Tag Archives: Facebook

Friday’s 4-1-1, Quality & Cool Style

Happy Friday, everyone.  Hope your week has gone well.  Mine has been crazy and today is no different.  It’s been a good week, (sometimes you have bad weeks, sometimes you have good weeks – it was a good one for me) one of those where I feel like I’m in the zone for most of the week, doing “good” work, thinking of “good” things, producing top quality whoosits and whatsits, making cool “stuff.”  So, today’s theme is all about quality & cool – striking that balance is difficult, but when done, man, it produces good work.

1.  Mini’s at it again with “reality gaming” and their Getaway Stockholm campaign – this OOH campaign involves people, virtual Minis, geo-location, mobile and gaming.  I consider it OOH because everything happens out of the home.  It’s an experience where you don’t have to be in front of your computer sitting in your house or office.  It leverages the wide open spaces of the outdoor and creates a game around it all.  It’s really awesome.

2.  Now you can “Like” a brand through a QR code – there’s been a roundabout way to use QR codes to get people to “Like” your brand in the past (open up their Facebook page and allow people to “Like” it there – it’s clunky), but now it’s as easy as downloading a QR code reader app on your phone, opening it up, and snapping a picture of it.  If you know what a QR code is (whichI have to say, I’m seeing/reading about them every single week now, so that’s a good thing), Likify has now made an app that can direct you straight to “Liking” your favorite brand.  Nifty.

3. Loyalty cards 2.0 brought to you by Novitaz – this is cool….if you’re a shopper.

RFID card

You get a credit card-style loyalty card with an RFID chip in it.  When you’re in a store that has the sensors in it, it sends a message to your mobile phone, alerting you of the special deals of the day.  And best, when you buy, there are social hooks in the platform so that you can share what you just bought with your social community.  Cool, and definitely the wave of the future.

4. Shoppers Take a Nonlinear Path to Purchase – carrying on the shopping theme, I thought this article was interesting, although not surprising.  Consumer shopping habits are changing, particularly with the introduction of so many new technologies – mobile and social being top of the list.  Mobile is big in helping consumers make purchasing decisions.  Social is big, too.  Although it’s a great takeaway that “social” does not equal “digital” or better yet, “Facebook.”  Social is word-of-mouth.  And the overwhelming majority of word-of-mouth activity happens “offline.”  But can happen over the mobile phone – you know, that thing where people actually talk to each other on the phone.  Yeah, mobile phones are good for that, too.  Interesting that “digital signage” is not mentioned anywhere in here at all.  Hmm.

“Uh-huh” – The Future of Advertising is about “Making Stuff” – Cindy Gallop, founder-CEO of IfWeRanTheWorld, talks about the real value in execution, not ideas. Amen, Cindy. As someone who is responsible for the execution arm of our agency, I can tell you firsthand how important quick, quality execution sets agencies/people apart from each other.

“Duh” – Read above. Not to take the easy way out here, but it’s an important thing to call out and a no-brainer at the same time. I mean, I am looking at it from the standpoint of “making stuff” everyday, but you’d be surprised how many people “talk” about stuff vs. “make” stuff. I’m a maker. Not a talker. Hope it always stays like this. I like makers much more than I like talkers, unless of course, if you’re one of my talker friends!

Anyway, have a good weekend everyone!

Friday 4-1-1, “PR”/Social Style

Back in Dallas today after a whirlwind tour this week.  From New York, I flew to Detroit for meetings, then finally made my way home last night.  Just in time to see my kids before they went to bed.  I’m such a homebody.  I love being in my home around my family.  My wife and I just sat in silence and talked.  It was nice.

Now, here we go again.  Back at it.  As I’ve said before, the one thing that I don’t like about live-blogging events is that I don’t really get to put my commentary on what I’m hearing.  I sprinkle things in here and there, but for the most part, I haven’t found a way to successfully manage that part of blogging events.  I think there’s a lot of value to get down what others are saying so all of you can get a glimpse into other perspectives.  That’s the primary reason I approach conferences and live blogging the way I do.  Do you find value in that?  I would love to know if I’m off base.

What I want to do for today’s Friday 4-1-1 is take what I heard from the conference and give you my thoughts on some of the things that stuck out to me.  First, as a digital practitioner, most of the “digital” conversation was basic and not new to me.  I really enjoyed hearing different approaches to the “types” of work that we’re faced with on a daily basis – the crisis management session really stuck out to me.  Perhaps it’s because I’ve been dealing with a few clients on this very thing and it’s a type of work that I’ve never done before so it’s just fascinating in general.  But, there were others:

1.  I heard multiple times something along the lines of “merging the offline with the online.”  This, of course, makes my ears perk up because I want to see how other people are thinking about this concept.  It’s clear that people have an intuition that this is becoming more prevalent and possible, but noone talked about any other “screen” than the mobile phone in relation to “walking down the street.”  If we think there is a huge need for education in the “digital signage” industry, I’m here to tell you there is a huge need for education across the board.  Agencies like mine even have a hard time understanding a) what the “new” OOH is and more importantly, b) the potential of it.  Yes, it includes mobile, but it’s much more than mobile.  It’s much more than “digital signage,” too.

2.  I enjoyed hearing much more talk centered around relationships than platforms.  I believe whole-heartedly this is the right way to think about brands touching people.  It’s not so much what brands touch people on (platform or channel), it’s about how they touch people and with what (content).  Brands need to look no further than what’s already happening on each “platform” for how people naturally use them.  The platforms are already being used and used in a way that allow people to connect (in the way they want to connect) with others and build relationships.  If a brand is going to be successful in today’s ecosystem, they (and the agencies that support them) should understand that to be sustainable, you have to focus on the relationship, not the platform.  Same thing with “digital signage” – it’s not about digital signage, it’s about using this technology in a way that it actively builds relationships between brands and consumers.  It’s powerful if used properly and ineffective, just as any other channel, if not.

3.  Today, more than ever before, people/brands/agencies are making things up as they go along.  This is a new era and people have to come to terms with the fact that there might not be any “example” of a particular type of work – social, mobile, and/or OOH.  This is exciting and daunting, for sure.  This makes relationships and trust more important than ever – not only with communities, but between agencies and clients.  It’s important to think things through and do as much due diligence as possible, but in reality, we are (literally) all learning together.  Be smart.  Be brave.

4.  If you want to be successful in “social” – and this is for anyone – brands, businesses, bloggers – don’t make everything entirely about YOU.  It’s not.  You and your contribution are certainly important.  The way that you contribute can make or break you.  It either builds trust or breaks it.  But it’s important to recognize your community.  Think of ways you can do this.  People just want to belong to something, and they’re willing to have brands involved, too.  Just as long as it doesn’t become a selfish act and “pushing” anything in their face.

“Uh-huh” – man, the crisis panel and the make-up of the panelists was the highlight for me.  If you sat in that session, you would have walked out of there learning more in an hour than you might have in a year.  Here are some of the best nuggets that I took away, and they don’t need any additional commentary.  If you’re ever faced with a crisis, read this and follow what speaks to you:

  • If someone asks, “what should my digital crisis management plan be,” your first question back should be – “Do you have a regular crisis management plan?”  The approaches can’t be independent of one another.
  • Brands and detractors have the same tools.  Those detractors are smart and resourceful.
  • If you do not have a social presence and a voice right now, start creating one immediately.
  • Don’t wait for a crisis to start developing relationships.  Again, if you’re not doing this right now, start immediately.
  • There are no “special” crisis tools to use in a crisis.  Use simple, common tools that are at your disposal all the time – search, legal council, email, and your website.
  • When faced with a crisis, remember 2 simple things – 1) overcommunicate and 2) don’t make the problem worse.

“Duh” – I don’t know if anyone else is tired of it, but I’ve just about had enough of all of this social media speak.  I am around it all the time and we always joke about throwing around the buzzwords – engagement, listening, Facebook, Twitter, funnel, interesting intersection – ugh.  I tried to separate myself from my body and “hear” what people were saying to me and I just thought, this is disgusting.  We should ban those words (not just the above, but all of them.  Good resource HERE) forever.  Call me out, too.  It’s easy to get sucked in and start speaking wah, wah, wah, wah, wah.

Enjoy your weekend, everyone!  And thanks for reading!

Microsoft’s Microsoft Tag for Microsoft Office FTW!

Good post today by my buddy, David Weinfeld, about 2-D barcodes, specifically how much they’ve been used this year, even citing a ScanLife report that shows a 700% increase in barcode scanning.  It’s a big number, but you must consider that it almost started at 0 in January.  The number of people who actually use this technology is still small.  What I found more interesting in the report was a) 1/2 of the barcode users were 35-45 skewing more male (I found this a high demo – would have thought it would be younger) and b) the most popular smartphone platform among users was the Google Android platform, followed by BlackBerry, then by iPhone.  It’s one of the few times I’ve seen anything led by something non-iPhone, particularly with the use of new technology.

This morning, I came across a Microsoft ad that featured one of their Microsoft Tags.

I had high expectations for this experience, it being a Microsoft Tag on a Microsoft ad about Microsoft Office.  (I didn’t quite get the 3-D thing on the text – don’t know if you can see it, but I looked past it).  What I got was a nice, easy site with videos.  My first impression was that it was good, but really, it just left me feeling like it was any other code/scanning experience that I’ve seen.

Then, I looked closer and went through the experience again. I have to say, it’s well thought-out and includes some little things that really separate it from others that I’ve seen. First, the videos are highly produced and there are lots of them! And they’re all sharable via Facebook and/or Twitter. The social integration is smooth and it pre-polpulates an #Office2010 hashtag. Besides that, it gives you a blank field to draft your own tweet. (Having done this before, I’ve elected to pre-draft the entire tweet for the user, including the hashtag, just for the ease of experience. In the end, people are used to drafting tweets on their phone so I suppose it doesn’t make much of a difference). The most important aspect here is that this feature extends the brand experience beyond this particular “channel.”

They extend channels via another feature, too – an email sign up to “receive details on how to get a free trial of Office 2010.”  This not only drives the user deeper into the brand, it drives them one step closer to purchase, which is the end goal, right?  Smart.

And on top of it all, navigating this mobile site is like navigating any good website on your computer.

This is what I expect from one of these experiences, particularly from a maker of this type of technology.  I’m glad I looked again, because it gave me a chance to notice things I should notice.  It doesn’t always have to be unique right off the bat, upon first glance.  Often times, regardless of what technology or channel it’s in, the elegance is in the details.  As is the case here.

700% shows awareness of this technology.  That’s a great indicator of widespread adoption.  What’s on the other end of the scan, as David and anyone else who’s dealt with/analyzed these technologies says, is going to be the key to real adoption.

Honda to Bring Us 1st 3-D Times Square Billboard

Mark your calendars, if you’re in NYC or not – September 23, Honda plans to launch Times Square’s first 3-D billboard for their new sporty hybrid, the CR-Z.  They’re going all out with this campaign, focusing on many emerging technologies, including 3-D, iPad/mobile apps (their interactive brochure that launched last week), a Facebook app that includes a video wall (?), and no telling what else.  Be on the lookout!

Celebrating (and Reflecting on) the 1st 6 Months

We’re at a good halfway point in the year, so I think it’s an opportune time to look back on the first 6 months of this blog and reflect.

All in all, I think I’ve done a fairly good job of finding a relevant and clear point of view.  It’s evolved from something narrow when I started to a bit broader now.  Most everything has been grounded in OOH – I just look at things with more experience and exposure as time has gone (and goes) on.  I’m also surrounded by different people in my everyday life who have impacted my thinking.  So, naturally, my point of view will evolve.  I just don’t want it to slow me down and/or turn into something crazy and incomprehensible.

I need to write more.  I’m averaging about 10 posts a month.  I feel like I need to double that so I’m providing a steady source of information.  I’ve asked a couple of my work colleagues, all of whom are very bright and have an opinion and aren’t shy to voice it, to provide guest posts on as regular basis as they can.  So, hopefully, you’ll not only get more content, but you’ll get more (and different) perspective.  If any of you want to provide a guest post, just let me know.  I’m open to it.

I haven’t found the secret sauce of doing conferences.  Blogging, tweeting, meeting people, and just plain going to the conference is a lot of work and certainly requires some juggling.  I’ve provided a decent mix of “live streaming” + my perspective.  I feel like I need to focus on getting in front of some of “names” there and interview them (or something.)  I can see how that would be valuable.  So, any of you names at these conferences, take this as my initial request :)

Other than that, I’m pretty happy with everything.  It’s still very new and the test is really going to be sustaining over time.  I’m committed to continue learning and doing and writing.  I expect big things and as a result, everyone reading this will experience that with me.

I’ve met some really great people through this avenue and that, more than anything, is the thing I’m most proud of.  This blog allows for these words to live on until some Y2K catastrophe, but I hope to keep those relationships for much longer.

I thought it would be a fun exercise to share some of my favorite posts.  I’ve enjoyed reading back over everything and for those who are new to this blog, it might help you navigate through some of my thinking up to now.  To those of you who are not new to this blog and my regular readers (again, thank you guys for regular readership!!), I’d love to hear some of your favorite posts.  So here they are, broken down by month (I picked a favorite per month):

January – The 11th Screen Puzzle – this was my 3rd post and really where I felt like I was able to really give everyone a sense of where I’m coming from and what to expect from this blog.

February – Keep It Simple Stupid – here, I showed a few examples of “simple” and effective Interactive Out of Home (IOOH) and an example of not so simple and not so effective.  To me, there are many different kinds of enabling technologies that make OOH solutions “interactive.”  These technologies are vital, not only for the industry, but for the future of marketing.  On one hand, these technologies allow us to merge the offline with the online and on another hand, they allow brands to make “complete” experiences.

March – Facebook + QR Codes + A Good Idea? – a little snarky here, but this was on the heels of doing a big QR code initiative for one of our clients and all I was reading was how Facebook was going to save QR codes.  That’s right, I said “save” because here in the US, I think they might have died before they were even born.  I personally think there’s value to QR codes, if used the right way + proper eduction, but how many of you have used QR codes and like it?  I just don’t know that we, as consumers of information through technology, need this particular technology.  Point is – is Facebook going to save them?  I don’t think so.

April – Why Business Cards and Video are the Same to Me – one of the un-IOOH-related posts, but something that allowed me to provide my perspective on more of what I do everyday.

May – Are You an Expert Learner? – I am of the mindset that if you aren’t learning, you’re wasting your time.  I don’t particularly care for know-it-alls, but I really like learn-it-alls.

June – Kinect (and others) – “DOOH” Killers? – the launch of Microsoft’s Kinect should really open eyes on what can be done sooner rather than later with human computer interaction.  It is particularly compelling for anyone in the “DOOH” (if you’ve read this blog, you know how I feel about that moniker) industry.

And here we are in July.  Many more to come.

Facebook + QR Codes = A Good Idea?

Take a picture of it.  Go ahead.  Before you do, though, you’ll need a QR code reader application on your smartphone.  Here are some suggestions:

  • iPhone:  I-Nigma
  • Android:  Google Zxing Readxer or BeeTagg
  • Blackberry:  I-Nigma or BeeTagg
  • Windows Mobile:  BeeTagg
  • Nokia:  I-Nigma

This allows you to “read” the code – you need this to use it.  And I’ve already “written” the code by inputting my URL into a simple QR code generator (don’t worry about that, it’s just a minor detail). 

So, now that you can actually use it, let me tell you what it is.  It’s a QR (Quick Response) code.  Just like the name implies, it’s used to take you to an online destination “quickly” from your phone.  People – mainly marketers – use them for various things, most notably on print pieces to drive consumers online from the actual print piece.  You can also receive SMS texts and coupons through this code, if it is set up right and if your reader application accepts those forms of data.  There are many other uses, from self-promotion to personal information (business card-like) to rich multimedia content delivery.  They’re really big in Japan/SE Asia, in large part due to the absence of a QWERTY keyboard.  They haven’t really caught on in the U.S.  But it’s a good concept, right?  Take a picture, automatically find more information – all through the snap of a little black and white code.

So now that you know what they are (and how to use them) – and I’m sure someone else might be able to explain it better than me, certainly someone who has a much larger audience – let’s say someone like Facebook, the most popular site in the U.S. – let’s actually do something with them.

First, did you take a photo of mine yet, through your QR code reader application?  If so, you found my Twitter account.  If not, I’ll make it even easier on you – click here.  That was probably much easier than taking out your phone, downloading an application, taking a photo of the code and seeing a mobile version of my Twitter account.  It’s a 4-5 step process vs. 1.  Not really conducive for a good experience in this scenario, snapping this code on a digital screen like a computer, especially when you have a keyboard right in front of you.

But let’s consider this – the power of QR codes really lies in being able to merge the real-world with the digital world.  So, let’s talk through that scenario and leverage it for its strength – out in the real world.  Let’s say you want to print stickers, or a T-shirt, or even a bumper sticker (yes, I heard bumper sticker?!?) with your own personal QR code so when people see you out and about, they can snap a picture of your code and be taken online to your own personal Twitter account.  Or Facebook account.  Even see your FB status.  If you’re still in, here’s what you need to do.

For stickers, make sure that you have the most appropriately sized stickers/labels.  I’ve found Avery 8395 to be the best because of their size (QR codes are square).  They’re a little expensive, though – in fact, all blank labels/stickers are more expensive than you would expect.

You’ll also need to make sure you can format them appropriately – how many rows across, how many columns down?  The Avery stickers are 2 across, 4 down for a total of 8 stickers per sheet.  But, here’s the rub – you can either go through the process of formatting them yourself (which is not an envious task) or buy a software solution that automatically formats them.  This can be had for $20-$40.

Now, make your own stickers.  Rinse and repeat if you want to do T-shirts or bumper stickers.  Or anything else.  Keep in mind the formatting and the actual object you want to print them on.

Whew.  It’s a lot.  But at least now, the world knows who I am wherever they turn.  And as a consumer, all I have to do is wade through all of the black  & white QR codes in the real world to find information on the people/brands that I’m interested in. 

On 2nd thought, the browser on my phone is really good and pretty darn quick.

And to all the brands out there – I’ve done this before.  I can hook you up.  And we don’t have to wait on FB!

Look – all lightness aside – in terms of raising awareness for this technology, Facebook’s endorsement and accessibility should help immensely (if this is all true).  In terms of actual application and effectiveness, I fear that it could easily cloud realistic, positive use.  This technology can really be effective and provide a lot of value to the brand and to the consumer, if used correctly.  As soon as it becomes an enterprise novelty, though, they might die.  I hope this is not the outcome.

What are your thoughts?

Multi-channel Technological Usefulness (or My Day at the Mall)

With three little ones, we often frequent venues that allow us to consolidate our tasks into one physical space.  Super Targets and malls, especially malls with play-areas-for-kids, are high on our list.  Malls are a fascinating place to me, although I don’t like spending lots of time in them.  What fascinates me, aside from the people and the over-saturation of “things” is the lack of technology that exists inside them.  I still see the static, Dewey Decimal System-like mall directories (that’s what I always think about anyway) that were around when I was a kid.  I can’t believe those things still exist?!?  Those scream touch screens with wayfinding + behavioral targeting + mobile couponing + social engagement – they’re really an endless well of multi-channel technological usefulness.

But by an large, these don’t exist.  Digital signage is slowly becoming a standard in malls, but interactivity with that signage doesn’t even seem to be on the radar.  So, I was giddy when I saw a digital signage solution that encouraged me to interact with it.  (NOTE – I did not capture the best content to represent my experience.  Next time, I’ll know exactly what to get for the set-up and pay-off to tell the best story.) 

In any case, these digital signs were scattered throughout the mall, not as a digital directory, but as a vehicle to deliver moving, engaging content, be it movie trailers or dynamic store advertisements.  On one of the “pages” of the scroll, there was a contest that encouraged users to take a photo in front of the sign and post it on their Facebook page.   

So, I took my mobile phone, positioned myself in front of the screen, and smiled:

Then, when we got home, I uploaded the photo on their Facebook page:

And I was happy.  As it ends up, I didn’t win, but I had lots of fun doing it, and appreciated a brand driving me deeper in the experience through digital signage and enabling technology.  This is a good example of DOOH being made interactive through this sort of technology.

With a few tweaks, I think this could have been a better, more effective initiative, but they deserve kudos for utilizing the digital signs in this way.  I hope to see more of this sooner rather than later because I think it’s one of the easiest, most natural extensions of incorporating multi-channel technological usefulness into the spaces around us.

Now, I am not a world-wide mall-goer.  These are my observations based on the malls I have gone to primarily in Texas.  If you have seen any other examples like this, particularly in malls, please send them my way.