Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Brand fragmentation

Shouldn’t brands actually be fragmented?

This was the questions was apparently posed of ‘The Business Week Guru’ Bruce Nussbaum by David Armano over dinner (Its nice to know that some people can still afford that luxury)

The question is relevant when you have the same product used by different customer segments. Wouldn’t it be better to have two different marketing approaches? This means: Two different media strategies, voices, etc.

As with everything about communication, it comes down to relevance. In other words speaking (and listening) to people in the way they want.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Government removes PM email

In this modern world of always-on communition, you can contact the great leaders of today's society if you want to. The most obvious example is the ability to watch/support/respond to 'Mr President' on Facebook:
(But personally I'd rather watch him on Jay Leno)

So I guessed I was initally dishearted when I read the recent story about Gordon Brown removing the link from his Number 10 official website for everyone to email him.
On face value this reduces the number of communication channels the UK populous has with its leader. However, most people don't really believe that he personally will respond do they? I don't think so
In reality a group of several 'voter/electorate/media/interaction/facilitation/operatives/etc.' are most likey employed to reply on his behalf. (Its ok, you call them 'Customer Service Representatives' if you want). Its like when you go into KFC, you don't expect Colonel Sanders to be behind the counter.

So, if you can follow the real GB on Trendy Twitter (along with the load of others who pretend to be him) how much of a loss is this feature?

A big step I think. Even if those emails aren't from the actually the strange and sanitised man with a foreign accent you see on TV (which one I mean here.... you'll have to decide), there's still a change in communication approach and I wonder what channel is next.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Some good news

A personal posting today...

For those who I don't know (or who don't follow me on Twitter @haydens30).. as of 8am this morning, Gabriella May Sutherland was born. Weighing 7 pounds & 3 ounces, she has brown hair, blue eyes and a knowing smile (or is that wind?)

Expect my postings to be somewhat erratic for the next few weeks and my life to be changed forever.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Ryanair comes under more criticsm

Following my recent posts about Ryanair's PR suicide of insulting a blogger and then going on to insult the whole blogosphere, I couldn't help but laugh when I saw this mock Ryanair Safety Card:

However, it does beg the question as to what stunt they will pull next.

BTW: Happy St Patrick's Day everyone

CRM - Data, a fundamental

"Without data, you have no knowledge and without this you cannot manage your customers"

This was a pretty obvious statement from a potential client the other day and one that go me thinking.

Remember that quantity without quality is no use to you. By quantity I obviously mean the amount of data you store about a customer. But data quality is a far more variable factor.

  • A successful future communication could hinge on a single character (e.g. in their name, email address or postcode) and all the effort you put into collecting the data would be wasted.

  • Duplicated records could mean that you send the same (or different) communications to the same person twice or more. This would not only confuse but may-well create a negative impression of your brand

Monday, March 16, 2009

Google News Adverts

It may not have escaped your notice that a week or so ago Google started placing PPC adverts alongside its newpaper links in the USA. I'm yet to see this put into use on the UK version of the site, but its probably just a matter of time before it starts.

Next they'll be serving adverts based on your own browsing habits.... doh!

The communication media mix

I hear different perspectives more & more about the best channels to talk to and engage with users. From Nielsen online's recent research that Social Media is the new email, through to Google's Eric Schmidt claiming Twitter is the Poor Man's email system. This was also a subject brought up by Shel & Neville's FIR conversation at the end of last week and is one I'd like to enter.

So, what's my perspective? What's the best channel? Is it....
  • Posts to MyBeboFaceSpace?
  • Email bulletins
  • RSS feeds
  • Regular Blog posts
  • etc.?
Well my view is... (as is often the case)... it depends. To use one particular online communication channel is no longer the right approach. If your customers are using multiple channels, why aren't you?

This goes for Marketing departments through to PR teams and even further afield. If your customer demographic (or just particular segments) communicates via two main channels (e.g. Email & RSS), then you need to as well. Also, don't forget that as nothing stays the same for very long, you will need to monitor your customer / channel mix and perhaps change this over-time.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Sesame Street explains the Madoff Problem

The complex world of the Ponzi scheme explained:

customer service and social media

What use have customer contact centres for social media?

Datamonitor predicts that websites such as Twitter and Google search will become more integrated into contact centres, customer service and customer relationship management (CRM) strategies.

Why? Because its good business sense, that's why!

Twitter is an immediate feedback tool that is currently only used by a handful of companies out there. Google’s search (and particularly its Blog Search capabilities) can be used for mining positive and negative mentions of your brand(s). Good and bad Customer Service gets blogged about, take for example the experience of Amber at Radian6!

But just how many customer services department actually monitor and use the social media space? Well, aside from the obvious cases (e.g. Comcast Cares, which I've mentioned in the past) And how many of those are UK ones?... well not many that I can find....

Digital Newspapers

Loads of people I have spoken to (and listened to) recently are talking about the pure-play digital newspaper. This is even more relevant today as the Seattle Post-Intelligencer goes belly-up today and moves to an online-only news offering. This makes it the world's largest daily newspaper to shift to an entirely digital (although mainly because it lost $14m last year and nobody wanted to buy it!)

But rather than just simply convert the print version into HTML, the company plans a new business model for the site
" isn't a newspaper online -- it's an effort to craft a new type of digital business with a robust, community news and information Web site at its core"
Steven Swartz, the President at Hearst Newspapers (their owners).
So... what will be the first large UK newspaper to go digital?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Creativity and Science

Having watched & listened to Elizabeth Gilbert give her recent TED presentation on creative genius, I was led to blog about the difference between: logic & emotion (hat-tip to David Armano), science & creativity, left brain & right brain, nerds & artists, and also tortured souls & society's saviours.
If you can spare 18 minutes, I strongly suggest you view the video

So why does there have to be this polarity? Why does there have to be such a divide between the two, that means successful people are either in white coats & suits or straight jackets?

Perhaps now with Social Technologies there is now a place for people who have both skills (or at least a place where it will stimulate both lobes now) ?
Then we'll be able to trap our creative daemon and technical genius in the same place... and use them both for good.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Video and eCommerce, a revolution

My company Ideal Interface are currently managing the implemention of a Scene7 (now owned by Adobe) image-on-demand solution for a High Street retail client. I've therefore started reading the Scene7 blog and I think this posting form Doug Mack hits the spot about how video is going to shape the future of ecommerce.

It then reminded about the words I said to Doug's Scene7 colleagues last summer:
This time around, the revolution WILL be televised!
Will you be part of the revolution? I hope to be!

Social Pangaea

Are you still trying to make sense of the social media landscape? Is you company looking out over a World of engagement opportunity and having trouble making the first step forward? Do all the tools and technologies seem like a different language to you?

Then you sound like you need someone to join them all together in a coherent way and map the way forward. You therefore need Social Pangaea.

Pangea was the idea of the SuperContinent, a land mass that joined all the continents of the world together into one.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Some light reading

Here are a bunch of things I haven't had time to fully digest and comment on today:

Telegraph URL shows political bias

Yes, you read that correctly...

Monday, March 9, 2009

Podcasting hits the big time

  • By 2013, 17 percent of U.S. Internet users, or 37.6 million people, will download a podcast at least once per month
That's a lot of people and a lot of time isn't it?

Further buzz monitoring justification

Having already covered some of the likely client answers / justifictions for social media monitoring back in January, I thought I'd follow this up with a subsequent posting on the what the your next set of replies could be :

1. We want to quantify the amount of comments or mentions about us over time
Shouldn't it be about quality of interaction and not the amount? What does a lot of comments about a particular staff member or product actually tell you?

2. We want to identify our prominent bloggers / influencers out there, with the aim of engaging with them
How? Is this a longer-term engagement or are you only after immediate results? (If so, prepare for the second wave of blogger backlash when you stop engaging)

3. We want to quickly spot trends or identify issues and respond accordingly
This is a great step forward, what mechanisms do you have in-place through the business to ensure the correct issues are identified and dealt with in the appropriate way? (E.g. how do you filter signal to noise and how do you avoid constant knee-jerking as a response?)

4. We want to understand the general sentiment or tone of the buzz
Fine, but are you planning on segmenting this according to different people and their tone? How are you monitoring this over time?

You may want to temper these replies, depending upon your longer-term expectations of the relationship!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

What other revenue models do newspapers have?

1. Micropayments?
(I think we've covered that one)

2. Hyperlocal news?

3. Gate the ISP's to pay?
What? Yes, that's right... some have suggested charging the ISP's for their news
On what hope? That they'll have exclusive content?

Friday, March 6, 2009

Why wireframes have changed these days

Why does nothing ever stay the same in the web world for very long?

  • ASP's to SaaS
  • Animated GIF's to Flash (I'll ignore Silverlight for now)
  • Bubble to "sustainable business models" (Hurrah)
  • HTML to xhtml
  • Paragraphs of text to SEO-rich and Google-baiting copy
...the list goes on..... (and so do I sometimes apparently).

But one thing has stayed the same for some years now, the good old wireframe. One web page, one wireframe, one happy and informed client, it was easy....

Well, that was until all this Web 2.0 stuff came along anyway. Now its:
  • Ajax interactions
  • DHTML layers
  • Personalised modules
  • User-defined widgets
  • Collaborative filtering suggestions
    (which apparently a percentage of people found useful)
The rules have changed, has your agency's wireframing technique?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Twitter correspondent for Sky News
Yes, Sky News has jumped into the 140 character social chatter sphere. It isn't the first news organisation to use Twitter, but it is using it constructively to hunt for stories and memes.

Lets see if this gives them a reporting advantage.

Domains are still in great demand

Its nice to know that despite being in a bad economy and prophets of doom & gloom everywhere, that somethings are still attracting a ridiculously-high price. No I'm not talking about banking executives pay or the price of strawberries at Wimbledon Tennis Week (Prediction: even these won't be as expensive as last year), but domain names.

So how much are they worth? Well, what someone is prepared to pay, since they are the epitome of the free market economy. And now Toys'R'Us has has bought for $5m.

With online still growing, could this turn out to be a great decision (or the next ABN Ambro)?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Integrating CRM & Social Media

Vendors and enterprises are constantly searching for ways in which social networking technology can be used in a business context. The recent announcement of's Service Cloud marks the start of the use of social networking used to understand customer trends to provide better customer service.

Regulation for Online Behavioral Marketing

It has been reported yesterday that prominent members of the UK Online Marketing industry have now agreed to regulate Internet advertising that uses behavioural techniques.

This must go some way to address the concerns raised about Phorm trials last year. However it will not stop Phorm being introduced in 2009 and may not entirely stop some of the less-than-genuine behaviour that has been seen from them recently.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

UK online retail & travel future looks rosy

According to Forrester's research report, the future of online travel and retail in the UK looks quite good.,7211,45345,00.html
"Despite the current recession, we expect online retail and travel sales in the UK to continue growing strongly over the next six years as consumers move their spending online. By 2014, 37 million UK online buyers will spend £56 billion online "

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The value of business cards

I'm a believer in fast & effective communication in all its forms, hence why I consult on digital communication technologies. However, one thing I always carry with me (well, several of really)and hand out wherever possible... is my business card.

Yes, there's the virtual business card that people used to attach to their emails some while back, but that has relatively ceased now. So why is it that the busiess card works so well still?