space and a second round of $75 million planned for the future, according to the company.
"Innovation simply isn’t one thing. It’s a wide variety of things." Says Maxwell Wessel "Build a shared language for innovation in your organization, set up the structures to pursue each type of innovation correctly, and invest in the team that can guide you through the process."
Is this future scenario convenient—or creepy? It’s one thing if a car’s driver-drowsiness detection system (which exists today) sees that you’re nodding off and suggests coffee. But to make your automated car divert from its usual course because some advertiser paid it to do so, well, that sounds like a mini-carjacking.
Wearable technology is finally here. All of a sudden the kinds of gadgets that I, as a child, imagined my superhero alter ego would sport, no longer seem quite so far-fetched.
He aims to persuade the world that it too has reached “peak email,” that the decades-old medium has entered its final, fatal decline. For many of us, email is so tightly integrated into how we manage our lives that abandoning it seems about as likely as giving up the written word itself. Moskovitz wants to show us we’re wrong, that we’ve maxed out on email as a useful tool and that it’s simply dragging us down.
As we celebrate the life, achievements, and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., entrepreneurs should take note of five important business lessons that can be learned from him, and his role in the Civil Rights movement:
The best part about the future is, baby, you’re living in it--literally. The “smart home” is becoming a real thing, and we’re finally getting choices in our intelligent devices. Here are the best of the bunch.
Sebastian Thrun is the godfather of the autonomous car. His work for Google X — the skunkworks program that also created Glass — was the catalyst for the search giant’s push to produce a fleet of self-driving vehicles that have racked up hundreds of thousands of miles on public roads.
It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change. This wonderful quote of Charles Darwin is still so relevant. 6 out of 10 CEOs state in a survey of PWC that innovation is their primary focus or one of their priorities. But an Accenture study of over 500 companies in the US, France and the UK revealed a risk-averse approach to innovation that results in incremental improvements rather than the creation of really new products and services.
Of all the consumer electronics (and other products of varying origin) we saw at CES 2014, these are our picks for the most interesting, the most important, and the most awesome.
Walk the halls of the International CES and listen to tech titans like Cisco’s John Chambers and it’s easy to believe that the Internet of things is the next big thing and that it’s all but here. But while the tech industry may be embracing it, Washington policymakers, fretting over data security and privacy issues, still aren’t sure what to do about it.
Drones, driverless cars, and the digital dragon of china are just some of the things that will change our economy, and our lives, this year.
The smartphones in our hands, the tablets on our laps, the computers on our desks and the televisions on our walls. We live in a blocky world of glowing glass rectangles. But yesterday at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, industrial glassmaker Corning announced an innovation that may finally end the rectangle's domination over gadgets, and usher in the era of the organically curved and super-resistant devices of the future.
From meat thermometers monitored with a smartphone to Wi-Fi-equipped dog collars, devices and services in homes and businesses are increasingly being connected to the Internet, a long-awaited trend that is causing a surge of optimism in the tech sector. Large and small companies are churning out a number of Internet-connected gadgets, a central theme as the Consumer Electronics Show opens this week in Las Vegas.
Since the financial crisis of 2008, most established firms have reduced costs, focused their resources, and become more lean and efficient. Now, however, they face the challenge of how to grow — which will require the development and implementation of truly innovative products, services, and business models. Making that happen might be hard work, but that doesn’t mean innovation has to become a dirty word.
Paraplegics walking again? Yes. Artisanal pickles still spiking? Yep. Longtime couples finding the frisky? Amazingly, that's true, too. Here are the women and men responsible for these--and many other--incredible acts of innovation.
Who says there's no innovation in print advertising? A print ad in the January issue of Wired will offer more interactivity than most online ads. As the video above shows, the full-page execution includes buttons that you can push to change the color of the pictured Moto X. The ad uses paper-thin components including a battery, LEDs and a keyboard-like button membrane to achieve that feat, according to a Motorola rep.
The IBM “5 in 5″ is the eighth year in a row that IBM has made predictions about technology, and this year’s prognostications are sure to get people talking.
One of my favorite parts about the holiday season is the opportunity to look back and reflect on all of the new people, initiatives, and ideas I encountered throughout the year. From Malala’s incredible journey to the rise of Giving Tuesday, 2013 had no shortage of inspiring social innovators and campaigns.
Investing in women creates a multiplier effect for society – including better health and education outcomes, more resilient societies, reinvestment in communities, and greater prosperity. While there has been overall progress globally, women in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) still face some of the greatest barriers in asserting their economic rights.
This week, Apple unveiled the first large-scale integration of iBeacon, a technology that, when coupled with their fingerprint identification system, may be another building block in building a revolutionary new payment system.
The Wall Street Journal is out with a funny (and brutally honest) takedown of a word that has achieved almost-mythical status among business thinkers like me. That word is innovation, and it’s quickly losing whatever meaning it once had.
Never before in history have new innovations unfolded so quickly, and that pace will only keep accelerating. But we're not just talking about long-lasting cellphone batteries and self-driving cars. Brilliant minds around the world are using today's latest technologies to make the world a better place.
Innovation labs are growing in popularity. No wonder. These corporate woodsheds for technology innovation, strategy, and product development offer companies and their brands a direct plug-in to new ideas and fresh thinking. Who would fault a brand like PepsiCo or Sprint for setting one up and turning the key?
Creativity is a mystery right? Maybe not. Here's a look at the science of the creative process and how to harness your brain's power to come up with more great ideas.
To Reverse Category Sales Slump, Soft-Drink Marketers Partner With Biotech Companies to Find Low-Sugar Drinks That Also Taste Good.
Saks, Barneys Bypass Santa's Workshop for 3D Projection Mapping, Sensory Light Shows
The pressure to innovate is greater than ever. The pressure to make numbers is greater than ever. The opportunities to create are greater than ever — either inside large organizations or starting something small. The rewards are clearly there, and so are the risks. The real question to leaders is: What are you doing to enable innovation and create the capacity to act on it?
It seems we’re all racing to get more entrepreneurial. Increasing creativity and innovation is not only on the priority list for start-ups; it’s also a strategic goal for CEOs of small, medium, and large-sized companies. Despite this growing obsession, however, big companies are still not very good at it.
Sound engineer Young Guru, who has worked on most of Jay Z’s albums, among many other projects, envisions using a telepresence headset like Google Glass as a solution. “I think collaboration is the main thing people are going to find interesting,” he says. “Seeing what others see, and being able to work hands-free.”
What will the future be like? As depicted in today’s popular movies and books, the future is either one of bright promise—where the world’s greatest problems have been solved by technology and greater human enlightenment—or it’s a dystopian world where today’s problems have only gotten worse, technology has gone bad, and the very survival of humanity is at risk.
At the MIT Media Lab, the Tangible Media Group believes the future of computing is tactile. Unveiled today, the inFORM is MIT's new scrying pool for imagining the interfaces of tomorrow. Almost like a table of living clay, the inFORM is a surface that three-dimensionally changes shape, allowing users to not only interact with digital content in meatspace, but even hold hands with a person hundreds of miles away. And that's only the beginning.
"I believe that every life is valuable. That we can make things better. That innovation is the key to a bright future. That we're just getting started." - Bill Gates
The future is here. Now we need to invent what comes next. And it will take the collective imagination and creative energy of all of us to redefine the role of our industry, to rethink the way billions of people interact with the Web and, in turn, with the changing world around them.
How do you create a logo for a company that doesn’t do one thing, but lots of different things? How do you visualize the abstract notion of innovation?
Innovation is the process of idea management – so, yes, you need great ideas to innovate, but that is only part of it. You also need to be able to select ideas. Once you’ve done that, you need the ability to execute them. While all this is going on, you have to keep people inside your organization enthusiastic about the ideas. And at the end of all of this, you have to get your great new idea to spread. To innovate, you need to be good at all of these things.
Post-digital is a confusing phrase. It’s hard to know what people mean when they throw it around—are we done with digital? What does digital even mean anymore?
Design has emerged as a new forcing function in the historical cycle of business integration. It’s what lets companies monetize the intangibles — especially the all-encompassing “experience.”
Ultrahaptics is a new technology, designed for retail, allowing giant touchscreens to give users physical feedback as they click, swipe, and type.
1,200 Submissions. 54 Finalists. 9 Winners. It all came down to one night.
Innovation is essential if the world is to serve more people with fewer resources.
IBM has been experimenting with such “enterprise crowdfunding,” where the company gives its employees a small budget and encourages them to commit it to each others’ proposed projects.
Innovation success stories are all strikingly similar: a bright idea, supported by a zealot-innovator who sees it through. The windfall of goodies follows. But failures happen for all sorts of reasons, and they often occur even when the idea is sound
Indooratlas says it has found the key to indoor mapping: the magnetic field.
Whether you’re a digital start-up or an institutional entrepreneur, three simple heuristics offer an excellent way to determine whether a fledgling innovation initiative should be put out of its misery (and yours).
Kleenex isn't just about cleaning up after sneezes anymore: The Kimberly-Clark Corp. brand has created a tool to predict when your sneezing will start.
Want even faster food? There's a McApp for that.
Far from being the measure of disgrace it once was, failure now seems to be a sort of badge of honor.
Why would we want to be more creative? Why bother fostering the conditions for creativity? Why dim the lights, adjust the volume, and get drunk? What's the purpose of it all?
When you swipe your debit card at the grocery store, no one walks into a bank vault looking for a box with your name on it.
Packed into a small conference room, this rag-tag band of software developers has an outsized digital pedigree, and they have a mission to match. They hope to jailbreak the internet.
Google is obsessed with fixing the world’s broadband problem. High-speed Internet is the electricity of the 21st century, but much of the planet—even some of the United States—remains in the gaslit era; only about 2.7 billion earthlings are wired.
In cities and states across the country, two forces are engaged in battles with major consequences for the future of the Internet and the U.S. innovation economy.
You know your friends who are always first to tell you about some new social platform, who had already made a dozen Vine videos when you decided to give it a try? There are marketers like that too.
Join Jason Silva every week as he freestyles his way into the complex systems of society, technology and human existence and discusses the truth and beauty of science in a form of existential jazz.
3-D printing used to be a fixed medium. Now, graduate students have created a printer that can go back in time, make changes on the fly, and best of all, build objects in a weightless environment.
MYO is a piece of wearable tech that detects muscle configuration to enable users to remotely control any device with arm movements.
It's not an idea problem; it's a recognition problem.
You know how kinect lets you interact with virtual objects? A groundbreaking project called Aireal lets you feel them, too.
On July 10, 2008, Apple launched the App Store, an online hub where iPhone owners could browse and download apps from third party developers. More than anyone could have expected, this became a defining moment in the history of personal computing.
Freespace is a experiment in civic hacking, inspired in no small part by Burning Man. But it’s attracting the attention of Fortune 500 companies eager to find ways bring more creativity and innovation into their work spaces and companies.
The Supreme Court ruled this week that naturally occurring genes can’t be patented, which should be a boon for the host of emerging gene testing and patenting companies that are coming out of the Valley.
The key is to integrate what matters, and only what matters -- the defining ideas and the experience of the customer.
Google Glass isn’t in the hands of consumers yet, but a pair of intrepid Glass explorers didn’t let that stop them from taking the thing apart to see what makes it tick.
This week, Amazon announced the expansion of its experiment in grocery delivery to Los Angeles. The bigger news, however, was the unveiling of a new version of the hugely popular Amazon Prime.
Nivea adds functionality to a traditional print ad promoting its Sun line in Brazil.
The 3rd power law of 3-D printing: Everything from cost and time to amount of material increases to the third power.
The faces of the planet, as seen from space
Wouldn't it be a kick-in-the-head if the most innovative and creative efforts Kickstarter inspired were its effective emulation by the world's most innovative organizations?
Still in its test phase, Google Glass may be dorked to death before it gets the opportunity to take off.
In our houses, cars, and factories, we’re surrounded by tiny, intelligent devices that capture data about how we live and what we do. Now they are beginning to talk to one another. Soon we’ll be able to choreograph them to respond to our needs, solve our problems, even save our lives.
How Do You Make The Customer Experience Full Of Longing? Create Exclusivity And Make Your Product Feel Ephemeral.
Fast forward to 2020. What job skill must you have? Coding.
I want you to imagine a scene. You come home with a bundle of squished white fabric. You plug it into the wall like a heating blanket. And within 10 minutes, you have a new chair.
For wearables to really take off, we’ll need powerful and sophisticated devices that are light-weight, elegant and small enough to be worn as accessories—or embedded into the fabric of our clothes.
Some of the nation’s young brainiacs were honored today at the annual White House Science Fair.
Developers Seeks Sponsors by Touting Attraction's Technology, Social Media Potential
Mastering the ability to reframe problems is an important tool for increasing your imagination because it unlocks a vast array of solutions.
Jifiti lets users scan product barcodes and instantly send a voucher for those items to friends in other locations.
These Harvard Undergrads Are Working On Technology To Translate Paintings Into Something More Sculptural.
Marc Costa, a New Jersey police officer, found himself dealing with an excess of paperwork on the job. Up to three quarters of a police officer's day can be spent filling out paperwork, and he wanted to find a way to make his workday more efficient.
On April 3, 1973 — exactly 40 years from today — Motorola employee Marty Cooper made the first mobile phone call.
Like these speakers? You can’t have them.
These are ads that you can actually have a (limited) conversation with, potentially creating a much more interactive and fun advertising experience — which is particularly challenging for mobile advertisers who have to work with limited screen space.
3D printing is still in its infancy. But, to use an overused phrase, it is the future. From home use to enterprise use, 3D printing will continue to grow and break into new areas.
If biologists could put computational controls inside living cells, they could program them to sense and report on the presence of cancer, create drugs on site as they’re needed, or dynamically adjust their activities in fermentation tanks used to make drugs and other chemicals.
The patent describes designs that could have a seamless, continuous surface resembling the fourth generation iPod nano, as well as other shapes closer to the current iPhone, but with every surface a touch-sensitive glass display.
The Torre de Especialidadesis is shielded with a facade of Prosolve370e, a new type of tile whose special shape and chemical coating can help neutralize the chemicals that compose smog.
The “free” in Free Software refers to “freedom”, rather than cost. It is largely a happy coincidence that Free Software is available gratis.
From the shiny, strong nacre that gives abalone shells an unbreakable, opaline sheen, to the goopy mix of proteins fired by a velvet worm that solidify and trap prey upon impact, nature is packed with inspiration for scientists designing new materials.
The invisibility cloak has long been an idea present mostly in comic books and sci-fi novels — remember the Cloak of Invisibility from J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter" books or the scramble suit from Philip K. Dick's "A Scanner Darkly"?
Matt Richardson's hack displays a moving odometer in real-time.
The 3Doodler aims to bring 3D printing down to the handheld scale, with a pen that uses quick-cooling plastic to create hand-drawn 3D models.
Invisible Cities is a project looking to make technology and nature come together seamlessly in order to draw a new, connected generation into spending more time in the outdoors.
According to an online quiz created by my organization that has been taken by more than 500,000 people since 2009, employees are most proficient at implementing (sowing but not growing) the work they are assigned to complete.
Aiming to create an "object of desire" rather than just another TV, Philips' designers have created a TV that looks like a seamless sheet of glass with a black gradient.
Repeat trips to the doctor could become a thing of the past thanks to a new technology that can monitor your health and wellbeing remotely – directly from the surface of your skin.
The Shadow Cube creates barcodes that point to Wikipedia entries of great thinkers.
The future of technology is, ironically, all too human.
Using near-field communication (NFC) technology found in smartphones, commuters could scan book titles that appear on advertisements inside the car.
In today’s world of changing business models, mass entrepreneurs, and a growing “maker economy,” we find a hotbed of innovation ecosystems.
Business news headlines featuring social-networking giant Facebook change almost as often and as dramatically as a teenager updates her Facebook status online.
The idea that we could invent tools that change our cognitive abilities might sound outlandish, but it’s actually a defining feature of human evolution.
A new accelerator is looking for how we’re going to create and view content. What’s the future going to bring?
Auto-tracking is the next frontier in user interaction. Intelligent eye-tracking would result in a revolutionary paradigm shift.
Fjord charts the major innovations of the past, and predicts a future of totally intuitive "micro gestures and expressions" that will control our devices.
This sense of secrecy extends to the highest levels of the organization.
Flexible, stretchable electronic devices will help monitor athletes on the field, take medical monitoring away from the hospital bedside, and make portable electronics more comfortable—perhaps even wearable.
Starting tomorrow evening, anyone looking at the San Francisco side of the Bay Bridge at night will be wowed by the ever-changing swirls, bursts, star fields, and other patterns of the Bay Lights Project, the world's largest LED art installation.
Building a space away from normal activity, where people trust each other and agree to behave by a different set of rituals, is key to enhancing a team's creative capability.
The co-founder and executive director of MIT's Auto-ID lab, Kevin Ashton, proposed to apply the logic of the web to objects in the physical world: to connect everything that exists physically to the Internet through the application of ubiquitous tags and sensors. Fifteen years later, we are seeing Ashton's vision play out.
Are we jaded? Is SXSW too crowded to anyone to stand out?
It's like harnessing the Force: A new armband uses the electrical activity in your muscles to let you wirelessly control digital devices.
What if technology makes scientific discoveries that we can’t understand?
For the time being, America remains the destination of choice in the global economy. But talented individuals can now also find very attractive opportunities in other countries around the world.
Frog Design asked designers to invent wearable tech concepts, with results ranging from interactive tree displays to a wristband that helps wearers navigate NY subways.
Research by IESE professors Carlos Garcia Pont and Paulo Rocha e Oliveira helps you spot if your company is under threat of stagnation by identifying the hidden obstacles preventing innovation – and how to overcome them.
On Wednesday, the search giant launched an application contest to let regular people from all walks of life try out the head-mounted, augmented reality "glasses." They simply have to prove they deserve it.
Microsoft's co-founder and current chairman Bill Gates praised the company's investments in Windows 8 and Bing, but said Microsoft is still not doing enough to innovate.
All agencies think innovation = digital. As a result, we’re not seeing genuine innovation; instead we’re seeing more interruption, in more places, on more devices. Ad agencies need to innovate, and innovate fast, but are caught in what is known as, ‘the innovator’s paradox.’
Unfortunately, a lot of dealerships subscribe to the old-school philosophy: if research starts online, consideration and choice still happen in the showroom. Clayton Stanfield, senior manager of dealer training at eBay Motors and a former dealership Internet sales manager himself, says things are changing when it comes to how dealerships are handling prospects.
A focus on customer insights is a good thing -- but when marketing organizations fail to anticipate competitors’ moves that affect customers, all the insights may be for naught? When was the last time you and your team took time to consider how your rivals operate, or might operate based on changes that you make?
By the end 2013 tablets will account for 20 percent of Google’s paid search ad clicks in the U.S., up from 6 percent in January 2012. It’s not just the volume of the tablet clicks that is rising, it’s also the value.
Large companies like IBM, Syngenta, Procter & Gamble, 3M, and Unilever show that innovation can be a repeatable discipline. Yet, with all of this progress it still feels like a positive surprise when you see a large company confidently approach the challenges of innovation.
Nike CEO Mark Parker On His Company's Digital Future: Body-Controlled Music, Color-Coded Heart Rates
"Nike has broken out of apparel and into tech, data, and services, which is so hard for any company to do." In the coming years, Nike will expand its footprint in the digital space, especially through partnerships like the one it struck with TechStars, to attract startups to build on the Nike+ platform.
Hoping to give visitors their own platform for curation, the Cleveland Museum of Art has launched its Artlens app, which can be used by patrons to create their own path through the collection.
Samsung yesterday announced the launch of a new Open Innovation Center in Silicon Valley that aims at connecting the conglomerate with the latest and greatest software ideas.
Over the next few months, all of Hearst Digital Media‘s titles are getting a new look. The new responsive design is the more obvious change. It’s an increasingly popular strategy for companies to adapt to mobile by creating websites that rearrange themselves based on the size of the screen.
With nothing more than carefully selected images and a few poignant words the mysterious man known as Steve Okyln has the fashion world chatting, clicking, gawking, laughing and fuming. Maybe if the world knew who he was people would have a place to direct their anger, but his anonymity is clearly one of his strongest weapons.
Zappos founder Tony Hsieh has added three Cs: collision, community, and co-learning. Hsieh’s big bet is that exposing his employees to serendipity--within both the office and the city--will ultimately make them smarter, happier, and more productive. That means: no hiding behind partitions.
Any effective approach to content has to put the consumer at the center and must be able to adapt based on cultural trends and consumer insights. The action of being quick-to-market with compelling content based on real-time cultural trends is a much tougher challenge.
I think there are 3 key shifts going on and each requires a different response from innovation leaders – heck from strategists, CEOs, CIOs, CMos and just about everyone. This is urgent. First – how do we think about innovation? It’s either incremental or disruptive, right? Well, no.
While for-profit companies and governments are able to engage in “building a smarter planet” with the likes of IBM, nonprofits and the organizations that make up the social sector lack the means to engage such sophisticated talent. And yet money is not the major factor keeping the social sector from embracing the data age.
Belling says influencer marketing was critical from day one, when popchips was just a little indie brand that could. They knew they didn’t have the budget for a traditional ad campaign, so how else to get the word out? By getting as many snacks into the hands that mattered.
The New York Times is opening up its office space and expertise to media startups through timeSpace. The scheme is opening up office space at the newspaper’s headquarters at 620 8th Avenue, New York City, to provide fledgling businesses with a four-month program.
Somehow, almost all of these institutions have continued to attract enough students to stay in business year after year. That’s about to change, and one of the key differences in who survives won’t be the academic output of the faculty or the amenities available to students. It will be a factor seemingly unrelated to the schools’ mission: branding.
Although few are talking about it, the new video app could be a perfect tool for citizen journalists, and news organizations that want access to real-time news.
In this "postdigital" era, brands must confront “a new normal and a new basis of competition, with digitalization at its core,” says Mark White, Deloitte principal and CTO. Forward-thinking organizations have to figure out how to bake in the digital forces of mobile, analytics, social and the cloud, he adds.
Clusters are a radical alternative to our traditional notion of teams. They are formed outside a company context, but are hired and paid by companies as a unit, as a permanent part of the company.
Between the refrigerator and the garbage disposal, the consumer-side food surplus could be an opportunity for the new sharing economy. Just like Airbnb lets you rent out unused space in your home, and Lyft and Sidecar let you rent unused time in your car, and ThredUp lets you pass along unused clothing, could a website help you get rid of unused, but still edible food?
Burrito chain Chipotle is branching out and trying to become a lifestyle brand in order to beat it’s rivals. The company has launched a line of organic clothes and accessories, is hosting ‘locavore’ festivals that champion local and sustainable food choices, and backing a dark comedy video series about a PR man defending industrial farming.
The long delayed release is critical to BlackBerry’s attempt to re-enter the marketplace. Once the darling of company-issued smartphones, owning nearly a quarter of the marketplace in the U.S., they currently have about a 4% share.
Vine and Snapchat both use the simplest of interactions--holding your finger anywhere on the screen (which I’ll call “tap-and-hold”)--to power core functions in their interface. And in each case, that single interaction changes everything about the app.
With media consumption shifting to mobile platforms in an increasingly fragmented environment, media companies face the uncomfortable prospect of trading dollars for dimes, while marketers and agencies are challenged with greater complexity in reaching desired audiences. But what may appear as a dark cloud is actually full of silver linings, and those who get ahead of the curve in embracing this change can not only survive but thrive in the post-PC paradigm.
Design judges at the 2012 Cannes International Festival of Creativity had a "Cocoon" moment. They ran in and out of the jury room with the glee of 5-year-olds, having just gotten their hands on a magical piece of work from Serviceplan, Munich. On the surface, it was a completely blank white book. But all came to light -- literally -- when the book was exposed to the sun and its rays interacted with specially treated paper to reveal the content within.
In the past year, I have been struck by how important measurement is to improving the human condition. You can achieve incredible progress if you set a clear goal and find a measure that will drive progress toward that goal.
As brewmaster at Anheuser-Busch InBev's ABI.BT +0.44% pilot brewery in St. Louis, the 29-year-old chemical engineer experiments with new beers in a scaled-down replica of the main brewery next door. Almost all of the 500 recipes she and her team brew each year never make it out of the building.
Following The New York Times' recent success, online paywalls (particularly the metered-access kind) have been popping up on newspaper websites across the globe. In the U.S. alone, nearly half of all newspapers now have some sort of online paywall.
So what's NFC? It technically stands for Near Field Communications, and it enables mobile devices like smartphones to communicate with nearby devices and objects with a simple tap.
Clearly, brands could stand to do more to keep consumers interested; the chief reason given by people who don't engage with brands on social networks is that they only "like" brands to get a deal they're offering.
When Instagram joined Facebook last April, a race to crown a “Instagram for Video” revved into full throttle. With Instagram's $1 billion price tag fresh in their minds, investors rushed to fund or acquire a piece of what seemed to be the next step in the evolution of social media.
While the digital era has led to many difficulties, challenges and changes for the music industry, it also has opened opportunities for music fans to interact with their favorite acts in ways that were not possible before.
Nissan will dabble in automotive aromatherapy at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show, launching a "brand smell" that it hopes to eventually roll out to its dealerships. Nissan describes the fragrance as "quite a modern smell — a bit Oriental."
Most gestural UIs still feel like little puzzles to solve instead of an easier way of interacting with apps, and Rise’s "gestural redundancy" makes its interface feel immensely more user-friendly.
Amazon is announcing “AutoRip,” a new service that will give anyone who has ever purchased a CD on Amazon over the past 15 years a free digital copy of that album.
While it’s unlikely that focus groups can create an innovative idea, they can help evolve one--fine-tuning how it will be embraced and determining the feature set, price point, and physical embodiment of the core idea.
Even in the internet age, events are big, and important, business. The Aberdeen Group finds that 9 percent of an organization’s total budget is spent on events and that figure is expected to climb 20 percent over the next two years.
Imagine Walt Disney World with no entry turnstiles. Cash? Passe. Visitors would wear rubber bracelets encoded with credit card information, snapping up corn dogs and Mickey Mouse ears with a tap of the wrist. Smartphone alerts would signal when it is time to ride Space Mountain, without standing in line. Fantasyland? Hardly. It happens starting this spring.
With New Fantasyland, we seized the opportunity to bring to life some new classic stories — Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid — using innovative technology and entertainment approaches that elevate the guest experience beyond anything we’ve ever delivered.
Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and insights into what consumers watch and buy, and Twitter today announced an exclusive multi-year agreement to create the “Nielsen Twitter TV Rating” for the US market.
To a certain extent—in this age of marketing ourselves, finding our niches and explaining how our distinctive personal backstories make for unique selling propositions—all our names are brand names. But some have gone above and way beyond.
Lots of companies have committed, recasting stories through platforms that look more like digital magazines than traditional websites, and more. While all the attention may give it the luster of a fad today, brand content is nothing new.
What can we expect from Lacoste, the traditionally ‘preppy’ brand that arguably hit its stride in the 1980s?
Rick Marazzani believes readers should be able to share and discover e-books through their friends' personal libraries just like they do with print books. That's why he built Ownshelf. Ownshelf, a free web service that launched in beta Friday, provides readers with a cloud storage platform to share e-books with friends and family.
By putting its talks online in 2006, what was previously a members-only affair—an annual Davos-like conclave of wealthy Silicon Valley and Hollywood types—suddenly became an enormous and almost democratic cultural force, reaching millions of viewers around the world.
Most other newspapers in the country, including the New York Times and Gannett Co.'s local papers, have introduced paywalls in the past year or so, generating increased circulation revenues that offset print advertising losses. But among major newspapers, the Post has stood almost alone in its decision to keep its website free.
NDN has grown because online publishers can’t get enough video content (and the ad dollars that come with it). The company's selling point is that it provides the platform and video content and sells the advertising at no cost to its partner publishers—while giving content creators wider distribution for their video content.
Campbell’s soup held a special place on the American dinner table for the better part of the 20th century. But in the last few years its core soup business, which accounts for half the company’s $7.7 billion in annual revenues, has faded to 46% market share from 51% in 2007, an ever smaller part of an ever smaller food category. An ill-advised move into low-sodium formulations under Morrison’s predecessor, Doug Conant, accelerated the decline.
Many CMOs seem to be struggling to gain alignment and to build consensus across their lines of business and into the board room. As a result, the C-suite can be plagued with uncertainty and misunderstanding, and CMOs are starting to worry about losing relevance. What does it take to get us all on the same page, pulling together?
They’ve hit a market ‘reach’ of 180 million users a month across mobile and web platforms and re-vamped the site with the ‘Next’ version after testing out their open Beta for several months.
One of the hottest marketing catchphrases of 2012 is "data is the new creative." The premise is that all the creative in the world won't help you if your decisions are not data-driven.
It is a revolutionary breakthrough worthy of Willy Wonka – Cadbury has found a way to make chocolate that doesn’t melt in hot weather. The new bars of Dairy Milk stay completely solid even when exposed to temperatures of 104F for more than three hours.
As one of the world’s leading manufacturers of baby gear and preschool toys, Fisher-Price believes that traditional branding processes no longer guarantee success. To differentiate its brands in a highly competitive industry, the company maintains a laser-like focus on creativity and innovation -- and its sphere of influence is large.
2012 has been the year of growth for content marketing. Brands have begun to embrace the discipline as a vital part of their overall strategy. What was once a conversation on “why content marketing” has turned into a conversation on “how to.”
With the newsroom housed 24 floors below, the seven-year-old R&D Lab acts as a tech startup of sorts inside the New York Times Co., home of the 161-year-old, self-styled newspaper of record. With 20 staffers, the lab’s mix of crazy smart technologists, programmers, designers and business brains are charged with the Sisyphean task of developing tech innovations and new business models to help the struggling Times weather an uncertain future following five consecutive years of falling revenue and net losses totaling more than $300 million over seven years.
For a few years now, Chipotle has regarded traditional marketing as largely irrelevant for its needs. But the one TV buy it made this year -- its first national TV ad, no less -- garnered more attention than most marketers dream of getting.
Just how is Apple able to perform so much better than other consumer electronics retailers and world-renowned brands? And more important, why haven’t any of them been able to duplicate Apple’s magic formula yet?
Successful social business starts with transforming your organization internally. This is often overlooked as a crucial step toward social business. Yet not only does having an internal social business system make businesses more effective at the external effort, it’s often critical for a company’s long-term social business success.
Hostess’ management never figured out how to transition its product portfolio amid a sea change in consumer tastes, to have the kind of product-line evolution that companies such as Coca-Cola, General Mills, and Danone all mastered.
Everyone thinks they have a digital strategy these days. But while your company may have a business or IT strategy that incorporates digital technology, an IT strategy does not equal a digital strategy. Why?
ROI needs rethinking -- not because it’s no longer effective, but because it may result in the strategic emphasis being placed potentially on the wrong kind of marketing activities.
Forget about the clicks and check-ins so commonly associated with what many marketers call the "second screen" experience, which typically involves use of a tablet or smartphone while the user watches anything from "The Voice" to "Hoarders." Marketers are starting to use the medium with more in mind than just sparking idle talk.
Social media allow like-minded people to coalesce, and have increased the ability of companies to tap into their customers’ humanity. But there’s a twist: while companies want to use social media to tap into this and because it does a lot of their outreach for them, it also requires something more of the companies that enter the social space.
A few weeks ago, at the Fast Company offices, we convened an all-star panel of designers and design leaders to talk about the problems that they found most vexing in the past year, and what they were trying to do to solve them.
Lately we’ve heard a chorus of skepticism regarding the importance of viewability, and some say that there is no correlation between viewability and conversion rate. In reality, there are only three reasons why one could legitimately argue that viewability doesn't matter.
In the 1980s, Ingvar Kamprad, Ikea’s octogenarian founder, started building a series of foundations to protect the business after his death and minimise its tax bills, a contentious move in egalitarian Sweden.
A thoughtful identity gives a multinational disease research network a new way to communicate.
It used to be that brands and agencies would create ad campaigns, push them live, and use the resulting consumer reaction to help inform the next campaign. But with the rise of real-time data, marketers can now keep tabs on real-time consumer reaction and use that knowledge to make smarter decisions around all facets of creating, distributing and measuring brand campaigns.
In case you didn’t notice over the past several years the amount of patent battles between some pretty big brands have been waged in the courts. Samsung vs. Apple. Google vs. Facebook. And on and on and on. The folks over at visual.ly put together this handy dandy graphicso you can keep score at home.
Companies like Google and Facebook have had access to vast amounts of data on how consumers behave on the web for years. Now you can get access to this same kind of Big Data, even if you don’t have their scale.
The power of the network effect is fading, at least in its current incarnation. Traditionally defined as a system where each new user on the network increases the value of the service for all others, a network effect often creates a winner-takes-all dynamic, ordaining one dominant company above the rest. Moreover, these companies often wield monopoly-like powers over their industries.
For now, trending topics are a feature buried within a temporary feature at the corner of the Stitcher app. But the technology behind them reveals the potential for discovery to impact talk radio the way it has music, video, and written news.
D'Aloisio's company released a news reading app today that summarizes news articles, creating a sort of Cliff Notes for the news, for the iPhone. It'll be the second time the London-based teenager has repackaged his product, and this time he did it because he feels like the consumption of news on mobile devices hasn't been properly addressed.
We continuously hear of the ever-changing digital age and predictions now and then, of doom and gloom within the newspaper, magazine, radio and outdoor media marketplaces, among others. Forward-thinking marketers and media executives, however, continually find ways to adapt, evolve and reinvent traditional communication platforms.
"Hyperlocal" news sites that focus their coverage on small towns and city neighborhoods are reporting big traffic surges from Sandy, with local residents keen to find out about their towns' storm preparedness yesterday and about property damage and when power will be restored today, with much of it driven by search.
The key for every firm — regardless of size — is to figure out how to consistently create value in a demanding, ever-changing market. That is hard no matter what size you are, no matter what industry you're in.
For years, Microsoft sidelined itself from the world of Web standards. Internet Explorer, especially the now-despised IE6, exemplified how spurning standards held back the Web. But Microsoft has performed an about-face.
Google has created a crisis map for Hurricane Sandy, which includes information on the storm's current location, its predicted path and the locations of emergency shelters.
The answer to that question has dramatic consequences for low-GDP countries and small businesses everywhere. If the cost of innovation is falling, that should enable more of it from poorer countries, companies or cooperatives. If it's not, the already big and already rich will dominate innovation.
I would argue that we have yet to see a startup nail ANY part of the video experience except for sharing. Apps in this category include Viddy, SocialCam, Klip, Chill, Vodio, and more. To me, this is classic Silicon Valley just building something they’re comfortable building: platforms, social graphs, viral hooks, blah, blah, blah.
At any given moment, Diageo has between 2.5 billion and 3 billion bottles sitting in stores around the world, acting as passive "pitchmen" for its brands. Now Diageo has found a way for the bottles to literally speak to the consumers who buy them.
Today there are more than 2,000 ways to bring more interactive and engaging Tweets to your stream –– on twitter.com, as well as Twitter for iPhone, Android and BlackBerry.
8tracks is a streaming, not on-demand, music service. Its some 600,000 mixes are uploaded by a small portion (less than 1%) of the app’s users, known as DJs. There are no restrictions on the type of tracks these DJs can choose, beyond a couple of requirements that help keep 8tracks legal.
The potential of personalized online marketing, when done well, is enormous—and for that reason, it’s a compelling sell. The problem is, it hasn’t been done successfully thus far. And thanks to vendor hype and overpromise, just mention the word “personalization,” and most have learned to greet it with a healthy dose of skepticism.
Time had social media users high on its mind when it decided to move to responsive design. Social media now accounts for at least 12 percent of referrals to Time.com, and most people who click on Time links from Facebook, Twitter and the like are doing so on a mobile.
Why do some advertisers and agencies look at the world one silo at a time when, in fact, our media world is cross-referenced but brand messages across them are not completely integrated?
Newspapers in Brazil have uncoupled themselves from Google News, claiming that their presence on the search engine is preventing their online operations from growing. It's a pre-emptive strike on the firm, involving all 154 members of the Associacao Nacional de Journais--that's 90% of the country's circulation of dailies.
Microsoft Corp. seems to be serious about its foray into the tablet market – the software giant is planning large volume production of its first tablet computer, Surface, in the fourth quarter.
After almost a decade of self-imposed corporate exile, Mr. Pittman is back in the corporate saddle and on a mission. In his new role heading Clear Channel, the MTV founder and high-profile AOL alum has a grandiose goal: to reinvent radio, a business many have left for dead.
Since 2005, micro-blogging platforms like Facebook and Twitter have changed the medium in which IBM often communicates, but the company remains committed to blogging and is an especially enthusiastic user of Tumblr, though you can find IBMers on Instagram, Pinterest and any other up-and-coming social media site.
Shoppers at the new International Finance Center Mall in Seoul can find their way around the four-story complex by approaching one of 26 information kiosks. When they do, they also are being watched. Kiosks at a Seoul mall, above, would use facial recognition software to decide what ads to present shoppers. Just above each kiosk's LCD touch screen sit two cameras and a motion detector
The sports highlight is extremely predictable by now: an amazing play, sequence or moment is replayed from one or more angles, while a news anchor or announcer recaps what happened. Sometimes the video runs along with its original play-by-play audio, or maybe with the live radio call. But, in the age of social media permeation and mobile video proliferation, this is no longer enough, according to UNITE.
From rooftop bashes and acquisition talks to staff clashes and layoffs, Hipstamatic’s founders and ex-employees describe the startup’s losing struggle to keep pace with Instagram, Facebook, and others in the white-hot photo-sharing space.
Throughout the succinct two-year history of social television, successes and failures have taught practitioners three valuable lessons. In fact, these lessons apply to practitioners in any major medium (radio, film, television, journalism).
The car has been called “the fourth screen” for internet-connected content. But even for high-performance brands like BMW, adapting the car to keep up with the fast pace of mobile computing has been a slow and complicated process. The luxury automaker plans to bring automotive technology up to speed and in sync with smartphones, computers and tablets by leveraging an EU-funded project called “webinos.”
So fervent is our desire for Design, we have created “Design Thinking”. And to prove its theorems, Stanford now has a D School to remind us that we can’t just create things from blue sky. From sea to shining sea, the U.S. has become obsessed with Design.
Are New Devices Adding to News Consumption? What does the growing expansion of mobile mean for news consumption overall? Are people who own mobile technology getting more news now that they have more ready access to it? Or are they merely replacing one platform with another? Here, the findings are as strong as in 2011, and in some cases even stronger, in suggesting that mobile technology is increasing news consumption.
The social media site, whose attempts at monetizing the brand are currently coming thick and fast, has launched Facebook Collections. No, not that long-awaited range of sportwear in Poke Me Blue, but a new button it's trying out in conjunction with a select bunch of retailers in the U.S.
it's inherently impossible to design a great user experience for bad content. If you're passionate about creating better user experiences, you can't help but care about delivering useful, usable, engaging content.
Corporate America is questioning the return on their advertising investment, and agencies continue to struggle to prove their value. There is an impatience for efficiency and effectiveness, and there are higher expectations of accountability.
A two word phrase that marketers concern themselves with all the live-long day or at least a significant part of their day: Big Data. And depending on who you listen to and/or believe either marketers are handling their new found wealth of prodigious piles of information quite well and are using insights gleaned from the data to their benefit or, quite simply they are not.
The headline conclusion of Pew's latest monster survey of the media landscape was the demise of TV news. "There are now signs that television news is increasingly vulnerable," the authors wrote, "as it may be losing its hold on the next generation of news consumers." But the larger story is the rise of the Web, which has surpassed newspapers and radio to become the second most popular source of news for Americans, after TV
Apple's apology for the shortcomings of its Maps app demonstrates once again why its branding goes so far beyond what most marketers are willing to consider. Every CMO should take note of the power of acknowledging reality.
In a world where consumers increasingly are storming the internet with queries, downloads and page views from their mobile devices, marketers need a mobile-optimized or mobile-specific website. The question of whether or not you need to build a mobile app is a little less clear cut.
It’s Advertising Week, which means it’s time for a barrage of panels full of questions like “Are banners dead?” and “Native advertising: the wave of the future?” And while some will dismiss this chattering as manufactured drama, the proliferation of these existential questions is a solid indicator that the digital publishing industry needs to change.
There’s no question about it—mobile traffic is booming as people spend more time hunched over their little screens. For magazines, it represents an opportunity to capture more readers and try to convert them to paying ones.
Analysis found that marketers are still posting too little on weekends and at night and when they do post, they’re way too verbose. Weekends, when brands post too little, the audience appears primed for interaction.
What do Harvard Business Publishing and Harlequin – the publisher of a gazillion romance novels – have in common? More than you might think. I’ve blogged before about Harvard’s efforts to create a community of readers, thinkers, and kibitzers. It turns out that Harlequin has been doing the same for nearly 15 years – long before the Internet made it easy, or at least easier.
While there is a lot of Hadoopalooza in the technology press about the tools for managing big data, and they are wonderful, it's also true that they are a) widely available, and b) mostly free. Neither can be said of data scientists. Simply put, you can't do much with big data without data scientists. They are the magicians who transform an inchoate mass of bits into a fit subject for analysis.
To its groaning shelf of National Magazine Awards and bulging portfolio of stories extolling its business success, New York magazine can add one more credit: It's having its best year in a decade. Both profits and revenue are the highest they've been since financier Bruce Wasserstein bought the barely profitable publication.
That consumers are turned off by sites not optimized for smartphones isn’t news to anyone who uses the mobile Web. But marketers need more than anecdotal evidence to get their organizations to invest in the medium.
Despite its growth, investors see the carmaker’s structure and the founding family’s grip on ownership as a liability. Why is a company that is widely admired for its industrial performance and well on its way to meeting lofty growth targets viewed with such scepticism?
Historically, companies have decided which markets to focus on and have allocated sales resources based on looking at past results and using gut instincts. But today, "big data" and deep analytical capabilities give sales and marketing leaders a better way to make decisions
The lifeblood of college football fandom is changing. The painted faces crammed into the student section of stadiums nationwide have turned away from newspapers and talk radio toward social media to get stats, scores and even messages from coaches and players in real time. As social media infiltrates stadiums and clubhouses, teams are scrambling on and off the field to reach students and young alumni
Publications like WIRED and Popular Science were quick out of the gate with sophisticated iPad apps, and while they did offer some compelling multimedia experiences that couldn’t be done in print, the apps lacked the ease of use that’s central to enjoying a magazine.
Don Chadwick, whose ergonomic Aeron chair for Herman Miller has been so influential in furniture design that it has been honored with the ‘Design of the Decade’ Award and given a spot in MoMA’s permanent collection.
Six-year-old Good — the company behind Good Magazine and Good.is — is beginning a new chapter Wednesday, with the relaunch of its website as a digital community for social action. The new Good.is is a place for people interested in creating change to spread awareness for different causes with a like-minded community
Google Maps Street View is fine for eyeing what a business looks like on the outside. But Google just made it much easier to open up Maps, then open up doors of select businesses to see what it looks like on the inside. Now when you open up Google Maps, you can pull out the orange Pegman and drop him on top of any of the new orange dots that will appear to take a tour inside a business.
In short, what was a tired, nearly bankrupt Macintosh company has become the leading marketer of innovation that makes our lives remarkably better. So we care – a lot – about the products Apple offers, how it sells them and how much they cost. We want to know how we can apply them to solve even more problems for ourselves, colleagues, customers and suppliers.
In a bold first-day speech, the BBC’s new boss says the corporation must stop thinking that online innovation means repurposing broadcast content and instead ‘create genuinely digital content for the first time’.
Publishing insiders worry that a decisive court ruling benefiting retailer Amazon.com Inc. will undermine an industry already struggling with the transition to e-books.
USA Today, with its colorful omnipresence on airport newsstands and outside the doors of hotel rooms, is showing off its new look on Friday. And the makeover for the newspaper, based just outside the Washington Beltway, comes straight from Silicon Valley.
The technology surrounding today’s retail landscape has changed, and with this change comes a myriad of innovative opportunities that extend beyond our conventional way of thinking. Viewing these opportunities as “distractions” rather than opportunities risks losing ground to the competition.
Did you know one comment on Forbes is worth 472 views of an article? And a +1 on Google Plus is worth 169 views, while a Share on Facebook is worth 31 views? Ken Krogue shares his analysis of the currency exchange of digital and social media.
The lifestyle retailer puts shopping for home furnishings and decor back in the real world for maximum product interaction and shared experience.
We researched a number of companies that overcame the multi-channel dilemma — systematically — by applying business discipline to the practice of customer experience in an integrated way. Here are three of their most effective strategies.
Stationary furniture is the largest segment within the furniture category. To continue to grow the brand needed to shift deep-rooted perceptions and convince female consumers that La-Z-Boy offers more than recliners.
Author and interaction design researcher Richard Banks shares his thoughts on the interaction between storing memories digitally and physically. Richard is the Principal Interaction Designer at Microsoft Research‘s Socio-Digital Systems group, a team analyzing how families use digital and analog media and building technological objects in response.
Human behavior is nuanced and complex, and no matter how robust it is, data can provide only part of the story. Desire and motivation are influenced by psychological, social, and cultural factors that require context and conversation in order to decode.
A WEEKLY trade publication covering Madison Avenue since the Hoover administration will soon introduce its most significant redesign in years, as part of efforts to further redirect its editorial focus in a digital world toward analysis from breaking news.
Selling solutions allows companies to differentiate themselves in commoditizing markets and to benefit from economies of scope across multiple profit and service capabilities. For customers, these solutions offer better value than the products and services that went before. After all, who would not prefer a "solution" to their business problems rather than simply buying services and products?
The Seattle-based coffee giant’s year-and-a-half-old mobile payment program may be the largest of any retailer in North America. Even before its recent $25 million investment in San Francisco mobile payments startup Square, the company had been processing a million mobile-phone transactions per week.
Two years after launch, Bloomberg Sports is rapidly expanding its offering of data-driven technology tools, signaling the growing demand for advanced analytics by fans and teams alike as the digital capability to deliver such content matures.
My most important decisions are about adjusting to change. Over the last 20 years, we’ve reinvent-ed ourselves five or six times. Some were positive reinventions, some were very painful.
While the tangible benefits of conducting business digitally are manyfold, companies that are moving their employees online have largely ignored one of the most important factors of success: corporate culture.
Being relevant-at-scale helps marketers to truly benefit from a competitive advantage in the market. At the heart of being relevant-at-scale is an ongoing commitment to harnessing data and analytics. How can you be relevant to your consumers if you don’t know where to reach them and if you don’t know anything about them when you interact?
Who’s controlling your brand message? Recent high-profile Twitter blunders from Progressive Insurance and online store CelebBoutique underscore the challenges of outsourcing your voice as a brand.
"I am not here dreaming of (or worrying about) a world in which computers have displaced the printed word, and us too. I could find no one at this conference who would predict the demise of the newspaper. No one. All saw an important place for us."
A great new way for you and your Facebook friends to share your favorite articles.
Customer experience goes to the heart of everything you do--how you conduct your business, the way your people behave when they interact with customers and each other, the value you provide. You literally can't afford to ignore it, because your customers take it personally each and every time they touch your products, your services, and your support.
Pfizer, like Dove and Prudential before it, has gone topical. The pharma giant’s new corporate image effort eschews gauzy TV ads in favor of a microsite where consumers can find and share third-party information about the vicissitudes of aging.
It's a paradox of the information age. The glut of information that bombards us daily too frequently obscures true insight. Intelligence should drive better innovation, but unless it is strategically collected and used, it functions like a summer beach novel — an engaging distraction.
In the late 1990s the dot-com boom made every organization look at the potential for online presence and examine its business model. But the pace has been heating up with emerging social (Facebook), mobile (smart phones and iPads), "cloud," and "big data" technologies that are creating new ways to compete, and, along with them, new ways of working.
Successful innovators ask users to embrace--or at least tolerate--new values, new skills, new behaviors, new vocabularies, new ideas, new expectations, and new aspirations. They transform their customers. Successful innovators reinvent their customers as well as their businesses. Their innovations make customers better and make better customers.
Marketers are buzzing from the aftershocks of Google's recent most updates, code-named Panda and Penguin. Both the Panda and Penguin updates contained very clear messages for marketers: stop focusing on technology and tricks and start focusing on people. If your website appeals to people, it will appeal to Google's algorithms too.
Welcome to the newest retail concept in Funabashi: a shopping mall designed with the elderly in mind. Here older shoppers can access medical clinics, benefit from 5 per cent discounts on pension day, partake in any of 140 leisure activities ranging from calligraphy to hula dancing and, through the “Begins Partner” programme, find love.
In today’s rapidly transforming, consumer-empowered digital world, as a CMO, do you operate with a Silicon Valley state of mind for today’s state of business?
If there's any sign that the media ecosystem is on the verge of dramatic change, then these four digital trends bubbling to the surface are the latest proof points of that. These aren't random trends but are illustrative of tectonic shifts that will change the media business dramatically.
Marketers' Obsession With Audience Data Could Teach Media a Thing or Two. Brand marketers research their audiences exhaustively until they understand them instinctively. So it's strange to remember how magazines I've known kept their editorial and advertising sides operating not just separately, as they should, but entirely divorced from each other, with each side in near-denial of the other's existence.
A lethal combination of thrifty consumers and a commercial real estate slump have turned malls into the walking dead of retail. In 2009, General Growth Properties, one of the largest mall operators in America, filed for bankruptcy, unable to service more than $25bn in debt. The vacancy rates in regional and strip malls in the US nearly doubled between late 2007 and the middle of last year.
More than a dozen big merchants are expected to announce Wednesday their plans to jointly develop a mobile-payments network that would battle similar services from Google Inc. and other companies, people involved in the effort said.
Put simply, responsive design is the creation of a single website with a fluid proportion-based grid that automatically adapts to users’ browsers and the devices they are using. This is not a trend—it’s the future.
How do you get your message across? And via what channel? Email has long been -- and still remains -- the most effective communication mechanism, but too often the message doesn’t resonate with its recipient, usually due to poor targeting or segmentation.
It looks as if the fair-and-square-fewer-price-promotions-more-celebrity-and-any-high-tech-we-can-get approach of Mr. Johnson, ex of Apple’s retail division, isn’t quite working out the way he had planned. Which is exactly what our loyalty and engagement metrics predicted back in January.
Trapit For iPad is the latest in a wave of news-reading apps designed to make finding and reading online content on a tablet easier, more intuitive and elegant.
Every generation experiences advances in technology that change people's lives and expectations; children are almost always born into a different technological world than were their parents. This is particularly true when it comes to how they discover, consume and share content and information.
In the circles that count, it’s clear that Chipotle is regarded as a major innovator, attracting what all major innovators attract: copycatting. So it’s no coincidence that after a couple of years of crazy growth from Chipotle, Taco Bell feels it has to step up its game. Thus, this summer the country’s leading quasi-Mexican fast-food chain has rolled out its new Cantina Bell line of upscale menu items.
Lots of sporting events are used to promote brands. The Olympics, perhaps, more than most. So it's no surprise that the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) is hard at work to ensure that brands that are not “official sponsors” of the games do not gain financially
Pulse, the popular news reading app for iOS and Android, is finally available on the web. The service, which launched two years ago and now has over 15 million users, only focused on mobile platforms until now.
The $25 million funding and sales deal announced late yesterday between mobile payments startup Square and coffee giant Starbucks is big, but it is only the tip of the iceberg for what the implications will be for Square and for mobile payments in general.
With London 2012 come three, totally minimal olympic sites that leverage rapid development to celebrate this fleeting worldwide event. They’re the collective antithesis to nbcolympics.com, covering granular information with an unfettered layout devoid of audio clips, listicles and even ads. They’re also a sign of current web technologies.
The use of apps as a way to gain an advantage over others is clearest in categories where there is already significant competition for consumer attention, including quick-service restaurants, banking, hospitality, fashion and beauty.
Any group that manages a celebrity brand must focus on the authenticity and aspirational aspects that connect with their audience. Violate that, and the brand and the brand’s value can be significantly devalued.
Getting older can also mean getting better if you keep a fresh outlook and stay young at heart. The wisdom that comes with age is priceless but don’t get too stuck in your ways. Look at Madonna who rose to fame in the 80s topping the charts in the 90s and can still fill large arenas and entertain Super Bowl crowds in the 2000s! How does she do it and what can we in business learn from her success?
The emergence of online platforms is bringing a wave of disruptive innovations to traditional education. From 40,000 person classes that you can take from anywhere to Twitter-moderated discussion forums with trending hashtags, technology is fundamentally changing the way we learn today.
With ever-increasing YouTube lunch breaks and Vimeo dinner dates, online video is becoming a constant companion--one that every brand is rushing to take advantage of. Follow these five tips so you don't turn off would-be viewers.
Autistic children with limited verbal skills are often taught how to communicate and make choices using pictures. Drawing on her experience as a behavioral therapist in college, Adriana Herrera realized that key design principles from her work with Autistic children could also be applied to the website she founded.
To make it easier for New Yorkers to commute and keep them posted on scheduled maintenance and delays, Google is adding information about service alerts that occur throughout the city’s 468 subway stations labeled on Google Maps.
Apps may already track your workouts, your finances, and your temperature preferences, but until now they’ve largely overlooked the most telling data feed of all: your location. Saga, which is launching on Tuesday, uses your phone’s GPS, Wi-Fi capabilities, and accelerometer to track every move you make
Sophisticated sales organizations now have the ability to combine, sift, and sort vast troves of data to develop highly efficient strategies for selling into micromarkets. While B2C companies have become adept at mining the petabytes of transactional and other purchasing data that consumers generate as they interact online, B2B sales organizations have only recently begun to use big data to inform overall strategy and tailor sales pitches for specific customers in real time. Yet the payoff is huge.
Today, companies are starting new entrepreneurship initiatives because they need fuel for innovation, desire top talent and need to sustain a competitive advantage. Smart companies are catering to entrepreneurs, allowing workers to pitch their ideas, and even funding them. They are holding entrepreneurship contests, investing in startups and bringing on entrepreneurs in residence (EIR). In the war for talent and innovation, companies have to think entrepreneurially in order to survive and thrive.
Those "Will It Blend?" videos of some guy throwing an iPhone in a blender and the instantly viral Shakeweight ads have millions and millions of views. Your company's new "viral" spot has 500. Here's what separates great branded video content from the flops.
The next great quest in applied science: the assembly of a unified health database, a “big data” project that would collect in one searchable repository all the parameters that measure or could conceivably reflect human well-being.
As part of its sponsorship of Team USA for the Olympic Games, AT&T is launching a campaign to bring several of these stories to life via short films and its social networking channels. The effort, called “My Journey,” will feature 30-second teasers during the primetime broadcasts of the London Olympic Games, but the extended stories will live online.
Companies tend to repeat what has worked for them in the past. In our research on the telecom industry, for example, we found that the great majority of the executives we surveyed preferred internal development to external sourcing when they needed to develop differentiated products and services. We get similar results in other industries, though the preferred growth mode may differ.
A 2012 Road King Classic in all its spaghetti-piped splendor lists for $19,599—and that becomes a hard sell when the economy goes soft. But a bigger challenge lay not with the bike or its price, but the ever-changing image of the rider. As the ads here show, the ability to shift gears quickly can apply to the marketing just as much as the motorcycle.
On the heels of a deal with Facebook to promote Olympic conversations on NBC’s Facebook page, the broadcast network today is taking one more step to improve its social standing during the big sports event. It is linking up with Storify, the social-media “story creator”, to put streams of real-time Olympic content, curated by NBC journalists, across Today.com as well as NBC’s 10 owned TV station websites.
The projected growth of data from all kinds of sources is staggering—to the point where some worry that in the foreseeable future our digital systems of storage and dissemination will not be able to keep up with the simple act of finding places to keep the data and move it around to all those who are interested in it. How could Big Data be significant? A 2011 industry report by global management consulting firm McKinsey argued that five new kinds of value might come from abundant data.
One daring digital news operation seems to be failing; simultaneously, another expands and appears to march forward, recruiting more journalists as it goes. And there’s an awkward question that links these swings and roundabouts. Simply: has the typical general newspaper, conventionally conceived and structured, had its day? Is it, as a concept, what evolving news online is about?
Co-design from business to product design solutions is seen as a potential new avenue for breakthrough innovation in design. Co-design is when firms and non-design users jointly design offerings. Examples range from surgical tools and sport equipment to Lego elements and software.
Our future is as much threatened by the lack of imaginative connection making as it is from a dearth of engineers or mathematicians. Here are practical lessons from 35 years of writing poetry that can help individuals and teams deliver more innovative products, processes and services.
In another sign that big brewers are starting to think small, Anheuser-Busch InBev is launching a series of Budweiser-branded brews named for the zip codes where they were created. Called "Project 12," the effort began when brewmasters at 12 AB InBev breweries created their own small-batch "tribute" beers, each with a distinct style.
The connected TV, sometimes called the smart TV (and even branded as such by Samsung) is a growing phenomenon: TV makers are adding limited apps, Net connectivity, and even streaming media powers to their newer TVs in the hope they'll persuade you to upgrade your newish LCD for a flatter, smarter unit. They're desperate to, given how flat this market is. But according to new research from Pew, the future of TV may actually be a little more closely aligned with the notion of a "connected TV viewer," an important distinction
Hilton is evolving its current campaign to feature experiences that guests have at properties worldwide. Still using the two-year-old tagline “Stay Hilton. Go Everywhere,” the new interpretations include a series of print, online and out-of-home advertisements. Developed in collaboration with Cramer-Krasselt, the three creative executions are "Go Chill," "Go Refresh" and "Go Foodie."
A member of my wife's family and a few of her friends told me recently that they are enamored with Twitter. They love its rapid-fire updates, and the sense Twitter provides of being right in the moment. Over a weekend they were constantly checking and posting updates on their smartphones, and when it came to socializing with friends, she and her peers simply preferred Twitter to Facebook. This isn't earth-shattering news, but here's the catch – all were in high school.
Last year, new advertising for Harley-Davidson was greeted with skepticism. The company had eschewed working with traditional ad agencies on the campaign, and instead became one of the very first marketers to pursue consumer-created work through crowd sourcing. Now Chief Marketing Officer Mark-Hans Richer is having the last laugh: Harley expects to repeat last year’s sales uptick of 6%, and its market share has been up 12 points in the last 4 years despite the Great Recession.
The 2012 Olympics in London are being touted by some as the world’s “first social Games.” While some question just how social they’ll actually be, there’s no doubt that networks such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube will play an unprecedented role in how information is disseminated from London, and how the global sports conversation is driven during July and August. Why the big shift? It’s simple: Four years is an eternity in Internet time and since the last Summer Olympics in 2008, social media has exploded.
A monumental question for leaders in any organization to consider is: How much greatness are we willing to grant people? Because it makes all the difference at every level who it is we decide we are leading. The activity of leadership is not limited to conductors, presidents, and CEOs, of course — the player who energizes the orchestra by communicating his newfound appreciation for the tasks of the conductor, or a parent who fashions in her own mind that her children desire to contribute, is exercising leadership of the most profound kind.
A seminal memory of childhood for many Americans of my age was the arrival of the magazine Highlights for Children every month. The magazine was chock full of goodness, but my favorite part was the Goofus & Gallant cartoon. For those who didn't have the pleasure of reading the magazine, the cartoon taught life lessons through contrasts. Not surprisingly, Gallant was always polite, did his chores, and thought things through, whereas Goofus wasn't polite, didn't do his chores, and definitely didn't think things through.
If you are of a certain age (around 50-60), Atari made the first computer games you ever played. Pong, anyone? Joystick? If you are a hip gamester today, Atari is a retro brand. Now in its 40th year, Atari is still in the games game. Recently, I spoke to Atari's design director, Kris Johns (whose team is responsible for the Atari timeline below) about the legacy, inventions, and future of this legendary brand.
Marketers have tried targeting consumers in stores with QR codes and barcode scanners that so far have gotten limited traction. Now IBM is testing a new approach, dubbed augmented reality, which is a bit like applying search or a personalized version of Google Goggles to the world of physical store shelves.
A renaissance in the customer loyalty program has been long promised, but so far the reality has failed to live up to hype. Mass-adoption of smart-phones and the availability of location and social data mean the consumer loyalty program is ripe for a makeover but so far programs haven't really taken off with consumers and merchants. That's about to change and I believe the next twelve months will be critical in the growth of the mobile loyalty program.
PepsiCo’s archrival Coca-Cola may be sinking $5 billion into India, but it is finding a different way of reaching the international market: the Super Bowl.
Arguing against immigration policies that force foreign-born innovators to leave the United States, a new study to be released on Tuesday shows that immigrants played a role in more than three out of four patents at the nation’s top research universities.
It’s been two months since Jeff Jones stepped into his role as executive VP and CMO at Target Corp. In that time, he’s adjusted to his move from the agency world, as president of McKinney, back to the client side. Jones, only the third CMO in Target’s 50-year history, met me in a busy Brooklyn Target store this morning to talk for the first time since his appointment–his “dream job,” he said–about the challenges Target faces, the experience he brings and what makes him an ideal candidate for the role, and how he plans to lead marketing for the discount retailer at a time when that task has never been more daunting.
Starbucks has announced plans to open its first tea-only shop by the fall. The concept store, named Tazo after the tea brand they bought in 1999, will be located in Seattle. This follows the company’s first juice bar, ‘Evolution Fresh,’ which opened in the city in March.
Social agency 1000heads have set up a social machine in the Mall of the Emirates in Dubai that gives gifts in exchange for Foursquare check-ins and NFC interactions. Prizes include candies, Nokia devices, movie tickets and other goodies that drop out the bottom of the machine when a user shares their check-in.
We’ve many innovative ways to award customers with discounts based on performance, from rewarding social influence to charity work. Now the Bull and Bear Steakhouse at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York is cutting back the prices of its cocktails in line with stock market drops.
The Sunday New York Times reported one more brick removed from traditional media’s wall, as the Huff Post introduced an online weekly, available for the tablet via the Apple Store. As the article’s writer, David Carr, points out, a few years ago this wouldn’t have even been called a magazine. Ah, but how that has changed, with Arianna Huffington a powerful general leading the charge into the digital future.
Microsoft Corp. unveiled its own Windows-powered tablet computer called Surface, altering its strategy of focusing on software and relying on partners to make the machines in a renewed attempt to take on Apple iPad.
“Myanmar is one of only three countries on the globe where Coca-Cola does not do business. The other two are Cuba and North Korea,” Coca-Cola stated this week. That's about to change. The global beverage giant has not done business in Myanmar, a.k.a., Burma, for more than 60 years, but The Coca-Cola Foundation just announced plans to grant $3 million to support women's economic empowerment job creation.
Eager to define itself as a major entertainment player, YouTube is exploring charging subscriptions for cable content as it has already pledged $100 million to create a slew of premium channels.
The shaving brand, Gillette, (Procter & Gamble) has been running a television commercial which shows actor Brandon Quinn in far-flung locations, and claims one ProGlide cartridge blade lasted him 5 weeks on the road. It is impossible to put a reliable number on how long a shaving blade lasts, not least because all the variables are personal: including skin type, hair type, tolerance for drag, etc. But the news is that the huge and successful marketing machine behind the Gillette brand has seen *now* as the moment to come forward with a blade longevity number.
When Apple executive alumn Ron Johnson took the helm of J.C. Penney one of his goals was to wean customers off of the concept of “sale” and “coupon”. In their place he wanted to introduce a new pricing and merchandising strategy that was all about low prices all the time. It failed miserably as J.C. Penney’s recent earnings show and now word is that Johnson is bringing “sale” back into its advertising. Johnson miscalculated, gravely, about the love affair Americans have with coupons and discounts.
Southwest Airlines just recorded its 39th consecutive year of profitability—in a business sector where profits can be excruciatingly tough to come by. How does Southwest do it? In part, by keeping operations simple. Simpler operations mean fewer things that can go awry and botch up the whole process.
There will be plenty of bits spilled over the next few days about whether Apple is going extinct, whether Jobs’ touch was integral to the Apple experience, and whether this was “The.Worst.Keynote.Ever.” I posit, however, that Apple still has a few good years left and this keynote – a precise and well-orchestrated experience dedicated mostly to software – is proof that the Apple vision runs far deeper than the efforts of a figurehead CEO.
It’s a fact of life in the taxi business that cabs must often return back to base empty after dropping off a customer — particularly when that drop-off was at an airport. That return drive is essentially a wasted trip, but UK-based TaxiBack aims to change that. Specifically, the startup offers a service which connects passengers with cabs that would otherwise be returning empty and enables them to reserve rides at reduced rates.
Twitter made its most aggressive grab for TV marketing dollars, with the release of a TV ad during the Pocono 400 and the launch of the corresponding Twitter.com/#NASCAR hashtag page. See Twitter, like AOL before it, wants to be the destination for users who wish to engage with a certain brand. It wants to own the URL that runs at the end of an ad. Actually, scratch that — it wants to own the hashtag that appears during the ad or TV show, to become synonymous with where the conversation happens.
Canadian franchise Tim Horton is pairing fresh coffee with fresh news in the UAE. Recognizing the parallels between news and coffee, Y&R Dubai adapted Tim Hortons’ coffee cup sleeves turning them into an advertising medium for Gulf News.
Behold, the Twitter rebranding. Starting today, there will be no more logo text or the lowercase 't' that users have gotten to know so well. Instead, the social network announced a slight rebrand via blog post, declaring the iconic, ascending bird as the "universally recognizable symbol of Twitter."
Pepsi’s celebrity-infused “Live for Now” global ad campaign, which launched May 7, will get digital boost this summer from media conglomerate Viacom. Viacom’s Twitter accounts for MTV, VH1, CMT and Comedy Central will aid in the campaign’s mission of “inviting and inspiring” people to live in the moment — and sharing those moments on social networks with relevant hashtags.
72 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. In 2011, YouTube had more than 1 trillion video views, which is 140 views for every person on the planet. Among all the hours of uploads and billions of views, nonprofits, educators, and activists have a strong presence on YouTube. “Nonprofits and activism” and “Education” are among the fastest growing categories on YouTube.
When I was a kid and we got to the end of the ketchup or mustard after smacking the container with my palm and shaking it side-to-side I’d ask for a new bottle. But before a new one could be opened my mother would always require that I scraped out what was stuck inside the bottle with a knife or spoon. Her rationale for this was that leaving anything in the bottle was wasteful … and she’d invariably add “That’s how Mr. Heinz got rich.” My mother would have appreciated a new product called “LiquiGlide.”
Google+ rolled out on Wednesday a new ‘Local’ tool that allows users to share and find information about nearby places — from museums and spas to restaurants and hotels. In addition to tapping a user’s network or “Circles,” the new service also incorporates information from Zagat, which Google bought last year.
Technology has simplified communications for most businesses, but the increased use of conference calls, video conferencing, and instant messaging has created a new list of off-putting behaviors that could land your business in an awkward situation. Here is a list of some pet peeves and how to avoid them.
The Lipitor For You “Recipes 2 Go” app is aimed at helping consumers manage their heart health on the go. The launch marks the first time that Pfizer has released a consumer mobile app for a prescription product in the U.S.
Target was already announced as a shopkick partner, but until now, it was limited to testing integration in seven cities. Now, thanks to what the company says were “rave reviews,” it’s expanding its shopkick integration to all of its 1,764 stores in the United States, making it the largest shopkick retailer.
With more companies preferring an open space layout, this has led to rising complaints of office noise and the lack of privacy for informal chats. Software company Autodesk has come up with a solution that tackles the issues.
Tablets are on track to fundamentally change the computing landscape. The handheld devices of various shapes and sizes will be in the hands of 34 percent of the U.S. population by 2016, predicts James McQuivey, principal analyst at Forrester Research.
If you find yourself with Siri envy but don't want to pony up the $600 for a phone, you may be able to get that same level of convenience and computerized companionship in your car. Nuance's Dragon Drive enables automotive manufacturers to offer natural language voice commands for vehicle telematics, which will enhance usability and could reduce distracted driving.
The hierarchy of customer interaction methods starts with face-to-face, followed by websites, channel partners, call centers, traditional media, advisory groups and finally, social media. That won’t be the case in a few years. According to an IBM survey of 1,709 CEOs from 64 countries and 18 industries, social media will leap to the number-two spot while traditional media plunges to the bottom within the next three-to-five years.
House Beautiful is letting users post photos from its print edition directly to Pinterest using smartphone apps, the latest effort by a magazine to make print more interactive.
Patagonia has long been a sustainability leader, and pokes its competitors in the eye with programs, from asking consumers to buy less to working with fisheries to the preservation of salmon populations while rolling out new snacks. Now the outdoor clothing and gear company is pushing supply chain transparency to a new level.
As the marketplace undergoes a rapid transformation, it’s forcing leading brands to rethink everything—from where and how they compete to what capabilities they will need to thrive in this new world order. The fast-changing world of consumer products is at the confluence of a number of significant trends.
The strategy address recently delivered by the corporation's new CEO, Kazuo Hirai, earned press coverage that verged on mocking, with The Wall Street Journal noting that the brand's "once-sterling cachet has deteriorated," and The New York Times going further, placing Sony in "a fight for its life," and accusing it of "an astonishing lack of ideas." Both observations are correct, but they only hint at the underlying question: why is the strategy that once served Sony so well now failing so badly?
Design has finally become democratized, and we marketers find ourselves with new standards to meet in this new “era of design.” To illustrate, Apple, the epitome of a design-led organization, now has a market capitalization of $570 billion, larger than the GDP of Switzerland. Its revenue is double Microsoft’s, a similar type of technology organization but one not truly led by design.
Roger McNamee, the managing director and co-founder of venture capital firm Elevation Partners, has a theory about how Apple became the biggest U.S. technology growth story of all time: “The thing that made Apple successful was betting against the web,” he said.
Innovation is the name of the game in many industries, certainly in all of those that we recruit for. Innovation fosters new products, new categories and new consumerism -- which leads to what we are all in business for: to make money.
As far as phone sensors go, the GPS sensor appears to be one of the most coveted by developers, after the camera. For a consumer, the trade is quite simple: offer your location at a specific point in time, or your patterns, and in exchange for that information, an application will offer you something — a deal, a coupon, or information about who and/or what is around you.
The future of media on mobile devices isn't with applications but with the Web. For publishers whose businesses evolved during the long day of print newspapers and magazines, the expansion of the Internet was tremendously disorienting. The Internet taught readers they might read stories whenever they liked without charge, and it offered companies more efficient ways to advertise. Both parties spent less.
'The Guardian' huffed and puffed and made one of the year's best ads. Did it sell papers? Newspapers aren't known for their compelling self-promotion. Yet in the grip of their existential crisis, that's what they need—a riveting argument for their own value, evolution and place in the cultural conversation. In late February, London ad agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty delivered just that for The Guardian.
Popular game Draw Something is now rolling out a new type of ad model–instead of seeing traditional banner ads, users will be actually drawing the ads, as the new model integrates ads into the game in the form of branded word choices.
Sometimes, user interfaces come together at the last minute. And not very well. In devices that should be up to date in the interface department you see multiple personalities fighting. It's like being a fly on the wall of the meeting where the designers and engineers all just said, when they had to finalize the design of a product, "Oh, screw it. Let's go get lunch."
When Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion last month, it raised a lot of questions about which buzzed-about start-ups might be on track for similar success. The start-up scene is flooded with apps and services that are attracting users and backing from investors. But it can be hard to work out which companies are worthy of the kind of attention Instagram was receiving when Facebook came calling.
Today’s marketers are under-utilizing the large amounts of personal data their customers are sharing publicly every day, according to Adobe’s senior manager of social-media products, Chad Warren. By looking at their customers’ activity not just on social networks but all over the web, brands can potentially engage with them in ways that are much more meaningful.
A fascinating trend is consuming Silicon Valley and beginning to eat away at rest of the world: the radical simplification of everything. Want to spot the next great technology or business opportunity? Just look for any market that lacks a minimally complex solution to a sufficiently large problem.
What do you get when you combine a photo-sharing mobile platform like Instagram with more geo-location awareness and a Reddit-style voting system for stories breaking all over the world? Answer: Signal, the app citizen journalism may well have been been waiting for.
A couple of years ago, Yvon Chouinard—founder of the outdoor-clothing brand Patagonia—gave a talk at a sustainable-fisheries conference in Vancouver. He'd been invited to speak in recognition of Patagonia's longtime commitment to environmental issues and its reputation as a company that manages to churn out profit while minimizing ecological impact. Chouinard delivered his spiel, but he came away frustrated by the surprising ignorance of his audience.
Beth Comstock is the chief marketing officer at General Electric-–a company that no one would accuse of having a free-wheeling or laissez-faire culture. Yet Comstock, along with GE chairman Jeffrey Immelt and fellow senior executives, have embraced the fact that the challenges they face—in areas from healthcare to energy to transportation—are too ‘wicked’ to be solved by GE alone.
In adjusting its style guide to use calendar days instead of “yesterday,” “today,” or “tomorrow,” the Globe is trying to adapt to the pace of online news.
While Google keeps cramming its search results pages full of tools and social content, today Bing confirmed with me the full roll out a redesigned search results page that completely clears the left sidebar, and replaces the tabbed header with a cleaner set of links.
Yahoo says that it has helped millions of businesses get online and grow their presence on the web. Today, the company is debuting a new marketing dashboard to give users additional insight into online reputation, web metrics and more.
Take a look at the first-class section on any airplane today; it’s full of corporate leaders lugging around Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs biography, searching for insights they can use to make their companies as successful as Apple.
Hulu could soon start requiring its users to prove that they also have a cable or satellite subscription. This would obviously turn Hulu’s current business model on its head. It’s not clear how many of the service’s 31 million users currently don’t subscribe to cable TV, but chances are that the service’s audience would shrink after this move.
Already, data shows that more than one third of American teens own an iPhone and the one-tablet-per-child initiative is a mainstay in South Korean and Thai schools. It’s easy to see what life will look like for the next generation of consumers, but will marketers be prepared? That will largely depend on whether they’ve considered these five post-mobile trends.
Google, Apple and Amazon are vying to become literature's new gatekeepers. But good publishing is about more than market share.
From Jeff Zucker, NBC Universal’s former CEO. In talking about digital video, he said: “Our challenge with all these ventures is to effectively monetize them so that we do not end up trading analog dollars for digital pennies.”
NPR is taking another stab at creating new programming, but the approach looks quite different. What’s different this time? The network seems to be taking a page from agile software development, the philosophy that products should be released early and iterated often.
Stanford University might have been the cradle for a hundred Silicon Valley startups and the hothouse for some of its greatest technical innovations, but the Singularity University is an institution that has been made in the valley's own image: highly networked, fuelled by a cocktail of philanthro-capitalism and endowed with an almost mystical sense of its own destiny.
If you have a Facebook page, you likely know how important it is to get likes and comments. Without those, your EdgeRank suffers, and your posts are seen by fewer fans in the future. Here are some of the things you should keep in mind as you determine how best to engage your Facebook customers.
The publishing industry has a problem. The old guard haven't innovated. And neither their business models nor their products embrace the digital books revolution.
At one time or another all great leaders experience something so big and so impactful it literally changes the landscape – it’s what I call a “Game Changer.” A game changer is that ah-ha moment where you see something others don’t. It’s the transformational magic that takes organizations from a slow idle to redline.
On the heels of acquiring sales data analytics company Varicent last week, Big Blue is making another buy in the data space today— Vivisimo. Vivisimo provides enterprises with search software that helps organizations access and analyze big data across the enterprise.
Innovative digital journalism played a starring role in the wake of a massive document release during an inquiry into British media ethics. Three major news organizations sifted through the information and collaboratively covered the investigation stemming from British journalism’s biggest scandal in recent memory.
You'll see Flyknit on the feet of olympic marathoners this year. This limited-edition collection shows the real-world application of Nike's newfangled technology. The limited-edition HTM is intended for the rest of us: plain old sneaker geeks.
The New York Times company's latest quarterly numbers contain a rich trove of data regarding the health of the digital news industry. Today, we'll focus on the transition from traditional advertising to paywall strategies being implemented across the world. Paywalls appear as a credible way to offset – alas too partially – the declining revenue from print operations.
Recently, PSFK launched our inaugural print magazine: the first offline publication that we hope to release every quarter. Some reasoning why a new media entity like PSFK.com decided to trial the analog.
What does a brand do when most of its competitors are recasting or overhauling themselves in a highly competitive industry? If you're McDonald's, well, you keep doing what you've been doing. Because everyone else is — still — trying to catch you.
Intense competition drives the U.S. wireless industry. When one looks at major market indicators, competition is the reason why we lead the world in efficiency and value for consumers. These indicators include capital expenditures and network investments; infrastructure deployments; subscriber levels; subscriber growth; continued evolution of operating system choices; and application development.
Consumers today can no longer rely on a few trusted editorial sources to filter the noise and deliver the most important news and information. Instead, consumers must make sense of the vast amount of information that reaches them daily and constantly make decisions about what to take seriously and what to ignore. Increasingly, they are turning to Social Curation
Avon remains slow to catch up to the Internet, a platform that is increasingly important for hooking new consumers on brands. The New York-based beauty company has dabbled with iPhone and Android apps for smaller brands like Mark and has developed e-catalogs, but sales representatives say it isn't doing enough to help them win customers through new tools like social media, smartphones and tablets.
Two-thirds of advertising spending is brand advertising, but online only one quarter is. In fact, if brand advertising dollars moved online in the same proportion that sales advertising has, it would almost exactly close the famous gap between time spent online and ad dollars spent online.
UK-based Black+Blum’s Eau Good water bottle embraces the centuries-old use of active charcoal to make every day tap water taste better.
Every day, more and more brands are creating compelling, original content, and the medium of choice for these initiatives is Web video. The latest example is Ford Motor Company’s collaboration with eco-focused media company SHFT.com, “The Big SHFT: 10 Innovators Changing Our World”, a documentary series profiling industry professionals who are trying to transform their industries with eco-friendly sustainability solutions.
After releasing two generations of iPhones with exactly the same form factor, Apple is expected to show off a new chassis design — and possibly new materials — in its sixth-generation smartphone. And a little-known alloy that Apple has quietly been using for the past two years could be just the ticket to make consumers swoon.
Best Buy should use Dunn’s departure as an opportunity to rethink how it sells gadgets. In particular, it’s time to abandon the idea of endless selection. If Best Buy wants to survive, it’s got to replace its hulking, teeming stores with smaller, less crowded, more intimate spaces.
Just a few months after the Nest’s introduction, it’s clear that Fadell and his new company also took another Apple lesson to heart: the constant need for tiny tweaks that are laser focused on making the user’s life easier. And also: the need to introduce big changes to the consumer slowly, over time. By looking at how Nest’s second-generation thermostat has evolved, we can see those two crucial ideals at work.
Call it a strategic inflection point for these companies, a common trend in the Valley, where scrappy startups are always a threat to stagnant corporations--not so much because of some new piece of technology but because of the disruptive idea behind it.
IBM has partnered with Honda and Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) to develop a pilot project that will allow electric vehicles to communicate with the power grid, receiving and responding to charge instructions based on the grid and the vehicle’s battery level.
Nearly three quarters (72%) of adults are quite attached to following local news and information, and local newspapers are by far the source they rely on for much of the local information they need. In fact, local news enthusiasts are substantially more wedded to their local newspapers than others.
It’s a new era where consumers will punish a company for taking a wrong stand, but also for taking no stands at all. In these volatile times, brands actually should become more willing to take a stand.
Sony, which once defined Japan’s technological prowess, wowed the world with the Walkman and the Trinitron TV and shocked Hollywood with bold acquisitions like Columbia Pictures, is now in the fight of its life.
Amazing design is not enough. It is like fashion. Everybody is excited about it at the beginning, but then people are getting used to it and eventually it wears out. After it does, the user is left with the essence of the user experience.
With the recent software available to allow easy creation of interactive books and with the race to bring these products to market, there seems to be a more and more dilution of quality and a loss for the meaning of interactivity. When publishers create new eBook titles or convert a traditional printed book to a digital interactive eBook, they often miss the added value this new medium can provide.
Adidas will embed its miCoach data tracker in uniforms worn by players competing in the 2012 AT&T MLS All-Star Game on July 25. The “professional soccer team tracking system” riffs on the miCoach Speed Cell introduced last year, and Adidas says it will provide coaches with real-time data about player position and performance.
One of the first clues to Tumblr's future as a business came in February with the launch of "highlighted posts," which allow Tumblr users to pay $1 to gain more visibility for their work. In 2010, Tumblr CEO David Karp told the Los Angeles Times that the thought of ads "turns our stomachs." But can it be a business without them?
A South Korean Dunkin’ Donuts campaign is reinventing the traditional radio advertisement using unique technology and the smell of coffee. The campaign, named, Flavor Radio releases coffee aroma via sound recognition technology.
California-based company Stacked Wines offers a change from the traditional wine bottle, with four individually-sealed containers stacked on top of each other. Consumers are free from the hassle of a bottle, corkscrew or stemware, and they could be sold at venues that don’t permit glass.
While so many eyes have been on magazine and newspaper media and their desperate embrace of mobile technology, one of the most interesting sectors of old media on new platforms is the comics. Long before Apple instituted its newsstand, for instance, DC, Marvel, Image, Dark Horse and others like powerhouse distributor Comixology were demonstrating how mobile or tablet apps could make superb periodical merchandising machine and reader/library.
New research from analytics firm Nielsen confirms what most have suspected about the symbiotic relationship between tablets and television, and offers some hope for a growing crop of startups looking to capitalize on the second screen experience.
There are legitimate reasons why naming companies is a bit more challenging than it used to be. Marketers must contend with instant backlash from critics on social media and the global reality that one phrase in English might take on a completely different meaning overseas (see Kraft). And they must ensure the moniker is not already trademarked.
For my daughter, and my assistant, and other people I know in their 20s and 30s, using social media is part of their native language. They built websites in college (or even high school); they explore and evolve their use of facebook and/or twitter and/or Pinterest and/or iGoogle as easily as they change clothes.
Math nerds and historians, it’s time to get excited. Minds of Modern Mathematics, a new iPad app released Thursday by IBM, presents an interactive timeline of the history of mathematics and its impact on society from 1000 to 1960. The app is based on an original, 50-foot-long “Men of Modern Mathematics” installation created in 1964 by Charles and Ray Eames. Minds of Modern Mathematics users can view a digitized version of the original infographic as well as browse through an interactive timeline with more than 500 biographies, math milestones and images of relevant artifacts.
Hidden Valley Foods has improved its ranch dressing to be thicker and creamier in hopes to appeal to younger consumers. The company is labeling the dressing as ‘The New Ketchup’ and is calling it the ‘Hidden Valley for Everything’ that be used as a topping or a dip.
In an age when anyone can share, download and create not just digital files but also physical things, thanks to the proliferation of cheap 3-D printers, are companies at risk of losing control of the objects they sell? In March Levin and his former student Shawn Sims released a set of digital blueprints that a 3-D printer can use to create more than 45 plastic objects, each of which provides the missing interface between pieces from toy construction sets. They call it the Free Universal Construction Kit.
Integrating design into your company involves more than just hiring superstar designers. It takes a long-term commitment and developing a culture that brings everyone up to speed.
Coca-Cola is looking at restructuring and expanding its in-house content creation team as it experiments with longform branded content. The soft drink giant’s VP of global advertising strategy and creative excellence Jonathan Mildenhall told C21 recent campaigns around the Olympics and Coke Zero, which both included longform video, had prompted him to look at how it manages this type of content from its Atlanta headquarters.
There's two weeks left until Ad Age Digital 2012, where six promising startups will fast-pitch Anheuser Busch-InBev execs for the chance to work on one of two iconic brands: Budweiser and Bud Light.
Siri is about to get one-upped by Google. The company on Wednesday unveiled a long-rumored concept called "Project Glass," which takes all the functionality of a smartphone and places it into a wearable device that resembles eyeglasses. The see-through lens could display everything from text messages to maps to reminders.
Following a sales increase of 26 percent in 2011, and 20 percent in 2010, this is a far cry for a company that considered pulling out of the U.S. market in the early 1990’s, when sales plummeted to 40,000 vehicles. The company plans to deliver double-digit growth this year and next, CMO Tim Mahoney told me, terming it “Quality growth”, meaning it has to be profitable and sustainable. That should put VW comfortably over the 400,000 vehicles mark.
The gadgets of your smart home now come with software updates. Nest Labs today released the equivalent of version 2.0 software for its smart thermostat available for the Web, iOS or Android. The software tweaks for the $249 Learning Thermostat are designed to help people better understand how thermostat changes affect energy usage.
Remember Next Issue Media, the “Hulu for Digital Magazines” consortium made up of the biggest names in publishing? It has finally delivered something worth talking about: Call it Netflix for Magazines. The pitch is simple and intuitive: All the magazines you want, delivered digitally to your tablet, for a flat fee of either $10 or $15 a month.
After a couple of seconds of scanning this article, and maybe reading parts of the introduction, you may have started to ask yourself whether the information that you’re consuming at the moment is actually relevant to you—the user. Unfortunately (and as certain as death and taxes), if users cannot find the information they are looking for, chances are they will abandon their track, never to return.
Sports apparel giant Under Armour is taking its message across the pond. On Monday, the apparel company owned by billionaire Kevin Plank announced it was hiring former Adidas executive Karl-Heinz Maurath to run its international business.
How does a multi-national mega-brand, responsible for crafting a consistent image all over the globe, manage to navigate the potentially treacherous waters of hot-button cultural and political issues in the places where it does business?
It’s not uncommon for hotels to extend frequent customers the courtesy of a late check-out option, but Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide recently announced an initiative that takes that premise even further. Now available to top-tier members of the company’s loyalty program, Your24 is a new service that lets guests choose their own check-in and check-out times.
Every day it seems that we read about the launch of a new startup or technology application claiming to disrupt and reinvent the health care system. This flood of activity comes at a time when the health care industry is in dire need of entrepreneurial spirit, fresh perspectives and new skills. But to create products and services that have the potential to make a large impact, entrepreneurs and health care professionals need to work together.
The forthcoming Facebook IPO, set for May, will be one of the greatest events in recent tech memory. It’s an irrefutable indicator of how far social networking has come and where it’s going. But what does this mean for the workplace? Is enterprise social networking, the so-called Facebook-like model at work, starting to take off as well or is it still in its infancy?
The era of social media is bringing more transparency to ski resorts' daily snow reports, with skiers and riders using smartphone apps, websites, tweets and video to spread the word in real time, particularly if traditional reports are off. And the industry itself has been quick to embrace social media to get the word out
While Apple and Google are busy getting bad press for their privacy issues, labor practices and general big-evil-company wrongdoings, Microsoft has done some brand regeneration, making it look like the hippest tech company on the block these days.
The Internet isn’t really a technology. It’s a belief system, a philosophy about the effectiveness of decentralized, bottom-up innovation. And it’s a philosophy that has begun to change how we think about creativity itself.
What may be as out-of-date today is the fast-growing, feisty, focused, powerhouse’s core name. The .com part went out-of-fashion with the implosion of a bubble more than a decade ago, and as was made resoundingly clear last week, the San Francisco-based global entity is about a lot more than sales force automation. In fact, that is no longer the core focus. I spent a day at Cloudforce Expo Worldtour in San Francisco’s Moscone Center. The company updates were significant.
When an aircraft crashes, investigators are able to retrieve useful information about what went wrong from the flight data recorder, more commonly known as the black box. (The data recorder itself is actually not black, not until it’s retrieved from charred remains.) Statistically speaking, plane crashes are rare occurrences compared to car crashes, so why not install a black box for cars?
Auto makers are deeply concerned that Millennials don’t care about vehicles nearly as much as they do about the next iPhone. So the companies have become decidedly more intent on roping in these car-reluctant twenty-somethings. That’s one big reason why, for instance, Ford has decided to set up shop, literally, in Silicon Valley, and why General Motors has turned for marketing advice to MTV.
Wikipedia’s Next Big Thing: Wikidata, A Machine-Readable, User-Editable Database Funded By Google, P
Wikidata, the first new project to emerge from the Wikimedia Foundation since 2006, is now beginning development. The organization, known best for its user-edited encyclopedia of knowledge Wikipedia, recently announced the new project at February’s Semantic Tech & Business Conference in Berlin, describing Wikidata as new effort to provide a database of knowledge that can be read and edited by humans and machines alike.
You might not be willing to fork over a monthly subscription fee to read some of your favorite news sites, but would you answer a survey question? That’s what Google and a handful of well-known online publishers are aiming to find out.
What ideas are you building your company on? It’s an important question for all organizations, and some companies are responding with innovative and inspiring answers. Ideas shape our thinking, animate our endeavors, and serve as the foundation upon which we scale our institutions and companies.
Magazines more than doubled their paid digital circulation in the most recent reporting period, but print remains the overwhelming majority of their business, according to a new analysis by the Audit Bureau of Circulations. Digital circulation soared to an estimated 3.29 million in the second half of 2012 from 1.46 million in the year-earlier period, a 125% increase, according to publishers' reports with the Audit Bureau.
Local TV stations are using social media to extend their coverage and conversations with viewers. They're also working to create more integration with advertisers and device companies, according to panelists at the Socializing Local TV session during the 4A's Transformation Conference in L.A.
Companies are learning to turn Big Data into Big Dollars. How are they doing it? With the help of data scientists, a new generation of business leaders who understand that today, data drives revenue.
Brand mascots are rebounding as marketers redeploy old characters in new ways, create fresh ones from scratch and use digital media to spin out rich storylines not possible in the past, when critters and cartoon characters were pretty much confined to TV. While it might be too early to declare a full-fledged mascot revival, brand characters are undoubtedly regaining attention.
Brand architecture often comes down to an evaluation of tradeoffs. In my experience, there’s rarely a cost-free benefit or a no-foul cost. That’s why I have found the concept of brand value so helpful. It focuses on the net effect of an initiative -- are the benefits worth more than the costs of getting those benefits or are cost-saving initiatives doing more harm than good?
Google is marching steadily towards Larry Page’s reported goal of a “single, unified, ‘beautiful’ product, across everything.” It started last year, as redesigns came to all of Google’s big products, Search, Maps, Translate, Reader, Gmail, YouTube, etc, etc. A black navbar appeared, which Google later announced it was removing, only to then reverse course and keep it. And then, earlier this month, it announced Google Play.
Enter Red Tomato Pizza, a single wood-fired joint in Dubai, UAE, and their disruptive new model for easy ordering: The idea is nothing short of brilliant.
With its 2011 corporate revenue estimated at $54 billion and brands in practically every aisle of the grocery store, Kraft is the largest producer of branded, packaged food and beverages in America. So it’s hard to believe that before MiO, the last new category Kraft created was DiGiorno frozen pizza in 1995 and its last new beverage brand was Crystal Light, launched in 1988.
The innovation game is changing. Delivering great products is no longer sufficient for success. And as the Fire's limited memory, ho-hum processor, and and lack of camera demonstrate, great products may not even be necessary. Rather, what matters is delivering great solutions.
Noting that arthritis and MS sufferers can experience difficulties with standard designs, Xeni Collection is now offering fashionable attire that is designed to be easier to put on.
Today, Eventbrite, the online ticketing startup, got terrestrial too. It's launched the At The Door Card Reader, a credit-card swiping accessory for the iPad that enables merchants to sell tickets, merchandise, drinks, and more on-site. Until now, Eventbrite has focused on pre-sale online transactions. But since a significant number of event attendees are still purchasing tickets at the door, the company figured out a way to tap into that market--without help from Square or another solution.
Yesterday, it was official: Wendy's has usurped Burger King as America's second largest burger chain. It finished 2011 with more U.S. revenue, despite operating 1,300 fewer stores. The news, though largely expected -- The Wall Street Journal anticipated the "palace coup" back in December -- is a milestone in the history of fast food.
If your brand isn’t on Pinterest, you could be missing out on a growing stream of potential customers.
Pinterest has rolled out its first significant makeover since gaining popular attention in a move that sees it streamline the look of profile pages on the service.
Which one is best for you? We took a look at the various features for each offering to help you make the decision:
Nike has opened the world’s first NikeFuel Station at the Boxpark in Shoreditch, London. The retail space breaks new boundaries in digital displays and design, aiming to appeal to today’s digitally-enabled athlete.
Conde Nast, the publisher of magazines such as Glamour and Wired, recently gave advertisers metrics concerning tablet editions of its January issues. It now plans to give advertisers data on each new issue about 10 weeks after it comes out.
Singapore-based photographer Kamarule explores the viewer’s relationship with 2D still images reproduced on photographic print medium with the Facial Codes series. Circular discs with QR codes are superimposed onto the faces of the people in group photos (school, college, national service, etc), creating a sense of impenetrability.
It’s hard to ignore Pinterest‘s explosive growth over the past year. In a very short period of time, the social network has gone from relative obscurity to a top 100 site, with 11.7 million unique monthly U.S. visitors. But how many referrals does Pinterest generate?
Encyclopaedia Britannica will stop publishing print editions and go digital-only — a huge step for the encyclopedia which has been in print since 1768. The sales of Britannica print editions has been on the decline since 1990, when 120,000 32-volume sets were sold.
PayPal is expected to launch a mobile payment dongle that would allow small businesses to process credit card transactions with a smartphone, according to a GigaOm report.
Playing a kind of “smartball” on brand teams today means insisting that digital players be leveraged against a larger strategy. In short, that a brand’s playbook is not a story of technological possibilities, but a diagram of brand profitability.
The most recent commercial for the BMW i3 and i8 concept cars is a great example of something enlightened marketers have known for years: emotion is the key driver behind purchasing decisions. Yet, today, most businesspeople still follow the old adage, “Emotions and business don’t mix,” relying on rational data to drive decisions instead.
Today at SXSW, Marvel announced a partnership with Autonomy’s Aurasma platform to lets users watch video trailers of books they see in stores, as well as 3D animation, recaps, and other augmented reality extras by holding their phones up to comics.
Buying someone a drink in person is a nice gesture, but buying someone a drink via Twitter is, well, not something you do often. Online networking app Tweet-A-Beer hopes to change that and make paying for other Twitter users’ drinks more of a habit.
In what may be the most overdue brand extension in history, Kraft is using the 100-year-old Planters name to speed growth of its mature grocery business.
In most well-meaning organizations, once important information comes to light, it cannot be ignored, no matter what level of an organization is affected.
A CFO won't make decisions without reliable metrics based on time-tested performance indicators. So why do so many sane, rational marketers think they'll get a pass when it comes to social media?
Brands are spending a great deal of time and energy investing in platforms to get likes or pluses, and not really being social at all.
Brands have historically paid for media to deliver their messages. But now, those brands are becoming the media, attracting their own audiences. And not just within social networks, but through their own online publications. This new strategy is known as content marketing, and it has been embraced by leading brands like American Express, IBM, and General Mills, with more joining the ranks every day.
One Romanian man's tribute to the end of the space shuttle era may leave you slightly misty-eyed.
Have you heard of Pinterest? It’s a (relatively) new social site where users share — or “pin” – visual content. Brands such as GE, HGTV and Martha Stewart Living have made deft use of Pinterest already. As a marketer, you should be too.
Attention all those who like to gripe about lousy customer service and companies (I'm looking at you AT&T and airlines everywhere) that tend to provide it: there's a new place for people to get their complaints heard, and it means business. The site is called Gripevine, and it's more than a platform like Facebook and Twitter on which frustrated customers can broadcast their complaints and hope for a response.
The Power of Habit, by New York Times reporter Charles Duhigg, examines habits good and bad. Duhigg talks us through four companies that found success by swapping business-as-usual routines with smarter habits.
Best Practices: From First To Worst - Continental In A Post United World, Lessons In Next Gen Custom
Despite the numerous attempts by CEO Jeff Smisek to gloss over the issue with increasingly slicked up, feel good, on board welcome ads, Continental’s customer satisfaction numbers have reached the abyss of United’s. While United Holdings may tout their most admired status in the airline industry by Fortune, the award is measured by corporate executives, airline executives, boards of directors and industry analysts
The New York Times' Facebook Timeline goes all the way back to 1851, and it's filled with some choice photos and milestones from the paper's history. It also tells the story of how technology changed the business of keeping you informed.
"Experience" is the marketing buzzword of our time. It seems like every week someone is extolling the vast untapped potential of experience to move your customers: Starcom recently created a Chief Experience Officer position; SMG Global CEO Laura Desmond has called experience the "future of advertising," and Starbucks is revitalizating through a focus on moments of "human connection."
If you pay attention to advertising, you may have seen some charming, pencil-figured ads entitled “Good to Know” about managing your privacy options. After midnight, Google will start linking your data across all of Google’s products.
Facebook brand timelines went live this morning, and though we've known about these for a while, some of the executions are pretty impressive, including founding documents, early advertising, memos, news clips and photos. It's as if dozens of little corporate museums just launched on Facebook.
MTV has introduced a mobile app in Europe that fits somewhere on between HBO Go and social-TV platforms, letting users watch the network's shows on demand and invite friends to chat. Don't Expect a U.S. Version Anytime Soon.
FastCompany recently released its list of the world’s 50 most innovative companies. Many of the names on the list come as no surprise, especially the top three (Apple, Facebook, and Google). But what caught my attention was the diversity of companies and industries represented.
Back in November, Square told us that 20,000 merchants had signed up for Card Case, and four months later that number has more than doubled to over 40,000 businesses using the loyalty and mobile wallet platform.
As the volume of data skyrockets, it's useful to step back and consider the different types of data, where they come from and how they can be used most effectively. Unique and highly focused data can be used as a signal booster for more effective intent-based targeting.
Design company QA Graphics has created an interactive digital kiosk for a McDonald’s franchise in Richardson, Texas, that provides customers with nutritional information about the menu items and lets them make an informed choice about their meal.
Pinterest hasn’t just become a significant source of referral traffic for retailers; it’s also becoming a top traffic driver for women’s lifestyle, home decor and cooking magazines, some of which are seeing bigger referral numbers from the image-collecting service than from major portals like Facebook and Yahoo.
As both an avid golf fan and a curious marketer, I’ve noticed a renewed enthusiasm for the premier professional ladies golf tour, the LPGA. To learn more about the LPGA’s turnaround, I had a conversation with the organization’s CMO, Jon Podany.
why is it that consumers are still paying through the nose for e-book titles that ought to cost a fraction of the price charged for the used hardcover version?
If you’re tired of seeing the same news as everyone else, The Washington Post is now experimenting with personalized headlines. That experiment is called Personal Post, and it’s available at personal.washingtonpost.com, where you’ll see a river of content that you can customize.
According to a survey by Symantec, enterprises officially understand that “application culture” isn’t going away, and in order to succeed they need to be competitive both online and in the App Store. Both the iPhone and Android have significantly altered a phone’s function, making it a productivity tool, as opposed to a simple mode of communication. Currently, 71 percent of enterprises are either looking to, or are actively deploying their own mobile applications.
None of us would agree to play a card game with cards missing from the deck. We would know that the odds of winning would be significantly diminished. Yet surprisingly, many marketers are willing to implement marketing programs sans analytics.
"People are 'Fancy-ing' what they like, forming communities around these products or experiences, and now we allow merchants and brands to come in and fill that interest and demand in real-time, which no one is doing," says founder Joseph Einhorn.
A Bloomberg report this weekend pointed out that Gap, J.C. Penney, Nordstrom and GameStop have all opened and closed shops on Facebook within the past year — undermining expectations that the social network will become a major revenue driver for retailers over the next decade.
What do superheroes ride? Unless they're from a Japanese Manga comic, it would probably be an American motorcycle brand. Harley-Davidson, to be specific. The Milwaukee-based, all-American bike maker has signed a pact with the iconic American comic book and production company Marvel
People who constantly reach into a pocket to check a smartphone for bits of information will soon have another option: a pair of Google-made glasses that will be able to stream information to the wearer’s eyeballs in real time.
Microsoft and Apple should hate one another right now. I mean, really hate each other. After decades of domination, Microsoft has watched their rival move from death’s door to become the most valuable company in the world
A strong culture is important, and for all the reasons Parr mentions: employee engagement, alignment, motivation, focus, and brand burnishing. But is it the most important element of company success, as the more ferocious of the culture warriors assert?
The trends that are rocking B2C companies are just as relevant to the B2B world: multiplying customer touch points, changing customer behaviors, massive floods of big data. And like their B2C counterparts, B2B companies need to put the customer at the center of everything they do.
Tucked in an area north of Cincinnati is an office-warehouse building that looks like a movie set. It contains fully functional mockups of two homes (one upper-middle class, one lower-income) complete with kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms. It has two mock grocery stores and a virtual-reality lab where you can fly over store shelves. This is the Beckett Ridge Innovation Center, or BRIC, in P&G parlance. And P&G, whose innovation record has come under growing scrutiny, hopes it can deliver.
While some may pronounce that Facebook is all the social we’d ever need, users clearly haven’t gotten the memo. Instead, users are rapidly adopting new interest-based social networks such as Pinterest, Instagram, Thumb, Foodspotting, and even the very new Fitocracy.
Is now a good time to have a Jerry Maguire moment? To refresh your memory, the story goes when a sports agent has a moral epiphany and is fired for expressing it, he decides to put his new philosophy to the test as an independent with the only athlete who stays with him. We say people matter, do we mean it?
Jeremy Levine, who led Bessemer's investment, tells us about all the ways Pinterest can make money, why it's not thinking about that right now, and why the company is more like Google than you might imagine.
People seem really intent these days on fusing television with the Internet. On one level this makes no sense. Television technology works just fine and we all understand how to use it. We’re also in the midst of a golden age when it comes to programming; I can’t remember another time when there were this many good shows on. Also, television advertising rates are enormous compared to the Internet. There are people on YouTube who have more subscribers than top network sitcoms have viewers, yet they earn a minuscule fraction of the revenue. Television, as an industry, is strong. So there is the scent of blood in the water, and out of the resulting frenzy a few lessons have appeared. Here are four of them.
To fully exploit the opportunity presented by big data, a value chain must be created that helps address the challenges of acquiring data, evaluating its value, distilling it, building models both manually and automatically, analyzing the data, creating applications, and changing business processes based on what is discovered.
Andrew Pole had just started working as a statistician for Target in 2002, when two colleagues from the marketing department stopped by his desk to ask an odd question: “If we wanted to figure out if a customer is pregnant, even if she didn’t want us to know, can you do that?”
NBC Universal's broadcasts of the Olympics from London this summer will be filled with the usual athletic contests: synchronized swimming, basketball and canoe sprinting, among others. Behind the scenes, however, NBC will engage in a different sort of game: tablet counting. Mindful that audiences are no longer relying solely on TV to get all their video content, NBC Universal will use the Olympics to set up a system that purports to count viewers across all the different ways they now watch their shows.
The future of shopping means every garment--and shopping experience--can be customized to fit both your body and your thirst for discovery.
Facebook, KickStarter, Kiva, Twitter, and other companies thriving in the social era are operating by the rules of the Social Era. They get it. They live it. And to them, it's ridiculously obvious. But too many major companies — Bank of America, Sony, Gap, Yahoo, Nokia — that need to get it, don't.
There’s a new movement underway. If you haven’t come across Pinterest yet, you soon will do. It’s a new virtual pinboard site that everyone’s talking about. It allows you to easily share visual things you’ve discovered online with your followers. You simply browse the web, spot something that inspires you and ‘pin’ it onto one of your boards. It’s as simple as that.
What do you get when you cross Walmart with Mother Teresa? Who would be the Square Deal candidate in 2012? And how in the world do you compare--and rank--such dynamic, eclectic businesses as Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google?
Kodak is going to stop doing what they were once the first to ever do. No, not produce Kodachrome. They stopped that 10 years ago. They’re stopping the manufacture of digital cameras. “Did Kodak manufacture digital cameras?” I hear you ask. They invented digital.
ON a Sunday in early December, Marcus Brauchli, the executive editor of The Washington Post, summoned some of the newspaper’s most celebrated journalists to a lunch at his home, a red brick arts-and-crafts style in the suburb of Bethesda, Md. The Post faces the same problems as other daily newspapers, whose revenues have sunk as the Web and the tough economy have sapped advertising. But in some ways, its situation is even more daunting.
Every company wants customers talking about their products. But before they can sing your praises on social media or evangelize to their friends, they need to remember your product’s name. It seems obvious, but many companies – especially in the technology sector – overlook this easy way to connect with their audience.
Even if you haven’t ever visited popular visual bookmarking site Pinterest, you might recognize its design elements — which have been popping up everywhere since the startup burst onto the mainstream scene in 2011. The site doesn’t use traditional web building blocks.
The burrito chain is revolutionizing food: Why doesn’t it get more respect? Hunting for business success stories in a recession is a difficult (and sometimes depressing) task. Most of the feel-good stories seem to come from the high-tech world and the burgeoning app economy. One important exception is Chipotle Mexican Grill, a company that shows there’s clearly room for growth and innovation in even the most basic sectors of the economy.
The Supreme Court in the United Kingdom announced this week that it would accept freedom of information (FOI) requests (used by the public and media to ask for access to government documents) via Twitter after launching its own account. The social network could possibly become a new tool for legal and government institutions who choose to join.
Pinterest is a Virtual Pinboard. Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use Pinterest to communicate through vibrant images and share their personal interests.
Darling social media site Pinterest is taking heat after being revealed to have made a practice of embedding tracking code into links users post on their “boards” to generate revenue.
Bitly shortens URLs on web services like Twitter where space is at a premium. But nowadays, it’s also offering software for big businesses: Bitly Enterprise. With the help of the Kalman Filter, this software identifies which of your shortened URLs are generating the most interest amidst the sea of noise that is the internet. It’s not unlike locking onto a Soviet helicopter simply by turning your head.
We spoke with Colin Westcott-Pitt, VP Marketing, Dos Equis, Amstel Light, Newcastle Brown Ale at Heineken USA, about what’s keeping the Most Interesting Man in the World campaign successful. Delivering consumer craving content and utilizing Facebook as both a research tool and a marketing channel is making Dos Equis a category leader.
The BBC, Sky News and CNN are trying to figure out how to make Twitter play nicely with traditional newsrooms. Sky News and the BBC released new social media guidelines this week, while CNN has suspended an analyst for controversial tweets.
Apple has edged out IBM to become the top brand of 2011, according to an annual list from marketing strategy firm Davis Brand Capital. The Cupertino-based company ousted IBM, which topped the list in 2009 and 2010.
You may have noticed something was missing throughout the nation's most social sporting event of the year. The Super Bowl in-game broadcast had zero social media TV integration. With more than a billion people on Facebook and Twitter alone, many of them watching the game, this was a missed opportunity. Why did NBC and the NFL miss the boat?
As part of its promise last year to improve the nutritional quality of the food it sells, Walmart said on Tuesday that it had devised standards to determine what is healthy and would label the foods that meet those standards. A new label with the words Great for You will appear on Walmart's Great Value and Marketside food items this spring.
The thermostat business is getting ugly. I understand that sounds crazy, but it’s true. Late last year Tony Fadell, the guy who created the iPod at Apple, launched Nest, a new company that aims to reinvent household devices. Nest’s first product is a beautiful, easy-to-use, $249 “learning thermostat.” It launched to rave reviews, and sold out instantly. In retrospect it’s clear why Honeywell put on a full-court press to show me all the ways its thermostat was superior to the Nest.
Ah, the complex olfactory bouquet of the urban bus shelter! Trying to identify individual odors within such dense scent tapestries can be difficult, and most disturbing! That's not the case, however, at some locations in British cities like London and Manchester, where McCain Foods is installing 3-D ad panels that emit the aroma of freshly baked potatoes at the push of a button.
Coca-Cola is the only Atlanta-headquartered company to make the 2011 Davis Brand Capital 25 ranking which “provides an indication of the strength and effectiveness of an entire business.” The annual ranking measures brand value, competitive performance, innovation strength, company culture and social impact.
Microsoft had the third most "brand capital" among companies in 2011, according to a new report by a company whose business is helping clients boost this. Microsoft held the same spot in Davis Brand Capital's 2010 report, one place up from 2009. Longtime rival Apple topped the list for the first time, moving up from seventh place last year. IBM, whose decision to use Microsoft for its operating system three decades ago made the Redmond tech giant, fell from first to second. Davis' ranking looks at brand value, competitive performance, innovation strength, company culture and social impact.
Brands are valuable, everyone agrees. But it's hard to say just how valuable because of all the intangibles. Davis Brand Capital, an Atlanta firm that analyzes intangible assets for global clients, just published its list of the top 25 companies with the most brand capital in 2011. Irving-based Exxon Mobil ranked 17th and Dallas-based AT&T ranked 22nd.
The iPhone, iPad, and Mac maker topped the Davis list for the first time this year, ousting IBM, which had come in first in 2009 and 2010. Following those two are a handful of other technology companies including Microsoft, Google, and Hewlett-Packard. "(Apple's) rise in this year's rankings was driven largely by its competitive performance and added brand value," Davis said in a press release. So how does the company come up with these rankings?
We all learned you’re not supposed to end a sentence with a preposition. But from where did this alleged rule come? And why does it encumber us with such labored sentences as the one preceding this?
More than ever, the core drivers of brand loyalty are emotional rather than rational. That’s the takeaway from the 2012 Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index (CLEI), which marks the survey’s 16th year. While emotional engagement factors have become more critical each year, the influence of two core, overarching components rose markedly in 2012: the brand’s “values” and the consumer’s brand “experience.”
Jacq and I just watched Adele Live At The Royal Albert Hall (amazon affiliate link), and though every song was just wonderfully done, I found myself fascinated by what Adele was doing in between each song. Because even though most people would be interested in hearing her belt out her amazing repertoire of hits, what I took away from the performance was Adele’s real magical ability: the ability to resonate with her audience.
Discount voucher sites are all the rage. Groupon, Living Social and a host of other players are entering the mushrooming markdown market. This begs the question if discount sites are good news for brand value? In summary we don’t think so. It may be good for short term revenue spikes and potentially contribution margin boosts but not long term brand value. This is based on our experience with hotels, spas and restaurants to name a few. Let us share how we arrived at this position.
Facebook Inc., the social network that filed for an initial public offering yesterday, listed rivalry with Google Inc., regulatory scrutiny, hacker attacks and the shift to mobile technology among the risks it faces. Facebook’s competition with Google, Twitter Inc. and other social-networking providers could impede growth, the company said in the risk-factors section of its filing. Facebook also said it would face competition in China if it manages to gain access to that market, where it’s currently restricted.
To get a glimpse of what tomorrow's young global managers might be like as leaders, take a look at how today's young people think about communications.
Tom Brady and Eli Manning will square off this Super Bowl Sunday as the two quarterbacks tasked with leading their teams to a championship. Brady and Manning both possess many leadership and athletic qualities that have led them to the top of their sport and to this game. However, one of the primary skills of each of these quarterbacks is an in-depth knowledge of his teammates, and in particular the receivers who are supposed to be on the other end of the quarterback’s passes. That knowledge allows these two elite quarterbacks to play at the highest level and make the people around them better, which is an essential leadership skill in football or business.
At first glance, it would seem that the new generation of product-bookmarking sites such as Pinterest and Svpply are nothing more than new tools to feed the consumer machine, driving us to buy more stuff. But, counterintuitively, my experience with these services is that they actually help me cut my consumption and to direct my money at goods that more closely align with my values.
While most companies are all over Facebook and Twitter, CMOs confess they are at sixes and sevens with their digital marketing strategy. The Boston Consulting Group reports that 77% aren’t sure where best to reach their customers, a critical component of any digital strategy. And 55% say they have only “minimal or informal metrics to measure the impact and return on investment of digital marketing efforts.”
Good design is like pornography: You know it when you see it. Incredibly subtle Supreme Court justice jokes aside, design really can make or break a company--especially for an “early adopter” technology that hasn’t quite caught on yet. Convincing people to do anything that’s out of their comfort zone (in our case, getting them to pay with their phones using LevelUp) is tough. But one of the benefits of being somewhat early to a market is getting to define what an entirely new experience means for a person. In this instance, design, function, and brand can become one
Companies like Apple, Facebook, Google, and many other digital platforms and services have created a new, virtual public sphere that is largely shaped, built, owned, and operated by private companies. These companies now mediate human relationships of all kinds, including the relationship between citizens and governments. They exercise a new layer of sovereignty over what we can and cannot do with our digital lives, on top of and across the sovereignty of governments. Sometimes—as with the Arab spring—these corporate-run global platforms can help empower citizens to challenge their governments. But at other times, they can constrain our freedom in insidious ways, sometimes in cooperation with governments and sometimes independently. The result is certainly not as rosy as Apple’s marketing department would have us believe.
Puma can’t yet legally discuss its Olympics marketing strategy, according to Remi Carlioz, the company’s head of digital marketing. But to get an idea of how Puma will promote its star athlete and three-time Olympic gold medalist sprinter Usain Bolt, one need only turn to the Middle East. In mid-January, Puma sent 10 bloggers to Abu Dhabi to cover the company’s sponsored boat, Mar Mostro, as it competed in the third leg of the Volvo Ocean Race. Puma has recruited bloggers to talk about the brand before, but this event marked the first time it tested Tumblr. (The bloggers were also encouraged to post to Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #marmostro.)
In January 2012, we sit again on the cusp of three grand technological transformations with the potential to rival that of the past century. All find their epicenters in America: big data, smart manufacturing and the wireless revolution. Information technology has entered a big-data era. Processing power and data storage are virtually free. A hand-held device, the iPhone, has computing power that shames the 1970s-era IBM mainframe. The Internet is evolving into the "cloud"—a network of thousands of data centers any one of which makes a 1990 supercomputer look antediluvian. From social media to medical revolutions anchored in metadata analyses, wherein astronomical feats of data crunching enable heretofore unimaginable services and businesses, we are on the cusp of unimaginable new markets.
When Ridley Scott created Apple's iconic "1984," the company's board didn't want it to air. Newly hired CEO John Sculley, veteran of many a Super Bowl ad as CEO of Pepsi-Cola Co., agreed with the consensus: It's a waste to run an ad that doesn't even show the product. Apple ended up selling off some of its planned Super Bowl ad time and ran "1984" in the 60-second slot it couldn't unload. The rest, as they say, is history. The Macintosh did change the world as Steve Jobs said it would, and Apple is the most valuable company on the planet.
IF the future of media is digital, who would want to buy a newspaper? Many people, it turns out. The notion of newspaper pages whipping through printing presses, then being bundled with twine and tossed onto street corners might be considered romantic by some while others view it as bad business. But while newspaper companies can be bought on the cheap these days, some investors seem persuaded they can turn a quick profit while others may view owning a paper as a civic duty.
There are many people who have gifts for selecting the best items, and helping you buy wisely. This has always been a hot trend. Reviews have an impact on buying behaviors. Aside from trying to game or buy reviews, which I don't recommend, how can you find what really affects behavior? Social influences is part of that. Which is why tools that allow people to display what they read, listen to, and buy are making such strong inroads. For example, my boards on Pinterest are a mix of things I have done, and things I might like to do.
The Internet is celebrated as a machine that runs by itself, but this is not quite accurate. The Web does have oversight, just not by any multinational organization, national government or regulator. It's run by a small, private, nonprofit institution that is rarely in the news. This week will be an exception. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, known by the acronym Icann, is accepting applications for an infinite number of new Web addresses, known as top-level domain names. In addition to the existing two dozen suffixes, such as .com, .org and .net, Icann will let people apply, for a fee of $185,000, to create whatever suffixes they like, which will be reviewed and go live next year. Expect .hitachi and .paris, for example. Icann is also adding local-language Web names in non-Latin characters such as Chinese and Cyrillic.
The brand new Land Rover Range Rover Evoque started 2012 off right – with a prestigious North American Truck of the Year win at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan. This topped off a terrific 2011 for the Tata Motors-owned brand, with Land Rover sales up an impressive 19.6% to 38,099 in a new car market that grew by 10.6%. The success of this off-road brand is in stark contrast to its former competitor, GM’s Hummer, which logged no new sales last year and like so many Hollywood marriages, failed to survive to the 10-year anniversary it would have celebrated this year. As you may recall, on February 24, 2010, eight months into its post-bankruptcy life, and nearly eight years after debuting the H2, GM officially announced they would begin the wind-down process for the Hummer brand. The last Hummer rolled off the Shreveport production line in 2010. So how did these two brands with arguably analogous products end up with such different fortunes?
Establishing consumer relationships through mobile marketing, as with any successful, productive relationship, inherently requires a mutual exchange of value. Whether consumers are opting-in for brand communications via SMS or engaging with the brand in a single instance through scanning a QR code, the onus is on the brand to deliver value in return for customers’ valuable time and information. Without the perception that value has been exchanged for value, the relationship becomes essentially one-sided and unrequited attempts at interaction on the part of the consumer will spell the end of the relationship – perhaps permanently.
Shortly after taking the top job at J.C. Penney Co. last fall, Chief Executive Ron Johnson signed up for the company's email alerts. He was shocked by what landed in his inbox. The former Apple Inc. retail executive was deluged by sales announcements, sometimes two a day. He and his team counted 590 separate sales last year. They didn't bring in shoppers—Mr. Johnson's team found the average customer purchased only four times a year—but they did crush prices. Alarmingly, he learned nearly three-quarters of Penney's products sold at discounts of 50% or more. Three months into the job, J.C. Penney Chief Executive Ron Johnson is planning a far-reaching but risky overhaul of the department store format.
Risk has come to Facebook. Scrabble is one of the top iPhone apps. And several board games are enjoying a long life on game consoles. In the digital age, you better be ready to Hasbro-down. A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away families had a game night--once a week they'd pull out a stack of boxes from a closet and everyone would flex their knowledge of trivia (Trivial Pursuit), vocabulary (Scrabble), or even their real-estate management skills (Monopoly, natch).
Senior management teams set the course for their organizations and are often the leaders who first recognize when big change is needed. These teams are also often made up of people with drastically different styles, personalities, and visions. Bringing these voices into alignment around key goals and opportunities is the essential first step toward accelerating strategic results for the organization.
Usually the question comes right after I tell an audience that I put former Procter & Gamble CEO A.G. Lafley on my "Innovation Mount Rushmore" as a reminder of the importance of investing time and energy to understand the target market.
There is an old saying that hindsight is the only exact science, and it's true. The news that Kodak's long fade to black has finally ended with the company filing for Chapter 11 protection (a way of protecting it from bankruptcy while it attempts to restructure) has prompted an avalanche of retrospective wisdom about great companies "fumbling the future" (as the title of a book about Xerox once put it). And it's easy to see why. Kodak is like Coca-Cola, a brand-name that defined an industry. One of its products – the color film Kodachrome – even became the title of one of Paul Simon's most famous songs. You can't get more iconic than that. And the company was an industrial giant – at one time (1976), for example, it had 90% of film and 85% of camera sales in the US and was regularly rated one of the world's five most valuable brands. So it seemed inconceivable that a company as large and successful could disappear. And yet it might.
Esquire magazine, a monument to male vitality, seemed about to keel over in 2009. Famous for laying down a much-followed literary track with an article in 1966 by Gay Talese titled “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold,” the magazine found itself gasping for breath and fighting for survival. Amid the plague that hit the magazine industry back then, Esquire was worse off than most. Beaten up by a crop of lad magazines like Maxim, then hammered by the flight of advertisers and readers to the Web, Esquire suffered a 24.3 percent loss in advertising pages compared with 2008, which was almost as bad, by the way. A Web site for investors, 24/7 Wall Street, predicted in 2009 that Esquire would be one of “Twelve Major Brands that Will Disappear” the following year.
Some years ago, I hosted a blind tasting beer party where everyone voted for their favorite and least favorite beers from a collection of microbrews and mainstream brands. Although there was no clear winner, there was definitely an outright loser. I was thinking about that party when I read about Coke’s decision to kill its White Coke can before the scheduled end of its holiday season run. This was primarily a story about customer confusion -- there was not enough difference between the White Coke can and the Diet Coke can and people were getting confused and buying the wrong one. But there was a side-story that some people thought that the Coke from the white can did not taste the same/as good as the Coke from the red can. Ridiculous, you might say. Not that surprising, I thought, based on my own experience from that beer-tasting party.
“Active fiction” publisher Coliloquy launched this week with four young adult ebooks that create a rich, interactive experience for the reader. This development in customizable fiction takes advantage of the digital format to push expectations of “choose-your-own-adventure” stories to new levels. The four new titles from Coliloquy are Heidi R. Kling’s Witch’s Brew (The Spellspinners of Melas County), Kira Snyder’s Dead Letter Office (Parish Mail), Liz Maverick’s Arcania, Trial by Fire #1 (Arcania), and Tawna Fenske’s Getting Dumped. These series, available exclusively in the Amazon Kindle store, reinvent the way authors and their readers interact with books. Coliloquy’s new publishing format enables multiple storylines, serial and episodic story-telling, personalized content, and in-book engagement mechanics, which create a more immersive experience.
In the 20th century, a select group of leaders — General Motor's Alfred Sloan, HP's David Packard and Bill Hewlett, and GE's Jack Welch — set the standard for the way corporations are run. In the 21st century only IBM's Sam Palmisano has done so. When Palmisano retired this month, the media chronicled his success by focusing on IBM's 21% annual growth in earnings per share and its increase in market capitalization to $218 billion. But IBM hasn't flourished because it kowtows to Wall Street. In fact, five years after Palmisano took over, IBM stock was stuck where it had been when his tenure began.
Barbara Scott just hit the trifecta of computer security breaches. Since the New Year, Ms. Scott has been a victim of three separate cyberattacks. Two weeks ago, the online auction site eBay said in an e-mail to her that there had been suspicious activity on her account. On Monday, she received an e-mail from Zappos and another from 6PM, two online shoe retailers owned by Amazon. Both messages alerted her that — once again — her information had been compromised.
In its midcentury heyday, Sears, Roebuck & Co. was the Wal-Mart of its era—the largest retailer in the world with more than 350,000 employees. But it is in an epic freefall. After decades of decline, the Sears ended up in the hands of investment manager Edward Lampert, who purchased the company in 2004 and merged it with Kmart. The new combined entity, known as Sears Holdings Corporation, was consistently losing money even before the recession. The Sears Tower, the company’s iconic skyscraper, no longer houses any Sears’ employees and—the ultimate indignity—had its name changed to the Willis Tower in 2009. On Dec. 27, it announced that in light of poor holiday sales, 100-120 Sears and Kmart stores would have to close. An even bigger blow came last Friday when CIT Group said it would no longer provide loans to Sears vendors.
Today, Facebook is publishing a study that disproves some hoary conventional wisdom about the Web. According to this new research, the online echo chamber doesn’t exist. This is of particular interest to me. In 2008, I wrote True Enough, a book that argued that digital technology is splitting society into discrete, ideologically like-minded tribes that read, watch, or listen only to news that confirms their own beliefs. I’m not the only one who’s worried about this. Eli Pariser, the former executive director of MoveOn.org, argued in his recent book The Filter Bubble that Web personalization algorithms like Facebook’s News Feed force us to consume a dangerously narrow range of news. The echo chamber was also central to Cass Sunstein’s thesis, in his book Republic.com, that the Web may be incompatible with democracy itself. If we’re all just echoing our friends’ ideas about the world, is society doomed to become ever more polarized and solipsistic?
Customers, employees, shareholders and taxpayers hate large corporations for many reasons. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed a lengthy list of corporations for which there is substantial research data to choose the 10 most hated in America.
You already use Netflix for unlimited DVD rentals, Spotify for unlimited music and your gym membership for unlimited elliptical-machine use, so why are you still paying on a film-by-film basis to go to the movie theater? Or so asks MoviePass, a new flat-fee subscription service that allows members all-you-can-watch access to local cinemas.
Google is taking Googling yourself to a whole new level, by folding users’ personal data into Google search results. The personalized search results pull data from users’ Google accounts such as Picasa and Google+, and offers users the option to toggle between searching their own personal data and searching the Web as a whole.
The acquisition of Twitter by Google is the ultimate strategic buyout. We know that Twitter turned down a $10 billion buyout offer from Google sometime in early 2011. There have also been other overtures made over the past several years by Google, Facebook and Microsoft. Surprisingly, Twitter is still independent. Why hasn’t Google paid up with all of that cash on its balance sheet? How could Twitter turn down $10 billion when the company isn’t worth anywhere near that based on earnings or even projected earnings (1999 style)?
The business climate, it turns out, is a lot like the weather. And we've entered a next-two-hours era. The pace of change in our economy and our culture is accelerating--fueled by global adoption of social, mobile, and other new technologies--and our visibility about the future is declining. From the rise of Facebook to the fall of Blockbuster, from the downgrading of U.S. government debt to the resurgence of Brazil, predicting what will happen next has gotten exponentially harder. Uncertainty has taken hold in boardrooms and cubicles, as executives and workers (employed and unemployed) struggle with core questions: Which competitive advantages have staying power? What skills matter most? How can you weigh risk and opportunity when the fundamentals of your business may change overnight?
Barnes & Noble lowered guidance and its stock is getting crushed. It's thinking about spinning off its Nook business--both hardware and digital ecosystem. That won't save it.
The New York Times raised its daily price to $2.50 today. I thought back to the penny press at the turn of the last century and wondered what such a paper would cost today, inflation adjusted. Answer: a quarter. So, in inflation-adjusted current pennies, The New York Times today costs 10 times more than a newspaper in 1890. Granted, Today’s Times is better than a product of the penny press. But is it worth 10x? Should it cost 10x?
Sydney Finkelstein, the Steven Roth, Professor of Management at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, published “Why Smart Executives Fail” 8 years ago. In it, he shared some of his research on what over 50 former high-flying companies – like Enron, Tyco, WorldCom, Rubbermaid, and Schwinn – did to become complete failures. It turns out that the senior executives at the companies all had 7 Habits in common. Finkelstein calls them the Seven Habits of Spectacularly Unsuccessful Executives.
The lead producer of festivalslab Rohan Gunatillake gives four reasons why new thinking and tools can produce better experiences
It’s not easy being the Ford Motor of the Internet. And that, in short, is the predicament facing AOL, according to its chief executive, Timothy M. Armstrong, who spoke Tuesday as part of the three-day UBS media conference in New York.
Steve Jobs was a visionary, a brilliant innovator who reshaped entire industries by the force of his will, a genius at giving consumers not only what they wanted, but what they didn't yet know they wanted. He was also a world-class a**hole.
Google+ Pages is the game-changer for brand presence on the web in a leap over the social networking garden wall and the next digital manifest destiny combining search and social.
Google+ has been billed as a Facebook killer, its user homepage layout borrows heavily from Facebook, and now there are free self-service branded pages for marketers similar conceptually to what Facebook introduced in November 2007 – almost four years ago to the day. Despite all of this, Google+ is different. This is largely because Facebook the company has only one eponymous flagship product, and Google the company is using Google+ as both a networking hub and a social layer across its diverse suite of digital products.
Apple television rumors have swirled for years. But only now do we know that when speaking to his official biographer, Steve Jobs was keen to reinvent the television. And after ages trying to polish it into a user-friendly interface to video content he finally felt he'd "cracked it." Excitement has grown quickly since this revelation, but one analyst--Gene Munster--has checked with his sources and says that test HDTV prototypes are already in the pipeline, suggesting the device could be en route sooner than we thought.
"Happy chic" designer Jonathan Adler took some time away from whatever he's doing now to help put together eBay's first storefront. It's located in New York City, naturally. Each item in the storefront has a QR code; if you scan a code with your eBay phone app, you're directed to a special purchasing page within the app. What's that, you say? No, it's not a slightly more complicated version of browsing the site on your computer. Shut up. It's a dynamic and totally new 24-hour shopping experience.
In a few days Fast Company’s next magazine issue will begin arriving in newsstands and mailboxes. The issue has four different covers, and one of them features a picture of Steve Jobs. But this is not a commemorative obituary. In fact, the issue had already been printed at our plant when Jobs passed away. Instead the magazine offers a forward-looking analysis of what’s next for Apple--and how it will be battling with America’s three other favorite tech companies: Amazon, Facebook, and Google. We’ve dubbed this coming clash “The Great Tech War of 2012.”
Last month, CEO Reed Hastings announced that the company's DVD and streaming businesses would be split: The DVD-by-mail service would be rebranded as Qwikster, while the streaming service would remain under Netflix. Consumer reaction was overwhelmingly negative, just as it had been for the company's recent price hikes. Many found the announcement confusing (customers would now have to deal with separate websites, usernames and passwords, movie queues, credit card bills, and ratings systems), and senior Netflix execs came out to reaffirm the decision, calling it a "natural progression" and part of a "long-term marketing opportunity."
While there are many things worth celebrating of Steve Jobs's life, the greatest gift Steve gave us is a way to design our own lives.
Facebook is driven by a single, unique goal. Its priority isn’t to gain more users (it already has 750 million of those), nor does it feel compelled to find stupid ways to increase pageviews. Its primary goal right now isn’t to increase revenue, either — that will come later. No, Facebook’s goal is to become the social layer that supports, powers and connects every single piece of the web, no matter who or what it is or where it lives.
Is Facebook a friend of news companies, or is it a rival? No matter how much success publishers have piggybacking off its traffic, they can’t escape the cruel math: The more of their time consumers spend on Facebook and other social networking hubs, the less they have left over for news sites.
Exactly what Facebook plans to debut later this week at its f8 conference isn't clear, but it's reportedly big, and will likely reshape the site's core experience with new "read," "watch," and "listen" buttons.
For 25 years, the field of robotics has been bedeviled by a fundamental problem: If a robot is to move through the world, it needs to be able to create a map of its environment and understand its place within it. Roboticists have developed tools to accomplish this task, known as simultaneous localization and mapping, or SLAM. But the sensors required to build that map have traditionally been either expensive and bulky or cheap and inaccurate. Laser arrays cost a few thousand dollars and weigh several pounds, and the images they capture are only two-dimensional. Stereo cameras are less expensive, lighter, and can construct 3-D maps, but they require a massive amount of computing power. Until a reasonably priced, easier method could be designed, autonomous robots were trapped in the lab.
iTunes as we know it is over. It is walking, talking, and continuing to pretend it's alive, but Spotify, Europe's outrageously successful streaming music product, has just shown us the future.
Samsung's journey from low-cost OEM producer to a global brand name synonymous with innovation is an admirable one. The process of turning away from the basic elements responsible for your original success is a perilous and brave move. I can only imagine the resistance involved when an established, hierarchical company like the old Samsung decides to introduce practices that threaten the status quo.
More and more leaders are scared for their business. Not because their products and services are not innovative or relevant, but because they just don’t connect naturally with the changing face of America’s consumers.
June's Harvard Business Review features a story by Procter & Gamble Chief Technology Officer Bruce Brown and me on "How P&G Tripled Its Innovation Success Rate." The article's core message is that P&G achieved that result by approaching the creation of new growth businesses in a highly systematic way, building what Brown and I call the "new-growth factory."
A few weeks ago, I found myself in a conflict with someone in my work life. I felt he had clearly violated an agreement we'd made. My first reaction was righteous indignation. In this case, I believed the person at work had acted badly. I was right, and he was wrong. My goal was to get him to see it my way. A few days later, we had a chance to sit down together. Not surprisingly, the conversation was awkward at first. Then, to my surprise, as he explained himself, I felt myself beginning to understand why he made the choice he did.
Few people are better situated to speak about the present state -- and future prospects -- of design today than Kevin Slavin and Paola Antonelli. Antonelli, of course, is the senior curator of architecture and design at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Among the many groundbreaking shows she's put on, perhaps the most influential was Design and the Elastic Mind, which tracked the various ways that designers were using technology to break out of the discipline's old boundaries. Slavin, working with Frank Lantz, co-founded Area/Code, a game developer that was just recently acquired by Zynga, becoming Zynga New York.
BEIJING—Burberry Group PLC is outfitting its stores in China with the latest digital technology, including touchscreens for customers and iPads for staff, at the start of a world-wide campaign to shake its stiff, older image and win over younger customers.
In an uncharted world of boundless data, information designers are our new navigators. They are computer scientists, statisticians, graphic designers, producers and cartographers who map entire oceans of data and turn them into innovative visual displays, like rich graphs and charts, that help both companies and consumers cut through the clutter. These gurus of visual analytics are making interactive data synonymous with attractive data.
Much is being written about the impact that new communication technologies and channels (blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube) have on traditional marketing. The deeper question is: Will these new communication channels actually force material changes not just in the way companies market their products but in the strategies and operations they use to develop and build those products as well? In my view, the answer is an emphatic yes. It's another instance of the proverbial medium that changes the content.
How many will we carry? What will they look like? What will they do?
The magic lies in how it's managed, and that must come from the very top of the company.
Cloud technology isn’t hype anymore: Businesses are moving computing work to the cloud. And with trillions of tech dollars at stake, it’s war up there. Here are the tech companies battling for their piece of the market.
Nestlé is a worldwide brand probably known best as a maker of chocolate, not exactly a health food. But the brand is making a serious push to become a global power in the emerging industry of foods that are not just healthy, but that offer specific medical and health benefits.
In recent months, business leaders been embarking on a new conversation in the U.S. about how our business, government and consumers will meet challenges around the environments, infrastructure, and of course, the economy.
Is Google's Public Data Explorer the first step toward a universal data format?
Design is an inescapable dimension of human activity. To adapt one of my favorite quotes by Reyner Banham, like the weather it is always there, but we speak about it only when it is exceptionally bad or exceptionally good.
Groupon has been written about a lot in the media. Most of the coverage has been extremely positive, like a Forbes cover which called Groupon “The Fastest Growing Company Ever.” Other articles question whether Groupon is a defensible business built for the long-haul. Late last year we boarded a Chicago-bound plane, along with a couple of our colleagues, for an initial meeting with the company to form our own opinion.
America needs poets and thinkers as well as engineers.
As Pandora rumbles toward a possible IPO, its founder and Chief Strategy Officer Tim Westergren talks to Fast Company about the secret ingredient in its future formula (hint: it's not an algorithm).
If you were compiling a list of the world’s most innovative companies, which businesses would top your list?
Innovation isn't new, but appointing a C-suite member to oversee it is. Mark Johnson looks at how the CIO's role should be executed
It isn’t any of the newest sci-fi flicks that got me thinking about the collision of real and virtual time and space, but a recent breakfast I attended that dealt with the challenges and opportunities in the realm of social media. It was hosted by the Newhouse School and moderated by The New Yorker’s media writer, Ken Auletta. The panelists, Dennis Crowley, co-founder of social network site, Foursquare, David Karp, founder of the micro-blogging platform, Tumblr, and Clay Shirky, author of “Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing without Organizations”,” talked about everything from 40,000-foot issues like whether social media is narrowing or advancing democracy, to more down-to-earth issues, like how social media tools can be used to build brands more effectively.
ARStreets is a new location-based game for the iPhone which allows users to create and post visual tags on real world locations.
The corporation is very good at problem solving. Next to getting things done, this is what it does best. The trouble is the problems are getting tougher.
Gartner has identified what they perceive to be the 10 most strategic technologies that enterprises should track to and plan for leading into 2011.
Not too long ago, about fifty years, Atlanta was the size of Little Rock, Ark. About a hundred years before that, it was burned to the ground. Atlanta has proven it can grow (adding 1.1 million residents in the last decade alone). Now, it’s building toward a sort of tech hub in the southeast, against a backdrop that includes the busiest international airport in the world; a healthy cluster of corporate giants in Coca-Cola, UPS, Delta and The Home Depot, among others; and a spur of entrepreneurial activity that put Atlanta in the top ten on this year’s Kauffman Entrepreneurial Index, which tracks new business creation.
10 changes that will continue to affect the top marketing job going Into 2011.
Today I was in a meeting with a number of consultants to a very large technology company. Their job: market research, essentially. They called to ask me my thoughts on the media and technology world, in particular as it might play out in the next five or so years. They were responsible for helping the Fortune 50 company navigate an increasingly complicated world. I love these kind of free association tasks, because while it's not easy to be right, it's also pretty easy to not be wrong if the questions are smart. I've been a student of technology cycles for a couple of decades, and often times what's directly in front of you is, in fact, the next big thing. So when I got this question: "What's the next big thing after social?" I didn't lose a beat in answering: "Location."
At TEDxChange, Melinda Gates makes a provocative case for nonprofits taking a cue from corporations such as Coca-Cola, whose plugged-in, global network of marketers and distributors ensures that every remote village wants -- and can get -- a Coke. Why shouldn't this work for condoms, sanitation, vaccinations too?
How a tiny piece of software created by a few Google engineers is ushering in the mobile revolution and reshaping the fortunes of the world's biggest tech companies.
Here's a thought: 21st century organizations need not just half a brain — but a whole, full, complete brain, where both halves work in unison and harmony. Let me explain, by way of an example. It hurts your eyes to look at it. It's making designers world-wide recoil in amazement and horror. The latest installment of Aliens vs Predator? Nope — it's the Gap's new logo.
At the height of the Great Recession we set off across America in search of stories of hope. We were armed with data from Young & Rubicam's BrandAsset Valuator that showed how most people were thinking, feeling and spending in new ways. We traveled through nine red and blue states, talking with people across kitchen counters, in restaurants, supermarkets, factory floors and boardrooms. In the hipster enclaves of Brooklyn and the techno hubs on the West Coast we found ample evidence that economic pain had moved vast numbers of people to reconsider their values and priorities. In these places, thoughtful spending and a commitment to sustainability, environmentalism and community had replaced consumerism. In fact, in 2007 -- even before the crisis -- our data showed Americans were becoming uneasy with debt and excess spending, distrustful of leaders and skeptical of materialist values.
I will always remember my first introduction to the power of good product design. I was newly arrived at Apple, still learning the ways of business, when I was visited by a member of Apple's Industrial Design team. He showed me a foam mockup of a proposed product. "Wow," I said, "I want one! What is it?" That experience brought home the power of design: I was excited and enthusiastic even before I knew what it was.
It sounds absurd, but you can't argue that in the marketing industry we're seeing very real progress toward removing humanity from the process of making and placing brand communication.
For decades brands basked in the glory of control, control over consumers’ perceptions, impressions and ultimately decisions and ensuing experiences. Or better said, business leaders enjoyed a semblance of control. While businesses concentrated resources on distancing the connections between customers, influencers and representatives, a new democracy was materializing. This movement would inevitably render these faceless actions not only defunct, but also perilous.
As the world faces recession, climate change, inequity and more, Tim Jackson delivers a piercing challenge to established economic principles, explaining how we might stop feeding the crises and start investing in our future.
The one constant in the marketing industry is that it is ever-changing. Over time marketing has faced countless challenges, be it from disruptive new technologies, consumer empowerment or ongoing advertiser trust issues. As a result, the marketing community continuously adapts to achieve its goal to successfully connect with consumers. The following 10 examples show the marketing industry's strength in turning challenges into opportunities for growth.
Thanks to the emergence of location-based services such as Foursquare, Gowalla, and now Facebook Places, millions of users are recording their daily adventures and broadcasting digital breadcrumbs to their social graph. However, the brand value of a check-in on a location-based service is debatable, and its ROI unclear.
In the last decade, we've had two wars (Iraq and Afghanistan), two automobile bankruptcies (General Motors and Chrysler) and two radically new social-media sites (Facebook and Twitter). We've had a housing crisis, a banking crisis and a dot-com bubble. Three of our four leading airlines have gone bankrupt. And the fourth one (American Airlines) is losing money. We've witnessed the incredible rise of Google and Apple. And the incredible fall of A.I.G. and Lehman Brothers. "Everything has changed" is the message marketers have been reacting to recently. And because everything has changed, marketers believe they have to change everything in their marketing programs.
Journalists are coping with the rising information flood by borrowing data visualization techniques from computer scientists, researchers and artists. Some newsrooms are already beginning to retool their staffs and systems to prepare for a future in which data becomes a medium. But how do we communicate with data, how can traditional narratives be fused with sophisticated, interactive information displays?
The recession has given retail a swift kick in the butt -- but in the case of Target, it's done so in a good way. Using the recession as a catalyst, Target has made fairly radical shifts to its agency structure, marketing and media approach and overall business operations.
The only brands that stay relevant in our change world will be ones savvy about mobile technology.
We have entered a Golden Age of marketing technology. There are now thousands of software applications built for nearly every aspect of marketing. We have more choices, with more capabilities, at more attractive economics, than ever before. Yet most marketing organizations today lack the technical leadership to fully harness this power.
Elon Musk looks like a kid who just walked into a toy factory. The 39-year-old CEO of upstart car company Tesla Motors stands on the main floor of the New United Motor Manufacturing plant and looks with awe from one giant piece of machinery to the next. The car factory, known as Nummi, is located in Fremont, California, but it’s an industrial city unto itself. It encompasses 5.5 million square feet and contains a plastics molding factory, two paint facilities, 1.5 miles of assembly lines, and a 50-megawatt power plant. Since 1984, Toyota and General Motors had run Nummi together, producing as many as 450,000 cars a year here until it was shuttered in April. Now, in a remarkable turn of events, Musk owns the place.
Kevin Slavin has been thinking about the intersection of games and daily life for nearly a decade. As the managing director of Area/Code, he's worked with Frank Lantz to integrate gameplay into the fabric of reality using a technique they call "big games." In the following interview, Slavin discusses the thinning boundary between the game world and the real world.
Plus: magazines are making a comeback and VCs might be getting desperate.
If you want to be a 21st century company (or economy), if you want to survive and thrive during this Great Stagnation, you've got to to have the courage, foresight, and determination to step up to a higher rung on the ladder of innovation. It's time to master what I sometimes call "I-squared": the art and practice of institutional innovation.
At TEDxBerlin, Fabian Hemmert demos one future of the mobile phone -- a shape-shifting and weight-shifting handset that "displays" information nonvisually, offering a delightfully intuitive way to communicate.
I’m a capitalist by conviction and profession. I believe the best economic system is one that rewards entrepreneurship and risk-taking, maximizes customer choice, uses markets to allocate scarce resources and minimizes the regulatory burden on business. If there’s a better recipe for creating prosperity I haven’t seen it. So why do fewer than four out of ten consumers in the developed world believe that large corporations make a “somewhat” or “generally” positive contribution to society?
I was recently turned on to the legendary designer Dieter Rams, whose comments below were made three decades ago during a speech to the supervisory board of Braun: "Good designers must always be avant-gardists, always one step ahead of the times. They should, and must, question everything generally thought to be obvious. They must have an intuition for people’s changing attitudes. For the reality in which they live, for their dreams, their desires, their worries, their needs, their living habits. They must also be able to assess realistically the opportunities and bounds of technology." It occurred to me that if you replace the word “designers” with “leaders,” Rams’ wisdom would ring especially true in today's chaotic marketplace. So I've decided to appropriate Dieter’s ethos and apply it to designing a “good” brand; one that creates growth in profitability, as well as happy and healthy, holistic relationships.
If the Web is dead, nobody told Twitter. Just last month, Wired magazine controversially claimed that the Web is going the way of the dodo -- users are increasingly abandoning the Web browser and instead accessing their favorite Web services via applications on smartphones, the logic goes. One of the companies shaping this trend was Twitter, the information network that became accessible through countless third-party applications on mobile devices and the desktop. This week, however, Twitter announced a major redesign of its website. The intent: To make Twitter.com a compelling Web destination. Whatever happened to the death of the Web at the hands of mobile applications?
Leave it to the company that so many people love to hate to first reinvent corporate social responsibility ("CSR") and now take on marketing. Walmart has announced that it's creating a new function, called "marketing operations," and slotting its architect of corporate sustainability into the role, and it's taking its private brands marketer and putting her into the sustainability job. These moves say profound things about the marketing world, how Walmart is reinventing it and, by default, how it's leaving other marketers in the dust.
Twitter unveiled a new Web site on Tuesday that it hopes will be user friendly. The redesigned site, which will be available to all users in the next few weeks, makes it simpler to see information about the authors of Twitter posts, conversations among Twitter users, and the photos and videos that posts link to. “It’s going to increase the value that people are getting out of Twitter, so in less time you can get more information and value,” Evan Williams, Twitter’s co-founder and chief executive, said in an interview.
This morning at Nokia World 2010 in London, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, widely known as the inventor of the Web, addressed the audience in a keynote speech where he spoke about the future of mobile technology, including both the positive impacts it brings as well as the areas of concern. After encouraging developers to build for the Web, so as to deliver applications that work on all types of devices, even the ones that haven't been invented yet, he then proceeded to detail areas which need addressing, specifically privacy, accountability, network neutrality and the 80% of the world that doesn't have access to the World Wide Web.
The future of social media in journalism will see the death of “social media.” That is, all media as we know it today will become social, and feature a social component to one extent or another. After all, much of the web experience, particularly in the way we consume content, is becoming social and personalized. But more importantly, these social tools are inspiring readers to become citizen journalists by enabling them to easily publish and share information on a greater scale. The future journalist will be more embedded with the community than ever, and news outlets will build their newsrooms to focus on utilizing the community and enabling its members to be enrolled as correspondents. Bloggers will no longer be just bloggers, but be relied upon as more credible sources. Here are some trends we are noticing, and we would love to hear your thoughts and observations in the comments below.
For the first time in centuries, the role of the storefront is changing. How should companies adapt?
If you pull out your smartphone and click the button that says “locate me” on your mapping application, you will see a small dot appear in the middle of your screen. That’s you. If you start walking down the street in any direction, the whole screen will move right along with you, no matter where you go. This is a dramatic change from the print-on-paper world, where maps and locations are based around places and landmarks, not on you or your location. In the print world people don’t go to the store and say, “Oh, excuse me, can I buy a map of me?” Instead, they ask for a map of New York, or Amsterdam, or the subway system. You and I aren’t anywhere to be seen on these maps. The maps are locations that we fit into.
As I mentioned a few weeks back, I'm reading Nicholas Carr's book "The Shallows." His basic premise is that our current environment, with its deluge of available information typically broken into bite-sized pieces served up online, is "dumbing down" our brains. We no longer read, we scan. We forego the intellectual heavy lifting of prolonged reading for the more immediate gratification of information foraging. We're becoming a society of attention-deficit dolts. It's a grim picture, and Carr does a good job of backing up his premise. I've written about many of these issues in the past. And I don't dispute the trends that Carr chronicles (at length). But is Carr correct is saying that online is dulling our intellectual capabilities, or is it just creating a different type of intelligence?
A Japanese resort town has created real-world getaway packages for men and their virtual schoolgirl dates. It’s weird and creepy, for sure, but it also demonstrates the power of virtual experience to be, as Dr. Eldon Tyrell once boasted, "more human than human."
As we get more engrossed in the idea and practice of digital experiences, are we missing out on the opportunity to build better physical experiences with brands? There's a huge opportunity here to fuse the world's of design and art with technology and create something new. As way of inspiration, I think it's good to look at the work of artist Olafur Eliasson- who's spent a lot of time trying to understand how we "see", manage, react to and interact with space.
Google really did just change the game in search today with the introduction of Google Instant. While Google execs at today’s event emphasized how much faster it makes search, Google Instant is really about showing you more search results. And this will have very interesting implications for consumers expectations of what they want from search, search market share, and how sites try to game search through SEO tactics.
The internet has been a great unifier of people, companies and online networks. Powerful forces are threatening to balkanise it.
In most businesses, not knowing how well a particular product is performing would be almost unthinkable. But newspapers have always been a peculiar business, one that has stubbornly, proudly clung to a sense that focusing too much on the bottom line can lead nowhere good. Now, because of technology that can pinpoint what people online are viewing and commenting on, how much time they spend with an article and even how much money an article makes in advertising revenue, newspapers can make more scientific decisions about allocating their ever scarcer resources.
How a new view of consumers changed the way we think about products, companies, and economies.
Waleed Al Mokarrab Al Muhairi discusses Mubadala’s double bottom line, bridging investment and development.
What is it about design that makes it so well suited to solving complex problems? Why is design thinking such a promising avenue for business and government tackling seemingly intractable problems?
Whoever said technology was dehumanizing was wrong. On screens everywhere — cellphones, e-readers, A.T.M.’s — as Diana Ross sang, we just want to reach out and touch. Scientists and academics who study how we interact with technology say people often try to import those behaviors into their lives, as anyone who has ever wished they could lower the volume on a loud conversation or Google their brain for an answer knows well. But they say touching screens has seeped into people’s day-to-day existence more quickly and completely than other technological behaviors because it is so natural, intimate and intuitive.
Although social technologies have been capturing marketers time for over four+ years in corporate, they’ve often been operated in a silo as experimental, or a separate deployment from traditional marketing. Yet the savvy marketing leader knows that reaching customers is increasingly becoming challenging as their touchpoints continue to fragment. To reach the fragmented customer, marketers must apply an integrated approach.
After coping with the global economic crisis, companies are beginning to aim for growth again. But their approach to managing innovation and the challenges they face haven’t changed. The survey results suggest a few ways to improve.
Google products are efficient, slick and -- as the coders say -- elegant. They get you from point A to point B fast. Really fast. But are they fun? That's the question for the search engine as it struggles to gain a foothold in the fast-growing and here-to-stay social web. That web isn't marked by speed and elegance but rather by pit stops and side roads that allow people to pull over, meet new or old friends, play a game and buy souvenirs. In short, have fun.
The most important thing to understand about America's "crisis of creativity" is that there isn't one. The notion that American business creativity is either at risk or in decline is laughable. Arguments that "Yankee ingenuity" is ebbing into oxymoron are ludicrous. They invite ridicule. So here it comes.
It's Steven Spielberg's futuristic "Minority Report" come to life. Marketing companies are experimenting with a new wave of digital technologies to pitch to consumers while they shop: interactive dressing-room mirrors, kiosks with virtual customer-service representatives, and shopping carts and digital scanners that offer personalized discounts. These futuristic technologies are among the interactive tools on display at Interpublic Group of Cos.' new retail center at the advertising company's Media Lab in Los Angeles.
If for one reason or another, you’d slept through the past five years, only to find yourself suddenly awake in August 2010, you’d quickly realize the world of advertising and marketing has fundamentally changed in three major ways. First, subconscious or subliminal communication (and research) has become part of the vocabulary of most marketers. Second, power has shifted from brand owners to consumers - even the most powerful brands know that successful campaigns have to systematically engage consumers, who will in turn use their mighty word of mouth to spread the messages opposed to relying on big media budgets do the work. Third, 2010 is shaping up to be dominated by guilt. Guilt for spending money in the midst of a debilitating global recession, guilt for polluting the world, and finally, parental guilt, as kids increasingly engage in their own online world, far removed from traditional values that were previously the exclusive domain of the family. So what does this mean for a marketer in 2010?
Media companies must become smaller and more nimble to reach readers and the niche groups advertisers covet. Facebook and other social media platforms could become more important than company websites during this transformation. As that happens, Web companies and social networking, including Google and Facebook, will have to become more transparent and share information about the data they collect on customers, or so says Steve Rubel, SVP-director of insights for Edelman Digital.
The annual back-to-school shopping season is nearly over, and this year we've witnessed major retailers throw at it bundles, up-sells, bulk discounts, co-branded promotions, free shipping, buzz agents and every other conceivable sales trick. And yet it's hard not to think that they've completely missed the boat. Their marketing presumes that they've never before met their customers, and as if this year is the first time their target audiences have gone shopping for school stuff.
David McCandless turns complex data sets (like worldwide military spending, media buzz, Facebook status updates) into beautiful, simple diagrams that tease out unseen patterns and connections. Good design, he suggests, is the best way to navigate information glut -- and it may just change the way we see the world.
I worked at Intel in the late 70’s, and saw the Moore’s Law business strategy firsthand. Intel’s business depended on launching ever more powerful microprocessors, and charging high profit margins at the beginning of each technology life cycle, before competitors could “second-source” designs, and slice margins wafer thin. For the next 3 decades, Intel became the world-leader in microprocessors, the clock of Silicon Valley, by relentlessly investing in new fabrication facilities and new designs against their belief that Moore’s Law holds true. I met Gordon Moore in 2005, and asked him to predict how much longer his Law would hold. After all, who should know better? Mr. Moore answered, “I never actually thought of it as a law, more as an observation to bet on.”
The second move in about a year for a little-known data storage company highlights how big technology companies are scrambling to help their larger customers do more with the massive amounts of information they are collecting.
In 2009 Katie O'Brien was looking for an agency partner to help her launch a major digital effort. The global digital marketing manager at Ben & Jerry's issued a brief to a traditional digital shop and a traditional PR agency, Edelman. The plans they brought back were, in Ms. O'Brien's own words, "night and day." The biggest difference, she said, was that one understood social media better than the other -- and it wasn't the digital agency.
What’s the first thing young women do when they wake up? Check Facebook. How do enterprise employees pass the time at work? With social media. With so many studies highlighting ever-accelerating social media usage rates, the conclusion is obvious — social media is everywhere. What follows are five of the hottest social media trends right now. Each are influencing our social, online and mobile behaviors in significant ways.
By now, we're used to letting Facebook and Twitter capture our social lives on the web -- building a "social layer" on top of the real world. At TEDxBoston, Seth Priebatsch looks at the next layer in progress: the "game layer," a pervasive net of behavior-steering game dynamics that will reshape education and commerce.
Facebook announced a new Places product Wednesday evening that will let users check-in from a mobile device, see who is around them, let friends or the public know where they are, and find interesting, new places. The announcement extends, yet again, the reach of the immensely popular social network, in hopes that the new service will convince its 500 million users to feed more information as they move around in the physical world.
It's culturally incorrect to even suggest that the open and incessant sharing of information isn't a wonderful thing. We know more the more we know, or so the conventional wisdom goes, and not only should anything be everyone's business, but it should be provided without charge. History is a dialectic about information struggling to be free. Freedom of information evangelists call this "radical transparency" and label it an absolute good. Others might call it chaos. I worry that most of us live in the gap between this theory and reality its pursuit invents.
Openness is the mega-trend for innovation in the 21st century, and it remains the topic du jour for businesses of all kinds. Granted, it has been on the agenda of every executive ever since Henry Chesbrough’s seminal Open Innovation came out in 2003. However, as several new books elaborate upon the concept from different perspectives, and a growing number of organizations have recently launched ambitious initiatives to expand the paradigm to other areas of business, I thought it might be a good time to reframe “Open” from a design point of view.
According to Deloitte's 2010 Back-to-School Survey, three out of 10 consumers plan to use their mobile phones to assist in their back-to-school shopping. No doubt, as shoppers look to social media for product information, reviews and sales, the ecology of shopping is changing rapidly. As it does, marketers are trying to address two challenges. The first is how to strike the right balance between verified traditional methods and the pursuit of new ways of communicating with shoppers. The second challenge for marketers is to garner shopper attention, then earn and cultivate a relationship with the shopper.
AOL's hyper-local news division Patch launched its 100th news site today, underscoring just how quickly AOL is advancing its bid for original content through journalism. The company says it will launch 400 more such local news sites across the U.S. by year's end as well as hire 300 more journalists. A growing swell of mass-content players are tempting content from a wide variety of freelancers, of course, with more companies sure to adopt the model in their wake. Earlier this month one of the biggest content generators, Demand Media, announced its plans for an initial public offering. Last spring Yahoo bought another one, Associated Content, for some $100 million. But these platforms and companies aren't all the same, whether for advertisers or for freelancers.
Wired asked Tim O’Reilly and John Battelle, the creators of the Web 2.0 conferences, to debate the issues raised in our Web RIP cover package. Over a number of days, Tim and John traded emails with Wired magazine editor in chief Chris Anderson, who wrote one half of “The Web Is Dead.” Surprisingly, Tim agreed that the Web is the “adolescent” phase of the Internet’s evolution and that we are seeing a shift toward a more closed phase in the networked age’s cycles. John, however, was having none of it…
To some, Google has been looking a bit sallow lately. The stock is down. Where once everything seemed to go the company's way, along came Apple's iPhone, launching a new wave of Web growth on a platform that largely bypassed the browser and Google's search box. The "app" revolution was going to spell an end to Google's dominance of Web advertising. But that's all so six-months-ago. When a group of Journal editors sat down with Eric Schmidt on a recent Friday, Google's CEO sounded nothing like a man whose company was facing a midlife crisis, let alone intimations of mortality.
Most business executives likely have never come across the concept. Yet despite its limited reach to a small audience of policy wonks, President Obama made it a campaign issue in 2008, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is determined to make it the law, and industry analysts are concerned that its passage would undermine investment by Internet service providers (ISPs). A recent pact on the subject between Google and Verizon — the largest representatives on both sides of the debate — made the covers of the nation's major newspapers this week. What's the fuss over this thing called "net neutrality"?
The Internet is a medium that is evolving at breakneck speed. It’s a wild organism of sweeping cultural change — one that leaves the carcasses of dead media forms in its sizeable wake. It’s transformative: it has transformed the vast globe into a ‘global village’ and it has drawn human communication away from print-based media and into a post-Gutenberg digital era. Right now, its perils are equal to its potential. The debate over ‘net neutrality’ is at a fever pitch. There is a tug-of-war going on between an ‘open web’ and a more governed form of the web (like the Apple-approved apps on the iPad/iPhone) that has more security but less freedom.
Advancing technologies and their swift adoption are upending traditional business models. Senior executives need to think strategically about how to prepare their organizations for the challenging new environment.
For the first time, research shows that American creativity is declining. What went wrong—and how we can fix it.
The other day, I got an email from a new friend. The subject line read "Are you a TED talk person?" It linked to an 18-minute video of MIT behavioral economist Dan Ariely talking about the bugs in our moral codes. Other friends have sent me videos of Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert on the spiritual dimension of creativity; rocker David Byrne on how venue architecture affects musical expression; and UC Berkeley professor Robert Full's insights into how geckos' feet stick to a wall. Each of these emails is like a membership card into the club of "TED talk people." I love being a member of this club. The videos give my discovery-seeking brain a little hit of dopamine in the middle of the workday. But just as important, each one I see or recommend makes me part of a group of millions of folks around the world who have checked out these videos. What links us is our desire to learn; TEDsters feel part of a curious, engaged, enlightened, and tech-savvy tribe.
Andrew Mason figured out how to inject hysteria into the process of bargain hunting on the Web. The result is an overnight success story called Groupon.
It's 2010, and we still don't know how to describe the archetypal magnates of the next economy. We don't have a word for it, so we resort to awkward neologisms, like "information entrepreneur" or "green mogul." It's as if we're still not quite sure just what kinds of "capital" tomorrow's tycoons will be "ists" of. What are the kernels of tomorrow's prosperity?
There is a story of a young, but earnest Zen student who approached his teacher, and asked the Master, "If I work very hard and diligently, how long will it take for me to find Zen? The Master thought about this, then replied, "Ten years . ." The student then said, "But what if I work very, very hard and really apply myself to learn fast -- How long then?" Replied the Master, "Well, twenty years." "But, if I really, really work at it, how long then?" asked the student. "Thirty years," replied the Master. "But, I do not understand," said the disappointed student. "At each time that I say I will work harder, you say it will take me longer. Why do you say that?" Replied the Master, "When you have one eye on the goal, you only have one eye on the path." This is the dilemma I've faced within the American education system. We are so focused on a goal, whether it be passing a test, or graduating as first in the class. However, in this way, we do not really learn. We do whatever it takes to achieve our original objective.
The media is something that for most, if not all, of our adult lives, we have taken for granted. Media giants form the terra firma of the marketing industry, both its paid and earned disciplines. They provide the lifeblood of services and bring us the audiences we need to do our jobs. However, underneath it all, the harsh reality is that there's a new digital dynamic present today. This will mean that many media companies divide themselves into dozens of smaller independent operating companies if they wish to survive. Many won't.
I couldn’t agree more that we should take creativity “out of the art room and into the home room.” And we should start by looking to art education as a model. The National Inventors Hall of Fame school’s success in “project-based learning” emulates the studio model that has existed and been refined in art schools for hundreds of years. Learning through making actual objects in a studio equips artists and designers with the curiosity, open-ended inquiry, problem solving, critical thinking and critical making skills that are key to creative contributions. These methods are the most promising pathway available for cultivating creativity in future generations, whether kids grow up to be bankers, medical professionals or politicians.
The second tenet of the Marketers' Constitution states, "Marketing must build real, enduring, tangible brand value." A marketing environment in which brands are launched, built, tracked and precisely valued will allow businesses, across the marketing ecosystem, to make strategic decisions about how best to build and protect their brand.
A recent post by Gareth Kay (of Goodby’s Brand Strategy discipline) turned our attention to a presentation he made at Boulder Digital Works on crafting a creative brief for the post-digital age. Kay begins by taking a (somehow comical) look at creative brief templates of yore (1992), which mostly all addressed a very common set of elements: a problem to be solved by advertising, consumers to ‘target’, a message to tell them, reasons to believe, and tone of voice. Needless to say that there is a continually expanding set of technology devices and platforms – and respective user interfaces – available in our current culture: from mobile to social media, to desktop and mobile video and others. Their impact includes facilitating a more participatory culture, making us more social, contributing to a more fragmented media landscape and leaving us ‘always on’ and conscious/communicative of our location; these factors need to be considered within an informed creative brief.
Google and Verizon announced a joint proposal on Monday that would allow ISPs to offer premium content bundles over an unspecified global network — an unexpected gambit that would seem to call for separate and unequal internets. The two companies say the guidelines would ensure that no internet traffic of any kind is prioritized over any other kind (with the exception of viruses, spam and the like).
A confidential, seven-page Google Inc. "vision statement" shows the information-age giant in a deep round of soul-searching over a basic question: How far should it go in profiting from its crown jewels—the vast trove of data it possesses about people's activities?
For Blockbuster, the advent of DVDs in the mail was a disruptive technology. The chain relied initially on bulky videotapes and late fees to generate a fat revenue stream, and its scale was huge; smaller, independent stores gradually left the market. Netflix opened a new battlefront, mailing thin DVDs and letting customers keep a disc as long as they wanted. Blockbuster saw the change coming. It even took action, setting up its own mail service. But seeds of destruction had been sown, and Blockbuster is now financially troubled. Netflix, meanwhile, is already embracing technology shifts that will make those red envelopes a quaint memory. Creative destruction has such a cataclysmic sound. But the term, coined by the Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter to show how capitalism destroys companies as more innovative ones succeed, describes a process that is more like a slow-motion train wreck.
Contrary to popular belief, video didn't kill the radio star, YouTube didn't knock off TV and Twitter didn't shut down blogging. However, in each case the steady advance of new technology definitely forced the incumbents to evolve. One can argue, for example, that some of the more established blogs on the web benefited greatly from building content strategies that engender massive link sharing on Twitter. Much the same, TV ad creative has changed to facilitate additional exposure on YouTube. Enter e-mail marketing, which, to some degree, has been beaten down by regulation, and has taken a backseat to social networking. Nielsen revealed last week that e-mail's share of time declined 28%, putting it in third place, while social networking, the leader, climbed 43%.
Mark Anderson, the high-tech industry’s most accurate prognosticator, foresees an economic landscape still under the stress of too much liquidity — and decision makers still in denial.
Today’s playlist is about toys that inspire learning, innovation — and of course fun! These are the toys of the technological age: they are alive, they think, they perform magic. What were your favorite toys as a kid (or an adult), and what did they inspire in you?
We’ve heard a lot about listening over the past several years as marketers have sought to make the most of the social web. But are we really listening? Former President Calvin Coolidge once remarked that, “No one ever listened themselves out of a job.” Customer feedback today is easier than ever to come by, and experts and observers have encouraged companies to engage in a real dialogue with customers instead of just talking customers’ ears off. As Umair Haque of the Havas Media Lab wrote back in 2008, “listening beats talking.” Companies claimed to have gotten the message, unveiling elaborate listening programs, such as Starbucks’ mystarbucksidea website. More recently, the Wall Street Journal has taken note that business “are listening” to customer reviews and other feedback on sites like Yelp, City Search, and Urban Spoon.
I love baseball and will always await the first day of spring training with the ardor of a lover coming home after an exile. But I will never be a baseball player. It’s just not in my make-up. My misery over my failed baseball career is no different than Google’s. The world’s largest search engine covets a key to the magical kingdom called the social web. It would do anything to become part of that exclusive club that, for now, is the domain of Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook and to some extent, Twitter. Google will do just about anything to get social, like spend a rumored $182 million on San Francisco-based Slide, a head-scratcher of a deal.
Websites from Fox Sports, the New York Daily News, the San Antonio Express-News, the Houston Chronicle, the San Francisco Chronicle and others are trying a new system to fight, or rather accommodate, web surfers' fleeting attention spans. The sites are using a platform from Brand Affinity Technologies called NetBat, which overlays editorial photos of celebrities and athletes with apps that summon content from Twitter, Google, YouTube and other parts of the web without making users leave the site. Many sites have already incorporated modules that bring up tweets about the subject at hand, but this platform seems to offer more options at once.
The first tenet of ANA's Marketer's Constitution is that "Marketing must become increasingly targeted, focused and personal." We all know that marketing works best when brands can have direct conversations with people. It works even better when those conversations are with audiences that want to hear specific product and service messaging. The simplicity and elegance of this objective is finally becoming reality.
How often do we hear about how many millions of dollars a start-up raised in this round or that? Venture capital is likely the most oft-cited figure for measuring the potential for a new business' success, but research firm CB Insights aims to change that misconception in a new report measuring human capital--not venture capital. "When we ask venture capitalists what gets them excited about the young, emerging, and often unproven companies in which they invest, we never hear about deals and dollars," reads part I of the report, released this morning. "Rather, the first answer is frequently 'the team' or 'the founders.'" In their first-ever VC Human Capital Report, CB Insights attempts to apply the "same rigor we apply to our quarterly tally of deals and dollars to provide an objective, data-driven perspective into the people dimension behind the deals and dollars we so often read about."
That’s what Fake does best: Tend social sparks until they ignite and become full-fledged communities. Connecting people to one another is not just Fake’s hobby — she has made it her career. As the cofounder of Flickr, the landmark photography site, Fake provided a place for shutterbugs to share their work; they have uploaded more than 4 billion pictures. It was a seminal service that helped launch the era of user-generated content, spurring entrepreneurs to build Web sites and businesses based on volunteer contributions.
One sunny spring day in 2004, Dennis Crowley was running down Waverly Street dressed in yellow, avoiding ghosts. Crowley, then a 27-year-old grad student in New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program, was participating in a class project called Pac-Manhattan, which used the streets of Greenwich Village for a grueling physical version of the classic arcade game. He was Pac-Man, and—despite a support team that was logging his movements, tracking ghosts, and directing him to power pills—people dressed as Pac-Man spooks eventually cornered him near Fifth Avenue. The New York Times described the experience as “a kind of tableau of digital convergence with the physical world.”
When Peter Eckersley recently clicked on to one of America’s biggest online job sites, he was not alone for long. Using software to monitor programs running on the page of CareerBuilder.com, the researcher for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an advocacy group, saw data identifying his computer being whisked off to at least 10 outfits that track where people go on the internet. More troubling was his inability to tell what the companies did with the data. His experience goes to the heart of a battle that could shape the future of life on the web – while also having very real knock-on effects in the physical world. The digital dossiers that companies are building from the browsing, searching and other habits of ordinary web users are becoming increasingly refined. At the same time, a deluge of personal information has been unleashed publicly on the web, with Facebook’s 500m users at the forefront. With rapid inroads on both fronts being made into many traditional expectations of personal privacy, the results could prove explosive.
Not so long ago, brands were in the limelight. They were seemingly powerful, and virtuous. Any inconvenient truths were hidden by glossy packaging and one-way, big-bang marketing campaigns. Now, as organizations become ever more transparent, people can see behind the marketing facade and are questioning what they are told.
Google Inc. is in talks with several makers of popular online games as it seeks to develop a broader social-networking service that could compete with Facebook Inc., according to people familiar with the matter.
In a study out today, Forrester finds that only 4% of U.S. online adults have ever used location-based mobile apps such as Foursquare, Gowalla and Loopt. Only 1% update these services more than once per week. What's more, 84% of respondents said they are not familiar with such apps, leaving the vast majority of Americans online still in the dark about location-based apps, which have had the marketing world obsessing over them in recent months.
The trouble: the T400 doesn’t have “it” quality. It is a business machine in the most pedestrian sense of the term. No trace of elegance. No claim to being the pick of the technological litter. No “wow” factor. The T410 is just another business machine. This takes us into one of the thorniest issue in the branding world. What is “it?” And what’s “it” worth?
While the raison d'être for the tablet computer isn't yet clear, interactive media and personal data management both need transformative apps.
If social media warranted a mantra, it would sound something like this, "Always pay it forward and never forget to pay it back...it's how you got here and it defines where you're going." This intentional form of alternative giving is referred to as "generalized reciprocity" or "generalized exchange." The capital of this social economy is measured in these productive relationships and those relationships are earned through the acts of reciprocity, recognition, respect and benevolence. So how can businesses, which, one could argue, typically represent a "pay it backward" approach (ie, "pay me for my goods and services"), thrive in this environment?
Has your company spent seemingly countless hours tweeting on Twitter, networking on Facebook and writing the company blog? Have you found yourself wondering if it's all a waste of time? Maybe that last Facebook fan page contest saw fewer entries than you'd hoped for, or that last Twitter-only coupon had fewer redemptions than you'd expected, but perhaps that's not all that matters. According to the the latest report by analyst firm Forrester, many people are looking at the face value dollars and cents of social media marketing and, put simply, they're doing it wrong. Beyond clicks and coupon redemptions, there lies a case for social media marketing that shows its value is well beyond what we see on the surface.
The Devil's Advocate is a regular staffer in most offices. "Let me play Devil's Advocate" is a socially acceptable way to shoot down an idea. It's a guise that allows anyone to criticize an idea without offering an alternative. It's far easier (and safer) to tear down than to create. You can undermine what someone has just proposed without actually challenging them directly.
When Matt Freeman jumped from startup shop Betwave to Interpublic Group of Cos.' Mediabrands back in January to head up its newly launched division called Ventures, which was responsible for overseeing 16 separate agencies, he landed right in the middle of the action.
As customers make or break brands online, companies rush to hire social media directors…and figure out what they do.
One of the modern Holy Grails of advertising is to translate a successful TV campaign into a monster viral Internet phenom. Working with their client Procter and Gamble, the advertising firm Wieden+Kennedy opened the ark with its online work for Old Spice. The campaign is simple: The manly star from the TV spots responds to queries on Twitter via humorous 30-second YouTube videos that are being watched and re-tweeted with abandon.
The Cannes Film Grand Prix-winning Old Spice campaign has evolved over the last 24 hours to dominate discussion in social media, in what is sure to become the ‘case study du jour’ for the foreseeable future. Yesterday, however, the marketing campaign took a different turn and really got ‘social media right’. It’s been updated and sees Isaiah Mustafa respond directly to YouTube comments, Tweets, Yahoo! Answers and blog posts about him in 117 publicly available, timely and pesonalised video messages. So what are the results? It’s still early to tell, but a few things are apparent.
It wasn't a multi-million dollar television campaign for a Fortune 50 company, nor was it a digital media program for some new-age service. Instead, the Grand Effie award was given to the Detroit Public Schools (DPS) for a very simple, and cost-efficient word-of-mouth program to encourage student enrollment. Here's what they did.
By now you've heard the offense against basketball star LeBron James' one-hour TV special to announce his team choice -- that it was narcissistic, sullied his brand and blurred the journalistic line for ESPN. But what you haven't heard is the defense of the man who helped put the show together: uber-agent Ari Emanuel, who says "The Decision" forwarded the paradigm for advertiser-funded programming.
Domino’s last week introduced an industry first: A transparent pizza. The chain, working with Crispin Porter + Bogusky, attempted to one-up competitors on the authenticity front by announcing that all the photographs of its pizza that will appear in ads will from now on be devoid of “fancy food artistry” or “fancy touch-ups.”
There will never be a shortage of smart new ventures, brands, goods and services that deliver on consumers’ wants and needs. In fact, with the entire world now engaged in creative destruction, INNOVATION INSANITY is upon us. So yes, the dozens of innovations we’ve rounded up for this briefing, courtesy of our sister-site Springwise, are just the tip of the iceberg. Invent, improve, copy… or perish.
No one is an expert, and it is only through a multidisciplinary process that it all comes together; materials, process and design. There must be a meaningful confluence of the elements otherwise it will be like sticking wood laminate on a laptop to make it more valuable. Furthermore, this requires stepping away from the computer and getting reacquainted with materials and processes. Indeed this is quite a hat tip to the old school craftsman approach to design.
Digital is fast becoming so pervasive for marketers that it may soon lose its meaning as a separate media designation, according to Procter & Gamble Co. Global Brand-Building Officer Marc Pritchard. It's one of the many ways the company is changing through a brand-building organization he brought together last year that encompasses all areas of marketing communications.
What happens to news organizations as we know them if this atomization of content is so thorough and irreversible that no publication can pull its discrete articles into a coherent whole? Without coherent brands, will any publication host writers and write checks?
The number of advertisers with presences in the social media like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are increasing faster than the lines at the supermarket when the values of the cents-off coupons are being tripled. Now, two familiar brands of baked goods sold by Kraft Foods are stepping up their marketing efforts in social media.
In 2002 a startling announcement was made: sales of video games had finally surpassed the movie box office in the U.S. Over the past two years, games have catapulted to an even more impressive level. Farmville, a game that allows players to tend to a virtual farm with their friends in Facebook, is currently played by 70 million people per month. That's one in four Americans. Kleiner Perkins, the legendary venture capital firm, announced that Zynga is the fastest-growing investment they've ever made. To give this some context, consider that Kleiner was the first investor in Google. I believe this trend represents something much bigger than just explosive growth in the gaming industry. For years, many of the world's smartest people, from psychologists to behavioral economist to marketers, have been studying what motivates people to perform specific actions. In marketing terms, the most important of these is the purchase impulse. Today, the research on buying behavior is beginning to be reframed in terms of gaming mechanics.
Clay Shirky looks at "cognitive surplus" -- the shared, online work we do with our spare brain cycles. While we're busy editing Wikipedia, posting to Ushahidi (and yes, making LOLcats), we're building a better, more cooperative world.
The first of Apple's iAds are expected to start popping up on iPhones later this week, but don't expect all the marketers that have committed to the platform to be there. A check-in with declared iAd advertisers found that many are still in the early stages of flushing out concepts and creative. Some are weeks -- perhaps months -- away from having an iAd in the system. What are the i-advertisers up to? Here's a look at some of those willing to share.
Feature proliferation is the name of the game in new product development. Most innovation in the market is composed of incremental improvements to what's been done before. Yet those new features often outpace what the consumers actually want. In the case of the Fusion, Gillette had to launch a marketing campaign specifically targeted to their own Mach3 consumers. Instead of campaigning to steal share from competitors, they had to practically beg their own consumers who were plenty happy with the earlier Mach3 to upgrade to the more expensive Fusion. They over-served the market.
Popchips Inc. is creating a new social-media campaign, but Madison Avenue won't be devising it. Instead, the three-year-old snack-food maker has turned to actor and producer Ashton Kutcher. The company's deal with Mr. Kutcher shows the novel ways marketers are teaming up with Hollywood to use star power to promote their brands.
New technologies begin by imitating older technologies before evolving to their true forms. For example, early automobiles looked like horseless carriages, and early television shows imitated radio programming before finding their own forms. Online experiences have followed this pattern—getting their start by imitating the printed page. Although many of today’s online experiences have evolved to include more function and interactivity, the “Web page” still dominates our thinking. So the question still remains: what new form will the Web take as it continues to evolve over the next five years? Three types of trends are driving online experiences into their next phase: capabilities, consumers and competition.
Apple, without a doubt, is creating a massive sea change in how we interact with digital content. Note that I didn't say "the Web." This is because the millions of iPad and iPhone users spend more time within Apple's walled garden of apps rather than in a browser. However, there's a potential dark side to the millions of Apple devices being sold and it should give every marketer pause.
There’s no shortage of big initiatives going on at Facebook these days. We sat down with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg this week to talk about the state and future of Facebook and its surrounding ecosystem. Zuckerberg shared his thoughts on recent changes to the Facebook Platform, competitive dynamics he desires amongst developers, the surprising growth of the social games business on Facebook overall, his vision for Facebook Credits, market perceptions of Facebook’s revenue streams and overall revenue numbers, what the company learned from its period of serious interest in Twitter, and Facebook’s company culture around money.
Publish2 has unveiled its first big play — a news content bartering system intended to make major online news sources capable of achieving scale, to let a network of news providers compete with syndication monopolies like the Associated Press and others, and to allow trusted brands to leverage quality content across media, including print. Karp’s premise is that there is a latent “content graph,” analogous to the social graph being leveraged by Facebook and Twitter.
Getability is simply how easy an idea is for someone to immediately understand without a whole lot of explanation needed. When your marketing has getability, it means that it is simple, clear and memorable. This matters for good reason. Marketing that is complex or confusing rarely works. To help their getability, two brands in particular are using a technique that may be worth considering when promoting your product or service ... they are giving an ownable name to the problem they solve. The recent marketing from Dyson around their new Air Multiplier fan is one great example.
At the Center for Future Storytelling, researchers envision how technology can give people more control over TV programs they encounter and stories they follow.
John Ross, president of the research and development arm of Interpublic Group's Mediabrands, thinks retailers have a big problem. Their circulars, which worked in the offline world for decades, haven't caught up with consumer habits online.
Rachel Botsman is the co-author of "What's Mine is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption." Here, with a dazzlingly graphic display, she presents a compelling case for 21st Century sharing.
Consumers generated word-of-mouth buzz about the brand, in many cases, without any incentives—something O’Brien sees as being crucial to long-term engagement with fans. In an interview with Brandweek, O’Brien discussed the results of both "DEWmocracy" campaigns, and how, moving forward, social media and crowdsourcing will play a bigger role in the brand’s innovation.
For many marketers, advertising in stores is an increasingly important way to influence shoppers at the so-called moment of truth, as they finally make up their minds about which brands of soup, soap or cereal to buy — or not buy. Now, a company is hoping to bring commercials to the retail point of purchase on screens that will be attached to shelves and above aisles.
Brandchannel’s weekly Digital Watch feature takes a deeper look at brands’ digital strategy. Our latest case study, McDonald’s, takes a multi-tiered approach to digital branding that cozies up to moms to reinforce its nutritional, family values.
As Nike's top marketer, Trevor Edwards, VP-global brand and category management, has helped the world's leading footwear and apparel company grow its market-share lead by becoming possibly the world's most accomplished digital marketer.
The era of the Web browser’s dominance is coming to a close. And the Internet’s founding ideology—that information wants to be free, and that attempts to constrain it are not only hopeless but immoral— suddenly seems naive and stale in the new age of apps, smart phones, and pricing plans. What will this mean for the future of the media—and of the Web itself?
It's kind of like air. Invisible but omnipresent, every industry, market, and sector has a dogma — "a doctrine or code of beliefs accepted as authoritative." "This is just how things are done," dogma whispers, every second of every day, to every decision-maker in every boardroom. What does it mean to be a revolutionary? To challenge an existing dogma, instead of complying with it: to reject its tenets, highlight its flaws and improve each of its shortcomings.
Unilever may be a global marketer, but it hasn't been able to do many truly global ad deals -- at least not until its multimillion-dollar deal with Apple to be the consumer goods "presenting advertiser" on the new iAd platform was announced June 7. For Unilever, the deal aims at tapping the two biggest, and largely interdependent, trends it sees shaping marketing: globalization and mobile digital media.
Walt Disney Co.'s ESPN network has convinced three major advertisers to produce expensive 3-D commercials for its new sports channel debuting Friday with the 2010 World Cup broadcast. It is the first major test of marketers' appetite for 3-D pitches. Procter & Gamble Co., Sony Corp. and Disney's Pixar will all experiment with spots on the new 3-D sports channel. ESPN has previously aired several 3-D telecasts, including the Masters Tournament.
In the third millennium it’s getting harder than ever to stay in place. Who hasn’t seen a driver almost crash while talking on a cell phone? Who hasn’t noticed children in a park staring down at a game-boy instead of romping about? Who hasn’t been to a dinner party and caught someone sneaking a glance at his handheld under the table and sending a tweet about the first course before even finishing it? Each week, it seems, industry comes up with new gadgets that help us to jump out of our bodies and flash out there to everything under the sun that can be encoded by electrical signals, pulses of light and binary values. Few of these digital experiences would have registered before the 21st century and some have become widespread only in the past few years. We’re in the first stage of a transformation of our sense of place as momentous as that which occurred a couple of centuries ago, when products from smoke-stacked factories forged modern society.
Pepsi's social media-backed community change effort, dubbed “Refresh Project,” is off to a good start. So far, the soft beverage giant has funded more than 100 projects and given back approximately $5 million to local communities, according to Ana Maria Irazabal, marketing director for Pepsi. With new entries and winners announced every month, the brand is on track to hit its goal of $20 million in grant money this year. "Refresh Project" is also helping Pepsi expands its already massive presence on Facebook, Twitter, and other social nets. The initiative has sparked human interaction and is affecting change in communities, Irazabal said.
While the Internet and social media are a potential boon to market researchers, they've also raised concerns and ongoing debate about methodology and the ability to project results. Now, one social media-based research firm is charging into the fray with a report that maintains that today's empowered consumers and marketers' need for faster, actionable insights requires an approach that combines the strengths of newer, "humanistic" approaches with those of traditional, experimentally-based research.
If you're trolling the web and hit upon an Examiner.com story, you might think you're reading the San Francisco Examiner. But you're not. Instead, Examiner.com is a crowd-sourced content play with the backing of billionaire investor Philip Anschutz. With over 40,000 freelancers in more than 240 neighborhoods, the Denver-based start-up aims to dominate every province of local news, bringing marketers and advertising along with it.
I've just read that PepsiCo is evolving away from traditional mass market advertising towards an approach that connects with its audience in a direct and more meaningful way. According to Frank Cooper III, chief consumer engagement officer for PepsiCo's US beverage arm, "We want to become a catalyst in the culture rather than act like a big brand announcing something." This is big, big news. It may be a sign that the ship of big brands has finally become aware of the changing environment and is beginning to turn.
After learning how to market themselves through tweets and status updates, some small companies are taking the next step: selling directly to consumers via social-networking sites. Merchants on Facebook and MySpace are adding e-commerce stores to their fan pages, hoping users will scan lists of for-sale items and services—such as floral bouquets, hand-crafted jewelry and spa treatments—and click a button to add them to online shopping carts.
Loyalty cards — those little paper cards that promise a free sandwich or coffee after 10 purchases, but instead get lost or forgotten — are going mobile. And merchants are looking for ways to marry the concept to games that customers can play to earn more free items and, it is hoped, spend more money. Instead of collecting paper cards and fumbling through wallets at the cash register, customers are increasingly using their cellphones to track their visits and purchases, and receive rewards.
Everyone is talking about the new Nike World Cup spot, and with good reason: It's a beautifully told story that transcends media formats to deliver a truly emotional and inspirational experience. In 30 seconds, it appears that Nike finally cracked the code by combining compelling narrative with the power of digital distribution. And, Wieden & Kennedy showed us what it means for a brand to truly participate in culture. Or, did it? Is this really still a way to build a strong digital brand?
"TV meets Web. Web meets TV." This is the tagline that Internet giant Google has given to its new software-based television platform called Google TV, described as the blending of the best of both TV and Web experiences. Realizing that TV still has the majority of the consumer eyeballs, Google is trying something new by extending its reach in cross-platform content--in this case, bringing Web, gaming, online video, and social media to the set top box and/or television set. According to Google, millions of "channels" of entertainment will now be easily maneuverable, seamless and searchable--in one device. Google has also challenged Web developers to start creating new apps using the Android open-source platform.
Quick: Think of a Chinese brand name. Japan has Sony. Mexico has Corona. Germany has BMW. South Korea? Samsung. And China has . . . ? If you're stumped, you're not alone. And for China, that is an enormous problem.
Mountain Dew took three new Dew flavors to fans, asking for feedback on placing ad media buys. The move represents the latest in a series of attempts through Dew Labs to turn over the entire product development cycle and marketing process to consumers who love the brand most.
Today, much of the marketing world has embraced the spirit of the digital age, and perhaps the strongest evidence is that it's doing a lot of work that's not so, well, "digital." The best companies have harnessed the digital mindset and taken the shareable, ongoing, interactive, participatory nature of digital and created brand experiences that matter to people where they ought to -- in their real, everyday lives.
People who find the Web distasteful — ugly, uncivilized — have nonetheless been forced to live there: it’s the place to go for jobs, resources, services, social life, the future. But now, with the purchase of an iPhone or an iPad, there’s a way out, an orderly suburb that lets you sample the Web’s opportunities without having to mix with the riffraff. This suburb is defined by apps from the glittering App Store: neat, cute homes far from the Web city center, out in pristine Applecrest Estates. In the migration of dissenters from the “open” Web to pricey and secluded apps, we’re witnessing urban decentralization, suburbanization and the online equivalent of white flight.
In the massive new Barnes & Noble superstore on Manhattan's Upper East Side, generous display space is devoted to baby blankets, Art Deco flight clocks, stationery and adult games like Risk and Stratego. The eclectic merchandise, which has nothing to do with books, may be a glimpse into the future of Barnes & Noble Inc., the nation's largest book chain. Electronic books are still in their infancy, comprising an estimated 3% to 5% of the market today. But they are fast accelerating the decline of physical books, forcing retailers, publishers, authors and agents to reinvent their business models or be painfully crippled.
Google opened up an entirely new store of inventory for advertisers today with Google TV, an interactive platform that collapses the wall between TV and internet in the living room. The service, created with hardware partners Sony, Logitech and Intel, will launch this fall on TVs, set-top boxes and Blu-ray players.
Though the economy is now hinting at improved conditions ahead, consensus remains that the recession's effects on consumer spending habits will endure beyond the recovery. Much like the Great Depression changed the spending habits of a generation, the current recession has left consumers reaching past the lure of luxury in search of value-driven purchases. While this has been a boon to mass and value-priced retailers such as Target and Amazon, it has left many premium brands swooning.
Rather than seek increased revenues and profits by expanding products and markets, companies should follow a seven-step strategy for achieving more with less.
Since late 2005, Apple's stock has quintupled. With a market capitalization of close to $250 billion, Apple is (at least today) the third most valuable company in the world, behind ExxonMobil and Microsoft. It's a stunning story that's been dissected to death, but still remarkable enough to warrant reflection. Ten years ago — three years after Chairman and CEO Steve Jobs had returned to "rescue" Apple — the company was still largely treading water, with a relatively meager $3 billion market capitalization. Its personal computer products had a loyal following in niche markets, but that was about it. Over the past decade, Apple has launched five legitimately game-changing innovations.
US retailers have become engaged in a battle for hearts and mobiles. As leading retailers, including Walmart and JC Penney, continue to grapple with the potential of the internet, the proliferation of smartphones has inevitably caught their attention. Three years after Apple launched its first iPhone, mobile connectivity is shaking up the way retailers do business, not only online but in their stores.
Google Inc. will make an ambitious bid to extend its reach into the living room when it debuts its Internet television software this week. Through a joint initiative with other prominent technology and consumer electronics companies, the Web search giant is expected to showcase technology that TV viewers can use to flip seamlessly among familiar shows, YouTube videos and home videos on their sets.
The internet changes over time. That the technology has evolved is obvious. But how we use the internet is also changing. So we have two conceptual distinctions — technology and people — that we frequently conflate into one idea of the internet. This post is about teasing apart the objective and subjective dimensions of social media, to examine what’s behind the relational economy we now live in, and its particular mode of production. All commerce and much personal and social utility implied by use of social media owes to the subjective value added to what was, previously, a mode of production of information (publishing).
Striving to do more good is associated with greater profitability, equity and asset returns, and shareholder value creation. But that's still not good enough. Today, the bar is being raised: success is itself changing. Those are yesterday's metrics of success — more importantly, maximizing good lets companies outperform on tomorrow's measures of success.
Stephen Wolfram, creator of Mathematica, talks about his quest to make all knowledge computational -- able to be searched, processed and manipulated. His new search engine, Wolfram Alpha, has no lesser goal than to model and explain the physics underlying the universe.
Simon Sinek has a simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership all starting with a golden circle and the question "Why?" His examples include Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright brothers -- and as a counterpoint Tivo, which (until a recent court victory that tripled its stock price) appeared to be struggling.
Whatever industry you’re in, in the end, everything is about status. And since what constitutes status in consumer societies is fragmenting rapidly, here’s a (modest) framework to help you start exploring new status symbols and stories with your customers.
The environment for marketers is changing dramatically. Marketing's leadership in driving business success has never been more in demand, and those who have demonstrably begun to expand mindsets, skills and capabilities are setting the standard. The difference this shift makes has never been more evident than during the bleakness of the lingering recession. Businesses whose marketing leaders have embraced its components may not have emerged unscathed, but they at least have found themselves entering 2010 with substantial positive momentum.
Coca-Cola Co. hopes a new high-tech soda fountain will add some life to listless soft-drink sales by letting restaurant-goers mix up 104 different drinks, creating inventions such as Caffeine-Free Diet Raspberry Coke. The soda fountain has been the touchstone of Coke's business since 1886, when a pharmacist John Pembertoncreated the secret-recipe syrup and mixed it with carbonated water. But the technology hasn't changed much since the 1950s, as a line of nozzles spit out big-name sodas.
Facebook is preparing to launch location-based status updates for its users. But the social network is also planning to offer it to marketers, including McDonald's. As early as this month, the social-networking site will give users the ability to post their location within a status update. McDonald's, through digital agency Tribal DDB, Chicago, is building an app with Facebook would allow users to check in at one of its restaurants and have a featured product appear in the post, such as an Angus Quarter Pounder, say executives close to the deal.
There are many ways a merchant can create a choosing — not just a shopping — experience. For example we know from extensive research in the online realm (and from common sense) that ratings and popularity drive increases in sales. Yet nowhere in the stores could customers find reviews or any information about which items were most popular.
PepsiCo is making a strong push to reach out to consumers on their turf. In the next two months, the Purchase, N.Y., beverage and snack food company plans to roll out a partnership with location-based social networking company Foursquare and to launch its own geo-targeting mobile application, Pepsi Loot. Both programs, when activated by consumers, will let the app's users know when they get close to Pepsi-selling restaurants and fast food chains, such as Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and Arby's. When they stop by to pick up a drink, Pepsi will reward them with points that can be redeemed for a free music download from artists such as Neon Trees and Katharine McPhee.
Last week I presented at Stanford Graduate School of Business in a session on Mobile Computing called, "Creating Mobile Experiences: It's the Platform, Stupid." As the title underscores, I am a big believer that to understand what makes mobile tick, you really need to look beyond a device's hardware shell (important, though it is), and fully factor in the composite that includes its software and service layers; developer tools and the ecosystem "surround." Successful platforms, after all, are more than the sum of their parts' propositions. They are not simply a bunch of dis-integrated ingredients.
Invaluable as innovation may be, our relentless focus on it may be obscuring the value of its much-maligned relative, imitation. Imitation has always had a faintly disreputable ring to it — presidents do not normally give speeches extolling the virtues of the copycat. But where innovation brings new things into the world, imitation spreads them; where innovators break the old mold, imitators perfect the new one; and while innovators can win big, imitators often win bigger.
The term "business model" is often bandied about in the mainstream media as a way of capturing the essence of how a company makes money. To keep things simple for the home gamers, the media usually reduces the term "business model" to something impossibly simple - as in "advertising" or "paid subscriptions." When you talk to insiders, though, the reality is often much more complex and textured. In some cases, the way you think an industry makes money turns out to be nothing more than fiction.
The baleful consequences of the Great Recession cannot be resolved by maintaining the same approaches as when we created it. The "new normal" in business means many brand owners need to leverage something much larger than a re-take on marketing. They need to accelerate their collaboration with consumers, so that principles such as "for people, for planet, for profit," combined with tools of the web and next-generation media, can transform brands' role in the economy, society and business.
Mark Brooks wants the whole Web to know that he spent $41 on an iPad case at an Apple store, $24 eating at an Applebee’s, and $6,450 at a Florida plastic surgery clinic for nose work. Too much information, you say? On the Internet, there seems to be no such thing. A wave of Web start-ups aims to help people indulge their urge to divulge — from sites like Blippy, which Mr. Brooks used to broadcast news of what he bought, to Foursquare, a mobile social network that allows people to announce their precise location to the world, to Skimble, an iPhone application that people use to reveal, say, how many push-ups they are doing and how long they spend in yoga class.
In the first weeks of the iPad launch, retailers have been largely left out of the conversation. But industry executives believe the device could have a major impact on everything from retailers' catalogs to e-commerce to enhancing the in-store experience. So far, few retailers have embraced the new Apple device even though many already have iPhone apps. Gap, Gilt.com and eBay are among the retail brands that have created iPad applications, while Puma is expected to add iPads to its stores late this year.
Some small businesses start without a business plan, finding success in a breakthrough product or service early on and building upon that success organically. However, it’s inevitable that the venture will need to have a structured business plan put in place at some point if the business is expected to scale, expand and ultimately thrive. This well understood concept is the basis for what I’m informally labeling “social business planning”, yet from my experiences working across multiple organizations, the current focus remains on social media programs (the external) without putting in the appropriate social business infrastructure (the internal).
Today at Facebook’s F8 conference), Mark Zuckerberg laid out his plan to turn the Web into “instantly social experiences.”
Thanks to Internet-equipped smartphones, shoppers are increasingly using software applications to check prices at other stores without leaving the mall. Now retailers are trying to use technology to fight back.
A push for real and meaningful innovation permeates the business environment. Leading brands embrace innovation as a tangible driver of business performance as opposed to a meaningless moniker-and inculcate true innovation and entrepreneurialism into their cultures, employees and overall enterprises. Innovation in the Re-Invention Economy shows its evolved self in every aspect of organizational drive and is industry agnostic in its rapid manifestation.
Twitter’s first developer conference, held this week in San Francisco, served as a coming-out party for the four-year-old service. Twitter the start-up is becoming Twitter the big company, with more polish, controversy, competition and revenue.
With the aid of a US$1.8 million grant from the Department of Labor, they studied the way young people learn in a world of video games and smart phones. In collaboration with MIT; Virginia Tech; and the Institute of the Future, they build a high-tech, next-generation training facility called UPS Integrad. This facility offers 3-D simulations and webcasts along with traditional classroom instruction. Trainees are recorded to show them how they look in action. UPS teach them to drive in a replica outdoor city called Clarkville that has real streets, street signs, sidewalks, and simulated commercial and residential delivery and pickup sites.
I usually try to keep my critiques to categories I’ve worked in, primarily because I think it’s irresponsible for me to comment on what works and what doesn’t when I have little basis for my assessment other than being a consumer. So I initially demurred when some folks have asked for my POV on AT&T’s new campaign, Rethink Possible. But then I started wondering whether my expertise in other categories might actually shed some light on the issue — that’s when I realized that there are some instructive parallels between AT&T and fast food chains. And while AT&T has adopted some of what drives fast feeders’ success, there are a couple of important lessons it might want to learn.
"Brands are dying," we're told. As a result, we hear that branding is no longer relevant. So now, what do we do?
The business of marketing is in the midst of a massive cultural shift. While buzzwords like co-creation, mass-collaboration and crowdsourcing are all the rage, there’s actually a much bigger and deeper change going on with the way work gets done. Three disruptive forces: the expectation of transparency, the further digitization of the workforce and the rise of the curator class, all coupled with the current macro-economic conditions, have changed the world of marketing forever. Like it or not, from professional creatives to consumers, people want to be involved with your brand.
It's the trillion dollar question. Justin Fox, in a recent post here, put it this way: "I don't think anyone has come up with an argument for or description of better business behavior that has anything like the elegance and power of the economists' 'incentives matter.' As long as it remains possible to get rich via less-than-upstanding behavior, and enjoy those riches, a lot of people in business will choose that path." I call it the egocentric question: "Why is doing good in our self-interest?"
Bill Gross, the serial entrepreneur who pioneered search advertising, is unveiling a venture on Monday that aims to make money by allowing people using Twitter to bid on key words to give their posts top ranking. Called TweetUp, the service will also organize the posts according to their popularity as measured by how often readers repost them and click on links they contain.
Advertising agencies and software developers on Friday welcomed Apple’s new iAd network as a potential breakthrough that could give an important boost to the small but fast-growing mobile advertising market. However, they also warned that making ads for iAd would be expensive and it was likely to take some time for Apple to demonstrate it could build a big enough market to make it worthwhile.
Around the time that Apple Computer was making it big in California, Andrey Shtorkh was getting a first-hand look at the Soviet approach to high tech: he guarded the fence keeping scientists inside Sverdlovsk-45, one of the country’s secret scientific cities, deep in the Ural Mountains. Today, he is the publicist for an improbable new venture. The Russian government, hoping to diversify its economy away from oil, is building the first new scientific city since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Even more improbably, it is modeled, officials say, on Silicon Valley.
Companies are figuring out how to profit from anonomized customer data.
Enter iPad. The proponents call it a radical new dominant design for computing. Don't buy the hype, say the detractors: the iPad's just another land-grabbing walled garden. Both sides are right — and wrong. The iPad is a revolution waiting to happen. But the revolution's biggest roadblock is Apple itself.
Last fall, Mercedes-Benz ran a competition among business schools like Harvard, New York University, Wharton and Kellogg, in cooperation with NYU, to find out what the next critical market for the brand actually thinks of the brand.
Games are invading the real world -- and the runaway popularity of Farmville and Guitar Hero is just the beginning, says Jesse Schell. At the DICE Summit, he makes a startling prediction: a future where 1-ups and experience points break "out of the box" and into every part of our daily lives.
Marshall McLuhan once famously said, "The medium is the message." Here's what he meant: "The 'message' of any medium or technology is the change of scale or pace or pattern that it introduces into human affairs." Today, the meaning is the message. The "message" of the Internet's social revolution is more meaningful work, economics, politics, society, and organization. It promises radically more meaning: to make stuff matter, once again, in human terms, not just financial ones. And that's never mattered more.
I gave a talk in Edinburgh last year to a group of TV executives gathered for an annual conference. From the Q&A after, it was clear that for them, the question wasn’t whether the internet was going to alter their business, it was about the mode and tempo of that alteration. Against that background, though, they were worried about a much more practical matter: When, they asked, would online video generate enough money to cover their current costs? That kind of question comes up a lot. It’s a tough one to answer, not just because the answer is unlikely to make anybody happy, but because the premise is more important than the question itself. There are two essential bits of background here. The first is that most TV is made by for-profit companies, and there are two ways to generate a profit: raise revenues above expenses, or cut expenses below revenues. The other is that, for many media business, that second option is unreachable. Here’s why.
For the past week or so, I have been testing a sleek, light, silver-and-black tablet computer called an iPad. After spending hours and hours with it, I believe this beautiful new touch-screen device from Apple has the potential to change portable computing profoundly, and to challenge the primacy of the laptop. It could even help, eventually, to propel the finger-driven, multitouch user interface ahead of the mouse-driven interface that has prevailed for decades.
The next generation of Ford's Sync technology will turn its cars into rolling, talking, socially networked, cloud-connected supermachines. Introducing America's most surprising consumer-electronics company.
In 10 years of reviewing tech products for The New York Times, I’ve never seen a product as polarizing as Apple’s iPad, which arrives in stores on Saturday. “This device is laughably absurd,” goes a typical remark on a tech blog’s comments board. “How can they expect anyone to get serious computer work done without a mouse?” “This truly is a magical revolution,” goes another. “I can’t imagine why anyone will want to go back to using a mouse and keyboard once they’ve experienced Apple’s visionary user interface!” The haters tend to be techies; the fans tend to be regular people. Therefore, no single write-up can serve both readerships adequately. There’s but one solution: Write separate reviews for these two audiences.
David Jason's voice wafts into British living rooms as images of everyday life fill the screen. 'Some things in life just have to be,' he intones. It's not meant to be prize-winning creative work. It's the latest part of Heinz's increasingly successful strategy to fight private labels. The food giant offers a playbook on how to survive and prosper in an age of own-label brands.
Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that everyone is buzzing, blogging, tweeting, and talking about geolocation. Research firm Borrel forecasts that location-based mobile spending will hit $4 billion in 2015, an increase of nearly 12,000% from the $34 million spent in 2009. With highly anticipated location-centric announcements looming from both Facebook and Apple, the buzz over geolocation is not expected to diminish any time soon.
It's a sign of the times when The Economist, the house journal of the global business elite, holds a conference in London on 'design thinking' (official Big Rethink site here). Having attended the conference, produced in association with The Design Council and held over 11-12 March, I was left wondering one thing: why is design thinking such a hot topic with business leaders, given that it leaves so many designers cold?
Ask yourself for a moment, what is the operating system of a Google or Bing search? What is the operating system of a mobile phone call? What is the operating system of maps and directions on your phone? What is the operating system of a tweet? On a standalone computer, operating systems like Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux manage the machine's resources, making it possible for applications to focus on the job they do for the user. But many of the activities that are most important to us today take place in a mysterious space between individual machines. Most people take for granted that these things just work, and complain when the daily miracle of instantaneous communications and access to information breaks down for even a moment.
I attend a lot of marketing conferences where I hear over-excited pitch people telling me all about The New Thing that will Change Every Paradigm Forever. So much over-enthusiasm can jade just about anyone, so it was with relief that I joined a much more sober group for their conference. I spent the last few days at the Advertising Research Federation’s (ARF) re:Think 2010 conference taking place in New York City. I found, however, that even here among the stodgiest of marketing researchers, there’s talk of … a paradigm shift.
It has never been more important to turn your brand into a service. Jaded, time-poor, pragmatic consumers yearn for service and care, while the mobile online revolution (it's finally, truly here!) makes it possible to offer uber-relevant services to consumers anywhere, anytime. Basically, if you're going to embrace one big consumer trend this year, please let it be BRAND BUTLERS!
Rupert Murdoch has declared surrender. The future defeated him. By building his paywall around Times Newspapers, he has said that he has no new ideas to build advertising. He has no new ideas to build deeper and more valuable relationships with readers and will send them away if they do not pay. Even he has no new ideas to find the efficiencies the internet can bring in content creation, marketing, and delivery. Instead, Murdoch will milk his cash cow a pound at a time, leaving his children with a dry, dead beast, the remains of his once proud if not great newspaper empire. I used to work for Murdoch at his American magazine TV Guide. I respected his balls. It is a pity to see them gone.
MediaPost reports that Apple's next next big thing, after iPads invade the world next weekend, will be iAd, a mobile advertising platform to be debuted April 7. Coffee dates and patent suits aside, this could be the true Apple-Google battleground.
In 1900, an American man could on average expect to live until he was 45 years old. By 1940, that life-expectancy number had jumped to 62 years, while for women the average number increased from 51 years to 66 years. That unprecedented advance in public health was largely the result of the spread of disease-fighting technologies like vaccines, antibiotics and improved sanitation. A similar “very auspicious moment” is at hand in public health, according to Thomas Goetz, executive editor of Wired and author of a new book, “The Decision Tree: Taking Control of Your Health in the New Era of Personalized Medicine” (Rodale, 2010). This time, the potential revolution in public health, Mr. Goetz said in an interview on Friday, will be led by digital technologies that enable people to live healthier lives and make better treatment decisions.
Coca-Cola once famously defined its market as “throat share”, meaning its stake in the entire liquid intake of all humanity. Not to be outdone, Indra Nooyi, the boss of Coke’s arch-rival, PepsiCo, wants her firm to be “seen as one of the defining companies of the first half of the 21st century”, a “model of how to conduct business in the modern world.” More specifically, she argues that Pepsi, which makes crisps (potato chips) and other fatty, salty snacks as well as sugary drinks, should be part of the solution, not the cause, of “one of the world’s biggest public-health challenges, a challenge fundamentally linked to our industry: obesity.” To that end, on March 22nd she unveiled a series of targets to improve the healthiness of Pepsi’s wares.
As smartphones and handheld computers move into classrooms worldwide, we may be witnessing the start of an educational revolution. How technology could unleash childhood creativity -- and transform the role of the teacher.
Executives at Allstate, known, after their famous slogan, as “the ‘good hands’ people,” are looking for a few good advertising ideas — and are making that clear in attention-getting fashion. Three top managers of the Allstate Corporation came to New York from the company’s Northbrook, Ill., headquarters to make a presentation to senior sales executives from dozens of major media companies. They were joined by a surprise guest: Dennis Haysbert, the actor and Allstate spokesman. The message, delivered by the Allstate leaders on Wednesday under the title “The New State of Allstate,” was this: Help us advertise more effectively by developing, for all types of media, better ways to tell consumers that Allstate sells protection, not just insurance.
Better to seek forgiveness than to ask permission. That's been the rallying cry of organizational intrapreneurs and innovators even before In Search of Excellence was a gleam in Peters and Waterman's McKinseyan eyes. Because innovation is often messy, unplanned, and serendipitous, companies should be careful about how much order, discipline, and oversight to impose on individuals who bring urgency and initiative. The paradigmatic story is of Hewlett-Packard's Chuck House, who persisted in prototyping extra large screen computer monitors despite being directly told by company co-founder and CEO David Packard to knock it off. Needless to say, the product became an important success. House was forgiven — and has co-authored what is arguably the best book about HP.
While the high and low ends are thriving, the middle of the market is in trouble. Previously, successful companies tended to gravitate toward what historians of retail have called the Big Middle, because that’s where most of the customers were. These days, the Big Middle is looking more like “the mushy middle” (in the formulation of the consultants Al and Laura Ries). The companies there—Sony, Dell, General Motors, and the like—find themselves squeezed from both sides (just as, in a way, middle-class workers do in a time of growing income inequality). The products made by midrange companies are neither exceptional enough to justify premium prices nor cheap enough to win over value-conscious consumers. Furthermore, the squeeze is getting tighter every day.
Everyone who jammed into the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco on January 27, 2010, knew what they were there for: Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ introduction of a thin, always-on tablet device that would let people browse the Web, read books, send email, watch movies, and play games. It was also no surprise that the 1.5-pound iPad resembled an iPhone, right down to the single black button nestled below the bright 10-inch screen. But about an hour into the presentation, Apple showed something unexpected — something that not many people even noticed. In addition to the lean-back sorts of activities one expects from a tablet (demonstrated by Jobs while relaxing in a comfy black armchair), there was a surprising pitch for the iPad as a lean-forward device, one that runs a revamped version of Apple’s iWork productivity apps. In many ways, Jobs claimed, the iPad would be better than pricier laptops and desktops as a tool for high-end word processing and spreadsheets. If anyone missed the point, Apple’s design guru Jonathan Ive gushed in a promotional video that the iPad wasn’t just a cool new way to gobble up media — it was blazing a path to the future of computing.
Augmented Reality (AR) is the next keyword wet dream for the online industry buzz word bingo enthusiasts. As social media becomes more ingrained in commercial planning and the excitement fades into practical solutions, it’s inevitable that the new kid on the block will start to make headlines. I think AR is an exciting development. However, behind the pomp that surrounds another buzz word, is there a commercial model that could make AR a practical tool in the e-commerce armoury?
Despite our ongoing fascination and dependence on digital interactions, the point of social media—and perhaps all media—is connectivity. Campaigns like Blu Dot’s experiment in New York, Grill’d in Melbourne, or the T-Mobile dance in Liverpool Street Station demonstrate the power that actual physical events and online channels create when they work together. These campaigns get watched. They get forwarded. They’re viral in every sense of the word. That’s because most of us want to look behind the curtain—maybe even participate.
The idea of branded utility is nothing new. In fact, it’s an idea that has cycled in and out of popular conversations for almost a decade, and yet there is still debate on exactly what it means and whether or not brands can truly provide branded utility in a way that makes a relevant connection to the brand.
Design, or design thinking, is becoming increasingly popular among management practitioners and scholars. Leading popular magazines like BusinessWeek and Fast Company regularly feature design as an important topic. Many leading business schools around the world incorporate some elements of design as a part of their curriculum. At the same time, leading design schools around world are challenging business schools by providing plausible alternatives to students and recruiters alike.
The Apple iPad, hitting stores April 3, is one of the most-hyped products in technology history. There is talk that it could revolutionize computing and media. But when it comes to new products, great expectations can doom products that don't measure up to them.
Don't act too surprised if, some time in the next year, you meet someone who explains that their business card isn't just a card; it's an augmented reality business card. You can see a collection and, at visualcard.me, you can even design your own, by adding a special marker to your card, which, once put in front of a webcam linked to the internet, will show not only your contact details but also a video or sound clip. Or pretty much anything you want. It's not just business cards.
As soon as I decided I wanted to explore the question of where search was going, I knew sooner or later I had to talk to John Battelle. John wrote what I still consider the definitive look at the industry, The Search, in 2005. Since then, in addition to running Federated Media, he has continued to be one of the more thoughtful, visionary, frank and opinionated voices in this space. Recently, his musings have taken on a decided tone of discontent. In a few recent blog posts, Battelle mused that search, while not necessarily “broken,” may indeed be increasingly falling short of our expectations. This lined up well with my own feelings that relevancy may no longer be an adequate proxy for usefulness.
Google and Intel have teamed with Sony to develop a platform called Google TV to bring the Web into the living room through a new generation of televisions and set-top boxes. The move is an effort by Google and Intel to extend their dominance of computing to television, an arena where they have little sway. For Sony, which has struggled to retain a pricing and technological advantage in the competitive TV hardware market, the partnership is an effort to get a leg up on competitors.
Games like World of Warcraft give players the means to save worlds, and incentive to learn the habits of heroes. What if we could harness this gamer power to solve real-world problems? Jane McGonigal says we can, and explains how.
The day when commercials are indistinguishable from the programs they support finally arrived -- just before 10 p.m. Eastern last Thursday night. That's when an ad for Dr Pepper ran after NBC's insider-y sitcom "30 Rock," making use of recurring character Dr. Spaceman, played by comic Chris Parnell. In the spot, which was paired with a more-traditional TV commercial for the soda, Mr. Parnell's fictional medical practitioner decried boredom and told viewers how drinking Dr Pepper could banish it. A few moments later, viewers saw the credits roll for "30 Rock." Staffers from "30 Rock" were not involved in the creation of the commercial, according to a person familiar with the situation.
That limited, old-school perception of design is missing out on something important: Today's increasingly complex and multi-faceted marketing campaigns are, in essence, design projects. With the splintering of "old" media and the explosive rise of social networking, marketing messages now are constantly morphing and being reinvented--taking new forms that range from highly innovative viral stunts and films (such as Volkswagen's Fun Theory) to branded social networks (Nike Plus) and even sponsored save-the-world movements (Pepsi)'s "Refresh Everything" project).
It is a truth universally acknowledged that everybody makes predictions at the end of a year about ‘the big thing for next year’. Sometimes they’re right and sometimes they’re wrong. And sometimes you only really start to notice trends and change when you are in them. In social media it is becoming clearer and clearer that the big thing for 2010 is location-based tools.
Despite improvements in the global economy, chemicals, retail banking, consumer packaged goods, engineered products and services, oil and gas, and technology still need to transform.
A few weeks ago, Forbes ran an article entitled, “Innovation Beyond Apple.” The piece de-briefed a discussion among executives from a range of consumer goods companies including HSN, Mattel, and Chrysalis, an incubator company for emerging brands. It challenged readers to think about innovation differently, and many of the points resonated with me.
I’ve been working with a major retail brand and my engagement has included an audit and assessment of retail best practices. Although most of my work is proprietary, I wanted to share some of my findings here because I’ve found some really interesting patterns.
If any company seems well-positioned to both influence and profit from a generation of environmentally aware youth, it's Walt Disney Co. And Robert Iger, president and chief executive of Disney, insists the company is doing just that. Mr. Iger sat down with The Wall Street Journal's Alan Murray to talk about the new green strategies the company applies to everything from its theme parks to its movie studios, as well as changes Disney has seen in consumer attitudes. They began the conversation by talking about the company's conservation campaign—Friends for Change—which so far has reached more than a million children, he says.
Move over, Amazon. Consumer-products makers, squeezed by private-label goods at retailers like Wal-Mart, are hawking their wares directly to buyers online.
There's a struggle with defining "branding" in digital. Some people claim that brands should be about utility, others that we need to build brand platforms and yet others think that brands should entertain us and give us something to talk about. Yet overall, surprisingly little has changed in the actual branding strategies in the industry. Something is wrong here.
Gary Flake demos Pivot, a new way to browse and arrange massive amounts of images and data online. Built on breakthrough Seadragon technology, it enables spectacular zooms in and out of web databases, and the discovery of patterns and links invisible in standard web browsing.
"Caution. Not all hazards are marked." I couldn't help but notice this sign on the side of a ski trail during a recent vacation in the mountains. As I slowed my descent I thought about how this sign could apply to any number of things in this crazy world. Being in the brand business, I also thought about how apt they were relative to navigating the current marketplace. It's one thing to watch as consumer attitudes shift and you alter your product or service to meet the new conditions. It's another to sense that something's on the horizon and be the first in the category to address it. The ability to do so has always separated the good brands from the best brands.
All these examples tell the same story: that the world contains an unimaginably vast amount of digital information which is getting ever vaster ever more rapidly. This makes it possible to do many things that previously could not be done: spot business trends, prevent diseases, combat crime and so on. Managed well, the data can be used to unlock new sources of economic value, provide fresh insights into science and hold governments to account.
Efficiency is a business school idea that suggests a company is running smoothly. It’s absolutely terrific when you’re talking about a coal mining operation or a Supercuts. But when it comes to a company like Yahoo, it’s not a positive. The Internet is still in its wild west days, and the “ready, fire, aim” game plan of Facebook and the other young guns is eating their lunch. Even the massive Google is still trying to shake things up with new and controversial products. Yahoo’s strategy seems more like “ready, aim, aim, aim, aim…”
In his seminal pop-book, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi argued that people are happiest when they can reach a state of "flow." He talks about performers and athletes who are in the height of their profession, the experience they feel as time passes by and everything just clicks. People reach a state where attention appears focused and, simultaneously, not in need of focus at the same time. The world is aligned and everything just feels right. Consider what it means to be "in flow" in an information landscape defined by networked media, and you will see where Web 2.0 is taking us. The goal is not to be a passive consumer of information or to simply tune in when the time is right, but rather to live in a world where information is everywhere.
I had an epiphany recently. The setting: a multi-billion dollar global giant. The topic of discussion: innovation. My epiphany: A simple two-word phrase that can hamstring innovation. What about...
One troubling recent phenomenon is the push for everyone to be innovators. I suspect more books have been sold with the word innovation in their title in the last 10 years than in the previous 50, including, I confess, one of my own. And while much has changed, it's hard to say the quality of things in the world has improved as fast. Keen-eyed consumers bemoan the low quality of many of the things we buy and try to use. Web sites divide short articles across 25 ad-filled pages. Gadgets quickly run out of power. Smartphones have anemic reception or fragile screens. Many things we buy and use never work in the way we're promised, which suggests there are opportunities in merely being good: Much of what's made falls short of that mark.
Want to know how Google is about to change your life? Stop by the Ouagadougou conference room on a Thursday morning. It is here, at the Mountain View, California, headquarters of the world’s most powerful Internet company, that a room filled with three dozen engineers, product managers, and executives figure out how to make their search engine even smarter. This year, Google will introduce 550 or so improvements to its fabled algorithm, and each will be determined at a gathering just like this one.
Brand loyalty is crucial for brand health. Ad agency founder Jim Mullen once said: "Of all the things that your company owns, brands are far and away the most important and the toughest. Founders die. Factories burn down. Machinery wears out. Inventories get depleted. Technology becomes obsolete. Brand loyalty is the only sound foundation on which business leaders can build enduring, profitable growth."
Like many retailers, the North Face has been having trouble luring shoppers into its stores. The company, which sells outdoor apparel and gear, is about to try a new tactic: sending people text messages as soon as they get near a store. Advertisers have long been intrigued by the promise of cellphones, because they live in people’s pockets and send signals about shoppers’ locations. The dream has been to send people ads tailored to their location, like a coupon for a cappuccino when passing a coffee shop.
Some small businesses are experimenting with new Web-marketing services that integrate social media. While entrepreneurs say they've seen some positive results, some of the services carry hefty fees and their long-term value remains unclear. Start-ups like Groupon Inc., LivingSocial, BuyWithMe Inc. and IMshopping Inc.'s NimbleBuy let merchants offer one-day promotions, sometimes requiring a minimum number of customers to participate in order for the promotion to be valid.
Why go to the trouble of creating networks of passionate consumers? Well, partly because your consumer will insist you do. Engaging directly with them is the new normal. The ubiquity of social-networking tools has created an expectation of accessibility not just from friends and colleagues but from companies too. We're now in a culture that celebrates and enables constant contact and responsiveness from everyone, like it or not. But the real reason to go beyond conventional broadcast media, and even beyond constant engagement to the Holy Grail of community, is to create commitment in an environment that predisposes people to capriciousness.
In this wide-ranging, thought-provoking talk from TEDxAmsterdam, Kevin Kelly muses on what technology means in our lives -- from its impact at the personal level to its place in the cosmos.
Consumer package-goods companies found a rare point of agreement at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York conference this week: the need for continued increases in marketing support. Marketers battling private label from Kraft to Procter & Gamble and General Mills promised bigger investments in advertising, in-store promotion, shelf signage, coupons and packaging. Hershey and Heinz, which have lagged the package-food industry in marketing spending, are racing to bridge the gap. Heinz CEO William R. Johnson noted "the industry's renewed focus on innovation and marketing in response to the challenge of store brands."
Data visualization is cool. It's also becoming ever more useful, as the vibrant online community of data visualizers (programmers, designers, artists, and statisticians — sometimes all in one person) grows and the tools to execute their visions improve. Jeff Clark is part of this community. He, like many data visualization enthusiasts, fell into it after being inspired by pioneer Martin Wattenberg's landmark treemap that visualized the stock market. Clark's latest work shows much promise. He's built four engines that visualize that giant pile of data known as Twitter. All four basically search words used in tweets, then look for relationships to other words or to other Tweeters. They function in almost real time.
Editor’s Note: In his inimitable style, Marty Neumeier, author, lecturer and director of transformation at Liquid Agency, makes complex marketing principles seem logical and easy to understand. Here from his book “Zag: The #1 Strategy of High-Performance Brands,” Neumeier explains why in a world of “look-alike products and me-too services” it is important for brand marketers to zag when everyone else zigs.
Even in these tough times, surprising and extraordinary efforts are under way in businesses across the globe. From politics to technology, energy, and transportation; from marketing to retail, health care, and design, each company on the following pages illustrates the power and potential of innovative ideas and creative execution.
Think of someone you know who is graduating from high school in 2010. Maybe it’s your younger cousin, or a niece or nephew. Perhaps it’s your son or daughter. Or perhaps it’s some young folks in your town you may know. Take a minute to think about someone you have watched grow up for the past 15 or so years. Furthermore, let’s acknowledge that your young high school graduate represents, quite literally, the “18” in the coveted “18-35 demographic” that many marketers are constantly trying to reach. Now think about the fact that the high school graduating “Class of 2010” was born around the time that Netscape Navigator arrived—the time when the Web was born.
Nathan Myhrvold wants to shake up the marketplace for ideas. His mission and the activities of the company he heads, Intellectual Ventures, a secretive $5 billion investment firm that has scooped up 30,000 patents, inspire admiration and angst. Admirers of Mr. Myhrvold, the scientist who led Microsoft’s technology development in the 1990s, see an innovator seeking to elevate the economic role and financial rewards for inventors whose patented ideas are often used without compensation by big technology companies. His detractors see a cynical operator deploying his bulging patent trove as a powerful bargaining chip, along with the implied threat of costly litigation, to prod high-tech companies to pay him lucrative fees. They call his company “Intellectual Vultures.”
It goes without saying that the Great Recession has been a time for companies to pull back and retrench. But the recessionary downswing has also become a remarkable opportunity for re-imagining and reinventing brands. Some marketers have been forced to rethink their brands because of competitive pressures; when things are good, it's easy to put aside the marketer's responsibility to continually re-excite its consumers (and stun gun the competition). Too many marketers leave that quest to Apple, Nike and Marc Jacobs.
The bowls are getting bigger and steamier, but the soup spoons are going away. Those are among the biggest changes Campbell Soup Co. is making in decades to the iconic labels and shelf displays of its condensed soups—the company's biggest single business, with more than $1 billion in sales. The changes—expected to be announced Wednesday—will culminate a two-year effort by Campbell to figure out how to get consumers to buy more soup. Condensed soup has been a slow-growing category in which budget-conscious consumers have little tolerance for price increases.
After reading that headline, I can see some (maybe lots) of you scratching your heads saying: "Wait a minute -- trust is a not a technology!" A decade ago that would have been true -- it is not now. Our digital lives were once confined to e-mail, some web surfing and an occasional online purchase (for the braver among us). A mere decade on and our lives are increasingly being lived online. Yet, while our dependence on the internet has grown exponentially, the technologies we use to navigate the sometimes dangerous, somewhat untrusted waters of the internet remain the same -- largely confined to incremental improvements in narrowly defined segments of security or access. The unfortunate result is that the trust gap is more "gaping" than ever.
The leader of Britain's Conservative Party says we're entering a new era -- where governments themselves have less power (and less money) and people empowered by technology have more. Tapping into new ideas on behavioral economics, he explores how these trends could be turned into smarter policy.
User interfaces—the way we interact with our technologies—have evolved a lot over the years. From the original punch cards and printouts to monitors, mouses, and keyboards, all the way to the track pad, voice recognition, and interfaces designed to make it easier for the disabled to use computers, interfaces have progressed rapidly within the last few decades. But there’s still a long way to go and there are many possible directions that future interface designs could take. We’re already seeing some start to crop up and its exciting to think about how they’ll change our lives.
Daring Fireball's John Gruber — a Drexel University computer major turned professional blogger — is perhaps the most forceful and articulate defender on the Web of all things Apple (AAPL). He came to Macworld Expo 2010, however, not to praise the company but to probe its vulnerabilities.
As soon as Buzz was announced — before I could try it — I tried to intuit its goals and I found profound opportunities. Now that I’ve tried it, reality and opportunity a fer piece apart. It’s awkward. I’d thought that I had wanted Twitter to be threaded but I was wrong; the simplest point quickly passes into an overdose of add-ons. Worse, Google didn’t think through critical issues of privacy — and it only gets worse (via danah boyd). I won’t go as far as Steve Rubel and some others, who instantly declared Buzz DOA; there is the essence of something important here (which I think will come out in mobile more than the web). But there’s no question: Buzz has kinks.
I came to the conclusion today that marketing is destroying the internet, and a part of the reason why many companies are struggling online.
Google Buzz, Google's new social networking service announced this week, isn't particularly original. Just like Facebook and Twitter, it lets you share links, updates and media with friends. Even so, it'll probably be a moderate success.
Advertising agency of the future sounds a bit like horse drawn carriage of the future. I’m not saying for certain that there won’t be agencies in the future, only that the future doesn’t necessarily need agencies. Just like the future doesn’t need printed news but it needs journalism; the future needs commercial communications, but who creates them, the agency or the brand or someone else, is unwritten. And though the future of the agency is unwritten, I have real doubts that agencies will survive or should survive.
PepsiCo ditched the Super Bowl this year to make a major social media play. Instead of spending money for ad time on the Super Bowl, it's relying primarily on digital initiatives to spread the word about its Internet-based Refresh Project contest and charity campaign. The cause-marketing effort is a good one. Word is spreading through traditional media, online networks, social media and celebrity chatter. But I believe Pepsi made a big mistake in giving up its long-held Super Bowl ad real estate. A more integrated media approach--one that included the Super Bowl--would be a savvy play for Pepsi. And such integration is something top marketing executives need to keep in mind in their rush to embrace digital initiatives.
For those of you who have been following Wikimedia's open strategy initiative on this blog, you'll know that one of the goals of the work has been to strengthen the health of the Wikipedia community of contributors who create and use its online encyclopedias. In a healthy community, contributors feel a sense of affiliation and social bonding, they come from diverse backgrounds and expertise areas required to accomplish the project's expansive work, remain open to differences of perspective and able to resolve disputes respectfully. "Community health" is a hot topic among participants engaged in developing the Wikimedia strategy, both within the broader Wikimedia community and outside it.
Google has a problem. Despite having their hands in just about everything online, they’ve never been able to tackle what is a key part of the fabric of the web: social. Yes, they have Orkut and OpenSocial, but no one actually uses them. Okay, some people use them, but not in the meaningful social ways that people use Facebook or even Twitter. Today, Google may have just solved their social problem. Google Buzz is easily the company’s boldest attempt yet to build a social network. Imagine taking elements of Twitter, Yammer, Foursquare, Yelp, and other social services, and shoving them together into one package. Now imagine covering that package in a layer that looks a lot like FriendFeed. Now imagine shoving that package inside of Gmail. That’s Buzz. If Google Wave is the future, Google Buzz is the present.
Be afraid, Madison Avenue. Be very afraid. That seems to be the message in the aftermath of the crowded, frenetic advertising bowl that took place inside Super Bowl XLIV on Sunday. Among those commercials consistently deemed most effective, memorable and talked-about, many were created or suggested by consumers — or produced internally by the sponsors — rather than the work of agency professionals.
Hello, Hollywood. On the heels of the Foursquare-Bravo TV deal, news of several additional major media partnerships involving the location-based social networking app have dropped this evening. According to various reports, Zagat, Warner Bros., HBO, the History Channel and ExploreChicago have all been added to Foursquare’s media and entertainment mix. Here are the partnerships that appear to be live or coming very soon:
Pepsi's Refresh Project, a first-of-its-kind experiment in social media that invests the brand in community-building projects, won't simply leave a legacy for the recipients of its financial grants. It's also a pivotal test case for other brands trying to navigate an ad-cluttered, cynic-rich marketing landscape.
Chances are, a good portion of your target audience is actively engaged in online games. And if they're there, you should be there, too. Gamers are not passive observers; they're active and motivated participants. Brands have a chance to be part of that experience -- often in the very moment when players are willing to give something to get ahead in the game. This is a level of attention that few, if any, other media can offer.
Charging into the Super Bowl for the first time, Kia Motors is discovering that buying a 30-second ad during the game, which will air on CBS this Sunday, is opening a few doors, namely a deeper relationship with a very big company: Google. Google is working closely with Kia and nearly all Super Bowl XLIV's 40 Super Bowl advertisers, offering them exposure far beyond the TV. The marketers that are paying up to $2.8 million for each 30-second spot can upload the ads on Google's Super Bowl Ad Blitz page, as they have in the past. But this year Google has added even more features including social media buttons that will make it easy for viewers to pass them along or "tweet" them on Twitter.
NBC has embraced a novel twist on the user-generated content phenomenon: it plans to broadcast more than a month's worth of athlete generated content, or "AGC," via Vancouver Olympics programming over its cable stations and web sites. I can't help but think such a decision comes from the same ideology that gave us a Jay Leno comedy show in primetime: unscripted programming is cheaper to produce than scripted entertainment, while ad rates are determined by viewing eyeballs, so the profit margin is potentially higher for shows that are even marginally based on reality. And since NBC paid $2 billion just for the rights to broadcast the 2010 and 2012 Olympics, it has every incentive to repurpose that AGC wherever and whenever it can.
Today, as the globe struggles with an historic economic decline, it's time for a new revolution. I'd like to advance a hypothesis: Today's great competitive challenge isn't going from Good to Great. For people, companies, and countries, it's going from great to good.
Are companies, with all their good intentions, getting the most from open innovation? We suspect that the initial successes, encouraging as they are, represent only the beginning. What if open innovation were defined more broadly and more ambitiously? Could even greater value be realized? If so, what would the next wave of open innovation look like?
Several years ago, my colleague Dave Ulrich and I looked at how leaders build value by building employee confidence in the future. Our findings bear revisiting as companies begin to emerge after the devastation of the last 18 months and work to create new value.
Just days before the Super Bowl, when media outlets are abuzz about all the commercials consumers can expect to see in the big game, the folks of Gastonia, N.C., a small town 25 miles west of Charlotte, are opening their newspapers to find an article about one company that will be sitting on the sidelines this year: Pepsi.
Sounds like a sensationalistic headline, but if you read Morgan Stanley’s latest series of reports on the Mobile Internet, you’ll walk away with the same impression. Morgan Stanley’s global technology and telecom analysts documented the rapidly changing mobile Internet market to provide a framework for emerging trends and direction. To set the stage, Morgan Stanley forecasts that the mobile Internet market will be at least 2x the size of desktop Internet when comparing Internet users to mobile subscribers.
In Davos, signs of recovery for the economy — but it's not the same old world.
The frequent question asked of the design community is of its value to business. The query itself makes little sense. Quite simply, the role of designers has always been to translate and communicate the value of a business idea to consumers. The best designers can do far more—they can help companies connect and establish a dialogue with consumers, thus enabling firms to innovate more efficiently. The challenge for most corporations today is about how to innovate while mitigating risk. For consumers, choices are made by balancing the need for evolution with the force of habit. Designers are trained to understand how people think and how to make things. For this reason, there are four basic areas in which design has an important role to play in value creation.
When I picked up my iPhone over the weekend, I had an epiphany. I was using the LinkedIn app to confirm an invitation to connect, and it hit me: This is the future of mobile computing, the mobile web — the mobile experience. No, I’m not saying the LinkedIn app is the future per se (that’d be silly), but rather the overall concept of it. The LinkedIn iPhone app is, in my opinion, better than the actual LinkedIn.com website. Same goes for the Facebook app compared to Facebook.com. Gone are their busy, tab-infested UIs. In their stead are beautiful bubbly icons screaming “Touch me!” We no longer have to squint or click around in search of the feature we’re trying to access: The button is right there in that simple interface for us to tap. The Facebook and Linkedin apps are two key examples of popular services whose iPhone apps outdid the websites they were trying to “port.” They’re two gems glistening brightly for the future of mobile.
It all began with a coffeepot. A coffeepot that was connected to the Internet (before it was even called the Internet) and which provided information about its status (long before there was Twitter). In 1991, researchers at Cambridge University shared a single coffeepot among several floors. The researchers were frustrated by the fact that they would often climb several flights of stairs, only to find the coffeepot empty. They set up a videocamera that broadcast a still image to their desktops about three times per minute — enough to determine the level of coffee in the glass pot. Several years later, that coffeepot had become one of the first Internet web cam sensations, with millions of hits worldwide. That coffeepot was a proof of concept for today’s networked objects and the Internet of Things.
In 1998, Larry Page and Sergey Brin published a paper titled Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Search Engine, in which they outlined the core technology behind Google and the theory behind PageRank. Now, twelve years after that paper was published, the team behind social search engine Aardvark has drafted its own research paper that looks at the social side of search. Dubbed Anatomy of a Large-Scale Social Search Engine, the paper has just been accepted to WWW2010, the same conference where the classic Google paper was published.
Fueled by the music industry's ongoing turmoils and, finally, books going digital at a very rapid pace, there is a lot of debate on how to deal with the fact that many people habitually share i.e. redistribute digital content without any of the upstream users making their own payment. How can you monetize content when the copy is free? This question is a key issue across the board, whether it's in music, eBooks, news, publishing, TV or movies. The fear is, of course, that once a digital item has been purchased by one person it can be easily forwarded to anyone else if it is in an open format, thus seriously reducing the possibility that someone else will actually pay real $ for it, as well (of course, the same is true for supposedly locked or protected digital content as well - it just takes a bit longer). No more control over distribution = no more money. Right?
Though there's still widespread disagreement of just when the industry will put the recession firmly behind it, one thing's clear: Whenever it happens, marketers had better be ready. Forward thinkers such as Allstate, Walmart, New Balance, Macy's, Procter & Gamble, McDonald's and Bank of America are already paving the way to recovery by spending on marketing and product innovation, cementing relationships with new consumers and rewarding loyalists who stuck by their brands during the bad times. They are also creating products and messaging that bridge from recession to recovery.
Decades ago, consumers were invited to “be sociable, have a Pepsi.” Now the brand wants to invite consumers to help Pepsi support social causes — and will use social media like Facebook and Twitter to help spread a message. Pepsi-Cola is formally introducing on Monday an ambitious campaign named the Pepsi Refresh Project, aimed at doing well by doing good. The brand is dedicating at least $20 million through the end of the year for donations to local organizations and causes proposed by the public in realms like health, arts and culture, the environment and education.
When the Vancouver Olympic Games kick off on Feb. 12, visitors will find café furniture made from pine-beetle-salvaged wood, drink out of bottles made from 30% plant-based materials, and their beverages will be delivered via hybrid vehicles and electric cart. All are elements of Coca-Cola's first zero-waste, carbon-neutral sponsorship. The effort has been years in the making, beginning with a relatively simple recycling effort for the Athens Olympic Games in 2000. Since then the company has layered in additional elements, like environmentally friendly coolers and shirts made out of plastic bottles.
The more, the better. That’s the fashionable recipe for nurturing new ideas these days. It emphasizes a kind of Internet-era egalitarianism that celebrates the “wisdom of the crowd” and “open innovation.” Assemble all the contributions in the digital suggestion box, we’re told in books and academic research, and the result will be collective intelligence. Yet Apple, a creativity factory meticulously built by Steven P. Jobs since he returned to the company in 1997, suggests another innovation formula — one more elitist and individual.
What will the future of social networking look like? Imagine this: your digital video recorder automatically copies a television show that several of your friends were talking about on a social network before the show went on air. Or this: you get into your car, switch on its navigation system and ask it to guide you to a friend’s house. As you pull out of the driveway, the network to which you both belong automatically alerts her that you are on your way. And this: as you are buying a pair of running shoes that you think one of your friends might be interested in, you can send a picture to their network page with a couple of clicks on a keypad next to the checkout counter.
Long the quality and efficiency standard-setter, Toyota now has an ostrich-sized egg on its face — a problem with sticking accelerator pedals that led to global product recalls and a suspension of production and sales. There are important lessons to be learned from Toyota's stumble: Competitive success is fluid. It depends on continuously discovering better ways to do work. The capabilities to do this are powerful but fragile and need constant reinforcement. Relentless attention to their development can lead to great success; conversely, a loss in attention can have grave consequences.
The door of a dry-cleaner-size storefront in an industrial park in Wareham, Massachusetts, an hour south of Boston, might not look like a portal to the future of American manufacturing, but it is. This is the headquarters of Local Motors, the first open source car company to reach production. Step inside and the office reveals itself as a mind-blowing example of the power of micro-factories.
The great and good from the world of social media met Wednesday at Davos and agreed their medium still hasn't reached its full potential, with one speaker joking that the really cool stuff wouldn't happen "until we're dead." This is a frightening prospect when one considers how much our digital and real lives have blurred already. Seven of the 15 most trafficked Web sites in the world are social sites, according to George Colony of Forrester Research, a technology specialist.
You have to give it to Apple. The company has an uncanny knack for seizing the moment and whipping journalists and consumers into a frenzy. The latest wave comes from today's launch of the iPad tablet with iBookstore content store. As always, there's a lot to like about Apple's device. The user interface looks great, the bookstore seems intuitive, and Apple set a price point (at least for the entry level iPad) that positions the device well in the marketplace. The hype bar was set so high that inevitably some people were disappointed - Dan Frommer from Silicon Alley Insider called it a big "yawn" that won't define publishing the way many experts projected.
Modern capitalism can be broken down into two major eras. The first, managerial capitalism, began in 1932 and was defined by the then radical notion that firms ought to have professional management. The second, shareholder value capitalism, began in 1976. Its governing premise is that the purpose of every corporation should be to maximize shareholders’ wealth. If firms pursue this goal, the thinking goes, both shareholders and society will benefit. This is a tragically flawed premise, and it is time we abandoned it and made the shift to a third era: customer-driven capitalism.
Book publishers were locked in 11th-hour negotiations with Apple Inc. that could rewrite the industry's revenue model after the technology giant unveils its highly anticipated tablet device Wednesday. Apple's new multimedia tablet device, with a 10-inch touch screen that is expected to deliver video, text, navigation and social-networking applications, is trying to change the way much of traditional media is delivered.
As we wanted to keep things straightforward and hands-on this month, we're highlighting "FUNCTIONALL". Which is all about a new breed of products that are simple, small and/or cheap (with a dash of sustainability), giving them global appeal, from India to Sweden. Now, if that doesn't warrant a brainstorming session...
With the widely anticipated introduction of a tablet computer at an event here on Wednesday morning, Apple may be giving the media industry a kind of time machine — a chance to undo mistakes of the past. Almost all media companies have run aground in the Internet Age as they gave away their print and video content on the Web and watched paying customers drift away as a result.
When it comes to innovation, many executives in the consumer goods industry are chasing Apple. Who can blame them? While most retailers spent the holiday season slashing prices, Apple reported record earnings by enchanting audiences with iPhones. Now, as retailers try to re-engage consumers this year, executives are trying to replicate the "Apple thrill." But focusing exclusively on product innovation is a mistake for most companies, say executives who gathered recently at Berglass + Associates, my company, to discuss innovation.
Steve Jobs is walking the same path as Walt Disney. As soon as California’s Disneyland was completed, Walt knew he had made a terrible mistake by not securing the surrounding real estate. He had built this wonderful destination but his oversight allowed hotel chains and restaurants to come in and make more money off his customers than he did. So Walt immediately went to Orlando, FL and built Disneyworld the right way. The moral of the story is that Steve Jobs is not someone you want to depend on for your livelihood. His goal is to build a closed digital neighborhood where Apple (AAPL) controls who makes money and who doesn’t. I'll bet that in one of those Apple board meetings that Google (GOOG) CEO Eric Schmidt used to attend, he realized that Jobs was on the verge of building AppleWorld and he's been scared ever since.
2010 is the beginning of a new era for business. We've mastered quality. Squeezed every drop out of efficiency. Saturated the marketplace with innovation. And we're using advanced information and communication technologies to reshape the very fabric of our marketplace concepts and relations. So what's next? Certainly not "branding;" at least not in the conventional sense. The notion that a marketplace offering is a static, transactional thing that needs the right injection of cosmetics and communication to bring it to life is flawed thinking in today's environment.
With the new tablet device that is debuting next week, Apple Inc. Chief Executive Steve Jobs is betting he can reshape businesses like textbooks, newspapers and television much the way his iPod revamped the music industry—and expand Apple's influence and revenue as a content middleman. In developing the device, Apple focused on the role the gadget could play in homes and in classrooms, say people familiar with the situation. The company envisions that the tablet can be shared by multiple family members to read news and check email in homes, these people say.
It took the telephone 45 years to penetrate half the homes in America; radio, less than 20; color TV, 15; computers, 10; cellphones, eight; and the internet, a mere six years. The speed of change is accelerating. Five years ago Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Hulu and the iPhone didn't exist. Today Facebook has 350 million members; Twitter boasts 30 million; and Hulu is the second biggest "channel" in America, having surpassed Time Warner Cable. Technology now has profound impact on consumer behavior. Take brand loyalty, for example. Smartphones enable consumers to comparison shop on the basis of price at the point of sale. The democratization of information may result in commoditization of brands as consumers make purchase decisions by searching for the lowest-priced product. Technology may also alter the purchase cycle and give rise to powerful third-party influencers, counterbalancing paid media's "management" of the purchase cycle. These are transformational shifts for brands.
Your iPhone operates by the touch of your fingers. Why not your car? Auto makers are starting to roll out a new generation of dashboard technology that substitutes touch-sensitive pads and displays for knobs and switches and videogame-style graphics for drab two-dimensional displays. Technology created to power games, mobile phones and computer displays is now being adapted—and often significantly improved—for those two-ton hand-held devices that come with four tires and leather seats.
Apple on Monday ratcheted up the public relations buzz surrounding the launch of a new product, widely expected to be a tablet-sized computer, this month. It sent out a press invitation via email, inviting journalists to “come see our latest creation”. Whilst far from explicit, as is Apple’s wont, the invitation was the strongest confirmation yet of what has been the company’s most anticipated new product since the launch of the iPhone three years ago.
We’ve seen some major world events unfold on the social media stage this week, the biggest being Google’s threat to pull out of China and the Haiti earthquake. Google’s (Google) actions have brought attention back to the long-standing Internet censorship that blankets China, while the destruction in Haiti has mobilized hundreds of thousands to open their wallets and their hearts. Just like the Iran Election crisis, people are again assessing the impact of social media on the world. It’s clear that social media has the power to impact world politics and the lives of billions, but some have overstated what social media can actually do. We need to understand what social media really is in order to utilize it effectively for social good. Let me explain by highlighting a few examples of social media’s impact on the world stage, and then concluding with how I view social media’s impact in the larger context of mobilization and world discussion.
On the desk of Jim O’Neill, chief economist for Goldman Sachs, stand four flimsy flags. They look out of place among the expensive computer terminals of the investment bank’s plush London office, like leftovers of a child’s geography homework or cheap mementos from backpacking trips to exotic parts of the world. But these flags hint at a more interesting story – of the latest way in which money and ideas are reshaping the world. The small scraps of fabric are pennants for big countries: Brazil, Russia, India and China. And almost a decade ago, O’Neill decided to start thinking of them as a group – which he gave the acronym Bric.
In 2010, Social Media will rapidly escalate from novelty or perceived necessity to an integrated and strategic business communications, service, and information community and ecosystem. Our experiences and education will foster growth and propel us through each stage of the Social Media Marketing evolution. As MarketingSherpa observes, “2010 is the year where social media marketers gain the experience required to advance from novice to competent practitioner capable of achieving social marketing objectives and proving ROI.” It’s a powerful prediction and it’s one that I also believe. This is your year to excel, teach, and create your own destiny.
If you’re a businessperson or someone interested in understanding how to facilitate innovation, you’ve probably heard of “design thinking” by now. Coined by IDEO’s David Kelley, the term refers to a set of principles, from mindset to process, that can be applied to solve complex problems.
When Barry Judge, chief marketing officer of Best Buy, started his Twitter feed in mid-2008, he was anxious. He recalls fretting: "What if my tweets are boring, and what if no one follows me?" He had worked at Best Buy for more than eight years at that point but he was a social media neophyte. Now Judge finds himself tweeting a couple times a day. He has nearly 14,000 followers. Now he can't imagine doing his job without using social media, which he uses to communicate with Best Buy colleagues and customers.
Most of the marketing rules we lived by just five years ago are practically obsolete. The industry has faced more changes in the last five years than in the previous 50. Let's face it, there's no point in improving broken legacy models. Since necessity is the mother of invention, let's not waste this recession and instead use it to rethink how we go about branding in this new decade.
An overnight success ten years in the making, social media is as transformative as it is evolutionary. At last, 2010 is expected to be the year that social media goes mainstream for business. In speaking with many executives and entrepreneurs, I’ve noticed that the path towards new media enlightenment often hinges on corporate culture and specific marketplace conditions. Full social media integration often happens in stages — it’s an evolutionary process for companies and consumers alike. Here are the ten most common stages that businesses experience as they travel the road to full social media integration.
In the midst of every marketing meeting, there comes that point where the entire room leans forward in their seats. The tension heightens. There's an almost palpable sense of voyeurism; everyone strains toward the reveal of that titillating morsel that represents insider access. And the question is asked: "So, what's the consumer insight?" The strategist slowly rises and says, "We always knew that the consumers say this, but did you know that they really do this?" Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it's shock and awe time. As a planner at heart, that's my bread and butter. What this very authentic example of consumer-insight fetishism raises is the question of what to do when your brand represents one thing but consumers are searching for another. Said differently, what can be done when your brand marketing becomes more about reflecting the reality of your consumers and less about your brand's aspirational identity? To keep your unique brand-driven narrative alive and prevent it from turning into a slow-moving episode of "60 Minutes," there are a few things that I believe every marketer should strive to do.
This interview with Tony Hsieh, the chief executive of Zappos.com, was conducted and condensed by Adam Bryant. Q. What are some of the most important leadership lessons you’ve learned? A. After college, a roommate and I started a company called LinkExchange in 1996, and it grew to about 100 or so people, and then we ended up selling the company to Microsoft in 1998. From the outside, it looked like it was a great acquisition, $265 million, but most people don’t know the real reason why we ended up selling the company.
Sometimes it takes a million square feet of gizmos to understand where humanity is headed. After all the pageantry and pixels, here's what the world learned about tech in 2010.
The buzz is palpable about Apple's plans to announce a tablet computer later this month. I think it's instructive as to the function and uses of conversation. Apple is a company that has utterly shunned the social media campaigns that have displaced more old-fashioned ways to waste consumers' time. It has no Twitter feed, provides no payola to twentysomethings so that they’ll blog about its products, and I bet it would happily ignore a request for comment from the President if asked. It doesn't talk. Apple does.
A longtime quest to bring the Internet to the living room has entered a new phase, borrowing a page from Apple Inc. and its iPhone. Companies are now racing to build marketplaces for TV programs that act much like iPhone apps, able to interact with social-networking services, play games, call up movies and other Web content—all using a remote control, rather than a computer equipped with browsers. The TV applications are designed to exploit new consumer electronics devices with Internet connections that are beginning to appear in homes in significant numbers.
Microsoft on Wednesday evening positioned itself for a potential war over a new category of touch-screen “tablet” computers as Steve Ballmer, chief executive, anticipated an expected major product announcement from Apple by showing off a version running on Windows software. The Microsoft boss used his speech at the opening of the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to highlight the product, made by Hewlett-Packard.
So Google's got a new phone now. Internet coverage is predictably hyperbolic, though Scott Anthony smartly puts the phone's potential to make waves into the future tense, and the New York Times' typically giddy David Pogue was downright snarky in his review. Nevertheless, the tech industry is atwitter with a fresh new rivalry. Mac versus PC is so last decade. Now, it's "Hello I'm an iPhone." "And I'm a Nexus One." I vote for Rainn Wilson playing Google in the commercials.
The coverage of Google's Nexus One "superphone" - officially unveiled today - was swift and almost universally positive. The HTC-designed device looks beautiful, its functionality sounds fantastic, and by all accounts it looks like a viable competitor to Apple and Research in Motion in the smartphone market. In this case, however, there's more to the story. Google's distribution approach has the potential to dramatically accelerate a broad disruption in the mobile phone market where the balance of power shifts from carriers and retailers to device, software, and applications providers.
When it comes to rebrands, few were more ridiculed in 2009 than the Sci Fi Channel's much-ballyhooed switch to Syfy, a respelling that prompted an outcry of negative feedback from hardcore fans and marketing gurus alike (including our very own Adages, which asked, "Is Arnell involved in this somehow?") But unlike the ill-fated redesign of the Tropicana logo that Peter Arnell oversaw last February and that Pepsico eventually pulled, the switch to Syfy is so far a success, with the network logging its highest-rated year, quarter (fourth) and series ("Warehouse 13") ever after its July 7 rebranding. The newfound ratings momentum also seems to have had a halo effect on its ad dollars, which were already up to $264.8 million by November 2009. That means the network is on track to surpass the $274.9 million logged in measured ad spending it recorded for all of 2008, according to TNS Media Intelligence.
The first ten years of the new century may go down as the decade to forget. Terrorists attacks, devastating natural disasters, scary increases in CO2emissions, Wall Street scandals and two market crashes. The stock market is down 26% since 2000, median household income is also down, and unemployment is up. The price of oil has more than tripled, health care costs have spiraled out of control and there appears to be no end in sight to corporate bankruptcies and the mass exodus of loyal employees.
Google’s expected unveiling on Tuesday of a rival to the iPhone is part of its careful plan to try to do what few other technology companies have done before: retain its leadership as computing shifts from one generation to the next. The rapid emergence of the smartphone as a versatile computing device may be as much a challenge as an opportunity for Google, which built its multibillion-dollar empire largely on the sale of small text ads linked to search queries typed on PCs.
In a manifesto-like e-mail message sent last month to all Google employees, Jonathan Rosenberg, a senior vice president for product management, told them to commit to greater transparency and open industry standards. Rather than hoard knowledge to exploit it, he wrote in “The Meaning of Open,” share it and watch Google and the entire Internet prosper. With the Chrome browser, however, Google’s inclusive principles are being put to the test: a new version of the browser allows, one might even say encourages, users to stop Google ads from appearing. How Google got to such a position speaks to the inherent dynamism (or is that chaos?) of business on the Internet.
If you threw me on a desert island (one with internet connectivity) and said that I could use only one website, it would be Gmail. For the last five years Gmail has become the most indispensable tool in my communications and productivity system. I've even found a full-fledged Twitter client, Twitgether, that integrates into Gmail. My use of Gmail is unorthodox in that I also use it as a massive database -- a backup brain. For years now I have been e-mailing myself articles that I think I might need later. Along the way, Gmail gives me a preview of what the algorithmic, personalized future of advertising and media will undoubtedly resemble.
Imagine a planetarium-style presentation about the future of technology, followed by a tour of dozens of hands-on exhibits — whether of sandlike microparticles that flow like liquid in a beaker, pictures that appear three-dimensional or concrete that floats. Is it the latest science museum, or a new Disney attraction? No, it’s the “World of Innovation” showroom, a cornerstone of the 3M Company’s customer innovation center at its headquarters in St. Paul. In a world of online user communities, social media, interactive blogs and other technological means for companies to elicit customer feedback, you might think that face-to-face interaction is a thing of the past. Think again.
How you use your mobile phone has long reflected where you live. But the spirit of the machines may be wiping away cultural differences.
Most people think of the grand challenges in computing as big science projects, like simulating nuclear explosions or protein folding. But with the holiday shopping season just ended, consider another: retail marketing.
Some have asked, Where does social media live? Is it marketing? Is it public relations? Is it IT or corporate? Is it a combination of multiple business units and functions, and if so, who leads the efforts and how does an organization choose partners? These are valid and complex questions, currently with no simple answers. Social media is still emerging and being defined in real time. There's a question missing from that litany, one that organizations or individuals rarely ask themselves: Do you live social? Many organizations simply skip this question because they assume that they themselves don't have to be social (open and collaborative) to reap the rewards (cost savings, marketing ROI, effective reputation management, and search engine juice) they think they might get from social media.
It’s hard to believe that at the beginning of the last decade, there was no Facebook, iPhone, Wikipedia, or YouTube. Almost shocking, considering how those entities have shaped a culture around the Internet, disrupted business models and impacted how and what information was shared through the Web. So what big Web themes might we see emerging into the next few years? Based on reporting and informal chats with venture capitalists, here’s a quick guess at what might be big in 2010.
Yesterday we posted the first five digital-marketing predictions from Millward Brown and Dynamic Logic, which looked at mobility, geo-location, viral marketing, gaming and online display. Today, we bring you the final five. And we want to know -- do you agree? What do you think will be the big issues of 2010? Here's the rest of the predictions for 2010.
In our discussions about what will happen in the digital marketing industry during the next 12 months, one overarching trend emerged: The basic rules of brand building are just as important for innovations in the digital space as they are for traditional forms of communication. Using new technology won't in itself bring success; your digital communications still need to be creative, engaging and relevant if they are to cut it during the second decade of this century. Here are the first five of our top 10 trends for 2010.
A spate of new digital gadgets and the fulfilment of the internet’s promise as an interactive medium have dominated popular awareness of information technology in the past 10 years. But what could turn out to be a far more important and lasting transformation has been going on below the surface. It involves a step-change in computing that promises to bring fundamental and irreversible change to many aspects of everyday life – for good or ill.
Reasons to feel bearish about Microsoft aren't hard to find. But it's the software giant's diminishing profile in the mobile world that is the talk of Silicon Valley right now. The explosion of mobile applications on devices like Apple's iPhone and Motorola's Droid presages far-reaching changes in consumer behavior. Google gets that. Aside from helping develop the Android mobile operating system, the company plans to buy mobile ad firm AdMob. And now it is working on plans to sell its own phone. It's a different story at Microsoft.
Every address, every building, every business has a story to tell. Visualize your world that way: Look at a restaurant and think about all the data that already swirls around it — its menu, its reviews and ratings and tags (descriptive words), its recipes, its ingredients, its suppliers (and how far away they are, if you care about that sort of thing), its reservation openings, who has been there (according to social applications), who do we know who has been there, its health-department reports, its credit-card data (in aggregate, of course), pictures of its interior, pictures of its food, its wine list, the history of the location, its decibel rating, its news… And then think how we can annotate that with our own reviews, ratings, photos, videos, social-app check-ins and relationships, news, discussion, calendar entries, orders…. The same can be said of objects, brands — and people.
Last time there was this much excitement about a tablet, it had some commandments written on it. A blizzard of speculation is building over Apple's as-yet-unconfirmed release of a tablet computer. Among other things, the tablet is expected to offer e-books and TV programs. Apple has been trying to get TV networks to license their programming for a subscription service planned as part of a revamp of iTunes, presumably with the tablet in mind.
When asked what his title as president of Google’s sales operations and business development means, Nikesh Arora answers: “I’m basically responsible for the business side.” At Google – whose engineers can sometimes be accused of being on missions unconnected with the bottom line – this means working out the future of advertising in the digital economy Google helped create.
Technology is like a dog; each year of it seems like the equivalent of seven human years — at least when you get to the end of it and realize it’s only been 12 months since that now indispensable service first launched. We spent 2009 documenting technology’s disruption of how we live, entertain ourselves and do business. Looking back on the year from the comfortable perch of December, here are the seven most disruptive developments of 2009.
Imagine a planetarium-style presentation about the future of technology, followed by a tour of dozens of hands-on exhibits — whether of sandlike microparticles that flow like liquid in a beaker, pictures that appear three-dimensional or concrete that floats. Is it the latest science museum, or a new Disney attraction? No, it’s the “World of Innovation” showroom, a cornerstone of the 3M Company’s customer innovation center at its headquarters in St. Paul. In a world of online user communities, social media, interactive blogs and other technological means for companies to elicit customer feedback, you might think that face-to-face interaction is a thing of the past. Think again.
Last year, most Americans felt as if they had been hit in the head by a 4-iron. Wall Street nearly collapsed. The economy plunged into its deepest recession in decades. As housing prices sank, many homeowners realized that they owed more on their mortgages than their homes were worth. Millions lost their jobs, and even those who didn’t hunkered down, burying their wallets in the backyard. This year — with more than a few bumps along the way — the situation brightened. With that, here’s a look back at five of the biggest business stories of this year — and what to look for in the next 12 months.
It seems as though the first era of digital music may have come to an end. Napster died, P2P lived in some black market twilight zone, streaming services on ad-supported revenue were suffocated by unsustainably high licensing fees, and subscription services sputtered along, never quite capturing the imaginations of music fans. 2009 ended in a flurry of acquisitions (LaLa, iLike), launches (Vevo) and shutdowns (iMeem), which dramatically rearranged the digital music landscape. When the dust finally settles, expect digital music to begin anew. With that in mind, here are my five predictions for music in 2010.
What’s the future of videogame controllers? Microsoft is betting that it’s no controller at all. The company’s new Xbox 360 interface, codenamed Project Natal, uses a depth sensor, directional microphones, and a lo-res camera to read your gestures — grip an imaginary steering wheel, for instance, to control a car onscreen. The technology is bound to be a game-changer, so we asked three industry visionaries what kinds of games they’d design for it.
Apple has something big up its sleeve for next month. The company has rented a stage at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco for several days in late January, according to people familiar with the plans. Apple is expected to use the venue to make a major product announcement on Tuesday, January 26th. Both YBCA and Apple declined to comment.
The coming January issue of Technology Review features an important article discussing if cloud computing is secure enough for broad public use. ‘Security in the Ether’, written by David Talbot, brings to light some of the serious technology concerns from cloud based applications including Gmail, Twitter and Facebook. Mr. Talbot interviews security and cloud experts, some who agree that our data and information is too vulnerable in the cloud, and the standards for business and public use are not secure enough.
After a dismal 2009, venture capitalists are preparing to ramp up their investments, injecting much-needed cash into start-ups. Some venture-capital firms have loosened their purse strings in recent weeks and are starting to invest new money. That has resulted in several deals, such as last month's $52 million infusion into social-networking advertising and software company RockYou Inc. and the $57 million invested in online textbook-rental service Chegg Inc. In addition, many venture capitalists say they have been meeting investment bankers and working with their tech start-ups on filing for initial public offerings next year.
Last week I sent an email to Googlers about the meaning of "open" as it relates to the Internet, Google, and our users. In the spirit of openness, I thought it would be appropriate to share these thoughts with those outside of Google as well. At Google we believe that open systems win. They lead to more innovation, value, and freedom of choice for consumers, and a vibrant, profitable, and competitive ecosystem for businesses. Many companies will claim roughly the same thing since they know that declaring themselves to be open is both good for their brand and completely without risk. After all, in our industry there is no clear definition of what open really means. It is a Rashomon-like term: highly subjective and vitally important.
Madison Avenue gave a nod to grim economic realities in this year's crop of ads, but also pitched plenty of escapist fare—both inspired and goofy. The industry was struggling through one of the worst business climates it has seen in decades. Global ad spending plummeted 10%, according to ZenithOptimedia, a media-buying company owned by Publicis Groupe. Cash-strapped advertisers cut the fees they pay their advertising firms, and tens of thousands of ad jobs were lost. Some of the country's largest firms, such as WPP's JWT, were forced to close once-thriving outposts in markets such as Chicago. Well-known agencies such as Cliff Freeman & Partners ("Where's the Beef?") were forced to close shop completely. From reviews of major campaigns and interviews with advertising executives, here are our choices for some of the best and worst marketing maneuvers of 2009.
CBS Corp. and Walt Disney Co. are considering participating in Apple Inc.'s plan to offer television subscriptions over the Internet, according to people familiar with the matter, as Apple prepares a potential new competitor to cable and satellite TV.
I’ve seen Avatar (the 3D version) over the weekend, and while I won’t go into the content of the movie, technologically it’s a must-see. Think you’ve seen 3D? Avatar truly takes it to the next level, giving us a glimpse of the movie industry’s future.
How designers can influence behavior—and why they should.
As we begin a one-year celebration of the ANA's 100th anniversary, we have created the Marketers' Constitution, which contains 10 essentials of marketing for the next 100 years. Its purpose is to ensure that our industry continues to thrive and contribute to the growth of the U.S. economy and to the well-being of our society.
Popular culture, including TV shows such as "Mad Men," would have us believe the practice of marketing in an ad agency is a straightforward exercise, calling only for understanding the customer, coming up with a big idea, then creating something interesting and relevant to engage consumers. Not quite. Marketing organizations today are under the gun as never before -- from a media landscape growing increasingly convoluted and a fleeting consumer universe to the mounting pressure of accountability for any marketing dollar spent. Today's new universe demands a different approach to the design and execution of any marketing effort. And yet, little intellectual brain power or emotional energy is being invested in improving the fundamental marketing process.
In an effort to turn around Blockbuster Inc., Chief Executive Jim Keyes is trying to get customers to think of the struggling video-rental chain as more than just a pit stop for DVDs. By offering a broad array of entertainment options and ways to get them, Mr. Keyes hopes to beat back competition from companies that provide movies via mailed rentals, kiosks and deeply discounted sales. But even with a detailed plan, Mr. Keyes faces a tough slog. He has already closed unprofitable stores and slashed inventory, and the chain is still struggling to turn a profit. In three of the last four quarters, Blockbuster posted losses, and it got a going-concern warning from its auditors in April.
Magazine publishers are taking a mulligan. After letting the Internet slip away from them and watching electronic readers like the Kindle from Amazon develop without their input, publishers are trying again with Apple iPhones and, especially, tablet computers. Although publishers have not exactly been on the cutting edge of technology, two magazines — Esquire and GQ — have developed iPhone versions, while Wired and Sports Illustrated have made mockups of tablet versions of their print editions, months before any such tablets come to market. Publishers are using the opportunity to fix their business model, too.
Back in the good old days, Microsoft did desktops, Google stuck to search and Apple made toys for people in polo necks. No more. The superpowers of the technology world are at war, and like real wars, the battle is happening on several fronts. They're fighting on the desktop, they're fighting on mobile phones, they're fighting in the browser and they're fighting in your front room. Who will prevail, and who will end up in a bunker?
In order to compete in this new economy, chances are you've already pared down your operations. You've also probably adopted "flat revenue" as the new measure of growth. Even typically profit-focused Wall Street is looking at sales growth to see how people are spending money again. I have news, growth is the only real measure of growth. And with your operations streamlined, now is the perfect time to grow.
We are witnessing a profound change in the media and advertising industries due to the emergence of social media. Companies that did not exist ten years ago, like Facebook and Twitter, have captured significant share of the attention economy from traditional publishers. Underscoring this trend is the fact that at the same time that Businessweek was selling for less than $5 million (plus assumption of debts) to Bloomberg, Foursquare’s pretty cousin Gowalla drove up Sand Hill road and collected $8.4 million for a minority stake. Amidst this disruption, media companies are chasing after “their” audience in order to continue to broker the attention of that audience to marketers. But just at the moment that media has mastered the art of blogging, search engine optimization and CPM yield management, they are now faced with a new set of consumer behaviors that elude their programming faculties: mobile devices, location-based services and the social graph.
As web-based augmented-reality applications have exploded, it's more important than ever to remember AR is a technology based on utility and not gimmicks. Unfortunately, as with most new and emerging technologies, it's quickly becoming overhyped and abused. Usability and user experience have been thrown under in the stampede of agencies and brands saying "Hey, look -- me too!" Even more disturbing is that most marketers are overlooking the most unique aspect of AR itself: that it's a technology that can create innovative and sustained engagement between a brand and its target consumer through utility.
A host of Web start-ups are gaining traction based on the premise that they make it easier for people to buy and sell online than the company that invented the idea: eBay Inc. Second Rotation Inc.'s Gazelle.com site, which offers people a set price to take used gadgets like iPods and laptops off their hands, last month more than doubled the number of products, to 18,000, that it took in compared with a year earlier. Glyde Corp. last month launched its own online marketplace that allows consumers to sell used books, DVDs and videogames in a system that automates posting a listing, figuring out how much to charge and even mailing it out. Gazelle pays consumers for used electronics that it then lists for resale. Above, an employee shelves electronics at the company's Boston facility. Many of these companies are tapping a recession-friendly opportunity they dub "re-commerce," which essentially means using the Internet to find a second life for used stuff that usually just gathers dust on bookshelves and in garages.
Gone are the days of relying solely on boasts about towing capacities and horsepower to move the metal. Ford and Chevy dealers soon will start talking more about fuel economy and iPod outlets as the companies roll out new compact and subcompact cars.
Five major magazine and newspaper publishers on Tuesday announced plans to build an industry-standard platform to present their work on the Web, phones and e-readers in a richer, more flexible and more lucrative form than is possible today. The consortium of Time Inc., Conde Nast, the Hearst Corporation, Meredith and the News Corporation does not lack for ambition, hoping to design software primarily for devices that do not yet exist – cellphones more advanced than anything now on the market and e-readers far more sophisticated than today’s mostly static, black-and-white devices.