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John Horniblow, trading as Bladedigital, is a seasoned speaker and presenter on the topics of Digital Convergence, Digital Communications and Marketing and Social Media.
He has presented and spoken at conferences , conventions, workshops, brainstorming sessions and developed his own series of moderated roundtables called SM@RT ( Social Media Round Tables).
His speaking engagements have included;
CES ( Consumer Electronics Show) Las Vegas, 2000
Judge and panelist for numerous web awards
Museums and the Web, Washington DC, 2003
Nestle’s Consumer Excellence Summit, 2008
Oracle OpenWorld Europe, Paris 2009
WAVE (The Career Women’s Forum)
Public Affairs Council, Washington DC, 2009
P&G Digital Innovation workshop , Geneva 2009
LIFT conference 2010, Geneva
Richemont Digital Day, 2011
SM@RT (Social Media at the Round Table) Geneva, 2009-2011
Foundry Photojournalism Workshop, Istanbul 2010
LIFT12 Conference -workshop on Digital Communications for Crisis and Post Conflict Zones , Geneva 2012
Ministry of Foreign Affairs , Kosovo Digital Strategy Summit 2012
Webster University Media Trends Conference 2013
John has also developed and run a number of strategic programs for Digital Communications, Convergence Media, Digital Marketing and Social Media. These include: Nestle’s digital marketing and CRM workshop program, “Connecting With Consumers” and embedding it in markets around the world.
John Horniblow presenting – Convergence, Fans and Fanatics- Resonance, Geneva
SM@RT – (Social Media at the Round Table) - A series of quarterly strategic roundtables and workshops on exploring, the shifting media landscape, convergence media, convergence culture, social media strategies and communications and social platforms, sCRM, Social Intelligence Platforms, mobile marketing and communications with participation from international companies ( P&G, Nestle, HP, Swatch Group, Logitech, Bata, ) and NGO’s ( UNHCR, The Global Fund, WEF, ICRC).
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”.
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.
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. 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.
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
I think this article is a must read – http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8590306.stm
At the F8 conference in San Francisco, Mark Zuckerberg unveiled a number of products he says are aimed at putting users and their friends at the “centre of the web”. It will surely work on the further unseating of Google being the site or service synonymous with internet usage and the webs most used or visited service.
“One of the points Mr Zuckerberg was making was that the web has become a lot less anonymous and Facebook is definitely positioning itself as wanting to be the owner of that information,” said Maya Baratz of the Huffington Post. (Given Facebook’s growing and highly influential size the Huffington Post online publication has dedicated a whole section of its site to news surrounding Facebook which you can read by clicking here.)
Zuckerberg told developers at the f8 conference that the experience will mean a more personalized, social, smarter Web. As quoted from an another article on Huffington Post “Facebook is spreading its wings to the broader Web with new tools that will allow users to see personalized versions of websites they visit elsewhere.
The move could change the way people experience the online world, though it could come with deeper privacy implications. By accessing Facebook’s tools, websites will be able to customize the experience based on the list of friends, favorite bands and other things users have shared on their Facebook profiles.
“The Web is at a really important turning point now,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said at the F8 conference for Web and software developers in San Francisco. “Most things aren’t social and they don’t use your real identity. This is really starting to change.”
In its first steps Facebook has changed the semantics surrounding fans “people who like this” – has replaced the former term of “fans.” Facebook has added these new features to its site,
In conjunction with this step it also launched the concept of what it calls Community pages. The concept of Community pages is to revamp users’ profiles to emphasize the pages for bands, books and businesses that users have become fans of. Facebook has started prompting users to essentially combine the two ( a users “Faned” page , and their profile page ) So if you listed The Clash in the “favorite music” section of your profile, Facebook will now ask you to join his page, if you haven’t become a fan of it already.
Facebook has also announced its working to eliminate the FB Connect ‘brand and replacing it with OAUTH – OAuth (Open Authorization) is an open standard that allows users to share their private resources (e.g. photos, videos, contact lists) stored on one site with another site without having to hand out their username and password.
Its also working on projects such as social plugins whch they call GDP (granular data permissions) and continuing to work on user privacy settings. Zuckerberg said Facebook made sure that its new tools don’t intrude on their privacy. Users’ preferences won’t be logged unless they choose to press the “like” button on websites. If anything, Zuckerberg expects the “like” tools to give people more control over what they want to share with their online entourages.
If users embrace it, Facebook could gain valuable insights that could help it sell more advertising, potentially rivaling online ad leader Google Inc., which typically tailors ads based on keywords in search terms and Web content.
“If I were Google I would be really scared because Facebook might end up with a lot more intelligence than them,” said Alain Chuard, Founder of social marketing firm Wildfire. “Google is just an algorithm, but Facebook could rule the Web.”
So there’s obviously and lot more planned for the near future as the battle for social dominance increases. I wonder what Google will do now since its Buzz launch looks like a knee jerk re action to Facebook’s growing importance and it incremental loses in market share of audience time and visitation online?
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. “
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”.
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!”
In a list of aspiring and inspiring new entertainment based services and applications SoundCloud won this years coveted Best Entertainment service or application award . Competing in a highly competitive field SoundCloud beat eRepublik, Moshi Monsters, Playfish and WeeWorld, a category largely dominated by online games and virtual worlds . SoundCloud is an online audio platform catering to music professionals enabling them to collaborate, promote & distribute their music. A music sharing and listening service, based on social network technologies .
The music industry is clearly under attack these days as it failed to change and adopt to the new distribution paradigms and the consumers preferences as the old models of music promotion , sales and distribution have been dismantled over the past 9 years . In this new connected world SoundCloud provides a efficient and simple way for music professionals to exchange music they are involved with in private settings allowing for easy collaboration and communication prior to a public release. I think its service that has a bright future and over the past year since its launch its user adoption grow 600 % to close at close to 60,000 users. What is very clear is that SoundCloud has an audience that spans the globe , not just an audience that is largely US based .
Mashable reported a few days ago thatTwitter’s Phenomenal Growth Suddenly Stops or has slowed to a trickle since Nielsen reported a massive increase in time spent on Twitter in total minutes rose by a phenomenal 3712% from April 08 to April 09.
It could mean that Twitter is hitting a plateau and the buzz surrounding the platform is waning this month. Nielsen’s findings are that there is only 40% retention rate of users. As the hype that has drawn users to Twitter wears off a slowdown in growth of Twitter can only be expected. Twitter could “only” expect a 10% growth if rate of that trend continued, but lets face it, thats not a bad number
P & G hosted an EMEA Digital Night at in Geneva bringing together its marketing , ecommerce , digital communications people and their agencies to participate in a digital and social media experiment on a real live campaign. At its outset it appeared to be a daunting proposal , to spearhead a full blown digital media campaign in two hours with the ultimate idea being to maximize the groups reach , push their influence, and market and sell the idea of donating for a Pampers & UNICEF program to eliminate Tetanus aiming to raise 100, 000 GBP in 18 hours.
Pampers Save a Baby. One pack , one baby.
“A baby dies every three minutes somewhere in the world from tetanus. It is completely avoidable and Pampers is sponsoring and raising money for a UNICEF vaccination program worldwide.”
The ensuing two hours was bold and adventurous as assigned groups armed with a few basic executional assets and a donation landing page split off to devise and execute a fund raising campaign utilizing only digital channels. There were no set rules in what the approach needed to be other than it needed to be “executed with integrity”.
The groups immediately raced to begin and obvious point to turn to were their friends and associates linked in the various social networks. Facebook groups emerged , links appears, a donate widget application got added to personal pages and the conversation began in earnest. The emergence of strategy then began to permeate the groups as each devised campaign message and a reach strategy in how to maximize audience across a multiple touch points making the approach more sophisticated, pointed and less haphazard.
Blogs , YouTube videos, an influencer campaign on Tweeter and through Facebook , chasing and contacting high value donors , negotiations for impressions across online publishing networks linking multiple contact channels and coming together at a rapid pace. In a jaw dropping moment a little while latter a one million impression banner campaign appeared across one of Germany’s major newspaper sites. The buzz and influencer phenomena then took over with global reach. As the intensity of the push to raise money took hold , groups began to monitor their competitors actions and tactics, calling for quick decisions on how best to out wit the competition and move to next channel almost in a race to be first. Viral campaigns riding on the back of Selma Hayak’s ambassadorship sprung up, well designed internal direct email campaigns raced through the P & G network , tell to friends campaigns in the social sites. A directed and awe inspiring frenzy of digital buzz. The results .. they are a secret .. but it worked.
Who owns the social web isn’t really a big question. In the many communities the ownership or even the behaviors in that social community are often dictated by the community itself. The community owns the community , the community polices itself and protects itself, and everybody in the community shares a democratic principle of ownership and inclusion. My observation of inter-communications on many fan and strong communities is that there can be a point of self regulation , where the community members dictate what sorts of behaviour are acceptable , what tone of discussion is acceptable and will pull other members in the community into line or reject them if they feel they are being antisocial or unfair in the context of that community’s voice. In the community or social media world its the community that has the power or the onwership by virtue of being involved and sharing their voice and ideas. What it does is really raise the question “who owns the community’s brand”? In the Social media world its definatly the consumer who owns the brand. Even real world (non virtual brands) are often owned in the mind of the consumer, despite what their manufacturers, FMCG brand managers might mistakenly believe, and the consumers non acceptance of product changes or variations often causes dramatic failures for brands. A brand is more than just a product. Coca Cola’s release of New Coke in 1985 floundered as a failure as Coca Cola forgot what its core brand stood for and thought that taste was the was only factor consumers cared about. Its research failed to highlight that Coke consumers had a deep and abiding emotional bond to the “Real Thing” and launched a new formulated Coke. The public basically boycotted the new product and the company had ceased production of the old product causing a huge and costly problem for the company. The company had to revert back to the old formula.
Facebook has become the greatest facilitators of human conversations, its building itself as a brand based on emotional bonds and trust in a shell of social , web 2.0 services. Friday’s announcement that Facebook users have voted to back changes which give them control over data and content they post on the site dosen’t surprise me. The community has spoken , the company had actually listened or risked failure. Following Facebook’s meteoric rise to its recent press announcements that it has reached a point of 200 million users I stopped to think about that number and a pending crisis on the ownership of personal data that had emerged in recent months. I for one and many of my friends expressed great concern and a potential swap of services at Facebook’s assertion that they owned the rights to any and everything published in their services, from photos, to widgets , videos , comments and conversations. It even went to the point where they could exploit any IP or copyright of anything posted on the site. Where it almost went wrong was to not listen to the true voice of its consumer base and continue to pursue a path of proprietary ownership of all and everybody’s personal content, thoughts and conversations when many complained or threatened to leave the service. In this case Facebook the brand, not the service, is wholly owned by the consumer base it serves.
What is interesting, and if not co incidental , is that it was the same day that Yahoo announced that Geo Cities was being closed down. Yahoo paid $3.5 bn for the free hosting service back in the early days of the dotcom boom. Where it failed to compete with the likes of Facebook and MySpace is that while they offered a similar concept of hosting free personal pages on the web there was no evolution in providing services that allowed a community to grow or for people to communicate or commune with one another or share it with other friends ubiquitously. Yahoo failed to wrap all it social and communication technologies that it had at its disposal in different business units( IM , email , even content ) into one set of social communications services and make the transition to a more Open Web. The brand never really made a leap to having an real emotional attachment to the consumer by failing to provide the emotional conduits or communications channels. Was this because Yahoo saw Geo Cities only as a media advertising opportunity? Another missed opportunity.
The concept of digital or online engagement has always been an integral part of the interactive vernacular from its very nascent days . In the early days at the run of the last century the people in the interactive business coined the phrase “stickiness” as a way describing a site or service where a consumer ( or the sites audience) would spend more time , continually revisit a site, play with more things , discover new features or actively converse with their friends. The social communications technologies were all well alive in the early adopter phase , bulletin boards, chat room , and IM. In the heady dotcom days the concept of developing media properties was all about stickiness. How else could you realistically place a value on your property and it potential for media placement if its audience didn’t return to site , stay longer , use its features , play games, watch or listen to media and go deeper than the 1st page ?
The real opener for Engagement or the liberator, so too speak, has been the uptake in the broadband connection at home , rather than having it relegated to the work place . The “always on” connection at home changed the descriptive concept of Stickiness to Engagement. The simple fact that there was a general mass market adoption of high speed internet predicated a change in the vernacular as the real marketing potential of the medium opened up. The availability of more connected , richer experience from the consumption of media ( video, audio , and animations ) and a greater depth in connectivity to services( e-commerce, search) and information opened up the medium and metaphoric description of Stickiness had to evolve to more active verb of Engagement.
The Age of the True Consumer’s Voice and Consumer Generated Content
Engagement never remains static( not that stickiness did either). The recent mass market adoption of social communication technologies, as in the last 3- 4 years, has led to today when we talk about the social media revolution, and Engagement has taken on a new face . Todays social media technologies are facilitators of conversations and dialogues not just confined to one site or group but open to any and everybody, almost anywhere, instantly. Everybody has a voice, a digital persona, a digital footprint and a devise for communicating digitally. It is the age of the “True Consumer’s Voice” . Digital Engagement is now the social communications evolution , encompassing social media, digital media and interactive services. Its not surprising that the UK government recently advertised to appoint a Director of Digital Engagement to help direct its efforts in “overseeing a move to engage more with citizens through social media and other digital technology.”
So how do we measure Engagement ? The debate is relatively new . In Eric T Peterson’s , web analytics demystified , he describes Engagement as ”an estimate of the degree and depth of visitor interaction on the site against a clearly defined set of goals.” I think there’s room to expand upon this. Webanalytics is one sided and there are two sides to the equation.
To me a website is essentially a closed environment , although blogs and RSS has opened up content distribution. The measurement of the closed environment is Quantitative and measurable, which is the web analytics view point; the end to which we can determine the quality of a website visit . The engagement metric comes down to , the depth to which a consumer will go into your site and propensity to interact with or view “critical content” , their ” length of visit”, whether or not they come back e.g. ” frequency of return visit”.
If we were to add the consumer’s perspective and become more subjective in the classical marketer’s view, using the analogy of the “path to purchase”, we could add the propensity to which a consumer would recommend or talk about the site, its content or its services to a friend using something like the net promoters score. ( you can’t find that in the web analytics) . This, when coupled with the web analytics , gives a good view of a loyalty or advocacy co-efficient for the site.
In the Open Web or social media context its about all about Consumer Generated Media ( CGM ) and there’s another dimension which is purely Qualitative. Its the understanding of the voice and tonality of Engagement or behaviourial responses a consumer has . You can measure and analyse Buzz, Tonality and Sentiment, with the real appreciation of the true consumer’s voice. When you add your closed systems reporting , e.g. the web analytics to your Open or social measurement of consumer’s voice then you really see the whole picture.
“To help people to use and protect the data they create on networked services, and to advocate for compliance with the values of DataPortability.” Dataportability.org – Mission statement
I think that one of the most important and interesting projects to come too light over the past 18 months has to be the DataPortability project. I can’t think of a more defining project that seeks to put the consumer in control of their data, in an easy framework, than this.
As a digital marketer, online developer and manager of a major “ecosystem” of company websites I had always been challenged by and worked to successfully remedy the idea of a federated user login and password or identity that would allow users navigating a network or an “ecosystem”of websites to have just one unique ID. This unique ID allowing them access across a network , without having to login as multiple different identities across multiple sites and let them negotiate and choose or personalize what’s important to them and then manage their preferences.
Lets face it the majority of us have a number of identities in a myriad of web databases ; As a consumer I possibly over one hundred “sign ups” on sites where I have an identity or have surrendered my contact details for either verification of who I am , membership, product registration, interest in a communication, a CRM activity, a social network identity , or just a security login and password . If I was able to simplify this and manage that in a more organised and less haphazard way I would.
The concept of DataPortability is having the option or choice to use your personal data between trusted applications and vendors. As simple as that . What is important , especially in the current digital climate , is the protection of consumers rights when it comes to their data and data privacy. The consumers need to have control over their data by determing how they want to use it and who can use it. This includes access to data that is under the control of another entity and the interoperability of that consumer identity or data across an independent network of online services and sites. What will become important in the not too distant future, is the potential trust rating between the consumer and the companies providing online or digital services , media, and product marketing. Companies with the most transparent , upfront and honest approach to managing consumer data will ultimately be successful. Those whose integrity is questionable or not transparent will ultimately see a consumer backlash.
With raging debates taking place as to just how far companies such as Google own the insight to online behaviours by tracking consumer browsing habits from site to sites by cookie-ing them, the concept of DataPortability in extremely timely and necessary . Its scary to think that Google can pinpoint and locate with uncanny precision a physical person and have a map of all their behavioural characteristics and that they have been known in the past to surrender that information to government security and intelligence agencies.
With Social networks and the spill over to media networks becoming more open , more interconnected , and more distributed I would say that DataPortability is not an emerging trend but an imminent or inevitable necessity. The current list of sponsors is impressive Microsoft, Google, Facebook, SixApart, Digg, Plaxo, Linkedin and apparently 1000s of other participants. Interestingly it includes the two digital darlings, Facebook and Google, that appear to be at the centre of debates surrounding consumer data , who owns it , who controls it , and how it can be exploited, with both companies getting into hot water either by government privacy watchdogs or with their userbase themselves. With the support of cross-system data access, interoperability, and portability, people can bring their identities, friends, conversations, files, and histories with them to the service of their choice. This cuts down on the need for form-filling , new passwords, preferences of data transfer on the consumer side. The service providers or networks can tailor services to suit their consumer base with little effort required by the consumer. Consumers browse networked services and accumulate experiences and if they permit it, this information is updated in the network of sites a consumer may participate in. For online and digital service companies the “mutual control” and “mutual benefit” with consumers has an upside that the relationships remain relevant, data usage remains transparent and will encourage continued consumer usage.
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
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.
Recently OgilvyOne Paris released a widget for Croquons la Vie , Nestle France’s revamped online Consumer Relationship Marketing Program . Aided by what appears to be a concerted digital PR campaign targeting blogs and digital influencers and using its inherent widget -portability or share-ability , it appears to be making some traction. Readily downloadable from the main site Croquons la vie its easily transferable to Netvibes or iGoogle where you can make a number of choices on where and how you want to display the widget.
When it comes to looking at CRM practices this widget doesn’t disappoint from the marketer’s, and more importantly, the consumer’s standpoint. Loaded with a rich content offering of monthly recipe videos, recipe links , and coupons , this widget provides the “value add” that consumers expect from relationship marketing programs. As well, it also adds the possible concept of social marketing and content distribution into the CRM mix as it extends the digital marketing ecosystem beyond websites into the desktop world and potentially into mobile phones overtime.
What is clear about using widgets is that you can extend the CRM based services and value added content , personalize it , and use them as your own private brand driven media channel , pushing content or marketing communications to the widgets, where ever they may be. By simply adding the widget the consumer has actively subscribed to the brand communications , placing themselves very clearly in control of the content they will view as it changes over time. The relationship is nurtured through a constant evolution of digital content offerings and the promise of discounts via coupons that can be claimed directly through the site. What will become apparent over time is that as the install base for the widget expands dramatically, so does its propensity to become a media conduit for other brand communications . Content could even extend to retail partnerships as a way of subtly extending the shopper communications that may link consumers back to instore promotions or e commerce applications.
What is also clear is that in the coming year through consumer uptake of iPhone an or smartphones and the development of Google’s Android ( Open Handset Alliance Project) in 2009/2010, is that the mobile phones will become “widget compatible” . The consumers use of smartphone or Androïd platform, will not be bound to simple static applications but open to a diverse range of content services that can be streamed onto the phone , although for the time being the support of Adobe’s Flash file format seems hard to accomplish on phones.
As Bruno Walther , CEO of OgilvyOne Paris says “The more time passes, the more I am certain that the widget is the future of the client relationship (CRM). ” , and on this note I can only agree with him wholeheartedly. Pick the widget up from Netvibes
John Horniblow - Digital Marketing expert and Digital Innovator
John is a passionate and highly respected digital communications and marketing professional who has worked with some of the world’s leading and most respected companies and brands including Toyota , Nestle, Nike, Apple, Microsoft, News Corporation and Activision.
Early in his career John trained as a cinematographer and has shot, directed and produced award winning short, television documentary and industrial/training films working with broadcasters such as BBC, SBS, and ABC . His work has been screened at International film festivals and on network television.
In Digital development John first worked as a producer on the launch of the MSN network in Australia (Microsoft -PBL venture; NineMSN) working on the transformation of traditional news , current affairs , and editorial properties into the online world . He spent time working at News Corporation in the founding days of News Interactive. John then joined Spike Networks to become the Director of Interactive Services in the interactive agency that was formerly Asia/Pacific’s largest and most successful . He ran the companies most prominent accounts for Toyota, Lexus, Nissan, Commonwealth Bank, and Southcorp Wines and and produced and managed the strategy and development of a number of Fortune 100 company websites across a number of industries. His work has garnered awards at: London International Advertising Awards 1999 for TV and cinema commercials, radio and print advertising, and interactive media, The International Designers Network (IDN) Design Award 1999 in the Web/Entertainment category, and the 1999 Best Advertising/Marketing Site category in the Australian Interactive Multimedia Association Awards.
In 1999 he was also part of the team that took Spike to an IPO on the Australian Stock Exchange and opened overseas offices in Los Angeles, Tokyo, and Hong Kong. He moved to Los Angeles , USA to be the Director of Production and Content Development for SpikeRadio, the worlds first 24/7 online radio station network in the early days of audio and video streaming , pioneering production processes in remote media broadcasting across the internet and converging interactive editorial with rich media streams. He forged partnerships with Apples’ QuickTime TV network( the pre cursor to Itunes ) as a top tier content producer and broadcaster, Microsoft’s Windows Media as a broadband developer . In his tenure at SpikeRadio he produced Nike’s Olympic 2000 online media project, Radio Free Sydney, (Winner – Communication Arts’ Interactive Design Annual 2000 – Best in Interactive Design.) including producing series of short video web-episodes “Desperate seeking Brandy” and featuring US woman’s soccer star Brandi Chastain shot against the backdrop of Sydney’s Olympic Games . This alongside the bold and evolutionary BWM films is recognized as one of the web’s first branded entertainment series online.
In 2001 during the Dotcom downturn he started BLADEdigital, a strategic interactive and online production consultancy advising to Nissan Global Interactive Marketing, Nike Digital, Qantas’ North American CRM program, The Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, The Phoenix Art Museum and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.
He then moved onto leading Activision’s interactive marketing efforts across all consumer facing digital channels . He led some of the earliest forays into social media marketing on mySpace and Facebook , developed a number of company firsts in driving web 2.0 fan based communities as a cornerstone to deep CRM and online marketing activities , developed a behaviour and sterotype mapping CRM platform to clearly define precision driven consumer segmentation and re designed/repositioned the Activision’s corporate and brand websites around broadband video and deep engagement activities.
Convergence Culture, Digital communications and marketing strategy and development, Emerging platforms and rich media, Interactive marketing strategies, Online CRM and loyalty based programs, Technology and Design consulting, Digital Branded Content and Entertainment – editorial, film and video production.