I wrote earlier that "marketing with meaning" has the ability to "activate" customers. An effective way to activate customers is by activating the dormant social networks they inhabit (often without even knowing it). While social networking has visualized the so-called six degrees of separation, all business transactions have a social component and can be seen as expressions of the underlying social micro-universes, the "worlds within worlds," in which--shifting time and place--individuals travel and interact. As marketers face the daunting challenge of connecting with fragmented audiences that are increasingly split into billions of social atoms … Read more
Sign of the times! Hat tip to @csaper for spotting Affluence.org, an exclusive online social network for the wealthy, "aimed at forming a socially conscious, elite, and exclusive community that helps wealthy, influential, and affluent people make life better for both themselves and others."
Now that the "rich are under attack" ("The Economist"), entangled in a fatal web of Ponzi schemes, excessive executive bonuses, and a monumental destruction of assets (some $10 trillion, around a quarter of the wealthy's assets, has been lost in the financial crisis), their interest in finding new … Read more
Design is not the answer to everything, but it certainly has an important role to play in almost everything that holds a society together.
In light of the current economic crisis, several U.S. professional design organizations (AIGA, IDSA, and others), design education accreditation organizations, and Federal Government officials have seized the historic opportunity and joined forces to launch an initiative to shape a U.S. National Design Policy. In a moment of great global uncertainty and an erosion of national confidence, designers are perfectly positioned to take on a leadership role in "Re-designing America's Future," and … Read more
About four weeks ago, I went for an annual physical and had standard blood work done. I was told to call back in a week, and of course I forgot. Today I had a message that said: "Hello, this is Dr. XX's office, please call us back at xxx-xxx-xxxx." That was it--the person didn't identify herself and also didn't say what the call was for. When I dialed the number, I was expecting to be told that I owed them money. But actually, the woman on the phone had no idea why she had called … Read more
Many new car buyers face a similar dilemma: You want to customize a new car, but don't know if you'll like the maroon leather interior that looks great in the catalog but always seems too pimplike in person. Not wanting to make an expensive mistake, you go with the safe silver-and-black combo, just like everyone else.
Cater, a technology group funded by the European Commission, is working on software that could help shoppers customize with confidence.
Using virtual-reality technology, Cater is building a car customization application that helps customers picture more realistically, and spatially experience, what their configured … Read more
For the past two years, several independent Mac software developers have teamed up to put together a bundle of award-winning Mac apps at a vastly reduced price--with 25 percent of the purchase price donated to the charity of your choice (chosen from a list). The whole thing takes place at a very well-designed site called MacHeist.com and over the past two years, thousands of Mac users have snapped up the limited time offer--it's really a great deal! The fun part about the MacHeist offer is the developers of MacHeist make it into a kind of scavenger hunt. They … Read more
Carbon Motors is hitting the road with its next generation law enforcement vehicle to meet with state and federal government officials and promote its E7 police car.
The E7 prototype a step above the Ford Crown Victorias you typically see patrolling the streets. The high tech vehicle was designed in part based on input and suggestions from more than 3,000 law enforcement professionals. Chase ready, the E7 is equipped with a 300-horsepower clean diesel engine that propels the car from 0-60 in 6.5 seconds and has a top speed of 155 mph. … Read more
The tizzy created by Facebook's page design changes point out some valuable lessons that we should keep in mind as we head more into a SaaS and cloud-based world.1. Choosing when to change
There are many differences between how shrink-wrapped applications and software as a service (SaaS) work, but one of them is that customers of shrink-wrapped software choose when, and if, they upgrade. They kick the tires to look around at the changes beforehand, download a trial, poll other users, wait for the .1 rev and the kinks to get worked out.
With SaaS, changes get pushed … Read more
AUSTIN, Texas--Someone blogged that South by Southwest Interactive is just like the Internet itself: disjointed, decentralized, scattered, fast, aggressive, random, fragmented, and so on.
In fact, the main commonality between the two may be that the number of attributes to describe them is infinite. Like the Internet, the annual tech conference here is an echo chamber of an echo chamber, a place where original thought and commentary get mixed up and mashed up in a highly self-referential meta conversation.
That was already the case before Twitter entered the scene at SXSW two years ago, but the microblogging service has certainly amplified the effect. It was both comical and frightening to see the uber-individualistic geeksters at SXSW captivated by the invisible rules of an ostentatious behavioral uniformity: within 1 mile of the convention center, you could observe the strange ritual of groups of people standing or sitting together, chained to their iPhones, twittering instead of talking: "SXSW. Twittering about SXSW."
The real conversation was often limited to a quick "What's your name?" or "Where's the next party?" just to have some input for the next tweet. It is indeed a read-write generation that is coming of age in the wake of an all-dominant present, with no particular loyalty to the past and maybe not even an interest in the future (see Peggy Orenstein's recent piece on "Growing up on Facebook" in The New York Times Magazine).
Yet the rise of the social digerati is unstoppable. New data by Nielsen Online shows that social-networking sites (which encompass social networks and blogs, by Nielsen's definition) are experiencing growth rates of twice as much as any of the main destination sites (search, portals, PC software sites, and e-mail). The time spent on social networks and blogging sites is growing at more than three times the rate of overall Internet growth. Furthermore, social networks are gaining traction among new audiences. … Read more
Social media strategist Shannon Paul, who works with the NHL Detroit Red Wings, said many good things on a SXSW panel this Sunday, but the one thing that stuck with me most was her assertion that brands need to become more “human” in order to connect with their audiences. She wasn’t referring to personifying a brand through a human face (be it an average employee or a charismatic leader), but rather to exhibiting ‘branded’ behavior that is truly human. What does that mean? What is the most human trait of all human traits? Shannon Paul posits it’s vulnerability.… Read more