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Influencers – The Movie

Posted by John Horniblow on Nov 9, 2010 in General, Social Media Marketing

The INFLUENCERS movie has arrived ! – INFLUENCERS is a short documentary that explores what it means to be an influencer and “how trends & creativity become contagious” today in music and fashion, or for that matter in other industries too. In its own words “The film attempts to understand the essence of influence, what makes a person influential without taking a statistical or metric approach.”

What I find very interesting is the commentary surrounding the film and few salient points mentioned in the film. Lets start with some of the commentary. Film maker Ryan Fitzgerald poignantly writes “A very interesting film. If you read the fine print “by R+I Creative” you may realize that this is a clever advertisement for the creative agency itself. As a filmmaker I understand that media is the ultimate manipulation tool, and by making a film about what an “Influencer” is you are essentially creating yourself as the authority on how to influence people. According to this film, things that are “cool” are eventually things that spread to the mainstream. Which is how creative agencies make money; by bringing “cool” to the masses.”

The other and more pertinent fact is that is that the film about our times and how trends, trendsetters are tapped into but what’s also clever is the buzz and the very special social elements which are part and parcel of the film convergence media model. Its shareable, its available across multiple access points and on other devices ( ipad, smart phones, facebook, twitter, blogs ) people can comment on it. Over and above the veneer of New York hip and cool at the 12 and quarter minute mark as the film comes to its riveting conclusion Rob Cohen of Cornerstone starts to talk about social media effect of influence and the many touchpoints social technologies have opened and will continue to open. This leads to the one very final and relevant piece of interview with fashion editor Josh Peskowitz, where he underscores that the importance of the consumer is paramount and that they are influencing the establishment .. “who knows where that will lead, no of us do…. we got to wait and see”.

I can’t wait for the next episode!

INFLUENCERS TRAILER from R+I creative on Vimeo.

So while the film is the latest or newest thing on the social block, back in 2009 the concept or the use of the word “Influencers” began to the rear its head as a trend in the social media vernacular. In May 2009 I wrote another blog post titled Understanding the Influence Landscape and 2009 the Year of Influence based on the commentary by Ross Dawson (Trends in Living Networks). Its was no accident that this time old marketing concept had come back to the fore. This time it was not dressed up as the media attractive celebrity and brand ambassador and the concept or relational or relationship marketing, it was based on the social influence, a confluence of aggregators, networks , and mechanisms which, was best summed up as:

* The democratization of media, which gives everyone a channel to propagate theirs or others’ opinions.

* Peer trust, which places far greater faith in individuals than corporate advertising and marketing.

* The ongoing fragmentation of mass media, which takes away the power of traditional marketing channels.

* The aggregation of social media, which gives a far stronger voice to the many individual conversations.

I think these still prevail today as elements of convergence culture and Ross’ work cleverly put together the following diagram on the Influence Landscape which while only a beta v 1 still stands the test of hyperspeed in today’s networked world. Its 18 months old and was released almost at the same time as Twitter’s rise to accepted popularity and verging acceptance as mainstream media.

influence_landscape_beta_240w.jpg

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The Future of Marketing

Posted by John Horniblow on Nov 9, 2010 in General, marketing 2.0, Online Media, Social Media Marketing

Reposted from http://blog.label.ch

as posted on 16th February 2010

A very interesting view from Pete Blackshaw, The Nielsen Company, on what to do and how to prepare for the future of online marketing. Responsiveness is key to success, but also being aware of what you need to respond to and planning for what the consumer might do next. Pete suggests “that there is a new accountability standard that has been put on the table by consumers and that may lead to better advertising” . He also cites the Nielsen research that suggests that “consumers trust each other more than they trust advertisers” , ” if advertisers can figure out a way of co creating with consumers, everybody might win”. Brands should be both reactive and proactive in planning for what consumers might do through better websites and better feedback loops.

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SM@RT- The fourth social media roundtable

Posted by John Horniblow on Oct 27, 2010 in General, marketing 2.0, Social Media Marketing

SM@RT , the social media roundtable conceived and put together by John Horniblow, digital convergence and  marketing 2.0 expert, while working at LABEL in Geneva  recently hosted its fourth event in partnership with the US Mission to UN. Among the guests were a great number of Geneva-based international organizations’ representatives, some members of the Geneva Press corps as well as several participants  from the  Swiss based watch and food industries , P&G, and HP. The days preceding started with Dr Matthew Mc Dougall, CEO of Sinotech,  who explained to SM@RT’s participants the status and uptake of social media and avenues for digital marketing and ecommerce in China.

craig duncan UNISDR

The afternoon was deeply imprinted by the humanitarian touch with a talk about the use of social media for humanitarian purposes with the intervention of UNISDR (United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction) Craig Duncan and UNHCR Alexandra Eurdolian, and the introduction to two humanitarian projects, one in Iraq, the other in Afghanistan. With one foot in Iraq, the Tiziano Project aims at providing “community members in conflict, post-conflict and underreported regions with the equipement, training and affiliations necessary to report their stories and improve their lives. The World I See | The Tiziano Project from Grant Slater on Vimeo. Jon Vidar, executive director of the Tiziano Project, made a live intervention from Chicago to introduce the Tiziano Project | 360° Kurdistan, which promotes « the journalistic efforts and personal accounts of Iraqi citizens living in the Kurdish north alongside the stories of their professional multimedia journalism mentors. The goal of this initiative is to enable the rest of the world to better understand and apprehend more completely the life, culture and news in present-day’s Iraki Kurdistan. This Is Iraq | The Tiziano Project from Grant Slater on Vimeo. SM@RT’s participants were deeply interested and impressed by the quality of the reports and the originality of the project. Some were then overwhelmed by the presentation of Skateistan by Oliver Percovich, the exsecutive director of this Afghanistan-based organization. John Horniblow SM@RT Skateistan is a non-governmental organization, which aims at bringing young Afghans, boys and girls, from all ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, new opportunities in cross-cultural interaction, education and personal empowerment through skateboard. Skateistan connects students with instructors who will help them develop their skills not only in skateboarding but also in languages, arts, information technology, civic responsibility, etc. Students choose for themselves what they wish to learn.
John Horniblow talks via video conference to Oliver Percovich in Kabul
The project attracted a lot of sympathy and a dozen schools and skateboard associations around the world (Australia, Germany, United States, UAE, Peru, UK and Switzerland) became partners. Finally SM@RT concluded with an animated discussion between the participants and Chris Hoofnagle, from the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology at UC Berkeley, on privacy in a networked world.

This blog is published and maintained by John Horniblow AKA BladeDigital ™ : On the Cutting Edge

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Whats the Buzz on Google’s Buzz?

Posted by John Horniblow on Feb 12, 2010 in General, Online Media, Social Media Marketing, User experience

Reposted from http://blog.label.ch

When in logged into my Gmail a few nights ago I got a screen that introduced me to Google’s Buzz. At a first glance I skipped over it not wanting to go to deep into a distracting setup that stopped me from doing what I had originally set out to do : check my email . In hindsight I am left questioning whether Google’s BUZZ has any buzz? Buzz will probably have impact on the digital marketing world overtime but its not that apparent at the moment. However, we should take notice of this change. Buzz is a service that aims to compete in the social networking space not unlike the services of Bebo, Orkut ( owned by Google) Facebook, Twitter to take on the likes of Facebook and Twitter, across devices like the PC and mobile phone.

What Buzz is attempting to do is add the social networking features in the burgeoning number of Google’s services, over the top of the existing number of contacts a person has in their Gmail accounts. It has 97million users at its disposal to do this but it does pale in consideration of Facebook’s 400 million users, Myspace’s 130 million user and Friendster’s 115 million users. Google’s published rationale for Buzz is to work a more centralised and sorted approach to social services, sorting out the noise and organising information into a a relevant experience for users. On its blog it says ” With more and more communication happening online, the social web has exploded as the primary way to share interesting stuff, tell the world what you’re up to in real-time and stay more connected to more people. In today’s world of status messages, tweets and update streams, it’s increasingly tough to sort through it all, much less engage in meaningful conversations. “

Read more…

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Embracing enterprise social software and social network analysis – Gartner’s near term predictions on Enterprise 2.0

Posted by John Horniblow on Feb 10, 2010 in General, Social Media Marketing, User experience

Last week Gartner released five predictions for social software for 2010 and beyond. What is interesting for me is that the fast moving, consumer driven, internet always finds itself leading the technology shifts that are ultimately or stubbornly embraced by IT departments for the remodeling of enterprise communications, information exchange, information publishing and distribution. Enterprise 2.0 while in its nascent days has had a steady stream of adoption inside a large number of companies. They have adopted certain collaborative and social technologies into or in addition to their existing intranets, team rooms etc. The emulation of the consumer web inside companies allows the speed and ease of information distribution and social communication and work collaboration inside enterprises to increase significantly . These can be enterprise to employee or employee to employee communications or working groups spread across many locations.

Gartner predicts that :

1. By 2014, social networking services will replace e-mail as the primary vehicle for interpersonal communications for 20 percent of business users.

“Greater availability of social networking services both inside and outside the firewall, coupled with changing demographics and work styles will lead 20 percent of users to make a social network the hub of their business communications. During the next several years, most companies will be building out internal social networks and/or allowing business use of personal social network accounts. Social networking will prove to be more effective than e-mail for certain business activities such as status updates and expertise location.”

Read more…

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Coke Goes Viral With the Happiness Machine

Coca-Cola has launched it first viral video , and in getting a rare success in this type of media play. There is no proven method that ensures a success in viral video marketing other than it has to be entertaining. Funny always seem to work well as a formula, shocking as well, bad taste ( but that could seen as bad for a brand) , unreal or just unbelievable also works. Coke’s Happiness Machine, while only no more than a week old , has close to 800,000 views.

In what seems to be too incredible to be true a Coke machine setup in a university or college campus delivers more than just bottles of Coke. Flowers, balloon animals, a huge sandwich, and an endless supply Coke bring delight and happiness to the students.
As reported by iMedia Connection this is Coke’s first official experiment in viral video following on from another teen connection campaign the “Happiness Factory”.

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What Brands are making the best use of Facebook?

Posted by John Horniblow on Jan 18, 2010 in Branded content, General, Social Media Marketing, User experience
written for http://blog.label.ch

The rise of the importance of the Facebook fan page has become an integral part of companies social media campaigns or presence. Its not hard to understand why. Facebook is the web’s most popular destination after Google ( it is number 1 in Indonesia, Philippines , Malaysia and Singapore ) where the average user spends in the order of 33 minutes per day and its registered user numbers are upwards of 350 million. As the use or entry to a brand’s website are in decline due to a shift in how consumers use the web this days it makes common sense to to add Facebook into the online marketing mix. With number of brand, star, cause or business fans ranging close to 5.3 billion , that means News Feeds to user’s pages are carrying a range of brand content and updates.

View a full review of Facebook’s internal statistics

Last November “The Big Money” part of Slate Magazine, ranked 50 brands that they see as making the best use of Facebook. The ranking is based on factors like number of fans, page growth, frequency of updates, creativity and fan engagement, not just numbers of fans. According to “The Big Money” Coca-Cola is ranked as the brand that makes best use of the social network thanks to its “organic fan-centric page without a corporate feel” and some extremely good apps the currently coin the phrase “Share Happiness” in a campaign to boost the diffusion , awareness and contact with the brand in social media.

Read more…

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Trend map for 2010 – 2015

Posted by John Horniblow on Jan 4, 2010 in General, User experience

Written http://blog.label.ch

Richard Watson of NowandNext has released this year’s version of the Trends and Technology timeline . The evolution of trends and mapping them to a visualization is a continuing project first started in 2007 involving a collaboration with Ross Dawson of Advanced Human Technologies.

This years map sees a greater expansion of continuing trends and a longer outlook than its previous versions. Whilst open to speculation and and unforeseen events the Trends map includes 5 concentric time zones extrapolating out to 2050 with the closest concentration on the next 5 years till 2015.

The map has 16 main influence lines representing the key drivers upon which the trends occur including; society & culture, geopolitics, energy and raw materials, science and technology, healthcare and medicine, the economy, news & media, retail and leisure. There is a lot more detail on this map than in previous years and its reversion back to the intersecting subway map that shows the dense hubs (megatrends) of converging lines is an interesting metaphor for mapping linked relationships. Read more…

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Four Great Integrated Marketing Campaigns Using Facebook

Posted by John Horniblow on Dec 4, 2009 in General, Social Media Marketing

reposted from http://blog.label.ch

When it comes to using Facebook as the primary point or integrated into the marketing channels, some brand are beginning to find there feet by working with the endemic functions of the service. Lots of brands have also begun an integrated approach to engaging with their consumers to build buzz, distribution and awareness of their campaigns either through or surrounding Facebook. The reality is that Facebook has become the perfect supplement to any website and online marketing efforts and in some cases become a pivotal or primary focus. While not all efforts are excellent here are some that we think are working extremely well.

IKEA’s Facebook Propagation Planning Campaign has used the concept of tagging in an online competition to support the opening of a new store. Some call it a genius use of one of Facebook’s inherent functions. While some of the best campaign strategies in Facebook are simple, and nothing should be simpler than using the default “tagging” tool on Facebook to help create a bit of buzz for an online competition. Users were drawn to the new Facebook profile page of the store manager, who’d uploaded pictures of his new showrooms in a store Ikea was due to open.

“People were told that the first to tag their name on any item, would win it. With the way tagging works on Facebook, the moment you tagged anything, everyone in your network instantly knew what was up for grabs! Subsequently, thousands and thousands of people were flooding the Facebook page in search of freebies!”

Read more…

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Social Media Pragmatists will win over the Social Media Purists

Posted by John Horniblow on Nov 24, 2009 in General, Social Media Marketing, User experience

Written for and Reposted from htttp://blog.label.ch

Amongst the daily exchange, promotion, and web of connections woven into the fabric of the online movement of social media specialists, yesterday I read a post by Jason Falls, on his blog the Social Media Explorer. It extolled that the social media pragmatist would prevail over the social media purist.

It is one of the most sensible commentaries I have seen in this space cluttered by the usual virtuous publishings – listen first, stop shouting, transparency, need for spontaneity and speed of action , or the big question on how to measure Social Media ROI. Why does it standout as a poignant comment when all we hear is the importance of engaging in conversations and building relationships ( they still are of pivotal importance ) ? For me it’s the action associated to doing and making an impact on the bottom line that Jason is highlighting. You have take notice of the old direct to consumer or relationship adage – “Call to Action “ – what do you want your consumers to do now? ( it is an interactive environment after all ) Buy, learn more, fulfill a service or need, or be entertained?

Read more…

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Unilever, Publicis and the Pour Tout Vous Dire CRM sale

Posted by John Horniblow on Sep 9, 2009 in Consumer Relationship Marketing, Email Marketing, User experience

Written for and reposted from http://blog.label.ch

One of the more interesting pieces of news I read in the last week was that the Paris-based holding company Publicis Groupe said it has acquired Pour Tout Vous Dire, the French customer relationship management program of a key client, Unilever. While the exact figures have not been disclosed Publicis has obviously seen this as buying a solid media entity that you can build upon. In its original form the CRM program was a direct to consumer magazine that has since morphed into a lifestyle portal online with over 5 million subscribers. Read more…

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Marketers need to tread carefully when contemplating behavior based advertising

Posted by John Horniblow on Jul 17, 2009 in General, Online Media

istock_000003915904small

Reposted from http://blog.label.ch

The behavioral advertising tracking platform Phorm hit the news again last week as the UK ISP Talk Talk followed a move by BT (British Telecom) when they canceled their trials with the company.

It comes as no surprise to me. Phorm has developed technology which collects information on web use in order to serve Internet users with highly targeted adverts and serves ads to people based on their web-browsing behavior. Relying on deep packet inspection, in which every data packet is opened and examined, Phorm builds a profile of consumer’s web-surfing habits. The service surreptitiously tracks and interpolates their behavior without disclosing itself or without asking permission.

Read more…

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No online ad recession yet – apparently

Posted by John Horniblow on May 12, 2009 in Online Media

In a recent article by eMarketer there was 1st true indications that there’s “No Online Ad Recession, Yet” and interestingly their calculations do not indicate that online advertising has entered a recession. The numbers speak for themselves.

The net US revenues at the four major search portals, which account for by far the majority of online ad revenues, all showed quarter-over-quarter growth in Q4 2008 and fell in Q1 2009. But that represents only one quarter of falling growth—and it follows the traditionally oversized Q4.

US Online Advertising Revenue* Quarter-over-Quarter Growth at Top Four Portals, Q1 2008-Q1 2009 (% change)

There’s no index on other smaller publishers , but what is resounding clear is while ad spends in traditional channels are severely down there is groundswell on

eMarketer postulates that ” based on the total year-over-year revenues from the four portals, the picture is less bleak. Growth was positive for all four quarters in 2008 (AOL being the exception to the rule). The single negative-growth quarter, thus far, was Q1 2009.

US Online Advertising Revenue* Year-over-Year Growth at Top Four Portals, Q1 2008-Q1 2009 (% change)

For context, here is the picture in dollars.

US Online Advertising Revenues* at Top Four Portals, Q1 2008-Q1 2009 (millions)

“The imbalance between Google and its competition in both Q4 2008 and Q1 2009 highlights a fundamental weakness in the overall US online ad market,” added Mr. Hallerman. “Consider that US display ad spending, such as for banners, will drop by nearly 5% this year—and then consider how that trend will likely be reflected not only for Web portals but many other publishers as well.”

Obviously, Q2 2009 is critical. If revenue growth at the four major search portals continues to fall, online advertising will “officially” enter recession.”

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The Digital Ecosystem – Awareness, acquisition and retention activities

Digital Marketing  is all about the consumer experience  with , accompanied by, and  within a brand virtually.  From the physical dimension of a brand to its mental associations, its brand equity, or  brand essence , down to very granular services or information surrounding its place in a consumer’s life,  all can and should be experienced digitally. 

slide11

 

One way of  considering the full digital marketing mix is to look at as a  digital ecosystem. As in any successful ecosystem, all the elements and their inter- relationships support and keep the ecosystem alive, adapting and thriving. And across the digital marketing mix there is a problem if these all remain in silos.  The traditional marketing pillars  of awareness, acquisition and consumer retention  should be applied across all types of  digital interactive services or content in that ecosystem as active environmental roles that support the ecosystem. More importantly,  they must all be considered as  digital consumer touch points, each with an active role  to play. In a cohesive or holistic sense these traditional marketing pillars should applied against very activity in standalone website or across a full digital  ecosystem ( sites,  services, distributed content,  social networks, digital media/advertising, email marketing and CRM ) and should always be considered. Conversely , these digital touch points should be supported by other non digital channels ( POS, above and below the line media , on pack) ; a virtual environment needs to exist with a physical counterpart. 

While some of the activities, content, or interactive services you have on a site may seem obvious its always good to justify there existence against what your aims or goal are in the marketing mix. No one element is exclusive , all are interdependent just as they would be in the normal sales funnel,  and what’s interesting about this is that you can seek to balance activities against the goals and make decisions of what interactive pieces you might consider for the traditional marketing pillars  of awareness, acquisition and consumer retention. 

What’s interesting today in the more social interactive world is that  in the consumers journey along the traditional sale funnel seems to be either accelerated or  they can identified anywhere in the funnel a lot quicker. The activities surrounding your he traditional marketing pillars  of awareness, acquisition and consumer retention seem blurred. Lets take,  for example, Bacardi . In its recent digital campaign  to further its  association with a night clubbing and dance club lifestyle worldwide, it chooses to be a trusted facilitator in an aspect of that  lifestyle, by providing the service of a digital  music sharing platfrom . It uses social media by offering aspiration based rewards of free  limited edition, 1st to hear, music tracks to those consumers (its digital advocates)  that act as a word of mouth spokes-peoples for the brand’s service by being the source of introduction of the Barcardi music sharing platform to their friends and rewards them accordingly.  One could  say that its the digital equivalent  to brands  giving  away a utility  that is associated with or inherent in products consumption. Like a coffee  brand giving a branded cup or spoon or something inherently needed with the process drinking coffee. But in the case of Bacardi its wrapped up in a social relationship reward program that only digital can provide at relatively low cost and be  highly. What is does is either accelerate the potential for identifying advocates  or it even makes a brand advocate out of a consumer who may not necessarily consume the brand or be an MVC. This is not bad thing, who wants to stop a consumer talking about your brand in a positive way whether or not they consumer your brand?

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The internet roadmap – IA Japan’s trends map for 2009 is coming soon

Posted by John Horniblow on Feb 23, 2009 in Design, General, User experience

The internet may be amorphous machine , somewhat chaotic it breadth and depth but it also lends itself to very fast and quick generation of trends and directions in human communications and  where and what people do virtually is able to be mapped  as lines , hubs, converging rails and directional lines. 

Tokyo subway map

Tokyo subway map

With 882 stations on 14 lines, Tokyo’s subway system is one of the largest — and busiest — in all the world. The system map is a twisted mass of lines and stations. Consider this : Shinjuku  one of the largest — and busiest stations  in the world  is the main hub for 12 different lines that link central Tokyo and its western suburbs. Approximately 3.6 million people pass through the station each day. It has four concourses, eight department stores, three dozen tracks and more than 200 exits.

The images I  hold in my mind have of the Tokyo subway system are nothing short of mass commuting on a grand scale with little or no respect personal space and that my idea of crowded pales as comfy . The western concept  of the having an invisible barrier that creates an magic space or outer boundary  around your body  goes out of the window when you hear of  whited gloved station attendants, called oshiya – literally, “pusher” politely but firmly shoving people into the cars or  with special human” herding sticks”  to  squeeze commuters onto already seemingly full trains. Its a remarkably efficient mass transit mover  of wave of a humanity , impersonal , raw and sprawling.

internet trends map

 

The  Tokyo Subway analogy  of where internet traffic and trends converge is  wonderful metaphor upon which to begin to put order to the sheer number of cyber commuters , the convergence points of traffic and communications , the conjecture , the posturing , the speculative and the inherent generational morphing that occurs in pockets on the net and then spreads. Information Architects Japan produced a 3rd version of the the map in 2008   ( see above ) presented as an isometric landscape with two layers: one showing the brand evaluation of the main sites, and other layer their interface or usability. The map has changed from the original two maps that looked graphically  like the current Tokyo subway map. 

 What is interesting to note is that map evolves each year and and sites can move from station to station  based  upon a subjective or even and analytical prediction of their importance, business play, style , audience  and get placed on the map  relative  to the actual physical station it surrounding real estate and it core commuter. 

The telling things in 2008 map as noted by IA Japan  were : 

Google - The Center of the Center: 

“In terms of traffic, Tokyo station is the center of Tokyo. That’s why Google (which is slowly becoming a metaphor of the Internet itself) has moved from Shinjuku to Tokyo Station. Google continues to push new modules into the main lines in an attempt to occupy the center circle.” 

trendmap3-google

Dataportability : Unknown, But… : Dataportability.org in Uguisudani

” If things turn out as they seem like they’re going to, the newcomer of the year is Dataportability.org. It has become the center of online identity practically overnight. OpenID, Google, Facebook, Flickr, and Plaxo all opened-up and joined this incredible project. Microsoft probably won’t be happy as Passport (or is it “Passport Live?”) now has no significance.” 

Facebook : Just a Hub: Facebook in Nippori

” Facebook has moved to Nippori because, from a broader perspective, Nippori is boring. But it’s still an important station (Nippori is a hub for Narita, Tokyo’s international airport).”  Just as Youtube is an important hub. 

trendmap3-youtube

 

Yahoo : Ya… who? Yahoo in Tabata

” Along with our speculation that the Yahoo brand will move increasingly into the background as an umbrella for more exciting products and brands like Flickr, we gave Yahoo an insignificant station. Flickr, in Nishi-Nippori, is closer to Facebook (also a strong picture-sharing portal) than Yahoo (Yahoo-owned Flickr is a part of Dataportability.org).” 

trendmap3-yahoo 

 

MSN : Moving Towards a Central Node: MSN in Shinjuku

” MSN has moved to Shinjuku. Lately it has increased its network (see: deal with Newsvine and The New York Times). MSN—unlike Microsoft Live—is doing things right.” 

trendmap3-nyt

I wonder where the map will shift for this coming year ? For more information on IA Japan’s forth coming trend map  for 2009 .

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SoundCloud – A new realm in music and social media

Posted by John Horniblow on Feb 13, 2009 in Design, General, Social Media Marketing, User experience

soundcloud

Music is at its very heart  a social media! 

Andy  Cato - “Sharing music has always gone on. It’s giving music away that’s the problem. We wanted to come up with a 21st century version of what we used to do with cassette tapes. When you give music away for free it’s disposable. When you share it, it’s done with love.” 

There is an inherent need for music publishers to create buzz around tracks and artists but also to work in their spheres of fellow producers, musicians and their fans or audience.  So in the artist self publishing  and artist self promotional days , that have the music labels traditional A&R business scrambling, what could be more relevant than a social network of music “taste makers” , musicians, labels and publishers? The emergent answer is ; SoundCloud !!  

In the burgeoning world of social media applications  there is a  launch  of new business concept  everyday, redefining the working practices of many social and professional scenes across all types of businesses.  Music, while being at the forefront of consumer media consumption changes, is no different.  While in its nascent days SoundCloud offers a full social network for the  thriving  music scene based on the simple sharing and following concept. SoundCloud makes it easy for people to send & receive music. Simple as that. What it isn’t is one of those illegal peer to peer file sharing platform that have  all but hijacked the music industry and elevated music piracy to the epidemic level. The promise of music uploading and sharing in this community is that you cannot share music without the consent of the proper right holders and any user sharing music illegally runs the risk of having their account deleted and being reported to the relevant authorities.  You can make your music private or public and shareable. What could be more easy than uploading your latest mixed  track, to your known group of promoters and tastemakers or giving it a limited  public preview or limited public download that could be shared across the social media websites across the world?

 

What I also find appealing is easy to use interface, a simple but effective and non nonsense way of getting at what you are there for , listening to music . This is not a Rhapsody or Pandora like website either , but a more socially driven sharing platform minus any overbearing commercialism . 

The Angel 60 Channels

The Angel 60 Channels

But lets not kid ourselves , not every budding or aspirant  musician or DJ is bound to be a radio star or a pioneer in digital music business model such as The Angel , Radiohead, Prince or Groove Armada. What is clear in this application is that realm of music PR belongs in the hands of its fans and promoters.  ”Social Media”  places the audience at the forefront of PR or word of mouth promotion, playing into the hands of the real evangelists; the buzz creators.  SoundCloud will only grow and mature over time from its early underground days. What interesting to me is that the  age of mix tape or mix CD   is a fading long gone distant memory.

Music and its digital portability has placed it upon the crest  of  the wave of change in traditional medias,  creating an urgent need for the major Records Labels and Publishers to review there very model of business. The new wave of artists and their producers are clearly taking control of their own livelihoods and their media.  

http://soundcloud.comjohnhorniblow

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Email performance

Posted by John Horniblow on Feb 2, 2009 in Email Marketing

 As a tactic inside  the digital marketing mix,  Email’s low cost and effective reach  still makes it core component in B2C communications. Given its low cost,  email service providers are expecting an increase reliance on this highly measurable and engaging method of consumer interaction. Today Email remains a staple of nearly every digital marketing campaign,   while its low cost puts it behind other tactics in terms of spending, its effectiveness should never be under estimated. 

Epsilon , a leader in enterprise email services,  has just released a study on E-mail marketing metrics that indicates  that deliverability rates were almost exactly the same in Q3 2008 as they were in Q3 2006. Open rates and click-through rates dipped during the same period, but only slightly. 

metircs

 This still indicates its viability as a dependable media channel. The optomisim surrounding the industry indicates projections that email , as a media channel continues to enjoy steady and unfaltering growth despite concerns about the declining effectiveness of advertising and the challenging economy  Online benchmark and research group eMarketer, estimates spending on e-mail will rise to $488 million in 2009, up from $472 million in 2008. While a small growth in overall terms , it is none the less a growth in a time  when other types of media spend are in decline. email spend

 Email’s low cost and high ROI shouldn’t make a marketer lazy or complacent, consumer segmentation and personalization add  significantly higher increases to the effectiveness of this media and directly impact response rates.

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The Email Marketing Media Channel – The Tool of “Digital Dialogue”

Posted by John Horniblow on Jan 15, 2009 in Email Marketing, Online Media

 

Email media channel

 

In the world of “Digital Dialogue” Email  is possibly one of the most accessible forms of media and communication for consumers and as such should be considered as a pivotal media channel.  In todays marketing world where the  pundits description of  a consumers exposure to media is “fragmented “,  it is best to consider Email  as a marketing imperative not  a “nice to have” or  a one off throw away campaign .  Email impacts  brand relationships and loyalty and should be considered as a integral personalized communication channel in any marketing mix.  

 Its use  or misuse can also effect a brand’s image or the trust a consumer can have in a brand. In a time where we consider the consumer in control of their media consumption, via a myriad of choices, Email,  in the consumers mind  has become the most convenient and controllable channel available. In the digital world where consumers are taking charge, Email is a tangible, flexible media they can control. Take it. Leave it. Delete it. Opt in, Opt out. Respond to it. Pass it on:  Think about it ,  who do you know that hasn’t received an email that contains a witty piece of humour, movie, picture, or  link passed on from a trusted colleague or friend who knows them well?    

 

And when it comes to looking at consumers and consumer trends surrounding Email marketing the question of whether you want a Digital Dialogue channel with your consumer base  it becomes a no brainer. 

  • Consumer have the power to choice with  an Email  e.g. do I  want to receive , open,  save , delete or act on an email
  • 90% of consumers will use email to engage in and determine the value of a relationship with a company -JupiterResearch
  • Consumers ranked email ahead of traditional media like newspapers, magazines and radio as a good way to learn about new products - American Marketing Association, Mplanet
  • 68% of consumers said they were prompted to browse a Web site after receiving an email from a retailer  -RightNow Technologies & Harris Interactive 
  •  25% of US internet users share content via Email (word-of-mouth) on a daily basis; 63% share on a weekly basis - eMarketer, Email and Word-of-Mouth

 

Here are some other facts  to mull upon:

  • 50 million people per day  check email 5 times per day
  • Email drives 80% on retail sales
  • Email is an everyday activity for most us
  • 94 % of companies use email
  • Marketers worldwide are sending 5.2 million  promotional Emails per month
  • On average email users receive 41 messages per day – 34% receive 31 or more messages per day
  • 45% of Email users say they are interested in receiving email about products and services
  • 53% say they unsubscribe when the Emails are irrelevant

Source: Jupiter Research LLC 05.2007

  •  Email is a Highly Effective Branding Tool
  • As advertisers ask for accountability, more agencies are launching email disciplines
  • In 2007 email marketing generated $21.9 Billion in sales**
  • Email will be a $4 Billion industry by 2011*
  • Email is the 3rd Major Media Channel!

Source:  Forrester Research 2008

 

 

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Web 2.0 : The basics of the Open and social web

Posted by John Horniblow on Jan 14, 2009 in General, User experience

“An emerging network- centric platform to support distributed,  collaborative and cumulative creation by its users.” 

- John Hagel 

Web 2.0  is such an amorphous terms that defies a hard definition. In the many years that  have been talking about and working in in web development and interactive marketing I would often describe the evolution of the web as  generational,  heralding each leap in concept  from media, content,  browsers, systems and platforms  as contributing generational stepping stones to where we are today. The hyperbolic change that occurred in the early internet years seemed to have generational change each successive year with competing technologies, media companies and battling it out for a controlling position. When the dot com bubble finally burt in 2001  there was a  turning point in the web. The point where after a shakeout the ascendent technologies began to differentiate themselves from the raft of “frothy flotsam ” washed up in wake of the the crash. Perhaps the corporate agendas of owning  or controlling the web , the antithesis of its organic and free form, had failed. What was apparent at this time was that new sites and technologies kept on revitalizing the digital space in an open and collaborative way. 

While the boom was definitively over the web just kept evolving in open way and the  transition to  Web 2.0 was enabled by the emergence of platforms such as blogging, social networks, and free image and video uploading, that collectively  allowed extremely easy content creation, access and sharing by anyone who had a computer and a connection. The barrier to entry of web publishing or content creation was over and the social voice of the digital consumer  had begun its transformative ride over traditional media. 

 If you think Web 2.0  as simply social networking or just about the technical or geek jargon…. you really need to think again. Every aspect of Web 2.0 is driven by consumer participation, from content, its voice, browser development, technology platforms, and an ever evolving digital life.  The most definitive trend and primary direction of Web 2.0 is for users to control  the content they create, the data captured about their web activities and their identity and their willingness to participate and socialize collectively. The gradual opening or advances in  digital standards  have allowed for a common interfaces and integration across content and applications allowing a less constrained environment then had previously existed before.  Decentralized in its architecture, participation, and usage, Web 2.0′s  real  power and flexibility emerges  from distributing applications and content over many points rather than having them locked down on centralized or controlled systems. Its is truly becoming a  plugin and play open environment for digital interplay between content and devices where the consumer experience  of  media or content mobility is quintessential. 

What is very clear is that the Web 2.0  is not a trend or fad, it is not going way or will disappear, its here to stay. What is even more interesting is that the internet development chatter is about the next evolution , Web 3.0 or the semantic web, an intelligent web based on  behavioural understanding of the consumers digital actions.  What’s going to be  interesting about Web 3.0  and will define just how far it can go will be the consumer privacy laws. There’s potentially an imminent consumer back lash looming in the near future concerning the use of known and personal data points surrounding behaviours.  web-20-framework

There are a small number main characteristics that help define web 2. 0 In the marketers world there are a few we should be aware of as these have become  part of the mainstream  marketing language: 

New Media Marketing: a term to describe the building and managing of social networks and online or virtual communities, and extend the reach of marketing to the low-frequency, low-intensity consumer in a cost effective way.

Buzz Marketing: The strategic use of word of mouth, the transmission of commercial information from person to person in an online or real-world environment.

Viral Marketing: The intentional spreading of marketing messages using social networks, with an emphasis of the casual, non-intentional and low cost.

Collective Intelligence or Collaborative Filtering : Essentially what this means is that “users” contributions greatly help build and make the foundation stronger and more popular by adding their content, such as links, comments, forum posts, reviews, rating others, an aggregation of the best work of thousands, then millions of web users (example: YouTube – more comments, more “thumbs-up” the more popularity), and any content contribution really. Without the end “user” the sites popularity goes down – if there is no interactivity for the end user, it’s not collective “anything.” So in short – the site grows organically in response to user activity.

Users Add Value: The architecture of your software development relies on “public” users to add their own data thus adding more value to your application. FireFox, Mozilla , Red Hat Linux WordPress ,(possibly the most used blogging software in the world ) grow in functionality through a network of contributing developers.  

“Some” Rights Reserved: Expanding the range of creative works accessible for others to legally build upon and share. The Creative Commons (CC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to just that. The organization has released several copyright licenses known as Creative Commons licenses. These licenses, depending on the one selected, restrict only particular rights (or none) of the work instead of customary copyright, which is more restraining.

The constant Beta: Sites like, Frappr, CafePress, Flickr, FeedBurner…etc. rely on a services evolution or constant improvements and enhancements , New features  are  packaged up into massive releases, but instead added them on a regular basis as part of the normal user experience. 

Rich User Experience:  Web 2.0 applications are built of a network of cooperating data services. 

web-apps

When it comes to the driving  Web 2.0  technologies  we should also aware of: 

Aggregation: Bringing multiple content sources together into one interface or application. 

AJAX : (Asynchronous Javascript and XML) A combination of technologies that  enables highly interactive web applications. 

API : (Application Programming Interface) A defined interface to a computer  application or database that allows access by other applications. 

Embedding: Integrating content or an application into a web page, while the original format is maintained. 

Folksonomy: Rich categorization of information that is collectively created  by users, through tagging and other actions. (cf. taxonomy) 

Mashups: Combination of different types of content or data, usually  from different sources, to create something new.

Remixing: Extracting and combining samples of content to create a  new output. The term was originally used in music but is  now also applied to video and other content. 

RSS : (Really Simple Syndication) A group of formats to publish  (syndicate) content on the internet so that users or  applications automatically receive any updates.

Ruby on Rails: An open source web application framework that  is frequently used in Web 2.0 website development. 

Tag cloud: A visual depiction of tags that have been used to describe a  piece of content, with higher frequency tags emphasized to assist  content comprehension and navigation. 

Tagging: Attaching descriptions to information or content. 

Virtual architecture :The creation of avatars (alternative representations of people), buildings, objects, and other artefacts inside virtual spaces. 

Widget: Small, portable web application that can be embedded into any web page. 

XML : (eXtensible Markup Language) An open standard for describing data, which  enables easy exchange of information between applications and organizations. 

Open web: The entire space of the World Wide Web open to anyone to access and participate. This has been the initial domain in which Web 2.0 technologies, applications, and attitudes have developed. 

 

 

  Suggested reading Future Exploration network

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Online Rich media advertising and Mobile advertising will be the winners in the media meltdown of 2009

Posted by John Horniblow on Jan 8, 2009 in Mobile and wireless, Online Media

The advertising outlook  for 2009 looks resoundingly is bleak. Following a downturn in revenues for 2008 and the fact that most forecasters see this continuing  through  2009 and 2010: the worst years of decline since the Great Depression. But !  and there is a big but here,  Online and digital advertising channels are the the only ones predicted to outshine the doom and gloom and  grow even in a downturn . This forecast view seems to be apparent across a number of forecast agencies , from the digital to traditional , there a a glimmer of optimism  in the air.

In Jack Myers’ recently -updated Media Business Report, he forecasts traditional media outlets will  take major hits in 2008 and 2009;
“The brunt of the 6.9 percent fall-off in 2009 ad spend will be felt by newspapers (-15.0%), Yellow Pages (-14.0%), consumer magazines (-13.0%), radio (-12.0%), local television (-10.5%), business-to-business and custom publishing (-9.0%), and broadcast network television (-4.0%). Even online media will feel the pain, with projected overall growth of a meager 2.7 percent. Online display ads are forecast to grow only one percent, with search engine marketing increasing 8.0% and online video, search engine, widget advertising increasing at a 25.0% rate to $1.5 billion. Online growth will pick up again in 2010 with overall 8.5% increases.”

What’s forecast to grow, if anything?  Search marketing, online video, (rich media) widgets and Mobile advertising. The real star being mobile that  jump 30 percent this year and another 15 percent next year. By the time the economy begins to regain steam, mobile advertising will jump another 30 percent in 2010, he forecasts.

So why is there a shine or  bright spot?
In rich or video media its a “no brainer”  for entertainment and brand advertisers.

Rich media and it recent upgrade to Digital Interactive media has  greater increases in brand metrics than standard web ads. Experientially they impacts attitudinal metrics, such as message association, brand favorability and awareness, more than non-rich media and allow the  incorporate video streaming of original content and help drive users to generate it and share it. With the coupling of transactional systems scuh as CRM and e commerce , the media buy can become a pure sale or pure consumer acquisition.

Mobile is definatly the flavour of next coming years . With SMS or text messaging is running hot as “Texting” has reach and ubiquity . Its simple  medium with reach of  160 characters and   the possibly of a  hyper link . MMS banner ads on WAP sites are a little richer in content and interactivity but are not ubiquitous because few people have data plans that can access WAP pages the estimates being between  10%  and 15% of all cell phone users.

Where the predictions for mobile seem to be going  it just might Voice!  Voice or sound is an interesting medium as it has no barriers to the existing  5 billion phones in the world. Just how intimate or intrusive it will be is another question. If my cell phone became a message bank a for un-announced  advertisers I would not be happy but if I am opted in to a premium audio experience  it’s richness because of its intimacy would make it  influential and experientially based . It may well be the way  to  reach a massive audience with a unique , engaging and compelling experience.. And everybody can get it regardless of plans and standards.

 

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