Did anyone ever think that Microsoft wouldnt come out and blow all the others out of the water. Steven Spielberg is quoted on the Xbox site as saying "This is a pivotal moment that will carry with it a wave of change, the ripples of which will reach far beyond video games". Take a look at the video below and Im sure you will be as impressed as I was. I cant wait to try it!
A friend of mine directed me to this blog years ago, and it's still one I regularly visit. In Joy's own words its about "inspiration, design, style and other cool things". Definitely worth taking a look at. www.ohjoy.blogs.com
Visionaries see a future of telecommuting workers, interactive libraries and multimedia classrooms. They speak of electronic town meetings and virtual communities. Commerce and business will shift from offices and malls to networks and modems. And the freedom of digital networks will make government more democratic.
Baloney. Do our computer pundits lack all common sense? The truth is no online database will replace your daily newspaper, no CD-ROM can take the place of a competent teacher and no computer network will change the way government works.”
“Yet Nicholas Negroponte, director of the MIT Media Lab, predicts that we’ll soon buy books and newspapers straight over the Internet. Uh, sure.”
“We’re told that multimedia will make schoolwork easy and fun. Students will happily learn from animated characters while taught by expertly tailored software… These expensive toys are difficult to use in classrooms and require extensive teacher training.”
“Then there’s cyber business. We’re promised instant catalog shopping–just point and click for great deals. We’ll order airline tickets over the network, make restaurant reservations and negotiate sales contracts. Stores will become obsolete. So how come my local mall does more business in an afternoon than the entire Internet handles in a month? Even if there were a trustworthy way to send money over the Internet–which there isn’t–the network is missing a most essential ingredient of capitalism: salespeople.”
I am sure he is wishing these words never left his thoughts!
Did you know that Shaquille O’Neal’s has a twitter account? The_real_shaq Twitter account has 1.3 million followers.An article regarding the setup of the account (yes he didnt do it himself) stated that "Getting started was not that difficult. We just needed to get Shaq plugged into Twitter and set him loose. He quickly gathered a following because of his authenticity. (“Shaq has zero ability to fake anything. He’s transparent and genuine.”)" After a few months, Things got more interesting when the agency collaborated with Shaq on an idea: what if he used Twitter to give the world more than his ideas and random observations? This resulted in: “random acts of Shaqness,” in which Shaq uses Twitter to do good deeds for fans such as offering free tickets to basketball games. If you’re lucky enough to catch the right tweet from Shaq at the right time, you stand a good chance of meeting him at a food court somehwere, and you could pick up a free ticket. Great Idea!
What is a browser? This was a question Google asked over 50 passersby of different ages and backgrounds in Times Square, New York. Many responses came up...its amazing that something so integral to most people's life and they have no idea what it is.
ECOBOT is a free app that calculates your carbon footprint by measuring the fuel, power, and paper you use.By tracking your carbon consumption, it helps you see where you have the most negative impact so you know where to put the three Rs into action. Aside from reducing, reusing, and recycling, it can link you to places where you can offset your carbon totals. Love it, download it here (sorry everyone if your not on a mac you cant use it!)
A bit of a rude warning about the harm that can be done by pushing the boundaries of Facebook and Twitter too far. As Kate sings of her personal facebook barriers, we examine the limits brands should also abide by in the online arena. When creating a business pressence on Facebook, companies must ensure that their interaction will be well received by the online community.
Some of the more common Social Networking mistakes, made by businesses include:
Talking the Talk
It is important to make sure you speak to suit your environment. Remember you are not speaking to colleagues, suppliers or executives... You are speaking to real people who are 'hanging out' online. If they have accepted your companies friend request, it is important to respect your consumers within THEIR environment and to employ a more casual and light tone.
A Blank Canvas Craves Attention
Think of your Facebook page as a blank canvas. It's an opportunity to show consumers the personal side to your business. The one with real people at the helm who have real ideas and passion. Your Facebook page provides you with many tools to convey a company culture, this should be embraced by your Facebook administrator.
Nobody Likes a Show Off
Sure, as a business page you should use Facebook to showcase your brand ethos and personality, but blatant boasting won't get you anywhere. I still cringe when I see friends who post photo's of themselves taken by them...arm up, camera angled down and pout....!! Unfortunately their 'blue steel' doesn't quite hit the mark. Use your page to build trust, rapport and relationships with both active and prospective consumers.
Keep it Interesting
Mix it up. Engage with your Facebook friends. Offer them something of interest via varied forms of media. Share videos, post links, send updates, create events, upload photo's, import blog notes.... the list goes on and on. Remember, users like things to be fresh and regular.
Setting off a viral reaction takes time, effort and good ideas. Persevere - the nature of the online is hit and miss however the rewards are well worth it.
I came across some very research regarding which media influences greater purchases. Although its US based statistics I thought it would be interesting particularly to some of our clients that are pushing to increase social marketing in place of other activities. The obvious reason being that it is cheaper in most cases, however consideration must be given to whether its effective in actually producing sales...the ultimate goal!
An outline of the research by Harris Interactive that surveyed 2.355 American adults:
Consumer purchase decisions are informed by a mix of "old" and "new" media, but more traditional forms of communication appear to exert a greater influence than social networking websites.
The most common way shoppers mentioned that they collected information prior to buying a particular product was:
36% via a company website.
22% via "Face-to-face" interaction with a "salesperson or other company representative".
21% spoke to someone "not associated with the company".
19% found out about a brand from print advertising.
15% via broadcast ads,
14% made judgments "based only on my past experience."
In terms of online behaviour:
19% used independent websites featuring product reviews – like Amazon.
11% accessed internet message boards.
4% turned to social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace, with a similar number visiting "private social networking sites" and “customer communities".
Results varied slightly by age group:
16% of 18–24 year olds employed social media to conduct product research. Although this result was higher the figure was still 5% lower than for ads on TV and radio, and 6% below that for print media among this demographic, and some 24% smaller than the number visiting company websites.
Ads on broadcast media were most widely-used among 25–29 year olds, at 22%.
Print ads were most popular among 50–64 year old shoppers, on 27%.
Over all demographics:
57% communicated about their positive product/service experience to others after making a purchase.
41% "recommended" what they had bought to others.
11% of this group did so with regard to a negative experience, and only 6% "recommended against" purchasing an item.
63% expressed their positive or negative experience when talking to "a family member, business colleague or a friend.", 30% used email, 12% used a company website, 9% employed social networks, 8% opted for online message boards, and 7% added their comments to independent review websites.
Here is an example of another companies advertising dollars promoting the social giant. In this TV spot for the launch of the Palm Pre, Sprint uses Facebook to show that the social network is accessible and live on the smartphone. The commercial shows a day in the life of a rock vocalist, as her Facebook page gets updated and refreshed throughout the day. Most of the 30-second spot belongs to Facebook, until a voice-over comes on and reveals that the ad is actually for a handset.
This is not the first time we have seen Facebook used to connect the audience with a brand. Apple built an entire 30-second commercial last year around the popular social network, showing how to access and interact with the application on the iPhone.
So is it smart to target Facebook users? Through association with the social-media icon, brands can become immediately relevant to a loyal user base (half of all facebook users log in at least once a day). Brand association has been araound for a long time and if its the right product/service then in a nutshell..Yes. But remember direct association alone is not enough. Brands must deliver on their promises and be viable to succeed in what is a very saturated and educated marketplace.
User Generated Content (UGC) is a real buzz word among marketers and agencies so I thought Id give you an example of it in action. For their new Portobello Mushroom Six-Dollar Burger ad campaign, Carl Jr. will use UGC from popular YouTube faces. This is not the first time they have thought outside the box or tried something risky (remember the Paris Hilton car wash).
In this campaign Carl’s Jr. has used nine YouTube celebrities who combined have 3.8 million YouTube subscribers, 590,000 followers on Twitter and 25,000 Facebook fans (according to Adweek). Thats a whole lot of audience to reach.
In implemeting this campaign Carl’s Jr. only brief to the YouTube stars was to mention the burger, tell viewers how they eat their burgers, and then pose the question to the viewers. This freedom allowed the YouTube stars to do the video in their fashion to reach their audience, while encouraging viewers to take part in the fun with a video response of their own truly making this a social campaign.
Now lets look at the ripple effect this could have...firstly viewers will willingly watch these video ads. Secondly, there is a good chance that viewers will then watch the other YouTube celebs’ videos (That equates to nine watched Carl’s Jr. ads per user!). Thirdly, they will then compare and discuss the ads amongst themselves. And finally some will create and distribute their own video responses...I think the you get the picture.
I am looking forward to seeing the results of this campaign and will keep you posted...in the meantime have a look at the ads yourself.
Some people send text with their iPhones, and some play games. The artist Jorge Colombo created this week’s cover for The New Yorker with his.
Mr. Colombo drew the June 1 cover scene, of a late-night gathering around a 42nd Street hot dog stand, entirely with the iPhone application Brushes. Because of the smears and washes of color required by the inexact medium, it comes off as dreamy, not sharp and technological.
I also came across a flickr gallery of images created using the Brushes application. Some of the paintings are incredible...I have downloaded the application so if I can work it out Ill post some of Tusk's creations using it!
We have the power to change. We have the power to save power and make the world a greener place. It doesn't take much. Small things can make a real difference. I came across this site this morning for HP. It offers a widget than can keep track of the energy we use as well as of the carbon emission reduced.Very cool!
US Lexus has just launched a digital lifestyle guide in cooperation with Urban Daddy, a website and email magazine dedicated to "what you need to know". "The Next Move", as its named, is personal and interactive allowing people to find the right spots according to what they want to do. I chose New York, on a Monday, for brunch with friends and it gave me a list of possibilities and eventually an iteniary. Check it out, although you cant visit the places its fun to play with!
Nationwide PR stunt on behalf of animal rights group PETA. Grabbing the attention of the public and the police.... Members of PETA have come together across the nation to generate awareness surrounding KFC's treatment of animals. Out of the box ideas orchestrated around Australia prove the powers of guerilla PR and the results.
Making Queensland broadcast and National news, see the video here.
Chipping away at a giant (APPLE), can't be easy. Recent advertising campaign, 'fun up your home' exhibits an out of the box side to Microsoft that their competitor flawlessly exudes time after time. Perhaps they feel that if it has worked so well for Apple, that they too should follow along the same path.
I happen to feel that this is perhaps a misguided step for Microsoft. Mac have claimed their position in the market; they are new, exciting, cutting edge and completely tuned into the culture of Generation Y, Millenials and Early Adopters of every age category. Sure, it's a blow to the gut for Microsoft, after all it's a mighty lucrative slice of the market that they simply won't win over.
The ad simply proves that effective positioning is more important than a cool idea any day of the week...
If you go to Dictionary.com today or tomorrow, you'll notice a homepage takeover ad by Toyota featuring their hybrid Prius vehicle. It's part of a 2-day ad blitz campaign Toyota is conducting on the popular word lookup site, which sees 35 million visitors per month. Read all this article from Search Engine Watch
I have always admired the work of Wieden + Kennedy and in particular for the Honda account. They have bought us some of the most amazing ads (Remember the Cog video) . And now they bring us the "Let It Shine" campaign. A takeover (together with Vimeo) taken to another level than the usual images running on the side, sponsor logos on the right of the page….This is definitely the best interactive takeover I’ve seen!
Is Google the centre of our global communications? Could be! In the next few weeks they will launch a new service "Google Voice". Google Voice will allow users to maintain a single phone number forever and maintain that number diverting it to any number that you may currently be using, home phone, work phone, mobile, hotel room etc. And it’s free, so what’s in it for Google? If it is a success it will ensure Google becomes the centre of your communications system, effectively giving them control and data on everyone you communicate with on every channel giving them a multitude of ways of monetising the system. Its not available in Australia yet but I’m sure it won’t take long! In the meantime take a look....and you can check out their blog as well
GOOGLE NUMBER - One number for all your calls and SMS
Call screening - Announce and screen callers
Listen in - Listen before taking a call
Block calls - Keep unwanted callers at bay
SMS - Send, receive, and store SMS
Place calls - Call numbers
Taking calls - Answer on any of your phones
Phone routing - Phones ring based on who calls
Forwarding phones - Add phones and decide which ring
GOOGLE VOICEMAIL - Voicemail as easy as email, with transcripts:
Voicemail transcripts - Read what your voicemail says
Listen to voicemail - Check online or from your phone
Notifications - Receive voicemails via email or SMS
Personalize greeting - Vary greetings by caller
Share voicemail - Forward or download voicemails
VOICE FEATURES - More cool things...
Conference calling - Join people into a single call
In comparison to other parts of the world, Australians online shopping is an obvious area of difference. According to data collected by Hitwise, visits to shopping classified sites accounted for 5.93% of Australian online visitor numbers for the week ending 9 February 2008, significantly less than the 9.54% in the US and 9.61% in Britain.
In fact, Australia was the only country out of the three where social networking took the single biggest share of web visits – 8%. Social networking was also popular in the US and Britain but, with 9.18% and 7.615 respectively, ranked behind shopping site visits in each of those countries.
But while we spend less time looking for bargains we appear to spend more time getting informed – news and media sites accounted for 6.75% of visits for the week ending 9 February, well above 3.97% in the US and 4.63% in Britain.
In terms of particular content categories, bank websites were the most popular on 4.53% market share, ahead of software on 3.86%, education and reference on 2.63% share, and travel on 2.56%.
"WE NEED MORE TRAFFIC".....It is so common for us to hear these words from our clients. Sometimes clients are more worried about site traffic and what the search engines are looking for then the actual user experience! They forget that a real person (not a search engine crawler) is actually looking at the site and what they see is a reflection of your brand. How they interact with your brand, whether it be to call, subscribe to the database, or purchase product online, is based on what the experience is like.
Another consideration is your site's conversion rate.This seems to be a forgotten measure of a successful Web strategy. The conversion rate of a Web site is the ratio of the number of visitors who complete an action to the number of visitors who view the site. For example, if you had 20 sales out of 400 visitors your conversion rate would be 5% = 20/400.
At a conversion rate of 5%, you should be happy! The reality is most sites will have a conversion rate of less than 0.5%.
So before you drive more and more traffic to your site it makes sense to improve your conversion rate first. An average pay-per-click visitor might cost you around two dollars. Working with the .5% above, if you wanted 10 sales you need to invest $4,000 in pay-per-click advertising.
If you could improve your Web site conversion rate from 0.5% to 2% you would only need to invest $1,000 to achieve the same result. Likewise, for the $4,000 investment you’d yield 40 sales instead of 10.
Let’s say your objective for the year was to achieve 10 sales per week:
Scenario A (0.5% Web site conversion rate)
520 sales = 104,000 visitors @ 0.5% conversion rate
104,000 visitors @ $2 ppc cost = $208,000 investment
Scenario B (2% Web site conversion rate)
520 sales = 26,000 visitors @ 2% conversion rate
26,000 visitors @ $2 ppc cost = $52,000 investment
The difference in investment between scenario A & B to achieve 520 sales is $156,000
I know every Web site business is different. However the principle of conversion is universal. The bottom line is; if your conversion rate is low, it’s an expensive exercise to increase sales just by driving more traffic to your web site.
So what do you do! Look at the possibilty of allocating budget to improve your conversion rate through quality Web design & strategy that creates leverage and a significant return on investment. Some ideas may be the implementation of a blog, better shopping cart deisgn, direct marketing to your current database or database acquisition strategies. The list is endless but well worth consideration.
As a final note take a look at this video. Google’s Matt Cutts took questions from the audience on a wide variety of topics surrounding Search Marketing. Although some is quite advanced its well worth the time to listen.