Thursday, November 26

Many businesses still failing to embrace social media by Jordan Stone

Many businesses still failing to embrace social media

Yesterday Econsultancy published their Social Media and Online PR Report, produced in association with bigmouthmedia. It’s certainly worth a read.

The first thing to point out is that the scope of the research is nothing if not impressive. They received over 1,100 respondents representing 458 client-side organizations and 522 agency / suppliers. One might assume then that it paints a fairly accurate picture of the industry, and of the UK market in particular as Brits made up the majority of respondents.

I’ve been through both the report and presentation and assembled a few thoughts on some of the findings. As we near the end of 2009, it seems that the industry has a way to go:

  • Just under half of companies (46%) are not yet using reputation or buzz monitoring tools to understand what is being said about their brand. Not even free tools? I find this slightly worrying, as there is virtually no barrier to entry and no shortage of free tools online.  For instance, here’s a list I’ve helped compile on the Measurement Camp website.
  • There’s a large gap between personal and organisational attitudes towards social media. Whereas 61% of respondents personally see a tremendous opportunity for social media, less than a third (31%) say that their organisations as a whole have this same positive outlook. In fact 44% say their organisations are not fully convinced of the value (but are open minded), and another 19% consider social media a major risk.
  • The three most common reasons for not investing in social media up to now have been lack of knowledge and understanding (59%), company culture (41%) and lack of senior buy-in (41%).  It would seem that change needs to start from the top, and agencies of all different stripes have a role to play in educating their clients.

So there are some definite challenges ahead, as social media/digital engagement still appears to be a long way off being something that businesses take seriously. However, it’s not all doom and gloom:

  • The majority of companies (86%) expect investment in social media to increase in 2010.

Surely that’s good news?

Get the report here.

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Tuesday, November 24

Colette does East London

Colette Goes East

EAST London is set to get an injection of Parisian style this week as The Cube Store unveils Colette's first ever UK pop-up shop at The Old Truman Brewery's Boilerhouse. As well as a range of covetable Colette-style trinkets, the space will also host a series of events - from screening Japanese films to live art installations - but doing your Christmas shopping there might not be as simple as it sounds.

To gain entry you must apply online (not as simple as it sounds either), or look out for Nissan Cube cars (the reason for the pop-up), at venues and events around the city and then ask the driver for a membership card to admit you.

If you make it inside, designers like Mary Katrantzou, Irina Shaposhnikova, Yazbukey and E2 will be selling their wares, whilst architect Olivier Vadrot, conceptual designer Jerszy Seymour and graffiti artists Random International, amongst others, will be treating you to a visual feast.

Visit for more information.

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Thursday, November 19

The Social network in your pocket

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Adverblog: Housekeeping goes social (and mobile)

Branded iPhone applications need one characteristic to be successful and appreciated by consumers: they need to be useful and, possibly, worth talking about to friends. I was quite doubtful when I received an email from Tide PR people promoting "The Tide Stain Brain". But I was wrong, the insight the used and the service they want to provide is pretty good: a guide to stain removal, an application that helps consumers finding and sharing solutions for stains.

If you don't have an iPhone you can still check out the online version of the app, not as since, but probably as useful.

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Adverblog: Adidas storytelling for a jersey

An impressive digital production to tell the story of the German National team shirt and of course, drive replicas' sales on the way to WC10.

Storytelling is quite epic and really delivers an immersive experience for Germany supporters.

The advergame part is also quite original but, in my opinion, less engaging (you are forced to win the three games to reach the end of the story.)

Last but not least, digital commerce integration: online purchase of the jersey is just one click away.

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Wednesday, November 18

Brandchannel | Adidas Aids Bangladesh With Almost-Free Footwear

Bangladesh's Nobel Prize winner, Muhammad Yunus, the pioneer of micro-loans that help the poor start their own businesses, recently inspired Adidas to lower its training shoe prices to a staggering bargain for those in developing countries who can't afford regular prices: around €1.

This venture follows last month's news that the footwear giant would invest $100M to set up a manufacturing plant in the country. Adidas, which has been charged with labor exploitation in developing countries, sees this commitment as an opportunity to improve its image. Yunus stressed that his country needed "social businesses" to help create jobs, and Adidas has agreed to produce shoes in Bangladesh on a non-profit basis.

Adidas spokesman Jan Runau confirmed the agreement to begin production of the shoes in Bangladesh next year, but said the project was at an early stage. It has not been decided whether or not the shoes would carry the Adidas brand or its trademark three-stripes design.

The investment can have a big impact: garment workers in Bangladesh have an annual income of less than $1,396 per capita – making them the poorest paid in the world.

Though additional design and branding decisions have not been finalized, Adidas hopes that this move will improve its reputation for social responsibility. With million-dollar contracts and sponsorships on the company's bills each year, this philanthropic venture should aid everyone, including Adidas.

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Tuesday, November 17

» DDB Save Paper advertising/design goodness - advertising and design blog

Printing out e-mails is a needless waste of paper. An application was installed on all DDB computers. It turns the mouse-pointer into a little motor saw icon accompanied by the appropriate sound, each time the user presses the ‘print’ button. At the same time a small description field pops up and shows the message: ‘Save paper, save trees. Please do not print out this e-mail. Thank you!’ If the user presses ‘OK’ for printing, he will hear the sound of shivering wood and a falling tree. If the user presses cancel’, the saw stopped and he heard birds singing.

Agency: DDB Berlin, Germany.

Via: DirectDaily

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Saturday, November 14

Minimalism, Simplicity, and our Complex Needs

A few weeks ago, I pinged on my Twitter Stream: “I have been musing if simplicity is overrated. Humans are inherently complex creatures. What do you think”? I got a few responses mostly disagreeing with my thoughts, with many people suggesting that we need simplicity in our overly complex world. However, the responses had not fully convinced me as I had a few nagging thoughts over this Simplicity issue.
I think there is a lot more to this discussion, more than about “just making things simple and easy to use”. Why are some objects simple and easy to use but end up limited and boring? Why are some objects, like the iPhone, simple to use but somehow able to have many layers of more complex functions? Is this what they call simplexity, or an “emerging theory that proposes a possible complementary relationship between complexity and simplicity”? (via Wikipedia)
Recently Tim Brown muses with his colleges at IDEO that simplicity in form, also called minimalism, is about a surface treatment or style that is “…limited in its usefulness”.
My own view is that minimalism has come to represent a style and as such is limited in its usefulness. It represents a reaction to complexity whereas simplicity relies on an understanding of the complex. This is an important difference. One is about the surface, about the stuff. The other is about our experience and requires a deep appreciation of how things work so as to make them just simple enough.
So we can achieve simplicity when we are able to understand, distill and appreciate the complex enough to extract the simple. The Guru of simplicity: John Maeda, expands on this at his Laws of Simplicity blog. John writes:
Image from Laws of Simplicity
Muji expresses their point that achieving simplicity is deceptively complex because it is a thoughtful process.
I thought the description of Muji’s process pretty much nails it. But perhaps, the Harvard Business Blog’s Ron Ashkenas says it best by putting simplicity in a commercial context with his post: “Selling Simplicity — Not Just Marketing It“.
The reality is that simplicity is highly appealing in a world that is getting more and more complex — where consumers have too many choices, where technology is constantly evolving, and where the political and economic environment is unpredictable. In the midst of all this instability and change, people want to get back to basics. They want uncomplicated products, straightforward guidance, and things that work quickly and simply the first time, without lots of extra effort.
What is interesting about this phenomenon is that it is in sharp contrast with the thinking of the past few years — which was that consumers wanted unlimited choice so that they could customize their products and services to fit their own unique needs and lifestyles. As such, technology companies pushed for more and more bells and whistles, while other firms drove towards mass customization. The result was a huge array of choices that became almost overwhelming and costly.
The hardest part of simplicity is when a designer or product manager has to take a conscious effort to limit functions or specifications of a product to the most crucial ones. The process of achieving simplicity is highly complex one. I would say it requires a good combination of anthropological studies, analyzing consumer behavior and two secret ingredients, a designer’s problem solving skill and critical insight.
I agree with Ron that now more so than ever, the focus on consumer profiles and segments will continue to be very important in our product development process as it drives designs that are created from a consumer perspective. Better still, it really shows that we are listening to them.
I hope you enjoyed this mini research exercise as much as I did.

via Design Sojourn


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Back to the future - The sparkling planner

Over at numerous blogs, I read a lot of posts about following titles : digi planner, connection planner, digital strategist... 

From Jared ( to Gareth and Jason (

My friend Noah, who's head of strategy at The Barbarian Group, concluded : 'The split between digital strategy and traditional strategy (or whatever you want to call it), is not based on the medium but based on the product. It’s about advertising strategists versus experience strategists, and I definitely think there is a place for that distinction. Here at TBG Justin (head of UX) and myself have had many conversations about the overlap between our departments. Our goals as a department are the same and reflect the goals of the company as a whole: Build awesome things that people will use and enjoy. Though our deliverables may be distinct, how we approach that problem is similar: We dig in with whatever we can get our hands on (users, the brand, content) and look for insights that will drive how the brand behaves. Anyway, I would argue (and am right now) that understanding the messages that resonates with people (advertising) is far different than understanding the experience (digital). (I’m generalizing here a bit, obviously digital can include advertising, but I am speaking from my own experience at The Barbarian Group, a company that mostly focuses on building experiences)'

As a planner, I have one's say...

Back to basis

When Guy Murphy (Head of Planning at JWT) launched the new JWT Planning Model, he realized how this new model was 'true to his instincts'. 

What are you talking about? I'm talking about our job description which is always the same in spite of the media landscape explosion and the surabundance of the digital media. 

So what is it? We take a part in the creative process by helping creative people to invent advertising ideas (these would be tv, prints or interactive experiences). It's a 3 beats piece of music : Set the brief, get the ideas and develop them.

How do we do that? To my mind, the best method is quite similar to the way you plan a trip : where are we today, where do you want go? (sometimes smart planners will say : where is it possible to go? Of course, it depends on who you are...) and the last question, how to get there?

Open the pandora box

What happens next is going to take you by surprise... At JWT (of course in other agencies too), we work with a very special and confidential document called 'creative brief'. Brilliant isn't it? 

For those who read it for the very first time, the creative brief gives away loads of secret parts : brand idea, problem, audience, task, stimulus, response, discoveries and a very strange part called 'channel thinking'. 

About the best way to engage your audience

The fantastic thing about channel thinking is that digital specialists, connection planners and other digi strategists can express all their best if according to the problem, the audience, the task if the digital media is the best way to do it. 

Despite of targeting an alien, it's difficult to ignore it. But as a good planner, you must be agnostic. We're consumer-centric, not media-centric. 

A re you trying to say there is no need of strategist specialized in Digital? 

Of course not. We live in a digital world. Faster, simpler, more useable and more accessible to all than ever before. Digital evangelists get a kick out of anticipating and embracing change, decoding new digital landscapes and seeking out insights into brand ideas. We need them. Definitly. 

What I'm trying to say is that a good digital planner is a good planner first.

I know that all the advertising and marketing market try to be in vogue. But sometimes, it's not about a revolution but only a evolution. 

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Which Religion Should You Follow? - avin narasimhan

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Thursday, November 12

The third edition of Nokia’s The Way We Live Next conference took place yesterday in Espoo, Finland.

Nokia’s blog, Nokia Conversations, reports on a few of the keynote presentations:

Nokia’s vision of the future
by Heikki Norta, Nokia’s Head of Corporate Strategy
Smart ecosystems sits at the centre of our mobile life five years from now. That’s what Nokia’s head of corporate strategy Heikki Norta outlined this morning when he talked about what life will be like in 2015. During a short video, we saw how a combination of devices and services worked together to de-clutter life. This comes from a background that’s seeing the relationship between consumers and brands evolve from a monologue right now through a conversation and into a continuos relationship. The idea is simply to help users manage their lives better and enable them to create, share and get the most out of life.
- Read more
- Download presentation

The opportunities for the future
by Oskar Korkman, Nokia’s Head of Opportunity Identification in Consumer & Customer Insights
Trend research plays a key role in understanding what’s going to happen in the future. Creating an understanding of how people’s needs are changing and evolving helps create a clearer idea of where the opportunity for next generation products and services. Oskar Korkman is head of opportunity identification in consumer insights at Nokia and today he shared some of his thoughts for how we’re going to evolve. For Oskar, it’s all about relationships, with everything from strangers to plants firmly in his sights.
- Read more

Some other presentation downloads:
- Multiplying our efforts by Henry Tirri, SVP, Head of Nokia Research Center
- Communities creating Computers – Computers connecting Communities by Peter Schneider, Head of Technology Marketing, Maemo Devices, Nokia
- Communities of the Future by Purnima Kochikar, VP, Head of Forum Nokia & Developer Community
- Go mobile with cash by Teppo Paavola, VP, General Manager of Mobile Financial Services, Nokia

See also this article in Wired UK.