Tag Archives: geo-location

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!

The Irony of “Sociable Media” is that it’s not Sociable (at least not to me)

I read an interesting whitepaper today written by Stephen Randall of LocaModa and a partnering agency, Posterscope, titled Sociable Media: Seven ways to connect online and offline social experiences to deliver engagement, advocacy, and brand affinity.  In fact, I’ve read it four or five times, each time with a more detailed eye than the last.  And I find myself scratching my head more than wanting to forward it to all of my colleagues.

The authors, and certainly both companies responsible for the whitepaper, are clearly experienced in mobile and (digital) OOH engagement and by virtue, seem credible enough.  I’ve seen Stephen speak on various panels this year and he is a smart man leading the charge, one that I stand firmly behind.  I have not met any of the contributors from Posterscope, but by the looks of their history, they know what’s going on in the space.

Unfortunately, this knowledge-base and experience might very well be the downfall of the whitepaper.  My first question is, “who is the intended audience?”  This is not a 101-type whitepaper.  This is advanced theory, language, and practice – advanced enough that a good portion (if not a majority) of marketers, communicators, brands, and consumers will not know what in the world they’re talking about.  Brands are having a hard enough time catching up to social media – using it in a way that creates and adds value to the ‘community’ and themselves.  Much less a new, albeit interesting concept – sociable media.  This is way ahead of the curve, and if I’m left scratching my head (I, at least, speak this same language and know/understand all of the practices and technologies mentioned), what is everyone else left doing?  How does everyone else digest this?

From what I have seen in my extensive dealings with brands (big and small), the vast majority are not ready for interactive/experiential OOH right now.  They want to play in the mobile space just to play in the mobile space, and as mentioned above, they are trying to put the infrastructure/process/guidelines in place for their social media efforts.  But many of them are not there yet.  Sure, there are the Nikes and Minis of the world who are out in front, but like geo-location applications themselves (the basis of many of the points in this whitepaper), adoption and proliferation of interactive/experiential OOH is a ways away.  I want brands to get there quickly.  On some days, I feel like we’re on the cusp, with technologies that span various channels like this, but on most days, I realize that we’re far from it.  In fairness, I’m looking through this through an advertising/PR/communications lense, not through a lense that deals with this particular niche (mobile + OOH) everyday.  But my lense grounds me in online and offline social, both of which are incorporated into 95% of what we do and have been doing for years.  And while I appreciate the idea of “sociable media,” I am left wondering, “what else?”

From a brand’s perspective, social media is predicated on the idea of adding value to a conversation that is already happening, and then the goal is to grow it to the point of building trust.  The most successful brands in “social media” are those who understand their story and their voice.  Both are vital components in establishing a credible presence that adds value to the conversation and builds into a trust-based relationship over time.  In an effort not to bang you over the head with social-media-speak, in short – the story is the thing.  Even in “social” media where the brand “doesn’t own the story.”  Look across any channel, be it digital, mobile, OOH, even social, and the most successful brands are those who know their story and merely use those channels as distribution mechanisms.  Even in the case of “social,” the brand’s story is still distributed, just in a more open way.  This right here, this interplay with channels and story and technology is where I’m struggling to shape into what I believe to be true.  At the end of the day, which one of these drives a brand?  Is it the technology?  Is it the channel?  Or is it the story?

I think all three are important and I have thoughts on each of them and their particular interplay, but they’re not baked enough to share right now.  I would love to know what you all think??

Regardless, a connection that I did not get in this whitepaper’s “story,” was the connection of how this sort of engagement continues with brands, after the interaction with this screen, or person.  How is the conversation continued?  Much of it seems like a one-stop hit if it’s based on location, more specifically checking into a location.  The engagement is sustainable if the brand’s story is brought to the forefront instead of the actual location.  And then, continues beyond the location.  Where is the brand’s value here, on these screens, in this social media discussion?  It can’t be by just providing a place or a screen or a reward.  Right?

This is one of the barriers to the new OOH.  It’s all around us, not just on billboards or posters or screens – everything’s a “screen,” really.  Technology is blessing this medium in a way that enables it to be very powerful and “on” more often than not.  It’s easy to be driven by the technology.  And the channel.  And the location.  But do these enable the brand to tell their story in a more effective way?  Or do they just enable the brand to just be there?  Is it enough just to be there?

I have a hard time answering this, but I do believe that the most successful brands will be the ones who go beyond just being there.  As is the case in the social channel, the goal is build enough trust to have a long-lasting relationship (loyalty).  To that point, the paper talks about creating engagement (awareness), advocacy (preference), and affinity (loyalty), but in a way that leads me to believe achieving them revolves around location and channel, and not the brand story.  The authors do point out that the paper is not “completely comprehensive,” and I have to believe that this is not their intention.

It is about the channel, I get that.  That’s really the whole point to the whitepaper.  But here’s the promise on the front page of the paper – “Seven ways to connect online and offline social experiences to deliver engagement, advocacy and brand affinity.”  Those cannot be achieved without the brand story and I missed that whole section of this story.

There is much value to publishing whitepapers like this because the first to say is the first to own.  I applaud them, and anyone else who publishes these.  As a reader and absorber, though, I feel like there is a responsibility to talk to me in a way that can be understood, and most importantly, applied.  I want to be able to forward these to my colleagues.  I want to share the knowledge.  But if I don’t even know what the “7 ways” are, how am I ever going to get what “sociable media” is and how/why it can make an impact with me and my business?

Friday’s 4-1-1, ScreenScape Style

A little late to the game this Friday, but found a great nugget in this article where small business owners discuss the benefits of geo-location-based services.  I’m a big proponent of geo-location apps and like many others, see the natural integration with digital signage.  In this article, a couple of the business owners mention a platform called ScreenScape – a simple, internet-based program (software) that allows “anyone” (like small business owners) to operate digital signage.  This is the first I’ve heard of these guys, and my question is – can they be the X factor in digital signage adoption?  Today’s 4-1-1 is dedicated to one of my new favorite companies (I don’t know anyone there, haven’t met anyone there, but next week, I’m going to reach out to them to learn more about their product.)

1.  Advantage #1 – cost.  I suppose this depends which side of the fence you’re on – $10/month subscription makes digital/interactive signage attainable for just about anyone now.  It makes you wonder how successful they can be based on this model, but there are group licenses available for larger subscribers.

2.  Advantage #2 – ease.  The platform is Internet-based.  You don’t need any special technical skills to work your way around the “administrator” dashboard.  And by dragging content here and dropping it there, with the push of a button (and a computer, and a display, and an Internet connection), you’ve got yourself a digital signage solution.  And network if you need it.

3.  Advantage #3 – flexibility.  I’m talking about flexibility with content here.  Images, video, text, RSS feeds – you can include any of these as pieces of content that will wind up in the end-display.  (The program basically converts everything to a flash file.)  There are drawbacks with this, of course.  Processor, connection, file size, load on the computer, etc…  But look, it’s $10/month so to me, if you’re the right “brand” to use something like this, the value and benefit totally outweighs the downfalls.  One of the coolest things about this system – and it’s core to their business model – is allowing the community to share content with each other (they call it “venue networking.”)  This is yet another “cost” advantage to people like small business owners who are strapped for money and resources.

4.  Advantage #4 – integration.  With Foursquare, in particular.  On September 14, they launched a “Foursquare widget” that allows the software to integrate and pull in check-ins for the location (where the screen is placed).  The widget ultimately allows consumers to see things like who the mayor of the place is, the actual “mayor offer,” total check-ins, and everyone else who has checked in.  To me, this feature is critical – to both the brand and the consumer.  The consumer gets to see their name in lights (“fame” as Stephen Randall says) and the brand has just given another reason for the consumer to interact with them (via their screen).  A simple example:

“Uh-huh” – a year ago, Mashable featured Screenscape in their Spark of Genius series.  It’s interesting reading that article now.  Case in point that no one knows how to talk about “digital signage” though.  The term was not used once in the article and I’m pretty sure it’s been around for much longer than a year.  Kudos for flagging it, though.

“Duh” – am I giving them too much credit?  Or is there any merit to them giving a shot in the arm to digital signage?  I think this is a true “duh” because it seems like to me, as long as the brand has ownership of a screen and a connection, and is in-tune with reaching consumers in new ways, why not?  What’s the drawback here?

I think this is beautiful because it taps into what geo-location has tapped into for brands (especially “small” brands) – it’s no/low cost, it’s relevant, it’s engaging, and most of all, it’s a way to connect with people while they’re “outside of the home” on a device that they’re glued to.  For $10/month, you can advertise it/them for everyone to see and hopefully, keep them coming back for more.

Foursquare, Booyah, and AKQA Talk Location

I watched a good panel discussion last week from CAT in New York.  The panel talked about “Location,” specifically as it relates to mobile geo-location.  Members of the panel were from Foursquare, Booyah, and AKQA.  Interesting panel make-up, all with good perspectives.  The one thing missing from all of them – how mobile, specifically “location-based advertising,” fits into the larger brand marketing ecosystem.  The discussion was all around mobile as its own silo.  They all talked about how important it is for brands to create deeper, meaningful engagement with vs. “advertising” to their customers, which is definitely hitting on something larger than a single silo.  But they really weren’t purposeful about talking how effective their apps (Foursquare and MyTown) could be cross-channel, particularly with OOH (the “new” OOH is much more than a canvas to broadcast messages to masses).  All in all, though, it’s good to hear other perspectives and get a glimpse into how companies (providers and agencies) are thinking about location-based/behavioral targeting and advertising.  We need one of these on OOH!!  (The video is a little long ~20 minutes, but worth a listen!)