Testing tags.

Posted via web from Nathaniel’s Wall


Testing tagging.

Posted via web from Nathaniel’s Wall


What’s most interesting in this AdWeek article is to see how slim the point of view is around how to calculate return on the interactions that these fan pages produce. Facebook fan pages are a powerful new extension to the media arsenal. They create “media lift”, creating sustainable conversation out of direct media efforts. For example, a Facebook media placement could target all moms in the US (or those with specific profile attributes) and invite them into a discussion or experience related to a brand on a fan page. Those fans could then be the source of sustained conversation, activity and influence which further engages and promotes the brand awareness efforts. So it’s definitely a powerful media/communications approach.

Continue reading ‘AdWeek – Who’s Doing It Right on Facebook’

Branding is by far one of the oldest marketing science. Branding techniques have involved a variety of psychologically relevant approaches, such as plain naming, visual branding, acoustical (think Intel)  and video branding (think of the MGM lion roaring) and trademark slogans we all remember. But as we move from push into a social branding era, some interesting challenges have come to life for brands and their designations as they embark into consumer based branding.

The Conversational Monitoring Challenge

As brands embrace online conversation and social media, some will be faced with an interesting challenge while performing discovery tasks and seeking to define a reliable universe of keywords and topics they can track against. Interestingly enough, some of the biggest brands will find that their conversation is  quite difficult to find, let alone track. Consider names like “Apple”, “Palm”, “Sun”, “Lee”, “Wrangler”, “New Balance”, “Simple”, “Vans” and many more. Sifting through online mentions of these words leads to a significant amount of noise.

Stating the Obvious: Names that Can Be Found

Social media metrics and conversational listening will have profound impact on the creation and use of brand names. Companies will more heavily rely on names that can be uniquely found and tracked online. And realizing that big brands can’t just change their names, they might rely on a set of  “sub-brand” names to keep better tabs on their social mentions.

But Names Aren’t Everything

Solving the naming problems only takes you half of the way. In fact, very often, challenges around a brand’s name(s) or even the vocabulary defining a company’s services cannot easily be dismissed through naming alone. Luckily, conversational monitoring has evolved. Give it up to the real social media pros to perform topical discovery on a variety of tools, and zero in on your brand’s conversation. A few of the tricks…

  • Term proximity: Use a tool that can perform proximity based matching. An easy example would be to search for “Wrangler” in proximity of “jeans”, “denim” or “wear/wore”. Most tools only offer inclusion and exclusion filters, which fall short of being useful unless you are able to match by closeness.
  • SEO Search Terms: While most sites today do not factor online conversation in their choice of search terms and keywords, those terms can be extremely useful in conversational discovery. Because search terms (if done well) are the most likely way consumers “call out” what they’re looking for, these terms are also most likely to appear in conversation.
  • Word Clouds & Heat Maps: Word clouds or heat maps provide a quick visualization of term weight and volume. While the substance of the conversation behind popular words may not seem interesting or actionable, it is important to consider its volume and to follow through the use of certain words in order to uncover the trending topics behind them.
  • Blogs & Microblogs are not equal: Keep in mind that while many conversational monitoring tools blend results from blogs and micro-blogs, discovery should preferrably be performed on each independently first. Micro-blogs force condensed conversation, leading to sharper use of key terms vs. “noise” terms. Taking a quick spin at a simple Twitter search looking for brand mentions can give you a better sense of what you’re looking for.

Start Listening!

Whether your brand name is unique or you’re likely to find yourself drowned in chatter, start listening today. Discovery is the process of uncovering conversation, topics, influencers, trends and so much more. It can be challenging, and will only get more daunting as conversation amasses every single instant online. If you’ve gotten passed discovery, congratulations. Now’s the time to define your listening metrics and track agains them. Listen, learn, engage, repeat.

Social Networking is the groundswell of this decade. With adoption growing faster than grasp, Facebook, Twitter and many more have glued the mobs to their screens and mobiles. Businesses flock to de-mystify the use of social channels for profit or even just brand image. As people talk, share, tweet and post, patterns of use self-organize, experiences mature and something interesting unfolds: the concept of people sharing vivid experiences in time and places requires more than just web and mobile.

The Social Experience is Confined

The Social Networking experience today is confined to the web. With mobile “companion” experiences, the point of contact remains the computer or handheld device. The interactions are rich, and now include location awareness and rich media. But they still heavily rely on users taking on the entire task of  self-reporting.

This burden of self-report can greatly dilute expression in time and places. A rich social activity report today consists  of a user sharing their location, what they’re doing, who they’re with and including content, such as a photo, at a time very close to the experience itself. Such reports are rare. Instead, more common are detailed “post-experience” or plain “in-experience” reports. The reason is simple.  Interrupting experience to take the time to report is unnatural and in fact reduces the experience itself.   

In a nutshell, the current social networking experience confines us to trade richness for timeliness. And for the average Social Joe, which does not like to spend too much time providing details of an experience, most social activity consists of reporting things that do not truly carry the essence of people, time and place, such as content (links, videos, photos, thoughts, celebrity gossip, etc.)

What do we need? More natural and spontaneous ways of capturing experiences.  Integrating social experiences beyond the web represents a crucial step towards a more natural capture of experiences that reveal the true social nature of people, time and place in engaging ways.

Unleashing:  Outdoor and Physical Experiences

We are social in the way we live and share experiences together. These experiences mostly happen in dynamic contexts, such as while visiting a store, dancing in a club, eating at a restaurant. A true capture of these experiences involves technology and a level of automation which allows seamless, unintrusive, engaging and rich auto-reporting all at the same time. A few examples…

Interactive Club/Lounge Tables

Jennie’s out with some friends. They head to their favorite club. The doorman greets the regulars and seats them in the lounge area. As they sit, their table comes to life. The “digital bar” lights up, and engages you to touch through a delicious selection of cocktails, drinks and other lounge treats. Within seconds of amazement the drinks are ordered. But this gets better.  The “digital bar” puts Jennie & Friends on screen and prompts them to Tweet or post to Facebook. Within seconds, all smiles are on Jennie’s Facebook page and a tweetpic, location and shout out on Twitter. Now that’s accurate activity feeding… Within minutes, Jennie’s phone buzzes. Dave is on his way.

The Virtual Dress-up

You walk into Abercrombie. The famous giant sized frame at the entrance seems to have more glitter. As you make your way through the entrance, the frame comes to life and you suddenly see yourself on screen, wrapped in the latest A&F outfit.  Startled with excitement, you grab your phone, you just have to share this! But wait… the screen calls you up and reads  “Show your friends how good you look in A&F. Touch here…”. A few touches later, the word is out, and your moment of dress-up fame is out on your profile page. Abercrombie flavored, of course…

Automated Sharing

Automated sharing basically means providing a user the ability to share rich activity details with minimal effort. Tagging a product in a store lets your friends know where you’re shopping and what you’re digging. Scanning a 2D code at the museum posts a vignette of the art you admired, with picture, a bit of history and the museum hours. During movie previews,  snapping and sending a 2D tag shown on screen lets your friends know you’re at the movies and what you’re watching, trailer included. 

Opportunity: win-win for users and marketers

Moving social interactions beyond the web shifts control towards the conversation “enabler”. As a user, your ability to easily share is traded for a marketer’s ability to integrate relevant content and brand into your expression. And the trade seems quite fair, since the relevance of your message is also increased. User generated branded conversations, or marketing nirvana.  Time to push beyond the web?

Comments please…  




The line is blurred. Your boss and best friends together on Facebook. Your rants heard by all on Twitter. Will the medium shape our digital social persona or will our need for channeled communication shape the medium?

Theory #1: We will learn to adopt a digial persona which can appeal to all contexts.

Our experience with digital conversations will create a third privacy dimension. Something between public and private. Between personal and professional. We will take a section of each and it will become who we are within the digital society. This new dimension will slowly but surely become the new notion of “public”. While private will be kept between the walls of direct messages, SMS, and email.

Theory #2: Social networks and microblogs, through increased usage, feel the need for classification, including subnetworks and groups which can accomodate our privacy needs.

In this scenario, we don’t change. Life is business as usual. Our boss does not know what we tell our friends unless we want to. Networks give us the ability, with many possible variations, to “channel up” our streams and create circles of interest around conversations. These can then be used for public and private needs, or simply for topical characterization.

Which will it be? As we speak, the first theory is unfolding. But the pressures of monetization under increasing traffic may very well force the need to segment via features such as classification.

Your thoughts?

Just a quick rundown based on a great article by Josh Bernoff about the mistrust of the corporate blog.  I’ve recently discussed how portable social graphs are slighly shifting attention towards email and the address book and how powerful the concept could be.

Beyond corporate blog mistrust, this article delivers a powerful second message loud and clear: email is the most trusted conversational medium. Not a coincidence that it’s also the oldest, most reliable and most flexible.

The above article shows this Forrester chart about people’s trust in information sources (taken straight from the article – disclaimer):

Forrester - information source trust data

Forrester - information source trust data

What this really means:

From people you know: Email beats social networks 77% to 43%. This just can’t be neglected!

People trust consumer product ratings / reviews (60%). The Amazon story... Making the recommendation model social while leveraging Email as a Social Graph and communication medium can lead to some pretty powerful models for the Amazon marketing bottom line. You might soon see  “This is Johnny. I just rated the iPhone 8GB 5+ stars. Read what I had to say.in your in-box.

Email / Mail campaigns could potentially go from 26% to 68% in consumer trust. Take the current 25-28% in trust for direct mail or email from a company and look at the 60-77% ratings for reviews and email from people you know. This is the groundbreaking basis for a new age of digital marketing. Here again, the thought of social graph enabled and meaningful marketing interactions (reviews, recommendations, private sales, “hand me over” coupons, the list is long…) is exhilarating to say the least.

Bookmark and Share