Thursday, 29 May 2008

The Ebb & Flow Of Your Personal Brand

Changing a logo before the Web used to be hard. But changing a logo in the networked world is a b*tch of untold proportions. When I was at McCann and we changed the identity of Rogers Cable, one of the tasks we were given as the Interactive group was "find" Rogers old logo on the Internet and make sure it was changed. I actually had someone work for 2 weeks straight surfing the Web looking for random logos that were all over hell and gone, printing the pages out, noting the URL all in an attempt to get what they "owned", their brand identity changed.

Well, now we are all media. And just like big media found out, we are being disintermediated as our personal brands get exported amongst all these different social networks and services. Friendfeed, our blogs, twitter...with the distribution of our identities, we also lose centralized control. People save a link to my blog and converse about it where I can't hear (and maybe don't even know) and I now, like big media, have to deal with a growing lack of control over all those things I once thought I owned.

But this is the new reality. This is what flow is all about. Ecosystems don't have borders and boundaries but the good news is that as the system changes, we as members do as well. While it frustrates some, IMO it's the new networked order that we may not like, but are going to have to get used to.

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Marketing Is Dead. Long Live Marketing.

When I first met Peter at McCann back in '97, one of the first things he introduced to me was the concept that with interactive media brands create customers and customers create brands. He had this slide that talked about the future of networked brands as not only the promise but the experience of the brand. I swear the first time we talked about that, I had to have him explain to me what the hell he was talking about at least a hundred times before I got it. With the continuing lower costs of interactions, and high levels of brand engagement due to the ever empowered digital customer, our brand landscape has evolved somewhat to look a little bit more like this...

And yet, we still have done very little to re-look at how organizations and agencies not only build brands but engage their customers. If customer experience is the marketing proposition then we have to look at how traditional marketing departments are organized.

Marketing is more and more about the customer. It's about engagement, intimacy, conversations and every other cliche word that we love to hear and use at digital marketing conferences. And if that is the case, should agencies be Agents of the customer? And shouldn't then marketing departments actually be about customer engagement? Shouldn't it look something a little bit more like this?

To understand the customer, CMO's should have to spend a certain number of hours a day listening to the ideas, frustrations and insights that customers bring to organizations every day through customer care call centres. They should have their email addresses prominently displayed so unhappy customers can contact them directly. They should be in charge of PR and community relations so they are keenly attached to the communities of people they serve.

Marketing is dead. Long live marketing.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

How Facebook Forced Linkedin Not To Suck

I nodded my head when I saw this report yesterday, talking about the decline in social networking traffic in general with the exception of Linkedin which is soaring.

From my own personal experience, Linkedin was on the verge of stupidity right before Facebook exploded. Every time I wanted to do something useful like, link to someone I knew but didn't have the most recent email for, they asked me for money. Strangely similar to Club Penguin, who asked my daughter for money every time she wanted to do something useful too.

And then along came Facebook. With soaring usage, they actually let you link to people, the basic premise of the value to the user, barrier free. While it took Linkedin a while, they too eventually took their sad excuse for a Web monetization strategy, tossed it where the sun didn't shine (as they should have), and let me easily actually link to people. Ultimately, those links are where I see the value for ME. Not for them. Now if they want to monetize THAT....make money off job postings, head hunters, conferences, incremental services (as they do today) then I'm all for it. But to monetize the basic thing that would actually make their service useful and grow? I don't think so. And apparently, neither did the network.

So I just wanted to thank Facebook for helping Linkedin not suck. Now how we can help Facebook not to bore me to death? Different question for a different day.

Friday, 16 May 2008

David vs. Googleith

While Facebook gets slammed for being:

"irredeemably evil. It's hell-bent not on changing the world, but on dominating it: on playing the cheesy, lame, thoroughly obsolete games of competitive strategy."

Google's brand continues to allow it to play Google the good. Google of the people. Google that doesn't do evil. Google doesn't play evil games of old like blocking out its competitors in order to maintain sustainable competitive advantage.

Or does it?

Let's go back to the Map Asia conference August 2007 and the talk given by Michael Jones Chief Technologist of Google's Earth, Maps, and Local Search efforts.

After his keynote, my brother Jeffrey who owns a mapping company in Cambodia called Aruna Technology that does work with Government agencies in Cambodia, Laos and China on poverty reduction and natural resource management programs, had the following exchange with Mr. Jones (paraphrased below):

Jeffrey Q: "We all know Google’s motto do no evil - how do you reconcile this with exclusive agreements with SPOTImage that prevent other people from using spot imagery as part of their web mapping. I work with Gov't agencies to do poverty reduction programs and it would be helpful if we could use this satellite imagery instead of derived or vector maps"

Mr Jones answered by saying that it was not the intention of Google's exclusive agreement. Rather their intention was to CIRCUMVENT the one company which he said he wouldn't name but which he also said everyone would know (duh - and no it wasn't facebook), who had vowed to destroy them.

He went on to say that he was sure for the type of applications Jeff was referring to there could be an exception, and he would be speak directly to SPOTImage to see what he could do. He invited Jeffrey to discuss it with him after the keynote, at which time he promised to look into it and passed on his card.

Since that time, Jeff has attempted to be in touch at least ten times, through multiple channels of communications (email, vm, web-forms) all with no reply. No comment. No nothing.

So while we are all screaming at the evil of Facebook and the terrible things they do to the People's company, we might well remind ourselves of this small David vs. Googaleith story and try to wade through all the technology blog media hype.

ps. thanks to Peter for the post title

Update: Jeff noted in the comments that he has been contacted by Mr. Jones via email (I was kindly cc:d). I'll update the post again once they have come to a resolution on the issue at hand.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Does Advertising Need a Lab? Disney Thinks So....

via Mr. J.Moonah's tweet, Disney is staring a new media lab.

Wow cool right? It's going to be some innovation lab where they rethink the ways in which they engage with kids and create content. Yes?

Well, kinda,...sorta...Not. It's about content alright, but it's about trying to figure out new models of engagement for advertising content.

"the [Disney] facility will conduct year-round tests to evaluate viewer engagement and emotional responses to advertising across media platforms"

Not sure how a focus on advertising is going to help any media company figure out how to connect with kids in a networked world. But probably they have some other division to do that. Right?

Monday, 12 May 2008

Wikinomics Panel On Thursday

I will be on a blogging panel (does this make me a "blooger?") on Thursday hosted by Mike Dover of nGenera Research (formerly New Paradigm Research)

Check out the post on the Wikinomics blog where you can get links to the other great panelists joining me.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Museum Without Walls

My colleague of mine, Andrew Kirby, launched an amazing project today,

"The SEDAI Project's mission is to gather, protect and disseminate the history, heritage and legacy of Canadians of Japanese ancestry."

The usage of the net as an cultural, social and historical archive is going to become more and more important as our entire world becomes digitized. Moments, memories, collected and aggregated to be preserved for future generations.

Sedai is a wonderful project and their team has done an incredible job. If you have some time, be sure to check it out as it's an important piece of our Canadian history.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Have We Crossed The Chasm?

Geoffrey Moore wrote Crossing the Chasm over 15 years ago and it's still probably the foremost framework used for launching new technology products. Wikipedia gives a nice summary to the theories basic premise:

"Moore's key insight is that the groups adopt innovations for different reasons. Early adopters are technology enthusiasts looking for a radical shift, where the early majority want a "productivity improvement". The latter group want a whole product, where the earlier group only needs the core product, and has the technical competence, and financial resources to make the rest themselves."

However, it struck me as I see more and more Agencies using this framework as their basis for go to market planning, that some significant things have changed since '91 that haven't been accounted for in Moore's original model.

One of the key foundations of the model is how they define usage by groups which brings a key question to the forefront of our current marketing reality. Has the definition of an early adopter changed? "Early adopters" are classically considered those who are willing to try virtually any new technology versus the "mainstream customers" that are much bigger in number but more cautious in adopting new technologies. But in that generation that grew up with the network and doesn't even 'SEE' technology per say (the notion that technology has become biology), is this great divide still relevant?

And that leaves me wondering one important and looming question. When it comes to technology, have we crossed the chasm? And if so does that mean the entire model of influence needs to be rethought?

update: Couple points of clarification

1. A few people have made the comment that my usage of the term technology is pretty vague and noted that there are still new technologies that fit under Moore's model. I should have been more specific that I was referring to many of the new launches of products and services on the Web (social networking, micro-blogging, SaaS, wireless handsets etc.) that are being marketed as "new" technologies in a revolutionary vs. evolutionary form. I still content that for Gen Y they don't see these services as technology the way my generation and older has. They don't go on the network - the network is ubiquitous connected and pervasively proximate (UCaPP) as my friend Mark Federman would say

2. To ladder on that point above, my other main point wasn't questioning the entire model, but suggesting that we may want to relook at how an early adopter is defined now that there has been a blurring between them and the mass. Anyone can be an influencer and our traditional (if i can say traditional) notions of the "geek" as driving market adoption may be flawed

Monday, 5 May 2008

Innovative Project Management

As we evolve from traditional software development to experience innovation, the need for creative PMs that view the world through a lens that goes beyond simply an time on budget is mandatory. Found this presentation online that sums it up brilliantly.

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Are Entrepreneurs Getting Older Or Is Society Getting More Entrepreneurial?

Paul Kedrosky has a post that links to a new report on the average age of entrepreneurs. Surprising to some, the age skew is much older than expected.

This makes me wonder is it's actually part of a more general trend. With the rise of what Richard Florida calls the creative class, the growing emphasis on quality of life, and the fact that people are changing jobs and careers more often than ever, it might indicate a shift from traditional companies and workplaces unable to hold employees who are going to be leaving for start ups and more creative opportunities regardless of their age.

And it begs the question, are entrepreneurs getting older or are we as a society getting more entrepreneurial?

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