Tuesday, September 2, 2008

"The Staging Of Obama - Has He Mastered Social Networking?"

Well the DNC just wrapped up here in Denver. Being thisclose to the political process has been really interesting. While Madison Avenue struggles to figure out the real power of Social Networking, "MYBO" may just be the biggest marketing tool ever.

Ad Age recently ran an article on the making of Barack Obama. They said he was being "marketed like a consumer brand". Who else could pull off announcing his VP running mate by text! All you have to do is text "HOPE"to 62262.

Senator Obama's team has effectively learned how to build one of the most powerful databases of passionate Americans through using new media.

On the final night of the DNC, a friend of mine was at Invesco Field. We were texting back and forth. He was actually part of one of the biggest focus groups ever. The Obama campaign has been dedicated to collecting phone numbers, email addresses and other information to create a personal relationship with American voters. In the RED state of Colorado he captured over 80,000 new names to add to his campaign list. His word of mouth marketing will now attempt to turn the state BLUE.

Since signing up for MYBO I now receive personalized email and text messages asking me to participate in the Obama campaign. His website is robust with content and his ringtones are on point. His YouTube videos are personal and make you feel like part of his mission.

Let there be no doubt, his marketing team is on fire...and they have him staged. Note the photos of the Senator Obama with Joe Biden, one in a red tie...the other in blue...neatly matted against their finely pressed white shirts. How we interpret every bit of campaign data we see, hear, smell and feel will influence our vote.

"Brand Obama" is a wonderful thing. It's founded on "passion" and "action". Since the primary over 1.4 million new people registered to vote. His campaign has gotten people who normally wouldn't participate to join in...in essence he has activated a brand new database of new voters.

He'll be able to communicate with them not only during the campaign but after the election.

Even if he doesn't win, Barack Obama has a huge new media machine that he can use for anything he wants. He's a well integrated brand plus he tours, he's online, television and radio and he has got merchandise.

Madison Avenue take note we can all learn something from "Brand Obama 360".

I wonder if Facebook did a convention if 80,000 users would attend?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

"Is Your Fone Fashionable And Functional?"

A new Israeli mobile startup company called
"Modu" has released a phone fashion statement. (click 'cancel' on the language install!)

It's an interesting concept. Instead of upgrading to a new phone every so often, simply slip it into a new "Jacket"

Each jacket takes on a new interactive personality. Now you can change the look and feel of your phone as easily as a tie or a pair of earrings. Check out the YouTube tease here.

At the core of this cool new gadget is a wafer thin, credit card sized cellphone. It can then be slipped into a "Jacket" that makes it look like everything from a blackberry, iPhone or any another slim line phone or music player. What is even cooler is that the "Jacket" compatible with any age group.

For instance, the Kids "Jacket" has different functionality than an Adult "Jacket".

Basically, it's the "Transformers" of phones.

Why upgrade the form of your phone when you can simply buy the exterior and have the same functionality as the 'latest and greatest'!

Each 'jacket' adds different unique abilities to your phone. As mobile features continue to change daily, there's simply no need to update your handset...just the "Jacket".

Very smart!

Monday, June 16, 2008

"Mobile Advertising Done Right!"

I was sitting at LAX bored out of my mind waiting for a flight home and noticed a BMW X6 billboard. I stared at it for awhile being that I'm a big fan of their vehicles.

Finally I noticed at the bottom of the board a SMS code to get information on the car sent to my mobile phone.

After texting the code, I got a message that said: "Thanks for your interest in the all-new BMW X6! Visit www.bmwusa.com/allnewx6/mobile with your phone. Reply to bmwusa for help. Std rates apply."

When I clicked through, my phone browser launched one of the coolest, interactive sales kits I'd ever seen complete with slideshows, video and complete details on design with bold high-definition images of the vehicle.

The menu was a complete sales kit with some fun options. It even had a 'dealer locator' link on the bottom.

The content was rich, the experience was cool and it killed my time by engaging me while I waited for my flight.

So it gets me thinking, in places where we know that people have long waiting times...airports, commuting on trains/subways or mundane places like the Post Office or DMV, we should consider bold mobile advertising.

While people are idle waiting for something...give them something to engage in. Create mobile advertising that offers an instant incentive or has stimulating video or graphics.

It's true the mobile advertising is created for 'on the go' living. But 'on the go' also means that we're 'in motion'.

BMW did something interesting....they used part of their airport billboards to integrate a mobile campaign...maybe they just knew that people would have alittle more time to check it out.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

"iPod...Do You?"

I just returned from a weekend in LA. It's always fun to go to that fabulous West Coast entertainment mecca to see what's advertised as the latest and greatest.

Known for its entertainment glitz, I was struck by the large amount of outdoor advertising for iPods. Not only is the art phenomenal; as it sells the passion and emotion of owning the device, but it occured to me no other portable music player comes close to advertising the way Apple does for the iPod.

Most of us in marketing talk about 'blocking and tackling'; the basics involved in selling our products core virtues when we create outdoor advertising. In the iPods short life span, the famed 'white headphones' have become iconic in themselves. I find this fascinating on a couple of levels.

Apple assumes that putting an image of a body dancing, with the famed 'white headphones' automatically conveys the iPods essence. In fact, all of the walls and billboards I saw didn't even mention music, iPod features like the iTouch or even the iPhone. Each ad simply conveyed the 'freedom' of owning your own music.

Call me a gadgeteer, but I still own several early mp3 players, rio's, muvo's and early iPod shuffles. Today I listen to most of my music on my smartphone. But Apple still prevails as the #1 lifestyle music player.

Not many products can get away with the 'iPod' advertising assumption. Maybe Nike, Coke, Pepsi and a few others.

In each of those cases, the brand logo has become so deeply entrenched in our psyche that we can instantly recall the product.

What's more interesting is that compared to some of the aforementioned products, the iPod is the youngest; yet Apple's assumption is that we all do 'iPod'.

It gets me thinking about all the products I've worked for and how I collaborated with others to market and package them on television, in print and outdoor.

Never once do I believe that we would have ever said...'hey lets just put up the logo'...we were always obsessed with adding more information than just sticking to the basics.

Maybe Apple is right...less is more and just find images that sell the emotion rather than 'barking' our brands attributes.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

"Everyone's A Star!"

If there is anything that social networking has done it's this. It makes everyone a star.

All the major television news outlets are touting 'viewer' video news, the social networks are exploding for both personal and business.

At the end of the day, the 'average' joe can become a star netting Andy Warhol's "15 minutes of fame" in seconds.

Did you catch the first person video of the earthquake in China? Everyone in the world now has the ability to be part of the media process.

A couple of weeks ago, I read an article on a new company called Seesmic. They have created a blog plug-in that allows people to leave video comments. Now, instead of writing a post....you can 'be' the post....simply brilliant. Be sure to sign up for the free alpha test! See it in action here!

What this fabulous innovation does is make social networking and blogging 'personal'. The internet has allowed many people to be veiled in anonymity...but the fact of the matter is...people love to hear and now SEE other peoples opinions.

I've posted alot about social networking 'trust' and 'authenticity' in the past weeks. If the saying "the eyes are the window to the soul" is really true...posting video blog comments is 'cinema verite".

Friday, May 9, 2008

Mobilenet....Live In The Palm Of Your Hand!

"Mobilenet" is now being touted as the next great technological innovation. If you're currently a smarthphone user, you're probably already living in this world to some extent.

However there are some innovations coming which are worth noting. Al Ries recently published an article in Ad Age called "Mobilenet Promises To Be The Next Big Medium".

Ries claims: "A MobiPhone with a 2D barcode scanner will enable consumers to get a wealth of information by scanning products in supermarkets, drugstores, clothing stores. "

He continues:

"It's easy to visualize what a useful device a MobiPhone could be if it is served by appropriate dot-mobi websites.
  1. Location of the nearest hotel/motel and the price of a room?
  2. Location of the nearest gas station and the price of gasoline?
  3. Location of the nearest restaurant by type and price level?
  4. What's the Parker number on that bottle of wine? (One of the many facts that might be available by simply scanning a label.)
What consumers can do with the receiving device is not the most significant aspect of the Mobilenet. More significant are the changes in structure the new medium will facilitate."

He comes to these conclusions based on this fact: "The potential Mobilenet marketplace dwarfs the internet. Last year more than 1.15 billion mobile phones were sold worldwide, compared to only 271.2 million personal computers.

In other words, more than four times as many mobile phones were bought than PCs. And, in my opinion, most consumers will find a GPS-equipped MobiPhone to be a device they can't live without. "

I've written before about how I have consolidated alot of my digital behavior onto my smartphone. I store 100's of songs on my 4 gig smartcard, use it as a photo and video camera, use the scheduler, surf the web (facebook included), listen to 1000's of streaming broadcast and internet radio stations and oh yeah...occassionally make a phone call!

The 'bar code" option is powerful. An instant scan and 'poof'' there's gratification! The key to all of this once again is battery life and screen size. Bandwidth will be less of an issue as devices go to 4G and and Wi-Fi/Wi-Max adoption. A France Telecom research team has already developed the first "m-ticketing services" and the screen shot is shown above.

All this is being supported by a massive build-out of high speed phone networks that won't even use a standard internet type connection. Sprint and Qualcomm are already using TV bandwidth to get programming to handsets.

In the last week alone, Nokia (which i'm a shareholder of) also made the statement that they are now trying to run themselves more like an 'internet' company than a 'handset manufacturer'.

Early on, ringtone sales we're driven by mobile use. Most ringtones were sold to kids who didn't own a PC. They'd use their phone as their personal computer. Now more and more business people are finding the same passion for the handheld device.

By the way...if you're a gadgeteer and have more than one iPod in your home...then you definitely need this handy little device to transfer music without a PC. MiShare allows you to send non DRM music from one ipod to another and it's only $99. Check it out here.

Monday, May 5, 2008

"How Will You Spend Your Money?"

I'm a big fan of Forrester Research because they always seems to craft studies that mean something.

This latest effort "Social technology marketers bullish in face of recession" is not exception.

Josh Bernoff asks: "Assuming the economy is in a recession in the next six months, how would you change your investment in interactive marketing overall?"

Here are the results:
"Social networks will get the largest number of increases, over 40% of those using it, along with user-generated content, blogs, and that old standby, email marketing. Every single form of online marketing we surveyed had at least half the marketers increasing or maintaining their investment (online display ads fared the worst; based on this sample it could see more decreases than increases.)"

Email still fares pretty well. But here's the BEST piece of advice he offers: "Our advice to marketers, as describe in the report, is this: measure what you do, so you can justify it when the axe comes. And build assets, not campaigns, it's a better use of your money."

All too often we're focused on "campaigns" instead of "long term annuities" because of short term pressure. I wrote about a company early on called NCI Mobility.

Once again, I fall back to my take on 'what happens when the campaign is over' philosopy. NCI helps you do wireless data capture at events, sends the information back to a server in 'close' to real time and allows you te recontact event participants within 24 hours if you wish.

If you're going to spend time building an expensive marketing program do something to get the most out of it long term. If you build a great database...use it...keep it clean and develop a 'deep relationship' with your base customer.

I'm not shocked here about the increase in social network marketing either. It is a BIG buzz word as of late. My previous posts about 'trust' and 'authenticity' play right into this concept.

The biggest category for building a brand now is "user generated content". Once again, people trust the opinions of like minded people instead of some mundane advertisement forced on them.