Tag Archives: Social

DOOH + mobile + social is not always THE great formula

Digital billboard + mobile + social

I think this is a great formula. The holy grail, in fact.

This is where I see the real potential in truly using the places and things around us to engage. Not just through one, but all three.

ING recently created one such experience in Germany:

Here’s the thing – the problem right now is not whether or not the technology can do it. The real problem is cost and complexity. This is what prohibits scale. But you can even see how compelling something like this could be out in the real world, and then the reach it could potentially have in the virtual world. It’s a combination that could really spark engagement beyond an “experiential” level – something that we could see as a normal part of our everyday lives as we go about the real world around us.

Here’s the other thing, which to me, is more interesting. The tie-in between virtual basketball – regardless of how novel it is and how integrated the experience is – and ING is completely lost on me. They indicate that they wanted to “demonstrate how easy and efficient banking can be” with ING, but how that idea manifests itself through a virtual free throw is beyond me. I get that they wanted to reach a younger demo, but even still, is this demo going to remember ING is the one that brought this experience to them? It just seems too disconnected.

So, something like will get attention for sure. Right now, only a relative few might use it. I suspect it’s only a matter of time before more “non-technologically-curious” people would interact with something like this. But, the bigger concern should be to remain on brand. This, along with great technological integration like this, will be the true holy grail.

On brand communications/idea + integrated technology solution

This is where it’s at.

Morning Musings – Complicated Connections

We are swimming in new ways to connect and beyond that, what it all actually means.

Social. Mobile. Out of Home. Digital Out of Home. Connections. Experience.

This is a complicated world that we operate in, no doubt. As brand, marketers and communicators, this world is constantly changing. As consumers, we’re unlocking new ways to connect each day, ways that we did not know were there yesterday. This sort of evolution and discovery occurs every single day.

It’s as if the Pandora’s Box of technology has opened to the point of no closure.

On one hand, it’s exciting. On another hand, it’s maddening. It’s a bombard of variables to navigate and manipulate, all in an effort to get (or deliver) the right message at the right time to do the right thing. That’s what we all want, right?

“Screens” of old are just that – old. They’re ubiquitous. They’re a commodity. Even the one in our pocket. They’re only mechanisms of delivery and engagement, but it’s in this combination where the value comes in. Delivery + engagement should = value. I know that we all define “value” differently. For each consumer, it’s different. And for each shopping scenario, it’s different. Education, entertainment, discounts, points. All good “value propositions,” but all unique, not necessarily based on points in time in the shopping journey, but based on the individual.

The individual is the biggest variable that we have now. Their familiarity with technology, their use of it, their access to it, their view of what it enables them to do, their expectations of what it can and should do. It’s easy to automatically pin all these different technologies as the primary variable in ways to connect, but it’s not. It’s the consumer.

Each one of us, as consumers, now have the ability to reach out to someone, often times a group of distant someones, immediately and create, comment on, and/or consume content. This power has shifted what value is to each of us and, even more, elevated our expectations, in terms of what it takes and means to engage with brands.

As all this relates to the “screens” outside of our homes, be them physical screens or screens made out of the places and things around us – the game changer of the world that we live in is not the technology that enables all of these “screens” to be activated, it is in what they deliver and how people can engage with it. Messages/content just pushed is noise. It’s reason to ignore that particular “screen.” What can’t be ignored is something to actively engage in, something that delivers value to that person at that point in time. That’s the thing to figure out.

Then figure out how to do it.

And that’s not new.

CETW Keynote #3 – 10 Mobile Social Trends for 2012+

These are my recap notes from the last session of the day, the closing keynote at CETW. Brought to us by David Berkowitz, VP Emerging Media at 360i. I have been following David for a couple of years as well as his agency, 360i. Every year, they put out Playbooks and Trend Reports for mobile and social and a host of others. While I find them to lack a few things, they are comprehensive and represent a voice from 360i in the market, one that I suspect has paid quite a few dividends. I am always interested to see what he/they have to say because I feel like they are on the forefront of emerging technology and not afraid to get their thoughts out there. So, I was very excited to hear David speak and give this presentation. I don’t know that the audience knew what to do with him. And it was the last session of the last day, an unfortunate slot. He was kind enough to share his presentation via slideshare, so here it is:

Here are the 10 trends and a few notes I took with each:

1. Social Fashion – real-time fashion advice

2. Tagging – everyone sees the same things differently so tagging is a way we can make consistent

3. Interactive TV – not necessarily through the TV, but through other channels. Check these apps out, if don’t know/use them already: IntoNow (my personal favorite), Umami, GetGlue

4. Q & A – see Siri.

5. Recommendations – from MY friends. Only relevant-to-me recommendations.

6. Social Context – check this app, Sonar. Kinda creepy, but kinda cool. It shows you those people around you who you have something in common with, be it friends, colleagues, interests, etc.

7. Geo-gaming – like Mafia Wars but in your own real-life neighborhood.

8. Augmented Reality – I like the way he described it. “AR adds a virtual layer over the real world.” Simple, but easy to understand.

9. Near-Field Community – this is about much more than payments. Interacting with objects and places where you are.

10. Facial Recognition

What do you think? Sound about right?

DSE Session 1 – Best Practices in Digital OOH Planning & Presentations

11th Screen | The Interactive Out-of-Home Blog

The panel is the reason I came to this session – Rob Gorrie (Adcentricity), Dan Levi (Zoom Media), Jill Nickerson (Horizon Media), Andrew Miller (Kinetic Group Americas)

(Jeremy Lockhorn (Razorfish) – was not here – kinda a bummer – would have been great to hear from him.)

This session is a mock-RFP session where agencies put out an RFP to networks and then the networks pitch to the agencies. So, this will be interesting to see how they all approach and talk about “Digital” OOH, particularly as it relates to actually bidding/winning some business.

There’s no set-up to what we’re going to here in this session. They just jumped right in. Think a little bit of set-up would help properly frame for the group. At least give us some information from the fictitious RFP.

So, the networks are supposed to pitch to the agencies. Here we go.

Rob’s up first – They start w/ defining objectives (against the funnel), who they’re trying to reach.

They then go into research & data – understand who and how. Try to get insights out of them. Then, look at potential venues based on the target/insights. Then, look at the target markets. Merge those together and you can see the opportunities you have in each market.

OK, this is getting real detailed. Good stuff, but way detailed and Rob is still talking. 25 minutes in and no one else on the panel has said anything. How are they going to get to anyone else?

One thing he notes in his preso and what they think about – mobile and social. So, this is good – they hear the original request for “DOOH” and they’re thinking about other channels, too.

Logical flow, they’re smart about the way they think about things – goal/objective definition & research first.

Now, Mandi Dyner is up from Outcast Network. She gets right into talking about gas station networks (this is what they do but, ugh). Captive audience. Content customization. (Who in the world watches those gas station TV’s? I mean, really? What a thing to lead with.)

Didn’t hear much research here.

Now, Dan from Zoom. Introduces us to the company first. Then, he mentions Neilsen (just like all the others), how their network is measured. Recap of the RFP’s objectives, audience.

Then, their concepts – he makes sure to talk about mobile and social, pretty good emphasis on social.

They use MRI as their primary planning tool.

They focus a lot on creating custom relevant content for each venue/location “network.” They proposed a text-in donation aspect to the content. Then, they proposed showing social content, highly localized – trash-talking Tweets from sports fans and a SM aggregator.

15 minutes to go and the pitches are still going on. When/what/how are we going to hear from the agencies? Will be interesting….

Taking into account the actual pitch, the presentation, and the thinking – Zoom wins on the creative ideas/experiences and Adcentricity wins on research-approached effective solutions.

But here goes the agencies – they’re asking questions to each of the pitchers. It’s a little awkward for the audience – at least it seems that way to me – because the agencies are asking questions of specific people on the panel, they’re all sitting up at a table with each other, and they’re just talking to each other. It’s all directed to the front. Kinda shutting out the audience.

Here’s the thing – there’s a lot of talk about “mass awareness.” This is exactly what I talked about in this post – digital signage is a great mass awareness channel. But what about mass engagement?

Adcentricity got kudos from the agency panel by starting out with so much research.

Nut – interesting approach to a session. Like the idea. Think it could have been structured more effectively – like framing it up front for the audience. At the end, the agencies moved away from asking pointed questions from the networks, they just told the audience what they liked/wished they would have gotten from each of the networks. That was good.

Another nut – measurement is key. The media planners always get involved and they want measurement numbers. Be prepared.

Quote of the session – “If you don’t have compelling content, people aren’t going to look at the screens.” – Andrew Miller (Kinetic Group Americas) Will they anyway? Is there screen blindness?

CETW Keynote #2 – How Agencies Think About Customer Engagement

David Sommer, Managing Partner, WPP’s GroupM Retail, CPG & Shopper Media – “Understand How Agencies Think About Their Brands’ Customer Engagement Technology Strategies”

1 out of every 3 ads are bought by WPP

Big brand guy

Execution is key – what can you actually execute, not just dream up

Physical environments can be media.  Have the opportunity to engage consumers in that environment via media.

Can touch people in their path to purchase:  In-Home, In-Life, In-Store

Hot Topics for the Day

  • Big Agencies want in on the action
  • How we decide where to invest – must target, must optimize, must be able to measure results
  • Trends:  paid, owned, and shared
  • Right place, right time

Awareness = passive (Amen, brother)

Their funnel:  Pre-Shop, Shopping, Purchasing, Loyalty

Lots of touchpoints, not just in the store

3 HOT areas:  In-store, Proximity (around the store), Mobile (the remote control of our lives) – they put a lot of emphasis on mobile – in research, categorizations, etc..

“Mobile is the most over-hyped medium in the short term and the most under-hyped in the long term.”  -Sir Martin Sorrell

4 big buckets of Measurement:

  • Compliance (Who is shopping?)
  • Media Value (Were they interested?  Could they see it?)
  • Brand Metrics (Did it change perception?)
  • Sales Lift (Was it effective?  Was it purchased?)

Media thoughts (P, O, S) – they all feed each other

Consumers want deals, social interaction and ratings (see what others think)

In mobile, what are they using/searching for – mobile search, mobile sites, GPS, deals

In store, what are they looking for – self-checkout, payment from cell, on pack promotions

Trends to engage the consumer:

  • Addressable (customizable)
  • Portable
  • Searchable
  • Social
  • Interactive
  • Transactional
  • Ubiquitous (it’s everywhere)

DS is getting better all the time – you see these signs/kiosks more and more, when you’re out and about


Still agencies driving brands to get in store or is it the brands driving agencies to get in the store?  It’s a mix – they’re obviously in this business, driving the value for brands to be in store.  About 30% of their leads, though, come from inquiries from brands.

What’s your single best research tool?  TNS is part of WPP, TNS Sorenson has particular experience in this area.  Nielsen has a play.  IRI has a play.

What do you consider scale?  Not necessarily about how many stores you’re in….another approach is how many people do you touch?

Nut – it’s good to hear someone on the agency side (even if it is a media agency) acknowledge that DOOH is prevalent.  It might be stating the obvious, but just stop for a second and look around the next time you’re in a doctor’s waiting room, or grocery store, or office building – chances are, they’ve got a network playing some sort of content and advertisements.  Also great to hear someone recognize that the physical spaces around us are media.  The only clarification I’d make is that the physical spaces around us have unlimited opportunities to be “screens.”  They’re hot on mobile.  So is everyone else.

Word of the session – addressable.

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!

Social Media is alot like Filmmaking

In my previous life, I was an independent filmmaker.  And in the life before that, I wrote.  I still write, but I don’t make films anymore, mainly because of time.  Making films takes every ounce of brain power, much less time, you can give it, especially if you’re doing it all by yourself.  I miss that type of creating.  I miss being in something that deep for that long of time. 

I experience similar acts of creating with my job, and have ever since I can remember.  One of the great things about marketing and communications is the creating aspect.  We tell stories and solve problems and ultimately create relationships through pictures and words – the same tools filmmakers use to bring their stories to life.

I can’t help but liken social media to filmmaking.  Brands can go the independent route and spend a fraction of the cost to do it themselves.  Or they can go the studio route and hire “professionals” to monitor, manage, reach out to, engage, report, and analyze every aspect of their social media presence(s).  Studios have the infrastructure in place to churn out film after film.  Independents have themselves and a few of their friends to make a film at a time.  Both can produce really good films, but the amount of time that it takes doesn’t differ between the two. 

Quite often, I believe there’s a misperception that going the independent route enables organizations to get it done quicker, cheaper, and perhaps even just as effective (if not more) than hiring someone else to do it.  There is no formula, regardless of who does what, for success.  But, just like films, social media requires time.  It’s a serious commitment and someone’s got to be down deep for an extended period of time to even put themselves in a position to succeed.

Films have an advantage over social media because their stories end.  In social media, the stories grow and evolve and continue on indefinitely.  They turn into relationships.  And relationships, no matter what direction you go, can’t be skimped.

Wayfinding + mobile + social = Novomap

I met a couple of guys from a Toronto-based company, Jibestream Media, at a show a few months ago.  At the time, I was playing around with the Las Vegas Convention Center’s wayfinder, and this guy walks up to me and asks me about wayfinding.

Side note – my take on wayfinding (and probably many others’) is that I think it’s such a utilitarian tool that can easily be implemented through touch technology and can also serve as an effective DOOH advertising platform.  The context, primarily where it’s actually placed, drives its effectiveness at doing both.  For instance, I don’t think the in-mall static paradigm is broken and needs interactivity, but it can certainly be enhanced for dynamic advertising purposes.  Wayfinding in a place like hospitals, on the other hand, should have a presence and interactivity might help its utility be more effective, particularly with mobile integration.  Advertising here might be less important, but can nonetheless be incorporated and leveraged.

Anyway….I sat down and talked with the company’s VP of Marketing, Chris Weigand, and watched demos of their solution – NOVOMAP – and in the end walked away pretty impressed with him and it.  Novomap is an interactive out-of-home platform that is built to handle wayfinding, dynamic advertising, mobile interactivity, and even social connections.  What I think is interesting here, aside from how great the solution looks (highly produced, great graphics, animation, and an easy-to-use UI), is all of the hooks that they’ve incorporated.  They’re tapped into what’s needed and what’s wanted.  By and large, mobile & social capability are not selling points to large facilities.  Wayfinding and dynamic advertising are tools that can impact their bottom line, so, I think that’s always the base of any solution like this.  This is what gets their attention.  But once these guys get in the door with the utility and a platform that can drive the prospective company’s business, they’re in a position for incremental value via smart, connecting-type solutions.  The type of solutions that will get people talking and excited – because mobile interactivity and connectiveness is now today’s consumer’s utility.

If you hear the way these guys talk about their solution, you walk away feeling like they have it figured out.  They’re talking about it in all the right ways.  They’re working like crazy to get this into as many places as they can, even in test scenarios.  If you haven’t heard of them, check them out.  I’ve really enjoyed keeping up with them over the past few months and would love to see them succeed.  I think they have a pretty cool product that is effectively powerful.  Keep it up, guys.

Three Bloggers’ Perspectives

Was on a panel with Adrian Cotterill from DailyDOOH and Dave Haynes from The Preset Group.  This is our perspective.

14 people at beginning, easily doubled in 5 minutes

We all went through intros first.  I could have framed myself a little better.  Lav mic is weird.

Dave – been around for a really long time, 2006 started blogs, 1,500 posts, much more of an opinion piece – why you should look at this, bit of a filter for the industry

Q1:  How digital media can improve customer engagement and increase sales lift?

Adrian:  Does digital really need explaining?  Surely, we’ve seen sales lift

Dave:   Digtal media still a little mysterious to people…when we talk about sales lift, we see in the past year that results that are shared around.  Walmart showed up at conference last year and showed results on their smart network – they were getting phenomenal sales lift…industry avg 10 -15 % lift

Mike:  I think you have to separate those two objectives.  Engagement is very different than conversion – it can certainly play off of each other.  Dynamic, moving images have an impact.  When talking about OOH, placement is part of the equation.  Then, f/u with the most appropriate content so it can achieve that goal – sales lift. 

Q2:  Examples of successful implementations and their impact on brands?

Adrian:  Harrods – amazed at how well they’ve done retail…screens embedded into the fabric of their environment

Dave:  Believes that there are more unsuccessful implementations vs. successful…Tim Horton’s (donut shop in Canada) – they see real sales lift on just “digital” amid their menu boards….Microsoft’s retail stores, baked right into it

Mike:  Mini/BMW – digital billboards, RFID, AR

Nike – virtual shoecase, matching shoes kiosk, Chalkbot

 These brands have a very good understanding of their audience so they’re able to use various mediums really effectively.

Q3:  Measurement methodology & ROI?

Adrian:  taken from keynote this morning, the emotions

Dave:  not so down on the research and analytics, yes it’s imperfect, but it does a good job of showing how long people are looking at screens…typically the viewer engagement on these screens is 3 seconds…wow

Mike:  DOOH is passive so measure it like any OOH installation – eyeballs, traffic, etc..

IOOH is active so measure it on actions

 This is why I think interaction is so important.

Q4:  Successful trends we are seeing?

Adrian:  People don’t need an excuse or prompt to touch a screen these days.  Mobile interaction is something that is also taking off.  Audio/music/sound – this being explored more now, too.

Dave:  Mobile & social….extremely early days for that….this industry has to open its eyes a lot wider as to what’s going on around them……the days of “captive” audience is over…no one is really captive anymore

Mike:  I think you have to look at social and mobile separately from OOH.  Both are gaining traction and both will play a large part in OOH.

Aside from that, people are getting more familiar with expectations that they can interact with their surroundings.

Q5:  Who needs to be involved in the process for success?

Adrian:  Surely everyone in the company!  Merchandisers, marketers, IT, and don’t forget retail staff!

Dave:  All about objectives and are you getting return on those?

Mike:  Client side – Brand managers – marketing, communications

 Agency side – brand teams, advertising teams, media buyers, research, analytics

 Implementation side – content creators (developers, designers), system admins (tech)

 End user from the standpoint of acceptance

Q6:  What makes a project a winner?

Adrian:  Microsigns…put them underneath mobile phones in stores

Dave:  Most of the really good projects in this space have come from outside the industry…..

Mike:  Depends on what the objectives are.

 If you want to change perception, can do.

 If you want to deepen engagement, you can.

 If you want to drive sales/conversion, you can.

 It’s all about:

Who are we talking to?

What are we trying to say?

How are we going to say it?

 Q7: What brands and venues can do to succeed through the use of digital signage and DOOH? 

Adrian:   Spend money, don’t try to do anything on the cheap, get good advice, think creatively, don’t forget content, integrate mobile..

Dave:  change in business models

Mike:  Have to be clear about your objectives.  What are they trying to do?

Hope that they have smart people around them.

Agree with cheap and the content.

Q8:  What does the future hold?

Adrian:  Where you now see cardboard and print, you will now see digital.  More installations will be interactive, responsive by touch and gesture, and mobile.

Dave:  I don’t know what he said.

Mike:  Technology gets better, people get smarter.  It’s not about “digital” out of home screens, it’s about interacting with our spaces around us.

Support in the New Age of Technology

I am humbled, although not surprised, by the human condition and the outpour of support for all of the people of Haiti.  Just like other major catastrophes of the decade (9/11, Thailand Tsunami, Katrina come to mind), people from all over the world are contributing in all sorts of ways.  It’s awesome to witness how new technology – social & mobile – has enabled immediate outreach and support.  Red Cross’s text message campaign has already raised $10 million plus.  Say what you will about FarmVille and Mafia Wars, but their maker, Zynga, has utilized them as a platform and already raised $1.2 million plus.  And Paste has partnered with musicians to offer up a library of exclusive MP3s to support the relief effort.  Not to mention all of the companies, including mine, encouraging their employees around the world to contribute, and matching dollar-for-dollar those contributions.  These are only a handful of examples that not only exhibit good will that I believe is inherent in people, but also exhibit the power of technology and how it can be used for productive, meaningful outreach and (global) connection.  I’ve often told people that I wish there were a news channel dedicated to good news 24/7, particularly for events like this.  Touché, there is such a thing, yet another example – if you follow the right people/sources, that is what Twitter has become for me.  :)