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Posts Tagged ‘Flickr’

BEST GLOBAL BRANDS 2010

Posted Thursday, September 16th, 2010

Apple‘s brand value has increased by 37% but it has only charted at 17th place in this year’s annual Best Global Brands survey from Interbrand, way behind IBM, Google and Microsoft.

The company, boosted its brand through controlled messaging and an endless wave of buzz surrounding new product launches, but still failed to make the top 10.

It has recently come under heavy criticism in public perception due to problems with the iPhone 4 reception handset, leading to the offer of a free rubber casing for those who were dissatisfied with their purchase.

The brand barometer placed Coca-Cola as its top global brand, with technology brand IBM taking second place, Microsoft third and Google fourth.
BlackBerry made great gains with a 32% increase in brand value. At 54th place it is the most popular smartphone for business users, despite pressure from Apple as it edges into the corporate world.

The annual survey from the consultancy said that a number of brands had faced extraordinary crises in 2010 resulting in stalled growth and loss of value.

BP fell out of the ranking this year, on the back of the Gulf of Mexico disaster and its poorly received response.
BP‘s disaster and inability to produce results on its brand promise of “Beyond Petroleum” led to it falling off of the list. Worse, it saw competitor Shell emerge as the leading oil industry brand, now ranked number 81, up from number 92 in 2009.
Toyota still ranked a surprising 11th place despite the biggest product recall in its history, which caused the brand to lose 16% of its brand value as its long-standing reputation for reliability, efficiency and innovation took a serious knock.

During a difficult year for the auto industry, Mercedes Benz (12th place) and BMW (15th place) were able to sustain and build their value “through innovative design and a focus on delivering premium value vehicles with luxury features”.

Using customer feedback, largely drawn from YouTube, Flickr, Twitter and Facebook to launch the 2009 Fiesta, Ford at 50th place stood out as one of the best example of how to use social media. Award-winning products like the Q5 and rich heritage helped Audi to 63rd place with a 9% increase in its brand value.

In the financial sector, Citi (40th place) and UBS (86th place) lost double-digits in brand value, while Santander (68th place), Barclays (74th place) and Credit Suisse (80th place) made their debut on the list for the first time.

Their ability to stay true to brand promises in unsure times, and avoidance of the subprime mortgage crisis, helped them stay the course.

“2010 was the beginning of a long road back towards economic recovery,” said Jez Frampton, group chief executive at Interbrand.

“From real-time customer feedback through social media to increased transparency about corporate citizenship, brands were faced with a profound change in the way they relate to customers and demonstrate their relevance and value.

Despite this new paradigm of brand management, the advantages of building a solid brand remain the same.”

Despite the economic downturn, luxury brands Cartier (77th place), Armani (95th place), Louis Vuitton (16th place), Gucci (44th place), Tiffany & Co (76th place) and Hermes (69th place) all saw the value of their brands increase in 2010 by “continuing to invest in their heritage and legendary status.”

Last year’s survey saw financial brands take a hammering due to the global downturn, with internationally famous names such as Citi and UBS seeing the value of their brand slashed in half.


How Ford Got Social Marketing Right

Posted Friday, March 12th, 2010

The automaker successfully re-entered the subcompact car market via the Fiesta Movement and YouTube, Flickr, Facebook, and Twitter

Businessweek, 7 January 2010

Ford recently wrapped the first chapter of its Fiesta Movement, leaving us distinctly wiser about marketing in the digital space.

Ford gave 100 consumers a car for six months and asked them to complete a different mission every month. And away they went. At the direction of Ford and their own imagination, “agents” used their Fiestas to deliver Meals On Wheels. They used them to take Harry And David treats to the National Guard. They went looking for adventure, some to wrestle alligators, others actually to elope. All of these stories were then lovingly documented on YouTube, Flickr, Facebook, and Twitter.

The campaign was an important moment for Ford. It wanted in to the small car market, and it hadn’t sold a subcompact car in the United States since it discontinued the Aspire in 1997. And it was an important moment for marketing. The Fiesta Movement promised to be the most visible, formative social media experiment for the automotive world. Get this right and Detroit marketing would never be the same.

I had the good fortune to interview Bud Caddell the other day and he helped me see the inner workings of the Fiesta Movement. Bud works at Undercurrent, the digital strategy firm responsible for the campaign.

Under the direction of Jim Farly, Group VP at Ford and Connie Fontaine, manager of brand content there, Undercurrent decided to depart from the viral marketing rule book. Bud told me they were not interested in the classic early adopters, the people who act as influencers for the rest of us. Undercurrent wanted to make contact with a very specific group of people, a passionate group of culture creators.

Bud said, The idea was: let’s go find twenty-something YouTube storytellers who’ve learned how to earn a fan community of their own. [People] who can craft a true narrative inside video, and let’s go talk to them. And let’s put them inside situations that they don’t get to normally experience/document. Let’s add value back to their life.

They’re always looking, they’re always hungry, they’re always looking for more content to create. I think this gets things exactly right. Undercurrent grasped the underlying motive (and the real economy) at work in the digital space. People are not just telling stories for the sake of telling stories, though certainly, these stories have their own rewards. They were making narratives that would create economic value. The digital space is an economy after all. People are creating, exchanging and capturing value, as they would in any marketplace. But this is a gift economy, where the transactions are shot through with cultural content and creation. In a gift economy, value tends to move not in little “tit for tat” transactions, but in long loops, moving between consumers before returning, augmented, to the corporation. In this case, adventures inspired by Undercurrent and Ford return as meaning for the brand and value for the corporation. Undercurrent was reaching out to consumers not just to pitch them, but to ask them to help pitch the product. And the pitch was not merely a matter of “buzz.” Undercurrent wanted consumers to help charge the Fiesta with glamor, excitement, and oddity — to complete the “meaning manufacture” normally conducted only by the agency.

This would be the usual “viral marketing” if all the consumer was called upon to do was to talk up Fiesta. But Undercurrent was proposing a richer bargain, enabling and incenting “agents” to create content for their own sakes, to feed their own networks, to build their own profiles…and in the process to contribute to the project of augmenting Fiesta‘s brand.

Fiesta‘s campaign worked because it was founded on fair trade. Both the brand and the agent were giving and getting. And this shows us a way out of the accusations that now preoccupy some discussions of social media marketing. With their gift economy approach, Ford and Undercurrent found a way to transcend all the fretting about “what bright, shining object can we invent to get the kids involved?” and, from the other side, all that “oh, there he goes again, it’s the Man ripping off digital innocents.” It’s a happier, more productive, more symmetrical, relationship than these anxieties imply. Hat’s off to Farley and Fontaine.

The effects of the campaign were sensational. Fiesta got 6.5 million YouTube views and 50,000 requests for information about the car—virtually none from people who already had a Ford in the garage. Ford sold 10,000 units in the first six days of sales. The results came at a relatively small cost. The Fiesta Movement is reputed to have cost a small fraction of the typical national TV campaign. There is an awful lot of aimless experiment in the digital space these days. A lot of people who appear not to have a clue are selling digital marketing advice. I think the Fiesta Movement gives us new clarity. It’s a three-step process.

• Engage culturally creative consumers to create content.
• Encourage them to distribute this content on social networks and digital markets in the form of a digital currency.
• Craft this is a way that it rebounds to the credit of the brand, turning digital currency (and narrative meaning) into a value for the brand.

In effect, outsource some of our marketing work. And in the process, turn the brand itself into an “agent” and an enabler of cultural production that is interesting and fun. Now the marketer is working with contemporary culture instead of against it. And everyone is well-served.


Social Media’s True Impact on Haiti, China, and the World

Posted Friday, January 22nd, 2010

We’ve seen some major world events unfold on the social media stage this week, the biggest being Google’s threat to pull out of China and the Haiti earthquake.

Google’s actions have brought attention back to the long-standing Internet censorship that blankets China, while the destruction in Haiti has mobilized hundreds of thousands to open their wallets and their hearts.

Just like the Iran Election crisis, people are again assessing the impact of social media on the world. It’s clear that social media has the power to impact world politics and the lives of billions, but some have overstated what social media can actually do. We need to understand what social media really is in order to utilize it effectively for social good.

Let me explain by highlighting a few examples of social media’s impact on the world stage, and then concluding with how I view social media’s impact in the larger context of mobilization and world discussion.

The Iran Election Crisis

During summer 2009, the world’s eyes were fixated on Iran. Questions were raised after Ahmadinejad was declared the winner over rival Mousavi in Iran’s Presidential elections. The abnormalities and potential tampering of the vote resulted in massive protests that engulfed the Islamic nation.

Social media’s role in the Iran Election Crisis started with CNNFail, but that was only the beginning of social media’s role. With the Iranian government clamping down on information and enforcing censorship, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, and YouTube became the primary mediums for bringing information out of the conflicted nation and spreading notes between dissidents.

Take a look at the Iran Election social media timeline we built if you want to see its full impact. Key moments in the crisis, especially death of Neda, were recorded and spread like wildfire, creating an outpouring of support for the protesters. Twitter’s role was so important in fact that the U.S. government got involved in scheduling Twitter’s downtime.

In the end though, social media didn’t topple any governments, although it has helped shift the political climate in Iran. In some cases the use of Twitter in Iran was overstated, yet the result is that the tipping point for Iran is close, thanks to social media.

The Haiti Earthquake

After a magnitude 7.0 earthquake (and multiple aftershocks) devastated the nation of Haiti, social media became the medium in which everybody spread the word. Dramatic Haiti earthquake Twitter pictures swept across the web, while tech giants mobilized.

The most impressive part of social media’s impact on Haiti has to be the charity text message campaign that has already raised more than $10 million for Haiti victim relief. Social media spread the word, technology made it possible.

It’s not all perfect, though: the money raised is small compared to the relief coming from world governments and donations face 90 day delays. Still, social media for social good is becoming more and more effective with each crisis.

The China-Google Standoff

While we are still far from the conclusion of this messy affair, Google’s threat to pull out of China has already had a dramatic effect in both social media and political circles.

Politically, China has been put under pressure. The U.S. government has thrown its support behind Google, though it’s doubtful that the Obama administration will get involved in the end.

More importantly though, social media is being used to lift China’s blanket of censorship. Social tools, while many are blocked by the Chinese, can get through China’s great firewall. We have the tools to undo censorship in China. Google’s efforts have re-ignited the debate over censorship, but they won’t break the barrier.

Breaking Down Social Media’s Global Impact

In all three cases (China, Haiti, and Iran), social media has had an impact, especially as the course of events evolved. Real-time communication platforms like Twitter and Facebook have spread the word about what’s happening within these nations, long before the mainstream media prints the story. These tools have also created a level awareness we’ve never seen before.

We have to be realistic, though: new media isn’t going to stop censorship, overthrow oppressive regimes, or heal the people of Haiti alone. Social media has transformed communication, media, and the transmission of information, but it still takes people on the ground to pull people out of the rubble or to fight for freedom.

Just as Paul Revere embarked on his midnight ride to warn that the British were coming, social media acts as both the first warning and the rallying cry for mobilization. In the end though, social media is just a collection of tools. It’s up to us, the people, to make the real impact on our world.


Curtain twitchers, the CIA and the rise of Facebook

Posted Thursday, October 1st, 2009

New technology and old-fashioned curiosity have made social networking so hot that everyone is cashing in. Nico Macdonald helps you sort the tweets from the bots

 Design Council

If everyone felt like Jerry Seinfeld, Facebook wouldn’t exist. The comedian observed: “As an adult, it’s very hard to make a new friend. Whatever group you’ve got now, that’s who you’re going with. You’re not interviewing, you’re not looking at any people, you’re not interested in seeing any applications.”

Yet, for most of us, the social instinct is deeply ingrained. So deeply that, by the age of seven, research suggests, two thirds of American children have an imaginary friend. Technology has made it possible for us to connect with real friends in undreamt of ways. When Tom Coates, a staffer in a London office of Yahoo!, needed a break, he decided the best way to round up some company was to post this message on Twitter, a hip social networking service: “I need to go for a walk to clear my head. Yauatcha for macaroons anyone?”

Social networking is such a phenomenon that many employers – even the CIA – now have Facebook pages and use the site as a recruitment tool. The agency plans to launch its own staff social networking site called A-Space.

The wisdom of friends: the psychological argument for using social networking sites full of ‘people like us’ is compelling. But how long with the fashion last? And what do sites need to do to increase their reach?
Asking all your friends if they’d like to join you for lunch would once have been impractical. But sites like Facebook allow us to gossip and curtain-twitch online, be bored by someone else’s holiday snaps without visiting their house, plan a business meeting and accelerate the getting-to-know-you process. Instead of taking months to realise that a new acquaintance, like you, can quote Seinfeld scripts verbatim, you can join a group of like-minded souls in minutes.

New technology, old-fashioned curiosity and a dollop of ‘wisdom of friends’ psychology have made sites like Facebook, MySpace and Bebo immensely popular. A 2007 survey found that 48% of American teenagers online visit social networking sites at least once a day and 72% use them to make plans with friends. In the network age, computing power is in the hands of more people and is tackling new challenges. We’ve moved from using computers as work objects to the widespread use of computing-enabled things – laptops, mobile phones, games consoles – to manipulate emails, diary entries, instant messages, contact information, URLs and blogs wherever we are.

Social networking is driven by significant technical developments and rapid social change. The current fears for – and of – teenagers – may explain why they have become core users of social networking sites, spending more time at home on the internet. As a rule of thumb, for every hour we spend on the web, we typically spend 23.5 minutes less with friends and family.

The culture of fear and decreasing trust have made some wary of encounters with strangers and reluctant to embark on deep personal relationships. Surveys show that a record one in four Americans say they have no close friends at all. Many prefer ‘safer’ relationships mediated, to an extent, via a screen, where they can connect with a wider circle of friends in a non-committal fashion. Consumer trends analyst Linda Stone calls this “continuous partial attention”, adding: “To be busy, to be connected, is to be alive, to be recognised and to matter.”

Cheaper travel and a more integrated global economy, where staff change jobs more often and are more likely to work abroad, have played their part too.

Keeping in contact, avoiding cowboy plumbers
The functions social networking best supports are, in a nutshell or seven:

Familiarisation and maintaining contacts. From status updates and edited profiles you build a rounded picture of an individual. People you know may share this with you – to varying degrees – if asked. Essentially, human knowledge is being connected by the network (rather than embedded in it – the goal of so many past computing visions).
Swapping, sharing and storing of ‘objects’ – photos, movies or songs – online. We can be told when something of interest has been uploaded.
Group discussion, which is moving to social networking sites. Contributors’ real names and pictures can be displayed and you can check their profile.
Finding and hiring skills. The self-employed already use sites like LinkedIn to get in touch with businesses and customers regardless of location.
Online or internet-enabled applications which allow us to manage tasks, meetings and diaries. You can, for instance, open up your diary to contacts.
Campaigning. You can network with people with the same ideology. But the likes of Facebook can’t, by themselves, reinvigorate the democratic process.
Searching the web. Social networking can reveal, filter, enhance or shape the data we find when searching. We can link, recommend or rate almost anything and form an opinion influenced by our knowledge of the contributor or the number of recommendations. In a world full of cowboy plumbers – or so reality TV shows would have us believe – we might be relieved to find one implicitly recommended because they’re linked to someone we know. Friends or contacts are acting as ‘trust engines’, and by answering, friends build their relationship with you and increase their kudos with others.
While Google focuses on computer science, engineering and performance, Yahoo! has focused on what Bradley Horowitz, vice president of product strategy, calls “better search through people”, buying bookmark-sharing tool del.icio.us and photo-sharing site Flickr and developing such services as Yahoo! Answers.

Junk mail, smart address books and over-engineering
Social networking sites need to improve. As Facebook’s personal profile – which includes favourite music, TV shows, films and books – is completed manually, it is of limited use and soon out of date. Profiles would be richer if they drew on actual activity, such as the music we buy or play. Artificial intelligence-based tools could help others access a user’s locally stored information. There is a risk of over-engineering, though. An element of a profile or relationship can be extracted or inferred but do we want to share it with everyone? Giving users visibility on – and control of – what they share is a design challenge. Already LinkedIn lets you ‘View my profile as others see it’.

Sites need to be accessible and to hand, as easy to use as a stapler. Modern mobiles and smart phones like the iPhone have feature-filled browsers. A site such as Jaiku offers a dedicated application for modern Nokia devices that identifies your geographic location to your circle of friends. You could have a smart address book that tells you if a contact you plan to call is busy or abroad. Giving physical form to such ideas is the Availabot, a pop-up figure that stands up on your desk when the contact it represents comes online and falls into a flaccid heap of despair when s/he goes away.

Exhaustion, Rupert Murdoch and evolutionary psychology
The subtlety of human relationships can’t be over-estimated. We finesse what we tell different people, even lie. There is a danger that concerns about privacy, and scares based on extraordinarily rare – but shocking – abuses of social networking tools, may deter people from using these sites. Worries over security, time wasting and other abuses has led employers to block access to Facebook.

On a practical level, there is a danger of exhaustion. Coates says: “The amount of sites using social networks is so substantial that [registration] is no longer something people will go through again for no obvious reason.” Sites could be integrated as an external service to other sites. If LibraryThing could access your Facebook profile, it could show you books your friends liked. Profiles could be abstracted so they can be ‘applied’ to any site or service. So far, this has had little success, but as social networking profiles are made easier to edit and when this approach presents a competitive advantage, the ‘abstract’ approach may flourish.

Rupert Murdoch’s strategy for MySpace raises another issue. MySpace plans to run a TV series about showbiz wannabes as it strives to persuade users to linger longer, so they can be targeted by ads. If these sites are not full of user- generated content but have content developed by professionals, does that extend their appeal or fatally undermine it? Facebook has announced it will start targeting ads based on user profiles. Will users be deterred by advertising or welcome it? Concerns about privacy have been heightened by Facebook’s plan to allow (user-controlled) elements of profiles to be indexed by Google.

Historically, human relationships have built over time from face-to-face encounters, in which we use body language and other cues to assess honesty. By contrast, the ease with which we can indicate friendship with social networking allows us to appear to have a cohort of friends. There is some science behind Seinfeld’s gag. Evolutionary psychology suggests we are hardwired to remember no more than 150 people. These smaller, more intensely focused groups have often been responsible for scientific, technical and intellectual breakthroughs. The trajectory of social networking is in our hands. Will we, as a society, take these services seriously – or be satisfied to play online with our new ‘friends’?


 
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