I knew a guy who was worried about his teenage son. He was a good kid, but he was struggling and he had just called to tell his father he was going to drop out of college. Years ago, the father fretted, he’d have shipped the kid off to the military – forced some discipline on him to help him grow up. That had worked for his generation. But the inflammatory world situation no longer made that a viable option in his (or his wife’s!) mind. He was at his wits’ end. So what did he do?
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.
Millennials want innovation, community and values. The brands that get all those things right will have customers for life. Let’s start with innovation. There is an expectation that the next cool thing is right around the bend. Millennials want to discover it, explore it and share it. They especially love things that make their lives easier and more convenient.
If you’re leading a startup business with potential for high growth, one of the most valuable things you should do early on is to set up an advisory board.
Giving is rewarding. It’s contagious. It’s good for your brand too.
Small Sites Making SIx Figures In Revenue Won't Support Corporate Structures
Corporations assume that employer-sponsored volunteerism programs keep employees engaged while also making a difference to the social organizations they serve. And that's true, but there's more to the story.
Since the American social psychologist, Stanley Milgram, conducted his famous ‘small world experiment’ in the 1960s, it has been commonly accepted that most people have six degrees of separation between them. However, a vast new study by Facebook’s data team and the University of Milan, which assessed the relationships between 721 million active users (more than 10 per cent of the global population) of the social network, has found that the average number of connections between people has dropped to four.
If you're in New York City Wednesday night, you're invited to sit back and enjoy a special edition of Pop-Up Magazine. It's not available on newsstands and you can't subscribe, but you can buy a ticket to what's being billed as "The Live Issue: ESPN The Magazine + Pop-Up Magazine," a 90-minute stage show at New York University's Skirball Center.
Once a year, there is a mass migration of the intelligentsia to Long Beach, Calif. here, inside the Long Beach Performing Arts Center, a block from the Pacific Ocean, they gather for four days to share ideas and score gift bags at the TED Conference. Sold out a year in advance, the conference has scholars, scientists, musicians as speakers. They are boldface names: Bill Clinton, Steve Jobs, Jane Goodall. And as for any A-list party, an invitation is required. The price to get in: $6,000. Unable to meet the growing demand for access to TED, its organizers decided to democratize. They imagined a new conference that was TED but not TED, organized by local groups like schools, businesses, neighborhoods, even friends — at an unTED-like price: free.
It seems to me that the problem with dinosaurs was that they had such short arms. Looking at the small rubber T.Rex I have in front of me, it's obvious that they were incapable of feeding themselves in a civilised fashion, they weren't going to be able to punch anyone, and they'd never be able to knit the warm clothes they needed for the ice age. But advertising is kind of like paleontology, in that we're always looking to locate the dinosaurs; it's like finding the fat kid at school, so at least you don't come last in the 100 metres. And various people have recently suggested to me that digital agencies are the threatened species - not the big bad indistinguishable behemoths of traditional adland, the agencies named after people whom even John Tylee has never met.
Location-based apps aren’t just for badges and discounts. Geolocation can have a real effect on education at the University level by building relationships with prospective students and families, engaging students with their course materials, and strengthening alumni bonds. Universities are always looking for ways to strengthen ties within their communities and many higher education institutions have already implemented social media plans to help them carry out that end. Location-based services are the next step in creating meaningful relationships with prospective students, the current student body, and alums. Here, we explore some ways that universities can leverage location-based services with tips, advice, and some schools that have already successfully implemented them.
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.
As millions of students are trudging back to the classrooms this August, Facebook is returning to its roots: colleges and universities. Just in time for the back-to-school season, the company has partnered with social marketing firm Context Optional to build a Facebook Page of resources and information for new and returning students and their families. Students can find out about publicizing events, engaging with their larger campus community and distributing their own content on this page.
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.
Chances are, you live a plugged-in life. We connect with Facebook, share through Twitter, watch on YouTube, learn from Google. Today’s playlist explores what it means to live online. We start with a blogging visionary — SixApart’s Mena Trott, the founding mother of the blog revolution. She talks about finding community, relationships and a healthy dose of narcissism in the blogosphere.
In recent weeks I've been in a state of "digital detox," or better yet, "social sobriety." Ironically, I now feel a bit more in touch and conversational. My beautiful sister Mary Grace passed away a week ago as a result of complications from heart failure. She was only 55. The extreme shock was mitigated only slightly by spending a week with her in the hospital before she died. From the first inkling of serious trouble to last weekend's beautiful memorial service in the San Diego area, my life's been a non-stop series of conversations. I'm talking about the real stuff -- deep, intimate, authentic, meaningful, sustaining, raw, emotional, agonizing, intense. And with a diverse cross-section of audiences: my six siblings, multiple relatives, doctors, nurses, close friends of my sister, her son, my Alzheimer's-afflicted mother and others. Needless to say, this has given me long-overdue pause for introspection. Connecting in meaningful ways over someone you have lost, or are losing, makes everything else we deem "social" seem so ... well, unsocial. Or perhaps just a bit trivial.
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.
Social media might be old. It might even be a dead buzzword. That’s why you need to paint a picture that’s more meaningful and encompasses what “social media” as a label really is. Some of us have been thrust into social media simply because the online landscape showed potential for online conversations. Others have been there for over a decade. Regardless of the many years of experience you have in the online space, the ideas behind social media and social media marketing are applicable to everyone. Let’s take a look at some lessons, takeaways, and tips.
If you only use the internet in order to raise awareness, and perhaps to influence perception, then you are missing out on what the web was made for: to enable large networks of people to come together for effective purposes through sharing, cooperating, and organizing collective action.
Greenpeace's organized brandjacking of Nestle SA's Facebook page is making CMOs afraid of social media. There is good reason for this: The power has clearly turned to those that participate, and now detractors are starting to organize using the same organized marketing campaigns that companies create.
A great deal of my community has given up on large organizations, stating that the “true” innovation is now happening at start-ups. What that story misses is that many of the “free agents” we see around us as consultants, and so on are actually part of a larger enterprise, albeit in a loose relationship. Larger organizations will survive if only because of the human need to be apart of something larger and the efficiencies of those ecosystems.
I'd like to use the term "sustainability 2.0" to talk about this emerging space, in which the world of corporate social responsibility meets the world of brand communications. There's one fundamental difference between sustainability 2.0 and how we've approached things in the past. For some time now, people have recognized that sustainability can be a brand-builder. But using sustainability to build your brand can only be a successful strategy if it starts from a consumer perspective. Sustainability 2.0 is about organizations creating positive effects in the lives of people in three ways: as individuals, helping meet personal needs, goals and ambitions; within their communities, sparking cultural movements, supporting causes and making connections; and within the world at large, tackling environmental issues and enabling greener lifestyles. So what's shaping this new landscape? Five fundamental trends are influencing the sustainability 2.0 agenda.
Yesterday, Jay Rosen on Twitter wrote that his goal on Twitter was to have "a Twitter feed that is 100 percent personal (my own view on things...) and zero percent private." This is an excellent description of mindcasting. Its alternative, 'lifecasting' is 100% private made public. There is nothing wrong with lifecasting, of course. It is a different style of communication. It is using Twitter with a different goal in mind. Mindcasting is a method to use Twitter for exchange of news, information, analysis and opinion. Lifecasting is a method to use Twitter to make friends and communicate with them, to be in a continuous presence in a community of one's liking.
It's like Trip Advisor for drugs. Even as Big Pharma wrestles with social-media marketing and the pending guidelines on its use from the Food and Drug Administration, consumers are taking the conversation into their own hands with online communities, message boards, forums and chat rooms offered by websites such as askapatient.com, MedHelp and patientslikeme.com. On these sites, consumers are not only sharing information about their respective illnesses and providing support for one another, they're also rating prescription medications.
Yelp has found a work-around for those wicked extortion rumors (and that pesky lawsuit). In a blog post with the no-nonsense headline "We're Increasing Transparency and Eliminating 'Favorite Review'," Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman explains its plans. The "transparency" part is met by allowing users to see reviews that would otherwise have been obscured by the review filtering system. Whereas the Favorite Review part sees this entire segment of the advertising package deleted from Yelp.
Facebook last week took another step toward redefining the relationship between its users and brands with the introduction of "community pages." The initiative will encourage users to start community pages for brands, entertainers, and politicians rather than unofficial fan pages, which have been a source of some confusion on the site. Big brands that have seen their official Facebook fan numbers hindered by third-party fan pages will likely welcome the move. For instance, even Coca-Cola - with its Facebook-leading 5.3 million fans - stands to benefit. A Facebook search query for Coca-Cola produces more than 500 fan page results, and some have been started by individuals who have accrued thousands of fans of the beverage company. There's the five-month-old fan page, "Coca-Cola In A Glass Bottle Is Way Better Than Plastic," which has built up a following of nearly 400,000.
Starbucks has lately found itself in the middle of a debate between advocates of “open carry” gun rights and of gun control; the former have held armed meet-ups at several of its locations, and the latter have demanded that the coffee chain prevent this from happening. Seeking to duck these fresh salvos in the long debate over how firearms fit into American life, the company has issued a statement that such matters ought to be worked out “in the legislatures and courts, not in our stores.” Well, sure. But drawing a line between official institutions of lawmaking and the daily sphere where citizens move about is not so easy. And one thing the pistols-and-Frappuccino moment has demonstrated is that this is acutely true for a business with an image carefully devised to blur the line between public space and commercial space.
I'd like to advance a hypothesis: Despite all the excitement surrounding social media, the Internet isn't connecting us as much as we think it is. It's largely home to weak, artificial connections, what I call thin relationships. During the subprime bubble, banks and brokers sold one another bad debt — debt that couldn't be made good on. Today, "social" media is trading in low-quality connections — linkages that are unlikely to yield meaningful, lasting relationships.
Apple is seeking a patent for technology that would make it possible for users of the iPhone or other mobile devices to form an ad hoc social network to communicate and share information during tradeshows, concerts, rallies or other event. Apple filed the patent application Thursday with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the Web site Patently Apple reported. The patent application describes a service called iGroups that would enable people to share geographic location data in order to connect using an iPhone or other mobile device. People who agree to join the network would be able to broadcast information in real-time through text and instant messaging and also share files, such as pictures or video.
Perhaps the most difficult aspects of Social Media to embrace are the changes in our behavior and overall philosophy it necessitates in order to earn relevance and ultimately prominence in consumer hearts, minds, and markets. Simply put, Social Media makes us vulnerable and officially ends an era of perceived control threaded by the illusion of invincibility. Everything we thought we knew and valued is now in dire need of reassessment. We are entering into a time when we are affected by voiced sentiment in the public spotlight and backchannels of the social Web. What we hear, see and observe can and should touch us.
Dell Computer's Enterprise Technology Center was never meant to be a marketing vehicle, so the staff was pleasantly surprised last year to learn that the community site had touched millions of dollars' worth of new business for Dell. “Customers have come into the briefing center and asked to meet DellServerGeek or SANPenguin,” said Administrator Scott Hanson, referring to Twitter handles used by two of the site's four full-time administrators. “The relationships we're building [with enterprise IT professionals] feel like they're going to last a lifetime.”
Most wealthy Internet users in the US are optimistic about the economy going forward, according to Ipsos Mendelsohn, and their online spending has historically been higher than average. That should make them attractive to retailers, which are increasingly turning to social networks to attract customers. But will affluents be as receptive to social marketing as other Web users?
I believe strongly that, rather than business injecting business values onto our communities to business ends, we really need to turn the tides and teach business how to espouse human values again…or as Gary Hamel writes in his excellent column, put soul back into business. It is human beings, after all, that are necessary to the success of any business (whether employees or customers).
This is something we keep hearing about, how people and companies need to add value. Adding value is fast becoming the new bubble. A few years ago, Marshall Goldsmith, the world's top executive coach, questioned the cost of adding value in his debut post at Fast Company. In the opening, Goldsmith outlines a very powerful piece of advice: In my experience, one of the most common challenges that successful people face is a constant need to win. When the issue is important, they want to win. When the issue is trivial, they want to win. Even when the issue isn't worth the effort or is clearly to their disadvantage, they still want to win.
Recently, at CUNY, we held a roundtable for ad sales people from hyperlocal blogs to big newspapers to hear what they are hearing from local merchants. We’re wrapping up our research for the New Business Models for News Project — indeed, it was Alberto Ibargüen, head of the Knight Foundation that funded this work, who said he really wanted to hear sales people’s perspective — and beginning research for Carnegie-funded work on new ad models, products, service, and sales methods, working with The New York Times on The Local.
If you're involved in social media efforts within your company, are trying to carve out a niche as a social media pro, or just want to understand what this new space is all about, personal web projects are crucial to honing your skills. Here are some tips for making your personal web efforts an effective part of your ongoing professional development.
There certainly will be advertising winners (and losers) on Super Bowl Sunday but let's hope that the Monday morning quarterback chatter doesn't obscure the larger shift at hand for marketers this year. 2010 will be the year of the "platform" for advertisers. Unlike a website, banner, Facebook application or 30-second spot, a platform is an always-on digital environment that allows brands to run specific or multiple programs. The goal is to meaningfully engage consumers on multiple levels.
Let me start off by saying I don’t play golf, but I do watch and I am a big fan of the sport. Over the past decade, I’ve watched as Tiger Woods has become the face of golf around the world. He is unbelievably important to the game, and that has to change.
Marketers use the term case study for a more in depth or descriptive narrative of a customer engagement, from the problem the company helped solve, to the solution used to solve it, including glowing quotes from a happy customer. So why do case studies fail you with customers? The short answer is that those were instances of success for others, and you cannot replicate exactly the same conditions that brought them there. In other words, you fail to see what was behind the implementation. Copying or relying heavily on something happened elsewhere in a different context is a waste of your time.
If LinkedIn Corp. wants to avoid being swamped by social-networking giant Facebook Inc., it will have to convince users like Jackie Nejaime to log in more often they do now.
When the Super Bowl rolls around in another few weeks, there will be no fabulous ad for Pepsi beverages. Instead, Pepsi—which was the largest advertiser during the event last year—will be focusing its efforts on the Pepsi Refresh Project, a crowdsourced marketing effort to revamp U.S. communities.
Twitter continues to explore and appraise long-term revenue models. For the time being, Twitter’s primary focus is to build and nurture a thriving and indispensable community. Equally critical is the company’s ability to steer engineering and marketing efforts towards developers to empower them to extend, evolve, and enhance the overall Twitter experience for the vast landscape of discerning users as well as those new members who have yet to realize its potential. In July 2009, we were introduced to Twitter’s new monetization strategy. The company veered its attention and resources towards businesses, initially releasing a series of documents and use cases to help companies, large and small, embrace the capacity and techniques for connecting with customers, prospects, and peers directly in Twitter. Then in August, Twitter Co-Founder Biz Stone revealed that the company’s initial revenue would funnel from businesses seeking a more meaningful return tied to performance metrics.
Many companies are entering the social/green/community space, with hopes of impressing customers, yet despite their best intentions, they could come across as unauthentic, and be damaging their own brand. Companies should first take a self-assessment of their brand to see if they’re ready before they decide to enter the social space. Companies should first assess their culture and ask: * Is the company ready to talk about the good –and bad– with the market? * Is the internal culture ready to embrace customers on their own terms? * Is the culture ready to make changes based on the request of customers? Launching a corporate blog is easy, a Twitter account even easier, yet if companies culture doesn’t match the values they’re telling the market, they risk brand damage through reduced credibility.
The "give away free content so advertisers can reach an audience" model has been around for decades, starting with free broadsheets, then radio, TV and, most recently, the internet. But the internet has, almost stubbornly, not been able to follow the inevitable ad-supported formula that accompanied "traditional media" for so long -- that consumers will accept your content in exchange for viewing ads. What went so wrong so fast?
"No, it's not a typo," deadpans Ben Huh, the 31-year-old CEO of the Cheezburger Network. He's referring, of course, to his company's title--and its flagship Web site, I Can Has Cheezburger, which earns 8.5 million page views a day by posting cat photos with ludicrous captions, like "Rehab Kitteh...Has Relapse." Unlike bigger user-generated content hubs, such as Facebook and YouTube, Huh's brainchild has been profitable since day one. It helped, he says, that during the company's late 2007 launch, "it was just me sitting on my couch at home, so it didn't require much cash." But this year, the Cheezburger Network (officially titled "Pet Holdings, Inc.") will generate more than seven figures from advertising, licensing fees, and merchandise sales.
You can hardly have a conversation about social media today without discussing the concept of transparency. More and more, companies are incorporating transparency into their marketing efforts. Why? The reason, according to Debbie Weil, a corporate social media consultant and author of The Corporate Blogging Book, is because customers and stakeholders increasingly expect it. “It (transparency) is the new operating standard,” she said. Transparency is about being open, honest, and accountable. It’s about responsibility. People are listening to you and making evaluations and decisions based upon what you say, and as such, it’s important to take responsibility for the messaging you put out there. Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh explains it best, “I think people worry too much about bringing their personal selves into business, when I think the way to succeed in today’s world is to make your business more personal.” For those looking to refine their social media messaging, here are five ways to become more transparent.
Niels Bohr once noted that "prediction is very difficult, especially about the future," but then he didn't have access to predictive loyalty metrics. Happily, we do. And, as they measure the direction and velocity of consumer values 12 to 18 months in advance of the marketplace and consumer articulations of category needs and expectations, they identify future trends with uncanny accuracy. Having examined these measures, we offer 10 trends for marketers for 2010 that will have direct consequences to the success - or failure – of next year's branding and marketing efforts.
Mention Panera Bread and fans are as likely to praise the free Wi-Fi as they are to gush about the Asiago cheese bagels. And that, execs at the $2.6 billion restaurant chain say, is the point. While its competitors scale back on upscale ingredients, trim portion sizes, and create value menus, Panera is selling fresh food and warm bread at full price, and encouraging customers to linger. That recipe is succeeding.
One week ago in our hour-long chat on Twitter #kaizenblog we discussed creating buzz for a good cause. Many of us have been involved with non profits at est once in our careers - either as volunteers, employees, or as contributing members in some capacity. Knowing what we know about the humanness that can be transmitted in social media communications and interactions, it would seem that a good cause would be a perfect fit for them. The ability to help spread information in the interactive space is unmatched in other media. How can we teach more organizations that support good causes create buzz?
I hope this is one of those resources you print out pin to your desk, and share with others. This is the core theme of this blog, the balance needed for successful web endeavors in organizations. I originally posted this diagram in 2006, then updated it in 2007, and it’s time to revisit the core structure of the goals and challenges of a Web Strategist, especially as I reset as I change roles. Who’s a Web Strategist? In a company, they often are responsible for the long term vision of corporate web properties. At a web company where their product is on the web, they’re often the product manager or CTO. Regardless of role, the responsibilities are the same, they need to balance all three of these spheres, and make sure their efforts are in the middle of all three.
Many banks have started using social websites to help them with everything from healing the financial industry to promoting their latest credit cards. By embracing the most popular tools available, the industry has also been embracing the best of what social media culture has to offer, and smaller, community banks seem to be leading the charge when it comes to social media innovation. This post profiles some U.S. banks that have used social media in their marketing and communications plans in some interesting and successful ways. These banks have tapped into the root of what social media means to the community, enjoying success in the way of returning real value for their institutions.
Talking about communities, and newspaper communities in particular, often leaves people with a warm and fuzzy feeling. It's true that being a community manager enables you to meet wonderful people, but the reality of daily community management can be difficult and unsettling. Every community manager has to deal with community politics (the online equivalent of office politics), disillusionment and a lack of appreciation. However, there are some ways to deal with all of these problems.
In-flight wireless Internet access isn't catching on with passengers like the airlines had hoped, but I think the technical capability for intra-flight communications suggests a cool experiment. I'm not surprised that fliers aren’t thrilled by the idea of activating their digital yokes at 30,000 feet. A plane in the air is one of the few "dead zones" for wireless communication, whether by design or circumstance, which means it's also a place where you can do things you can't do most everywhere else, like think, for starters. Ponder. Catch up on reading. Sleep. Passengers are more than capable of writing emails while wedged into their seats. They just can't send them until they're back on the ground. Who's asking for in-flight connectivity?
While it was once regarded primarily as a private activity, innovation has increasingly become a process that encourages participation by an organization’s employees, prospects, customers and partners. This system of external or open innovation creates a community that looks very much like a social network. In fact, open innovation communities are simply a specific example of social networking.
Outside the local train station, the Maplewood Civic Association maintains a bulletin board plastered with news of jazz festivals and yoga classes for this small, affluent New Jersey town. One day last winter, an unassuming new flyer appeared, nestled between ones hawking a fish tank and a drum set, titled, "Introducing the Local." The flyer describes the Local as "a community Web site by you and for these communities, mentored by The New York Times." Why is a media titan like The New York Times Co. -- already stretched thin by the challenges of a faltering business model -- dabbling in community news, traditionally the bottom of the journalistic food chain? Call it the Google Effect. The search giant's model, described by author John Battelle as "a billion dollars, one nickel at a time," is a perfect description of how media companies hope to take tiny sources of local revenue and roll them up into big money.
Community marketing strategies are now common. Years of research have demonstrated that transforming customers into community members yields higher repeat purchase, greater loyalty and stronger brand advocacy. This, in turn, creates a virtuous cycle of greater brand authenticity, increased marketing efficiency and the ability to reinvest marketing dollars in building the community.
I recently wrote about how, in future, search could greatly benefit on-demand digital television, but the future of search doesn't start there and isn't even that futuristic. I think search is about to undergo a major evolutionary shift that will change the underpinnings of how search works, is used, and is defined.
One of the top 10 questions in social media marketing asked is “How do we kick start our community?” This post aims at providing some resources for brands that are preparing their community strategy. The old adage of the field of dreams isn’t true -if you build it–they won’t necessarily come. Brands must have a kick start plan to be successful with their community. Below, I’ll list out some practices I’ve heard from companies that have had successful communities, and I’d ask you chime in and add more ways, let’s get started, I’ll be as specific and actionable as possible.
Media companies know that they’re not the only voices in the auditorium –the audience now talks back. They create media, content, and share it directly with each other on social sites —now brands, like Warner seek to embrace them closer. Rather than allow this inevitable social interaction on social networks like MySpace, they want to take it back by launching their own social features.
How big is the obese fashion consumer marketplace? Huge. Greater than 86% of Americans will be overweight or obese by 2030, according to the journal Obesity. That makes skinny fashion the new niche, and plus-size apparel mainstream. Yet Lane Bryant, the biggest name in large-sized women's clothing retailing, has set up "Inside Curve," a social networking community "just" for the plus-sized gal. In an attempt to freshen up the brand image, the company is promising an interactive experience on the site for its members, with greater engagement based on fashion appeal versus its long-standing position: large sizes.
A new local coffee-shop called "15th Avenue Coffee and Tea" is opening this week on Seattle's Capitol Hill, only it's not new, nor is it local. It's a test concept from Starbucks that, if successful, could appear in other markets. Interestingly, the names of subsequent outlets would be similarly customized to their locations. This would help give the stores what a Starbucks exec calls "a community personality," as the test shop in Seattle will serve alcohol, host live music and poetry readings, and otherwise do whatever it can to come across as a local indie experience. Is this brilliant branding, or aggressively creative lying?
At the excellent MarketingProfs B2B Forum a couple of weeks back, I had the pleasure of attending “Marketing 2.0: Integrating Social Media into Your Marketing Mix” a session hosted by IBM’s Sandy Carter. Carter’s presentation offered a variety of valuable social media insights and strategies on three interesting projects at IBM. The lessons learned from one case study in particular stuck out as worth sharing.
MySpace has fired 30% of its workforce, or about 400 people, just as parent company News Corp. scrapped a $350 million plan to consolidate it in a new office with the other components of Fox Interactive Media. Most of the business coverage sites blame falling advertising sales and traffic gains by Facebook. As you may know, News Corp. is busy implementing a strategic overhaul to combat these two issues, having recruited a new CEO for all its digital operations from AOL (an expert in falling ad sales), and one for MySpace from Facebook (adept at prompting visits that make it no money).
Here are two things I struggle to reconcile: The belief in the power of “relationship” or “community” marketing as something that demands more than just an online message board … and … the hesitancy to do something about it without a demonstrated immediate (or at least near-term) return.
Sometimes, if not most times, the best solution is also the simplest one. Why develop a complex device to connect two irregularly sized shapes when a bit of sellotape will do? Why ask people a series of complex questions about improving your product when what you really want to know is “how could we do things better”? And why provide complex levels of interactivity and engagement on your website when all you want is to get a few conversations going?
The only difference between an audience and a community is which direction the chairs are pointing. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. When we say community and we mean our selling demographic, that’s not the same thing. When we say community and we mean audience to absorb our message, that’s not the same thing. It’s important to understand this.
We wrote last month about the Zappos story, about how they have used customer service to extend and enhance the customer experience and how this has had a positive impact on sales, satisfaction and growth. This example highlights the power of customer service - of listening to and then rewarding customers.
Over the last year, I have had to explain how social media works to diplomats, defense officials, and academics and students focused on fields as diverse as international affairs, management and sociology. I have found that first-timer find social media confusing because of two reasons.
The world is changing. The current economic crisis is causing people around the globe to reevaluate their priorities. Several themes are taking shape, and brands that can most quickly embrace them will be the ones best poised to prosper, even during hard times.
The Atlanta Braves are getting into the business of creating original content for the Web by allowing one of the teams’ more passionate fans to become a part-time sports reporter. The organization has partnered with FanSection, a nearly two-year-old company that manages online fan communities and team-specific social media applications on sites like MySpace and Facebook.
Insisting it has no plans to face off with Facebook or take the place of MySpace, retailer Sears has quietly launched its own social networking hub. The chain has registered more than 200,000 registered users to MySears, a social networking site it rolled out in late March. This week Sears launched MyKmart, a similar site for its sister chain.
It’s one of the most important concepts on the web today—perhaps the most important for social media—but it’s one of the least understood. When James Surowiecki wrote The Wisdom of Crowds in 2004, he explored the stock market and other classic social psychology examples, but “web 2.0” was still nascent. It’s time to connect his ideas to the social web, where they can reach their full potential.
In this new "enlightened" era of joining the conversation, it appears that the ship has set sail once and for all on the debate as to whether or not brands should participate in online conversations. But today I'm going to talk about avoiding the conversation and I'll offer five diverse perspectives on when it's (arguably) better to remain on the sidelines and observe in silence.
The virtual world Second Life ("SL") has been in the news recently, announcing some high-profile executive changes, and a new policy to help users filter out mature content. I think the thing might be dead already, only nobody knows it yet.
According to the research firm comScore, the Hispanic online population is now 11 percent of the total American market and in the last year has significantly outpaced the rest of the market. Hispanic users, tending to be younger, have gravitated to community and entertainment sites.
Last year, Voelz, a pastor, was tweeting at a conference outside Nashville about ways to make the church experience more creative — ways to "make it not suck" — when suddenly it hit him: Twitter.
It appears that something interesting has happened with the growth of social media. There was a time when media experts talked about mass fragmentation with audiences splintering into tiny interest groups that consumed media in unique ways. The proliferation of cable channels, digital radio stations and websites suggested this would be the way of the future. The assumption was that people would come together a few times of the year for big events like The Oscars or The Superbowl. This was before social networks, now we are all in these loosely affiliated networks. On Twitter, we have followers we've never met and in many cases have never heard of.
I read with interest today the removal of Chris DeWolfe as CEO of MySpace. According to the "growth" model of capitalism, MySpace has a problem. If senior management can't renew growth, change is called for. But what if this growth model is, at least for new media purposes, mistaken? If we embrace a new model of the kind someone like Henry Jenkins, David Weinberger, or Don Tapscott might endorse, then this might be precisely the wrong way to think about things.
These days, more companies are embracing the fact that they need community organizing skills within their marketing department. It's not enough to spread the "message" through Twitter and Facebook, which are just tools; you have to understand how to build true community through those tools.
You're probably familiar with the concept of Dunbar's number. The Wikipedia entry defines it as a theoretical cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships. These are relationships in which an individual knows who each person is, and how each person relates to every other person. This number is set at 150 connections.
Online shopping is about to get social. For years retailers have struggled to improve their online experience, but shopping online is still a solo endeavor, devoid of the interaction many consumers seek. Groups of women aren't often found huddled around computer monitors for a shopping trip, after all. Without that interaction and purchase validation, shoppers, plagued by indecision, often abandon retailers' sites, said Andy Lloyd, CEO of Fluid, a San Francisco-based interactive agency.
The Social Web is maturing at a blurring pace, packing thousands of years of behavioral and social evolution into the span of ten years or less. Social Media has amplified our individual voices and introduced an infrastructure that connects us contextually across a myriad of social networks. We're conditioned to participate and engage genuinely and transparently in order to foster meaningful conversations and ultimately relationships. I'd like to explore the other side of the discussion that rarely sees the light of day, if for no other reason than to serve as a reminder that we can always learn how to do things better.
Own Your Choices is claimed to be the "first-ever choice making community". At first, the website was part of the Own your C campaign, and meant to encourage teens not to smoke. Currently, it aims to reveal how personal choices affect others and characterize one's self. In particular, the website focuses on starting the conversation around topics such as tobacco, health, self-image, culture, alcohol, relationships and school. Users are invited to connect with peers on these issues, to share their opinion and influence the conversation. And by accident, the interface seems driven by simple dynamic graphs of the statistics resulting from the data-gathering surveys.
Tweetizen allows you filter tweets and display them in nice and easy groups that you can embed on to your own website.
In an increasingly personalized media landscape, the surest way for brands to engage consumers is through cause marketing, according to new analysis from IPG Emerging Media Lab's team of digital experts.
Twitter sees lucrative opportunities in search, albeit a different kind of search than what Google offers, and, as co-founder Biz Stone told Ad Age recently, "we'll certainly be exploring those."
What can more damage your reputation -- recalling peanut butter products due to possible salmonella contamination or firing a bong-smoking Michael Phelps? According to a little-known online "social evaluation" community, Kellogg took a much bigger hit for the latter.
Okay, so Amazon's Kindle is cool and it's gaining in traction and people who have one buy a lot of books. 10% of Amazon's book sales are now on the Kindle. But it could be so much better.
Ever since Gatorade’s mystery Mission G site surfaced earlier last week, I’ve been curious as to what they were planning for Super Bowl Sunday. During their What G Means Super Bowl spot, they directed viewers to Mission G. After digging around a bit it looks like it is going to be Gatorade’s attempt at a full-bown advertainment community site.
Community and collaboration are wonderful things. Fourteen great minds on social media have shared thoughts on what 2009 may have in store for us.
Given its recent financial struggles—at the core of which are weak sales that have forced the closing of about 600 of its U.S. stores through the first half of fiscal year 2009—the question many people are asking right now is: Can Starbucks get its mojo back?