The Evolution of Social Networks

21 12 2007

“The Year Networks Become More Than Social”

Stop by Conversation Agent to check out my recent guest post discussing the evolution of social networks from merely connecting people to connecting people with ideas. 2008 will be the year innovation networks, or i-Nets, were born.

2007 Human Centered Communication Award: Fred Water

13 12 2007

“Fred has a blackbelt in hanging out.”

Fred water is the most brilliant product launch of 2007, even beating out the iPhone. No other product embodies the perfect synergy of marketing and design. Fred, redefined water, a product category most people would say is boring and saturated. Human centered communications is a term I coined to describe the fusion of the human centered design trend with marketing communications. Fred personifies water, making it different, but also increases utility through unique bottle design.  Fred is a product where the advertising positioning was integrated from square one, not a component slapped on the end of the development cycle.

The advertising/design convergence trend is something I have been proclaiming for a number of years, and Fred is the proof of concept that I hope opens the floodgates.

Tangerine Toad’s post on design as the new advertising.

Post on Human Centered Design

Post on Apple’s organizational structure to merge design and marketing.

Without further adieu, the inspirational development process of Fred direct from his father, via PSFK.

Google’s Biggest Hurdle to World Domination

13 12 2007

Goo – what? Chinese can’t pronounce Google.

Interesting article here from Bloomberg that explores a huge problem that Google faces in China. People can’t pronounce the now ubiquitous verb.

In the annals of advertising history we have a number of comedic stories such as the latin Nova launch fiasco, and the debatable Gerbers selling ground babies in Africa tale. These were always cute stories, used to get a chuckle from intro level marketing students, but it is indeed a difficult issue that global brands need to contend with.

Web companies names like Yahoo! were hailed as perfect for international expansion as they were very phonetic and didn’t have clearly defined meanings.  As internet penetration in China increases rapidly, entrepreneurs and conglomerates alike need to start rethinking their naming processes. China also appears to a be unique as for some reason many 2.0 names roll off the tongue in a cutesy way in Japanese.

Can any readers weigh in on other languages?

Happy Holidays to All!

10 12 2007

Happy Holidays!

I know the posting frequency has been a little sub-par lately, but life has been a bit crazy as I tie up all the loose ends before shipping back to Maui to visit my childhood stomping grounds. I’ll be posting a few articles throughout the remainder of the year depending on the frequency of inspiration, so fear not.

More importantly, I hope everyone takes some time to spend quality time with the family. Best wishes!

I will be contributing an article on 2008 predictions over at Conversation Agent, so you can catch me there if you miss me.

See you next year!


Media Is Not Longer Counted In Impressions

4 12 2007

Time to evolve from impressions to impact.

To quote something everyone has read in their marketing 101 textbook, “You need to make 6… 7… 8… or was it 9 impressions before a consumer will recall your ad?” Truth is it really doesn’t matter how many times someone has had the pleasure of being exposed to your ad, what matters is creating impact. To be fair we still need a base metric for pricing and setting goals; however, everyone understands that eyeballs are moot in the 2.0 realm, so lets start the conversation around evolving metrics.

In the traditional advertising world impressions rule.

The question is framed as, “How many people will see my ad for X dollars?”.

In the mass media world this metric is the gold standard; however, applying impressions based thinking in new media, guerrilla, and experiential executions can irreparably damage a brand, because you have only one chance to make a positive impact.

NBC’s online video viewing experience is a perfect example of how impressions based thinking is killing brands. Last night I plugged my computer into my TV, gathered some friends, and hit play to catch up on some missed episodes of Heroes. Before the show started a recycled Nationwide spot ran, no big deal we thought since we are watching Heroes for free. Then, we saw the ad again… and again… and again for a total of 7 times. To make matters worse I had to get up and full size the screen after every spot. In 42 min Nationwide lost 5 customers. In the traditional impressions based market NBC’s video platform seems incredibly attractive as you get 7 impressions with no clutter, but to reiterate even if your dealing with TV based content the online rules are different.

What’s the solution? I don’t have all the answers, but Nationwide could have easily run a 1-2 min pre-roll spot and I would have thanked them for subsidizing my experience, or if the client insisted on interrupting the show they could have taken a 3-4 min mini-story, say of someone who went through a crash, and broken it up across the length of the episode. At the very least feed me a fresh spot at every break. 7 identical spots in a row? That is just lazy.

What works on TV doesn’t work online, so apply the same strategies at your own risk.

Privacy: We Got Bigger Issues Than Beacon

4 12 2007

Everyone is up in arms about Beacon invading our privacy, but here’s a reminder that we have a lot more serious privacy issues to content with.

Great video via FreshCreation on the Big Brother State.

Innovators’ Ball: Raise Some $$$ For Obama and Dance With Some Stars

3 12 2007


A friend of mine from my home state, Hawaii, is organizing a gala event on Dec. 10th to raise funds for the Obama campaign.

The Innovators’ Ball is an event specifically targeting media and tech people in the New York area and highlights Obama’s commitment to this group and his technology platform.

Read the full technology and innovation plan here.

Even if your not an Obama supporter there is going to be a fantastic ensemble of honorees attending the event:

– Chris Hughes (Co-Founder: Facebook)
– Scott Heiferman (Co-Founder & CEO:
– Craig Newmark (Founder: Craigslist)
– Julius Genachowski (Former Chief of Operations: IAC)
– Hill Harper (Actor: CSI NY)
– Margo Lion (Producer: Hairspray)
– Ted Sorenson (Lead Speechwriter: President Kennedy)

In addition, the planning committee is still looking to extend the list so if you know anyone that might be interested, or you would like to attend as a honoree yourself, please contact the organizers at host [at]

Please mention my name if you decide to attend.  Much appreciated.

Extending Blog Conversations With CoComment

3 12 2007

Join the CoComment bandwagon.

Don’t let the deformed, yet seemingly happy, mascots turn you off from CoComment. They kinda grow on you…

CoComment, for those of you that haven’t given it a try yet, is a great plug-in that aggregates all the comment threads you contribute to on various blogs. There are so many great conversations that take place around blog posts; however, most people leave a comment and never check back to follow up. With CoComment it makes it easy to keep tabs on various threads and increases interaction, which can only be a good thing.

I’m not affiliated in anyway, but I love the app and hope all my regular readers check it out so we increase the chatter in this blog.

Look forward to hearing more of everyone’s insights.

Debut on MarketingProfs – Open Letter to Starbucks

30 11 2007

Earlier this week I was invited to become a contributor for MarketingProfs’ Daily Fix blog.

For those of you not familiar with MarketingProfs hop on over to their site and check it out:

“MarketingProfs provides marketing know-how through its newsletters, templates, guides, online seminars, and conferences. It also provides platforms for learning and discussion through its blog, the Daily Fix, and its forum, the Know-How Exchange.”

My debut post is here, and it discusses Starbucks’ new holiday TV campaign and how they are sacrificing authenticity by going the traditional media route.

Also check out this post by Paul Williams on Starbucks that by coincidence also ran on DailyFix today.

Becoming Gatekeepers: How Old Media Can Leverage Brand Trust

28 11 2007

“This is art? My 4 year old could paint this”

Any person that has ever walked into a museum, especially of the modern/contemporary variety, has no doubt uttered an iteration of these words. Lets face it, art is an ambiguous concept and us laymen goto museums because people that know far more than us about the art world carefully curate the pieces that are displayed. They are our filters to the art world, and I would say 95% of the art I am exposed to is in museums. Of course, aficionados have expanded circles of exposure beyond museums such as galleries, art shows, artist friends, publications, books, etc.

The art world is a great metaphor for today’s media landscape because for the same reasons that we allow curators to filter our peek into the vast artistic realm, we allow media outlets such as Vogue, CNN, BusinessWeek, etc. to filter our fashion dos & don’ts, world news, and business thinking. The answer? Trust.

As productive people we often don’t have the time to waddle through 3000+ blog posts a day so we either trust other bloggers like Robert Scoble to filter news for us, or let it bubble up to mainstream trade publications and news sources. To further clarify, just like in the art world the hardcore among us read everything ourselves and conduct our own filtering, but that is merely because our egos tell us that we are the best curators for our information, which sometimes can be true as no one else knows what information you deem most relevant.

So, what is this holy grail that I speak of?

Well the most trusted media sources are offline entities, although they may have online components. Therefore, they are in a position to leverage their clout to become online filters for their area of expertise. For example Vogue should reach out to fashion bloggers, allow them to become affiliates that they can sell ads for, and create a mini-portal where they aggregate posts they feel are most relevant for their readers on their site. It’s a win-win situation: Bloggers get better CPMs and more exposure, and Vogue becomes a gatekeeper and increases their online ad revenue. I spoke about topic-centric vertical ad networks in my previous post and in my opinion these old media powerhouse names are best positioned to take advantage of this new trend.