Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Twitter users vs Habitat

"Habitat" is a UK furniture brand; apparently it's like an upscale IKEA. It's been a respected brand since its creation in the 1970's, but then they decided to dabble in the social media giant called Twitter. Not only did they use their brand and marketing power for evil by using spam tweets, they still haven't apologized for it.

In the world of social media, where feedback is instant, brands need to have someone on

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBase

call when they use a campaign tactic like this. Twitter's not a bad way to advertise promotions, sales and new products, but it needs to be done in a responsible way to avoid the negative fallout that can follow within minutes.

Here's a link to a good article on Habitat's mess:


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Friday, June 19, 2009

How could this happen?

News Corp. has decided to "dissolve" Fox Interactive Media (FIM), which has, up until this point, been their digital arm. That's sad, and even more sad is the fact that they might lay off 350 people in the near future. That being said, as a social networking specialist, I'm even more worried about that will happen now to my favorite part of FIM: MySpace; News Corp. already fired 400 employees at the former social networking juggernaut on Tuesday.

This revolutionary company turned the world upside down with its ability to network people across the globe like never before. It helped turn the Internet into the necessary part of life that it is today. Now it may disappear. Goodbye, old friend...
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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Blogging for Dollars, Part 1

Fifteen years ago, no one could have guessed that people would have FREE space on the Internet to write WHATEVER they wanted to write. And now, to top it off, people can make money off of these personal records on the web, called "weblogs" (now just called "blogs")! There are more ways than ever to make money off of the Internet. The plethora of companies that sell their products via electronic stores has grow exponentially, even in the past five years. Web 2.0 and it's usability have turned the web into a money making machine.

In addition to web carts, Google has enabled advertisers of all sizes through its service, AdSense. If you're unfamiliar with the products, it works like this:
- Bloggers sign up for free accounts.
- These authors choose where and how ads are displayed on their sites.
- Google uses its analytical tools to match up random ads with content found on sites.
- If visitors to these blogs click on ads, the authors get paid by the advertisers.
- Genius, no?

Granted, the money that most bloggers receive is pretty paltry, and to actually get a check, a blog has to have $100 worth of ad revenue. Considering that you need 100 or more hits on your blog to receive anywhere from 1 penny or more means that it could take a while. But still, it's an interesting idea that has paid off for people.
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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Cheap ways to help your "personal brand"...

In this LinkedIn Answer, I was writing to a person who wanted to sell themselves as an inventor. They had past success with creating successful products, so it wasn't just out of nowhere. If you have NO experience in an area, you need to be careful not to lie, but if you have had even a small amount of exposure, you can highlight it in things you write and say.

Here's what I suggested to the inventor, and he rewarded me with a "Best Answer."

"It's interesting to see the difference between a company's definition - in this case, it's YOUR definition - and a consumer/customer view of 'brand.' You see yourself as intelligent, creative and under-recognized for your achievements. To someone looking to utilize your services or creativity, you may seem invisible.

"In the end, which is the definition that will prevail? It's always the customer's definition of 'brand.' They're the ones who decide what happens to your 'personal brand.' The old saying, 'Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,' holds true in this case. In the minds of consumers/customers is where the brand really lives.

"Once you come to that realization, the next step is to decide how you can INFLUENCE the way people view your brand. Have you changed your LinkedIn profile to emphasize your best qualities, or does it merely function as a list of things you've done? You need to do a search and see how you appear in references on the Internet. Every touch-point people have with your brand could be the deciding factor in what they think of you. Make sure all of these places are putting forth the right image.

"Next, I would start a professional blog that you use to talk about new creative ideas and about your past successes. Use generalities to talk about new ideas to make sure you don't give things away, but when talking about past successes, be specific. Promote your blog by including it in searches on Google and Yahoo!. That way, your name and blog will appear in people's search results; this will increase your visibility online so that people will be able to find you easier.

"These are all simple and non-costly ways of increasing your visibility and strengthening people's opinions of you as a serious inventor. Other options are available, but they will be more costly as you try to market yourself. Also, while you're at it, change your resume to emphasize your strengths as an inventor, too. Always remember that your 'personal brand' exists in the minds of those who come in contact with you. Make sure every instance is a good one!”
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Monday, June 1, 2009

The Reasoning Behind Research

Everybody's heard the saying about people who don't learn from past mistakes; they're doomed to repeat them, right? Yes, and this applies in lots of situations, including marketing. Unfortunately, marketers learn even slower than the general public, so they've been wallowing in the same researching muck for decades.

This is actually pretty ironic, since marketing is all about promoting products people want or need (ideally). I think that's the only reason people have responded to some pretty poor marketing blunders. However, the most awful mistakes usually don't turn out well, and when they're done by "reputable" companies, they deserve a closer look, if for no other reason than to laugh and say, "What were they thinking?!"

The worst one I can think of at the moment is New Coke. In the mid-80's Coca-Cola was going through a bit of an identity crisis, and Pepsi-Cola capitalized on it, grabbing a huge chunk of what had been Coke's dominant market position. In an attempt to regain it's stake as #1, the Coke executive team decided to make a drastic move and change the formula!

This was all based on the research they'd done that said that people preferred the sweeter taste of Pepsi. The answer was obvious after they discovered this hidden truth! Or maybe they just didn't dig deep enough. Had they focused less on Pepsi, and more on Coke's unique nature as a brand, they would have discovered that their power was in their own flavor, not their competitor's.

I could write more, but I think I'll save it for a future post. The point is: it's not enough to do "research;" you need to do the RIGHT research, which should always focus on your own brand and its unique place in the market. If you focus on your competitors too much, you run the risk of turning your brand into a copycat product, which will get you nowhere in the long run.
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