Archive for December, 2009

Marketing: 2010

With 2009 coming to a close, and the new year beckoning just around the corner, I thought it would be worthwhile to look at exactly what the prospects for Marketing could be in 2010. In 2009, we saw the mass take-over of Twitter, mobile phones becoming enabled mobile devices, and one-to-one marketing becoming more than just a distant goal. So, what really does 2010 hold for Marketing? In no particular order, here’s my top 5 trends:

1. Year of the Mobile – With advertising, social media and apps being delivered specially for this platform, 2010 will truly be mobile. Digital provides reach, and mobile can provide increased depth of interaction. This will become the most influential factor, especially if marketeers can build digital campaigns with mobile extensions.

2. Real-Time Search – This is perhaps the “double-edged sword” of any of the trends/issues facing marketers in 2010; but I believe it is one that can have a major impact, and very quickly. The simple fact is that as real-time search improves, so does peoples ability to get real-time, unfiltered feedback and information from peers on products and services. It will be much harder for brands to control or manage their reputation. Instead, brands will need to turn to strategies that encourage positive conversations to balance out the inevitable bad.

3. Social Media – It’s hard not to include social media as a marketing prospect for 2010. However, moving forward social media will become the centre of conversation, and the heart of new insights that can be used to better plan the messaging, and better define personas. Transparency will be further enhanced, allowing marketeers to identify true interest, and then build true engagement, in every channel and/or platform. In order to enhance this ‘space’, brands will need to reciprocate effectively with their ‘followers’.

4. Engagement – It’s not a fad; it’s the way todays consumers do business. Marketers will come to accept that there are four engagement methods including Platform (TV; online), Context (Programme; webpage), Message (Ad or Communication), and Experience (Store/Event). But there is only one objective for the future: Brand Engagement. It will be the consumer, and the community that will judge the success or failure of a brand, based on all levels of engagement and interaction.

5. Facebook Connect – It’s hard to overstate the implications of Facebook Connect for marketeers. The ability to create more rewarding experiences for consumers, and simply be more creative by using Facebook Connect, will change a great deal of digital marketing efforts. Facebook Connect will give marketeers and users alike a great level of integration on a huge scale. This I feel is my ‘wild card’, with the potential to take Facebook yet another step further in its interactive capability.

Accommodating these trends will require a paradigm change on the parts of some companies. But whether a brand does something about it or not, the environment around it, as well as the consumer, is moving forward and developing in a fast paced, dynamic way. How long the life of a brand lasts is up to themselves, determined by how it responds to the world in which it exists in today.

The market is stringent for change and development. Brands, even big ones may not financially fail, but conceptually.

Social Media 2009: Obama

As we all now know, Obama’s political campaign used the social web in ways never before attempted.  For me, the Obama election campaign was arguably one of the greatest social media campaigns orchestrated. Done precisely and effectively.

One key insight was around the relationships that the organisation was able to build with voters across the social web.  These relationships were built on multiple social media channels, rather than a single social platform. This facet alone showed the power of integration, even more prominent today than it has ever been. It was able to utilise a variety of mediums and channels of interaction, and use them in a conjoined manner.

As it progressed, you could connect with the campaign by becoming a fan of Obama on Facebook. You could also connect with fellow supporters on obama.com, Twitter and through other channels.  This integrated approach allowed the campaign to track voters and volunteers across the web, and engage with them through the voters channels of choice.  This also supported the gathering of data on individual voters that allowed the campaign to meaningfully target people for special events, and financial support.

The other major insight was the degree to which the Obama organisation not only allowed but enabled and encouraged passionate Obama supporters to take the campaign into their own hands. Using such existing innovations and platforms, they were able to drive the overall effort and support; achieving a powerful movement. A movement followed, pushed forward, and driven by a force that had been enabled and given the power to act. This was done at local level, right across through to National, and even International level. Through the various social media channels, supporters connected with each other on particular topics, debated the issues, organised locally on their own, and distributed messages on behalf of the campaign.

The movement was generated, and also enabled. It allowed for the campaign to spread with ease, and give the ‘follower’ exactly what they wanted. A clear example of a combined, and integrated campaign. Engineered perfectly for the world we live in today, and executed with precision.

The Digital Melody

‘Digital’ doing a rather peculiar bit of inspiring on a somewhat mellow afternoon.

It’s all Digital Digital, so damn Digital,

People let me show you how this new flow goes,

Sit back and watch it flow, flow flow flow flow,

Businesses lets see how low your bottom line can go,

Its all Digital Digital, from mobile, TV, and computers too,

Never mind the doubters as there are now only a few,

TV’s Digital, radio’s Digital, shopping socializing and talking too,

It’s time to move, time to change, time to leave that restricted thought,

As the new era has now been sought,

So what is Digital, how is Digital, why is Digital and what do I do,

It’s like head shoulders knees and toes,

Yes head shoulders knees and toes,

Watch me and I’ll take you slow,

All set and off we go,

TV, radio, HD too,

Screens aplenty and we all have a few,

A billion apps, unseen tweets, GPS to help us reach,

All this and yet we still call it rather new,

It’s time to know, time to learn, time to explore and then to teach,

It’s the way forward and it’s definitely begun,

So aim up, open up your mind, and even now you’ve already given it a try,

Reach up and we’ll soon touch the sky,

But now it’s time for me to go, for me to go and run and hide,

But I’ll still be here, here in soul,

Here in Digital as the world passes us by,

And now I have what Digital is, so now I know I’m control.

It’s all Digital Digital, Digital Digital.

Hmm, and I have absolutely no idea where the punctuation should or should not go.

Technological Integration

Twenty-five years ago, making a call away from home meant finding a pay phone. The mobile phone was virtually unknown. So was the Internet. Now on the other hand, life would be unthinkable without Internet capability on your mobile device.

Just taking something as apparently imperishable as the book and moving it forward with technological and digital advances has completely evolved the industry, and forced it to reshape. It seems Kindle and other e-readers have been putting a sci-fi spin on all print, in what now seems an obvious, progressive step. But that’s the future for you. It’s just around the corner, looming into view, even right in front of you, just not yet clear. Until it smacks full-on in the face.

One of the key factors of new technology, and it’s integration into our lives is that it is not based on prediction. No one has that ability. To move forward, you need to have a pretty good idea of where we’re heading. You have to hope to come up with a range of solutions that work, based on what has gone before, and where we are now headed.

The Internet and TV is a prime example of this. Two separate entities, two separate platforms, largely ‘consumed’ one at a time, both with the capability to interact, integrate, and provide an infusion of function. As is the case, home entertainment is headed for a radical makeover that will redefine the word cool. Cable companies might not like it, as they may well be out of the picture, but consumers will have it all, everything from YouTube videos to any movie on demand in a grand convergence of the Internet and TV.

There’s nothing really wild about the long discussed merger of the Internet and TV. It’s simply a matter of figuring out just what translates from the laptop to the living room screen, and what’s better left small. Do we really need eBay items displayed on a 60-inch television? We already watch videos, movies, sitcoms and music on our laptops, or 17, 27, 30-inch supreme quality desktop machines. The convergence is already underway, and the progressive step becoming more and more clear by the day.

The Internet is a powerful potential source of video information and entertainment, so it’s just natural to assume that television will ultimately become a versatile medium for displaying everything on the Internet, from personal messages to entertainment of all kinds. It is something that we as consumers are moving forward towards, and it is something that technology can now help enable.

Technological integration is not merely limited to the convergence of the Internet and TV. It is the ability of digital technologies moving forward with one another. However, what technological integration does is give the consumer more control, and more power. Whether that’s a good thing or not for advertisers and marketeers is something that is yet to be seen, and explored. What it does mean though, is that advertising will also have to move forward, integrate, infuse, and become more technologically apt.

My TV Favourites of 2009

Looking back at the TV adverts of the past year, it’s difficult not to be amazed, and in awe by the creativity on show. Quirky conceptual ideas have played a key role in the industry this last year, even more so than before. Innovation has pushed the industry forward and given TV advertising yet another pedestal to shine from. With the development and growing power of the Internet, and its uses in marketing, advertisers have exploited its ability in driving campaigns to become viral, and spread like wild fire.

Special effects by clever people, hours spent on exhaustive preparations, intriguing characters, and even meerkats have been relied upon. However, some of the best pieces were just great, simple ideas, executed with precision, to perfection.

So here is just a few of my favourite adverts of 2009, enjoy.

Originally for the big screen and now on the box, this piece is defiantly worthy for the wider public.  A joyous bit of ‘ad art’ from BMW. Whether their cars give this much pleasure and ‘smiles’ is up for debate, but their ad piece most definitely does. Copious amounts of Joy.

The Cadbury Eyebrows advert has to be one of my favourites of the year. It still seems to cause mass panic, humor, and admiration wherever it arises. Child, teenager, and adult alike try to make their eyes do those ‘movements‘, to very little avail, yet it’s still darn right funny and pleasing on the eye. It’s one of those rare adverts where you stop to watch it together. A piece which gives you exactly what it’s set out to do, a ‘glass and a half full of joy’. Very much like the product in question.

Aleksandr Orlov, now selling in Harrods, has in excess of 600,000 Facebook fans and 31,000 Twitter followers, while the site increased its market share of UK insurance comparison site visits by 76% between January and August. A campaign which is so much more than just an advert. Need I say more?

I’m not sure if I can include an international piece in this ‘assortment‘ of great TV adverts, but as it’s my page, I think I will. There are adverts that are funny, intriguing, connecting, engaging, powerful or dynamic. They simply work in what they are trying to put across, whether that be through humour, visuals, emotion or engagement. But sometimes, there comes an advert which combines all of these facets, all of these qualities, all of these dimensions, and it just simply works, so perfectly.

Maybe I’m being bias, or maybe I can relate to the advert more than others, or maybe I’m being perplexed by what’s there, or maybe it just is a sublime piece of ‘marketing art‘. The Vodafone advert from Argentina, in my view is truly and utterly epic; perfect in every way I can possibly imagine. It makes me smile, and it makes my day, a true gem.

The T-Mobile campaign stands out more so than any other due to its ability to be fresh and dynamic, and capture the imagination of not only their target market but a much larger audience, while maintaining the core elements of a successful campaign. The ‘Liverpool Street Station dance’ showed how advertising can still push the boundaries in being creatively dynamic and generating interest on a huge scale due to its refreshing and unique approach.

However, for me the most important factor of this campaign is how it infused that creativity and dynamism into a successful and connecting marketing idea for T-Mobile. The campaign held the core values of sharing, enjoyment, people and emotion, together with this fresh, dynamic, inspiring idea to produce a campaign which connected to T-Mobile very successfully. Credit should also be giving to the creative edge of the campaign. Over night it became more than an ‘advert’, it transformed into an internet phenomena, and the talk on everyone’s lips.

I believe this was a very successful campaign due to its ability in every way to be fresh, connecting and interactive, while constantly relating to the brand in question. Looking back at it, each element of the campaign worked immensely well with everything involved, from the wide spread interest generated, to the fusion of values and ideas, to the idea of sharing, down to the simplicity of the overall idea itself.

A campaign very precisely put together, and perfectly executed.

And finally, I don’t think I need a reason to add this last piece, it’s just yummy and works perfectly for this time of year.

Complicated with Simple

A few friends and I were discussing the great and amazing things of our past. Things we as human beings have invented, have designed, have engineered and mastered. Whether it’s the development and evolution of the car; from being a slow, rickety frame on four wheels, into a 250 miles per hour, fuel guzzling, £1 million shopping trolley. Or whether it’s the Gutenberg Press, which does, well exactly what a Gutenberg Press does.

So I put it to you, what is the best invention of all time?

For me, I’m going to have to go with the flow here and just say what most people probably think or have said previously, and that is the Internet. Actually, I take that back, I’m not. The greatest invention of all time is, Duct tape, and the Internet comes in a close second.

Inventions have made our everyday lives much easier for us. Some of them made a lazy way of doing things, like the dishwasher, or the washing machine, even the toilet. But Duct tape I hear you ask. It has an abundance of uses, and some of which are far more interesting than I care to imagine. A contraceptive device, girdle, lift and separate when you don’t want to wear a bra, or can’t have your straps showing, tape your brothers mouth shut, hold your cars bumper in place are merely but a few. Can you see the Interweb doing any of them..?

It was once said, by a wise man, ‘Duct tape is like the force: It has a dark side, and a light side and it holds the universe together.’ – Carl Zwanzig

What more could you ask from something so simple yet so complex. It’s simple, effective, you know exactly what your getting, you know its uses and limitations, and it can’t crash on you. So I say, ‘Do complicated things with simple things’, not the other way around.

Win Some London Delight

It’s Christmas, and I’m feeling kind. I enjoy presents, and sometimes even giving. Rarely. But, I thought I’d give something back to everyone who’s helped in some way, in any way with this campaign of mine. Simply tag yourself into, or comment on the above picture on my Facebook page with a chance to win this London delight. From the Bloomsbury Group to the Camberwell Carrot, Samuel Johnson to Boris Johnson and Oranges and Lemons to apples and pears, Brewer’s Dictionary of London Phrase & Fable gathers together the people, places, events, culture, anecdotes, slang and catchphrases that make London one of the greatest cities on Earth.

The winner will be announced this coming Friday, 11th Dec.

Just remember, the more comments, the more chances of winning, so good luck!

PS.

Yes, I am very aware that this is using the same platform as a certain IKEA idea. The IKEA idea was awesome, so awesome in fact I even blogged about it two weeks ago. I just want to stress, this is not trying to be ‘IKEA’ in any way, or replicate what it did. I can’t afford to give away mass amounts of furniture and fittings from each picture I assure you! Elements of it are similar, I confess. Comments are an addition, but may make no difference.

It’s merely there to give something to someone who wishes to interact. And intrigue others in the process.