If only one idea emerges from the profundity of "bests" lists and prognostications this holiday season, here's my entry: Need is the new want. It's a loaded statement. Here's what I think it entails:
As the digital and social opportunities risk morphing into that all-too-familiar blend of noise and clutter, the simple foundations and "boring basics" really matter. So while the brand "app" may at times feel like yet another one-off, it may in fact represent the most important cornerstone of digital strategy.
For all the talk about Foursquare, one of the coolest features that gets very little buzz is the Tips area. Here, you’ll find suggestions about venues from other users of the service. And if you’re friends with a user who has left a tip, you’ll get a notification with the tip on your iPhone when you check-in somewhere close by. The History Channel has decided to make use of this feature in an interesting way.
Content doesn’t make something viral; people are the primary source of powering social objects across the attention nodes that connect the human network. Despite what appears commonsensical, we’re surprised when our brainchild doesn’t attract the views, attention, and circulation we believe it deserves. The reality of social media is this, in the attention economy, information isn’t randomly discovered and broadly disseminated. It is strategically positioned to either appear when someone searches for a related keyword or it’s presented to someone manually and deliberately.
The Web, as virtually everyone who uses it knows, is a great way to research and find people; it is without doubt unprecedented in its utility. While preparing Thursday’s article about the best strategies on using the Web to find long-lost friends and relatives, I came across one obvious fact: when looking for people you’ll come across loads of misinformation and scams. Nothing new there, of course. But after you’ve exhausted the information you’ve found on Google, can you increase your chances of finding the person you’re looking for by using one of the fee-based services that offer access to millions of public records?
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.
Danika Landers, a 29-year-old Web designer, walked into a public bathroom last year and was so disgusted by the gnarly conditions that she decided to create a Web site fully dedicated to helping people find clean bathrooms: SitOrSquat. SitOrSquat, which features user-generated recommendations of the nation's best public restrooms, was such a hit that Procter & Gamble, maker of Charmin, signed the toilet paper brand as a sponsor. It then rolled out a new SitOrSquat mobile application this year. With 400,000 downloads, the free app has become one of the most talked about among consumers and companies and is one of Forbes CMO Network's top 10 branded mobile applications of 2009.
You there, you who dressed as a sexy panther this Halloween, and are now clicking through the weekend’s photos on Facebook. (The ones of you clutching a vodka and snarling like a kittycat are particularly nice.) Your boss, your exes and your mother are probably looking at them this morning, too. What’s a hungover cat to do? There’s an app for that. Not an iPhone app, but a Facebook application from the detergent brand Wisk. Wisk-It, which will be formally introduced this week, promises to help get rid of objectionable photos.
Packaging is one of the aspects of design that we see the most, we get packaged products at home, work or wherever we go. The following are great example of well done packaging that add value to the product.
Federated Media and Palm are running a new tool called Trend Tracker that identifies and tracks emerging Twitter trends by tweet volume over time and geography, with the intent of predicting the next hot trend topics. If this is primary research, then painting-by-numbers is art.
Until recently, augmented reality existed mainly in movies like The Minority Report and computer science labs at universities, where technologists grappled with comically clunky headgear. Now, however, several new Web and mobile applications are changing minds and helping to bring AR into the mainstream.
Indeed, when a huge international corporation like PepsiCo recognizes you in such a way that it prints its Twitter address on a Pepsi Raw can (only in the UK, but still), you can no longer be cool or rad; you’re now part of the mainstream. Of course, those of us who are following Twitter (Twitter reviews) closely know this already, but if anyone ever needs a defining moment in which Twitter went from being that little microblogging service to an online powerhouse, this is it.
Our friend Peggy Ann Salz over at M Search Groove mentioned the diminshing utility of using demographics in marketing segmentation and targeting. I wanted to return to this topic, and argue loud and clear, that the evidence is overwhelming, that we (marketing professional) have experienced in the past few years a total shift where customer demographics have gone from utility to futility. Yes, futility. They are now counter-productive. You, reading this blog, need to start to remove all references to demographics in all of your company marketing.