Category — Technology

Google+ Hangout

Yet another reason why I love this job: watching the pilot of Touch last night counts as research. Loving this new commercial for Google+ Hangout w/ the Muppets and Queen!

January 26, 2012   No Comments

Strike Against Internet Censorship

Mozilla is among the many sites striking today against the Internet Blacklist Bills that the U.S. Senate will take to a vote on January 24th, 2012.

As the Electronic Frontier Foundation summarizes: “The Internet blacklist legislation—known as PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate and Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House—invites Internet security risks, threatens online speech, and hampers innovation on the Web. Urge your members of Congress to reject this Internet blacklist campaign in both its forms!”

That legislation like this is even seeing the light of day in the United States is deeply disturbing. Stand up for freedom of speech and send a message to Congress here.

January 18, 2012   No Comments

Creativity Mag on Steve Jobs

Great article from Creativity Online on Steve Jobs’ belief of the importance of a cohesive marketing and advertising presence from Creativity Online. Thanks to Chris Hurley for the tip!
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Steve Jobs, A Rogue Grounded in Tradition
While the late Apple leader’s digital moves were daring, his marketing was steeped in bold traditionalism
By: Michael Learmonth, Published: Oct 10, 2011, Creativity-Online.com

The Apple brand is about putting little pieces of the future in the hands of consumers. Yet Steve Jobs, master marketer, took a very traditional approach to advertising.

At a time when marketers obsess over the virtues of targeting, “likes,” dashboards, platforms of all stripes and sophisticated social-media-monitoring schemes, Mr. Jobs kept it simple: tell the story of how an amazing product can change your life in the best environment possible.

And while many accept the lessons of Mr. Jobs the product designer and have sought to emulate him in that regard, it seems they all too often overlook his influence as a marketer where he was decidedly — and effectively — old school.

Consider Apple’s media spending: an estimated $420 million in 2010, dominated by network TV, newspapers, magazines, circulars and billboards. So far in 2011, Apple is the ninth-largest spender on billboard and outdoor ads in the U.S., just behind the likes of McDonald’s, Verizon and Anheuser-Busch, according to Kantar Media. Apple’s total digital spending is harder to discern, but the numbers indicate it is well under 10% of its total budget. Yes, the company that, more than any other, made us “go digital” did not think much of the web as a branding medium.

Mr. Jobs was involved in every aspect of the marketing, down to the copy on TV ads, and didn’t hesitate to kill a campaign that didn’t meet his standards. Everyone at TBWA’s Media Arts Lab, the agency set up to serve Apple, knew that the bar to meet was set by Mr. Jobs himself and articulated at weekly meetings on creative and strategy. “He’s the person who would see a technology and say, “This is what it can give a real person in the world,’” Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak told the BBC. “I would say marketing was his greatest strength.”

Allen Olivo, who spent two stints as a marketer at Apple, and now teaches marketing at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business: “Steve not only liked advertising, he understood the value of advertising as part of building a brand, selling products and creating an entire customer experience.

There’s a widely held trope in the tech community — strong even among Mr. Jobs’ disciples — that the product is the marketing. Or as venture capitalist Fred Wilson once wrote, “marketing is what you do when your product or service sucks.”

But Mr. Jobs didn’t see it that way. While Apple’s seductive products and luminous storefronts are core elements of its brand, Mr. Jobs saw the advertising as inextricable from the product. That’s because the product wasn’t an iMac, iPod or iPhone, it was the brand itself and how a well-designed product — any product — can make your life better.

“Even a great brand needs investment and caring if it is going to retain its relevance and vitality,” Mr. Jobs said to staff at after he returned to Apple in 1997 and unveiled the “Think Different” campaign. The scene was caught on tape and fortunately preserved for history on YouTube.

Mr. Jobs produced at least two of the finest TV ads of his generation and ubiquitous billboards and magazine ads. In later years, demo videos of Apple products reliably went viral. When Apple did spend online, it was likely to be an extension of a campaign on TV, like the iconic Mac vs. PC ads with John Hodgeman and Justin Long. Mr. Jobs insisted on exclusivity and the quality of the environment, which is why you see Apple ads on the homepages of The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and Yahoo.

An executive close to Apple said that the company had dialed back its online advertising further recently in part because even in his advertising Mr. Jobs didn’t want to support Flash, a technology Apple has eliminated from devices such as the iPhone and iPad.

Mr. Jobs’ complete control over the message also flies in the face of current marketing dogma that the consumers themselves should tell the brand story through actions on Facebook or conversation on Twitter. Apple barely has a presence on either platform. Apple just recently set up a YouTube channel, but that, too was to better control the brand experience. Comments on Apple videos are always turned off.

Just like Apple products are not about the technology, the focus on tactics, targeting and algorithms didn’t make sense to Mr. Jobs the marketer. “The move to analytical marketing, which is a great addition to the arsenal has become a de facto substitute for the narrative side of marketing,” said Mr. Olivo.

So why don’t more companies think about marketing like Steve? “Too much of marketing is pulled into tactics with a lack of meaning and strategy,” said Jim Stengel, former CMO of Procter & Gamble and now UCLA adjunct professor and author. “The tactics and the meaning have to come from leaders and there are too few of them out there.”

October 27, 2011   No Comments

Leveraging Behavioral Patterns for Good

Great article in July’s WIRED by behavioral economist Dan Ariely about how online companies use innate human tendencies to get us to share and spend more. Of course it begs the question, how can thinking like this be used to incite positive change?

Ariely touches upon this in a section about Groupon and the power of crowd behavior: “The perception of crowd behavior can be a powerful motivator when it comes to modifying people’s behavior. UCLA’s Noah Goldstein headed up a study a few years back on how to encourage towel reuse among hotel guests. In one experiment, two different signs were tested in rooms. The first was simply an ecological appeal saying that towel reuse is good for the environment; 35 percent of guests complied. The second sign added a social cue: “Almost 75 percent of guests who are asked to participate… do help by using their towels more than once.” The result: a jump to 44 percent compliance.”

Many chains have launched linen conservation programs with varying degrees of success. Westin is one, offering guest a $5 voucher or 500 Starpoints for conserving. But imagine if they actually started to build the programs not only with a vision toward improving brand perception, but also encouraging higher activation rates.

Add to Ariely’s observations the concept of the Feedback Loop featured in the same issue of WIRED and the power for change becomes even more evident. The potential cost savings and environmental impact are huge.

And it clearly doesn’t stop with hotel linens. It’s a way of thinking that has the power to transform how we consume and interact with the world.

August 3, 2011   No Comments

Google Chrome: The web is what you make of it

Love the new “the web is what you make of it” Google Chrome ads – showcasing the emotional, connective and world-changing power of the web’s technology in the right hands:

May 24, 2011   No Comments