The last year's worth of financial news nonsense has got me thinking again about the divergent roles individuals and groups play in our lives. I'm torn between what, or whom, I'm supposed to trust. It seems like the more broad and robust my access to the world gets, the less I know or believe. I rely more on what is immediate and personal, and the things that I know are true get more simple and basic...just as the credibility of larger, more complicated subjects becomes hazy and elusive.
As the busiest time of the year is about to kick in for many of you, we thought we’d keep things lighthearted this month. Check out the rise in 'mature materialism': experienced, less-easily shocked, outspoken consumers who appreciate brands that are more daring, outspoken, even a bit more risqué.
One caller raised the fascinating issue of forgiveness, raising the legitimate concern that punishing failures like what happened with BP in the Gulf would lead inevitably to people denying responsibility, blaming others, and seeking to hide their failures. She highlighted the importance of allowing people to communicate bad news without fear, as well as learn from their failures. She advocated a culture of openness and forgiveness that would contribute to learning.
Facebook’s used to this type of uproar after it changes something, but in my time tracking Facebook, I’ve never seen anything like this. Not even the Facebook News Feed fiasco of 2006 had U.S. Senate scrutiny. Facebook Open Graph has clearly struck a nerve with a lot of people. Is Facebook betraying its users, though? Has Facebook compromised user privacy? After taking a lot of time to absorb the arguments and the big picture, I’m weighing in, and I doubt that my conclusion is going to be popular.
Calling the output of writers, musicians, moviemakers and even the artisans of branding's dark arts "content" is like referencing the substance of every meal "food," or labeling the specific events of human experience "life." It has slipped into common usage due to the prevalence of technology and, since qualitative attributes don't necessarily register on site architectures or CRM flowcharts, it replaces substantive description with referential convenience.
FIFA’s World Cup presents its hosts with, what they believe to be, their biggest ever opportunity to build a stronger country brand. That’s a shame because, despite its growing popularity and firm establishment within marketing, the business of “country branding” or “nation branding” is nonsense. Countries are not brands. They are countries. Brand strategy should be reserved for brands. I may have a hammer, but it doesn’t mean that every problem is shaped like a nail. Real expertise in a field is to know the limitations of that field and behave accordingly.
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.
Here we continue the post on why I think Nespresso is the best brand in the world.
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.
Here are my criteria for the best brand in the world. The benchmark against which other brands should be compared. This is more multi-dimensional than the tables of the world's biggest brands. I propose 10 criteria that look at how the brand has been built, not just its size. Based on these criteria, have a go at nominating your choice by adding a comment. And also add other criteria I may have missed. Next week I'll reveal what I think is the best brand in the world.
Marketers are an odd breed. And sometimes we like to make fun of ourselves. So we asked a funny question on Twitter recently and got a huge kick out of the answers. Enjoy.
Traditional newspapers and magazine publishers are gushing about the iPad's potential to reinvigorate their businesses as the gadget changes readers' lives, but coverage in their own publications is far more restrained in tone. In the weeks since Steve Jobs introduced the iPad, its coverage in major magazines, newspapers and wire services has been neutral an overwhelming 76.8% of the time, negative 17.4% of the time and positive just 5.8% of the time, according to analysis for Ad Age performed by Vocus, a provider of public relations management software that includes media monitoring.
If I asked you to name the important meetings you have coming up, it probably wouldn't be a problem: things like the annual shareholders' meeting, the final pitch for a major contract, the one-on-one performance review with your boss and so on. But if I ask you to point to the two or three moments in each of these meetings that will define the outcomes, many of you may look at me with less certainty. We don't have a problem identifying critical moments from our past, but predicting — and preparing for — those moments in the future is quite a bit more difficult, but no less essential than those past moments prove.
After Pepsi's announcement earlier this week that it would stop selling the full-leaded version of its soda pop in schools around the world, I was quoted in USAToday saying that I'm cynical about its purpose (the company doesn't really sell much in schools globally anyway) and doubtful of the connection to its sales strategy (so we should celebrate its retreat from selling sweet beverages by...buying more sweet beverages?).
The opinions of young adults--which today have solidified into values--are not to be ignored. Not only are people in their 20s powerful voices within their communities, but they're also consumers. These first adults of the millennial generation (roughly, the people born between 1981 and 2000) are bellwethers for a group that's already estimated to earn more than $200 billion a year, of which they spend about $127 billion in the U.S. alone.
The tools we use for social media have empowered us to be steady-flow commentators. Watch Twitter or Facebook during any event, and you’ll see our added commentary rolling along in time with the experience. At times, such as the US Presidential election, it was exciting to feel that experience, of everyone participating all across the world in an event. There are many more times where it feels like that. In blog comments, on Twitter, all over Facebook, Yelp, YouTube, and several other sites, we’ve been groomed to give our opinion. We spit it out everywhere. We share, rate, criticize, deride, praise, and everything in between. Forrester’s Ladder graphic suggests that critics are second on the content ladder, just below creators.
Computers may be good at crunching numbers, but can they crunch feelings? The rise of blogs and social networks has fueled a bull market in personal opinion: reviews, ratings, recommendations and other forms of online expression. For computer scientists, this fast-growing mountain of data is opening a tantalizing window onto the collective consciousness of Internet users.
It’s never been so easy to voice your opinion in a public forum due to the rise of social communities, social media and social networking tools. Because of that, there’s a lot of hate out there. And it’s fascinating to me how people deal with the hate. And I’m talking about brands and personal brands alike. Do they immediately lash out the haters? Do they ignore them? Do they try to remedy the situation? It’s fascinating to see if people practice what they preach. Haters are interesting people. Because the thing about your haters is that THEY CARE ABOUT YOU. Enough to expose themselves and voice their opinion.
The blowback from President Obama's interactive town hall has been intense and widespread. It's all terribly interesting, though not for any of the reasons people think. The incident signifies the end of one, increasingly troubled stage in the courtship between the President and social media, and — we can only hope — the beginning of another, more realistic and mature stage. At this critical juncture I'd like to offer some relationship counseling.