Posted tagged ‘Branding’

Yahoo, Microsoft Talking Partnership

April 10, 2009

Yahoo and Microsoft have restarted partnership discussions, this time over a possible advertising agreement.

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

The discussions restarted a few weeks ago, and included a meeting between new Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, the technology blog AllThingsD said Friday.

The two companies have intermittently talked about partnering in search engine advertising since last year after Microsoft’s unsolicited $47.5 billion takeover bid for the Sunnyvale Web portal fell apart. Microsoft executives have championed a partnership as a way to better compete with search industry leader Google Inc. while underscoring that they are no longer interested in an acquisition.

Current discussions are aimed at finding ways for the pair to work together on a number of fronts, according to the report. One potential idea is for Microsoft to handle the search advertising business for both Web sites while Yahoo would handle all of the display advertising, capitalizing on its strength in banner ads.

Happy Valentine’s Day Everyone

February 14, 2009

Just wanted to thank each and everyone of you who stop by to read the blog each day.

Hope you all have a very happy Valentine’s Day! 🙂

Wrigley Suspends R&B Star Chris Brown

February 10, 2009

Wrigley has suspended a commercial featuring Chris Brown after the popular R&B singer was arrested on suspicion of attacking a woman widely reported to be his singer girlfriend Rihanna.

From Reuters:

The clean-cut Brown, 19, one of the fastest-rising stars of the last two years, was free on $50,000 bail, a day after the couple hurriedly canceled separate performances at the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles.

Both the Brown and Rihanna camps were silent on Monday. Police sources told the Los Angeles Times and celebrity Web site that the woman who reported she had been attacked by Brown in the early hours of Sunday was 20-year-old Rihanna, singer of hits “Umbrella” and “Disturbia.”

Wrigley said in a statement it was “concerned by the serious allegations” made against Brown, who was booked by police on suspicion of making a felony criminal threat.

The company said that while Brown should be afforded due legal process “we have made the decision to suspend the current advertising featuring Brown…until the matter is resolved.”

Brown, who was competing against Rihanna in a Grammy category, was a spokesman for Doublemint gum and his hit song “Forever” was part of that advertising campaign.

Social Media Works…As Part of a Larger Campaign

February 6, 2009

Social Media Today asks the question: are we really missing the point about the strategies we create using these technologies?

It’s true, the number of followers you have on your Twitter account matters and the percentage of readers coming to your blog via an RSS reader are important.

But the real value of social media campaigns emerges when they’re connected to other elements of a broader communications and marketing campaign. Social media should be a component of the core campaign, and an important one.

From Social Media Today:

The other day in an article that’s gained a lot of attention, Guardian tech journalist Bobbie Johnson proclaimed that he’s done with social media. If you haven’t done so it’s definitely worth a read. In summary Bobbie says:

“I’ve had it with social media. Not social networking per se, but the incessant chatter about how “social media” is changing the world. How it’s going mainstream. How it’s the biggest change we’ve ever seen.”

So we have the incessant squawking of “experts”, and the talking up of the same people again and again and again as the ones everyone should ‘follow’ – something Kevin Palmer discusses in a great post entitled ‘The social media echo chamber makes me not want to listen.’

At its worst, it manifests itself in people pruning their friend lists down so they can game the ranking system Twitter Grader (which awards a higher score if more people follow you than the other way around) – really, who cares.

The core problem is that social media is being looked at in isolation as something only to be touched by a select group of gurus. Instead, to my mind it should be an intrinsic part of every marcoms campaign – you have an idea of how you are going to target print, broadcast and also online.

It’s a component of the core campaign, and an important one. But it doesn’t sit on its own.

So while I completely get why organisations have individuals like the excellent Shannon Paul (Detroit RedWings), Kelly Feller (Intel) and Scott Monty (Ford) on-board to operate in this space, it seems to make less sense for actual agencies to set up specialist divisions – and every week I still read about someone here in the UK doing just that. For the reasons mentioned above, we took the opposite approach.

We once had a division (Herd was originally the name of it, I simply kept the URL for the blog). But we stopped that last year, thinking that it would be better to skill up all the core account handlers in online media knowledge. And while one or two of the Cows like myself definitely have more of an interest in this area, I’d never bill myself as an ‘expert’!

So the backlash is in full swing, as demonstrated by those two videos below. Maybe no bad thing. Bobbie says at the end of his piece, “I’m sick of “social media sensations”. And I’m sick of social media. Social media is people. People talk about stuff. The end.”

Could Google’s Latitude Be A Twitter Killer?

February 6, 2009

Great article on Mashable yesterday about Google’s new Latitude and the affect it might have on Twitter.

When Google announced Latitude, the company’s new geo-location tool, all the talk was about the technology opening doors for location-based ads in the years ahead. While we probably can be sure that those ads are coming, the big question is whether Latitude might be Google’s secret “Twitter Killer”.

From the article:

I’ve been playing around with Google Latitude on and off since this morning. I must admit, it’s pretty cool and demonstrates why geolocation is interesting, and services like Loopt and BrightKite have found some success as early players in the space.

But as myself and a lot of other commenters have noted, the problem with Latitude is that Google contacts really aren’t your actual social network in most cases, primarily because of the quirky way in which Gmail adds people to your buddy list. Nonetheless, Google Latitude has me thinking about geolocation again, and more aptly, why the big social networking players – Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter – aren’t doing anything with it.

Why It Would Be Great

Facebook, and to a lesser extent Twitter (and formerly MySpace … it still is for lots of other people), is an actual representation of my social network. And, with the ability to sort contacts into different groups (personal friends, colleagues, high school classmates, etc), the privacy concerns that come with any geolocation-based social network are mostly alleviated. Status updates are already built in (Latitude comes with a Status feature too), adding useful data when you see where your friends are. Essentially, it becomes the automated tweet-up.

The only thing seemingly missing from the big social networks is mapping and the decreasingly complex technological barriers it takes to do geolocation. But Google Maps, Yahoo Maps, and Mapquest all have APIs for that.

From eWeek:

“This means software developers will build applications around the triangulation of information; personal behaviors and preferences, your social group of friends and family and your location,” said Jeremiah Owyang, a Forrester Research senior analyst in social computing and the author of the blog Web Strategy. “I’m thinking about [Google’s mobile phone platform] Android and how it connects to it–you can expect Android to come with Latitude as a default software feature in the future.”

Latitude is an application that gives users the ability to track friends, family and colleagues via Google Maps on a PC or mobile device. Already available on BlackBerry, S60 and Windows Mobile devices, and coming soon to the Apple iPhone through Google Mobile App, Owyang said Latitude in its current form is merely a stepping stone, and not yet the be-all-end-all of mobile social networking.

“Google’s a little bit slower to come into this space, but they want to deliver things with quality,” he said, admitting that he couldn’t actually get Latitide to work on his mobile phone. “It might just be a Nokia thing, though,” he suggests. Owyang is referring to companies such as Loopt, which provides a cell phone-based GPS sharing system that allows users to visualize one another using their cell phones and share information. “This technology isn’t anything that new, they just haven’t put it all together yet.”

When that happens—which Owyang predicts is unlikely to occur before the end of the year or perhaps even two years, the future of contextual, location-based marketing and advertising arrives. “Say you and your friends from out of town are in a location in a city and you want to meet up; when this all comes together, it will recommend a restaurant based on what it knows about you and your friends’ preferences,” he said. “Like a good Thai restaurant.”

Facebook to Launch New Market Research Tool

February 2, 2009

It appears that Facebook is looking to launch a new market research tool coming this Spring called Engagement Ads. The tool has been in testing since last August and will allow marketers to poll virtual focus groups of specific Facebook users.

From Read Write Web:

The Telegraph is reporting that social networking giant Facebook has new plans for generating revenue; offering its 150 million user database as a market research tool to corporations.

Starting this spring, companies will be able to selectively target Facebook’s members in order to research the appeal of new products through a polling system called Engagement Ads as demonstrated at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

The Evolution of Engagement Ads

Engagement Ads are not new to Facebook. Last year, The Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook had begun “quietly testing” the product in August and was hoping to roll it out by the end of November.

Engagement Ads, said the WSJ, would appear on the home page of Facebook when you first log on and prompt you to interact with an ad. If you did interact with the ad, Facebook would then attempt to share your action with your friends thus “getting the ad in front of more eyeballs.”

At the time, Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said that ads systems are “built over time through continual tweaking.” She added that Facebook’s existing ad offerings were doing well but “undersell Facebook’s broader opportunity.”

If the Telegraph report is correct, Engagement Ads have had a massive tweak; companies will be able to pose questions to and receive feedback from selected members in real time based on user information that Facebook provides.

Randi Zuckerberg, Facebook’s Global Markets Director, told the Telegraph that companies are excited about this new polling system. “It takes a very long time to do a focus group, and businesses often don’t have the luxury of time. I think they liked the instant responses,” she said.

Personality Can Make a Corporate Blog Pay Off

February 2, 2009

Interesting posting from Social Media Today.

While recent surveys have cast doubt on whether people trust what they read on blogs, many believe that corporate blogs can have an influence on purchasing decisions, particularly if those doing the blogging focus on something other than selling products.

From Social Media Today:

Over the last few months there has been a lot of talk about whether or not blogs can truly help drive decision making power. The information is often conflicting, which may drive your average reader to more and more blogs and articles to come up with the truth in between.

For example, a Forrester survey from Q2 2008 created a lot of buzz when it revealed that “only 16% of people who read company blogs trust them.” What I find most ironic about this is that the survey didn’t generate a large level of interest until it hit the Forrester Groundswell BLOG, which as far as I know, is a company blog that does generate a lot of trust among its readers. You could argue that an analyst firm (who is supposed to rank vendors in an unbiased fashion) isn’t  the same as the companies they are talking about in the survey, but that’s just semantics in my mind. They’re using blogs in the same way that every other business should be using blogs — to serve up expertise that will hopefully drive more people to purchase their products.

I think that to say that a majority of people don’t trust company blogs is probably par for the course, as Forrester’s Bernoff acknowledges when he links to an Edelman article pointing out that people don’t trust companies in general.

Yet that doesn’t mean that blogs can’t ultimately tip someone into making that final purchase.  I think its safe to say that as a rule I don’t trust company blogs, because as someone who has been in marketing for a long while I know that there is often a spin of information involved. I think that your average Internet blog reader knows this as well, but we need to give them a bit more credit. Most savvy readers aren’t relying on one source of information. They may start at the company blog, read some information and then do corresponding searches to corroborate the material. So while they may not trust the blog, it doesn’t mean that the blog was useless — it could have served as the stepping stone toward a purchase. Bernoff acknowledges that “In this case about 80% of those we polled said they did use corporate blogs,” which I think is a pretty good indicator of what I say being true. The readers may not trust them, but clearly they read and rely on them in some fashion.

I would be curious to see if those same people surveyed in the Forrester report trust the main company website over the company blog — do they prefer reading lengthy white papers and collateral docs or do they identify more with information presented in a blog?

A ClickZ article by Enid Burns last October cites another survey, this time by Forrester company JupiterResearch and sponsored by BuzzLogic. The stats are interesting:

Readership of blogs is on the rise. JupiterResearch noted a 300 percent growth in monthly blog readership in the past four years. Readers look to links and multiple blog sources to extend the conversation: 49 percent of blog readers, defined as someone who reads at least one blog a month, and 71 percent of frequent readers all read more than one blog per session. Multiple blog sources offer more opportunities for consumers to see blog ads. A quarter of readers say they trust ads on a blog, compared to 19 percent who trust ads on social networking sites.”

So while readers may not trust blogs, it certainly seems that they are continuing to read them. Keep in mind though, that the latter survey seems to be talking about blogs in general, not specifically delineating them into company, media or personal blogs, as is evidenced by the stat about ads. I think that most people wouldn’t trust ads on a company blog but if an individual blogger that someone reads and likes endorses a product, yes, by all means the click-throughs and purchases will be higher. I can attest to this on my writing blog, where I have received numerous kickbacks from purchases made on writing materials that I link to as an affialiate. I link to them because I trust the products and believe in them and readers trust my decision which ultimately results in a purchase.

In a blog post last fall, communications expert Sally Falkow points to a stat in the JupiterResearch/BuzzLogic survey that supports this: “50 percent of frequent blog readers say they have taken an action after reading a  blog.”