Digital Degustation #23 – Brett Rolfe

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LG launches the first flexible E-reader
LG is set to launch an e-reader this week in Europe that is light, thin and FLEXIBLE. The new electronic paper display (EPD) can bend up to 40 degrees and is half the weight of a Kindle. EPD can also be used for advertising, in store display or anything else where traditional rigid displays may not be practical.

Immersive street stories by The Guardian
Here’s a great way for a newspaper to show its local expertise of cities in a way that caters to the change in media consumption and behaviour. The Guardian has unveiled its latest innovation for mobile; ‘Street Stories’. It’s an audio street guide, but it allows you the freedom to wander as you please instead of following a direct route, triggering audio stories and information via GPS as you reach particular places.

Pay friends by bumping mobile phones
Developers of the popular contact-sharing app Bump recently released a new standalone iOS app called Bump Pay that lets you transfer money via PayPal to anyone in arm’s reach. All you need to do is bump iPhones together and the selected amount of money will be transferred to your friend. Although bump technology is this apps biggest draw card, it could also be its biggest limitation for future growth, as you must have physical contact to share funds unlike competitor apps such as Venmo.

Wall-mounted printers create physical photos from Instagram feeds
Check out this great innovation that brings your instagram photos into the physical world, feeding into the desire for tangible mementos. A small wall-mounted wireless printer prints your instagram pics when you tag them via location or #hashtag. You can imagine this festivals, influencer functions, launch events… it’s already on order for this year’s Grammy’s.

3D projection mapping on a human face
Samsung Portugal launched a video this week showing one of the better projection mapping projects we’ve seen – 3D Projection taking place on a human face. The video gas already racked up nearly 300,000 views. It looks amazing, you don’t even realize it’s advertising (until you get to the end frame) and looks amazing.

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Digital Degustation #22 – Luke Ryan

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Hyundai uses hypnosis to sell cars
The “online hypnosis experiment” is a 15 minute immersive video that slowly puts you under hypnosis allowing you to experience the new Hyundai i30 in a completely new light (YouTube Link). They have used the ‘world famous’ hypnotist Peter Powers to bring this to life. Naked performed a similar hypnosis experiment for a brand some years ago, hypnotizing people to fall in love with clothing brand ‘Golf Punk’.

Connect your brand with influential Instagram users
Instagrid Network is an advertising platform that connects brands with influential Instagram users. It gives Instagram users a mode to monetize their creations, while giving brands a way to connect with users that influence the trendy platform. It’s all about the influencers – and new social media platforms keep on throwing up a new bunch of them.

Barclay’s launches the first social credit card
Turns out you don’t need to be a numbers guru to get into the credit card business. The ‘Ring Card’ by Barclaycard US is the first social credit card to be designed and built through the power of community crowdsourcing, and comes with the opportunity for cardholders to shape and share in the product’s financial success. A great example of ‘end user innovation’.

Passive location based apps SXSW belle of the ball
The biggest trend at SXSW this year is what can be described as passive location-based apps and services. These apps give context to the typical location-based app model, telling users about relevant people (based on mutual friends and interests) in the vicinity and offering a way to connect with those users. Check out Glancee to see this in action.

Picle: Telling stories with photos and sound clips
Your memories are made up of pictures with the sounds and smells that accompany them. This app allows you to take a photo and capture ten seconds of audio at the same time. Why limit your photos to only your baby smiling? But now you can capture the laugh as well. We love this.

Digital Degustation #21 – Luke Ryan

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Introducing the new Nike+ experience
This week Nike unveiled a revolutionary training experience connecting digitally enabled footwear with interactive mobile applications. A complete social experience that tracks how high, how hard and how fast players train.

Charlatans frontman’s tweet creates a new cereal
Lead singer of the UK Britpop band The Charlatans, Tim Burgess, sent a cheeky tweet out to his fans that a new cereal should be created called ‘Totes Amazeballs’. In record time, Kellogg’s picked up on the tweet and created the cereal producing a viral wave of earned media around the idea. A single action can have a dramatic impact on a brands perception.

Fiestagram by Ford
How do you showcase your new model’s high-tech innovative features if you’re Ford? Create the first branded photography competition using both Instagram and Facebook of course!

Checking your skin for melanoma? There’s an app for that
Ever spotted a mole and suspected that it could be something more sinister? Help is now on your mobile. Startup Skin Scan has developed an app that uses the iPhones camera and a touch of medical mathematics to calculate your risk of skin cancer.

Augmented glasses that make you a better person
Have a look at this awe inspiring concept video, combining augmented reality, brain-computer interfaces and social networks. Transcendez tracks your eyes, actions and emotions in the real world. As users perform actions, they level up and the application also constantly challenges them to broaden their worldview.

Digital Degustation #20 – Brett Rolfe

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Thredup.com, the new Netflix for baby clothes
Here’s a new startup leveraging social sharing technology where mums can buy, sell and share their outgrown children’s clothes for as low as $9.00 a box.
Mums helping mums through social, love it!

A foolproof way to set up your new mobile phone
Here’s a brilliant idea that taps into the insight (especially with the older generations) that people are frustrated by the difficulties of setting up a new phone, and as a result will only use a limited set of functions.
Using a familiar learning model, books where created not only to act as packaging but provide the entire learning experience. The phone sits in the book and each turn of the page reveals exactly what you need to do in order to set up your new phone. Brilliant.

Red Hot Interactive music video by the Chilli Peppers
The new Red Hot Chilli Peppers interactive music video creates an immersive experience that lets you find hidden content, gain exclusive access and scroll through different rooms to watch the elements you prefer. The Chilli Peppers want to give you an experience moving from the world of engagement (watch a video) to the world of immersion (I control the video).

Siri sings lead vocals on new Flaming Lips song
The Flaming Lips (an American indie rock band) have released a new song featuring Siri as lead vocals. The track ‘Now I Understand’ also features Erykah Badu and Biz Marke. Since its release on Soundcloud a little over a week ago, the song has earned over 100,000 downloads. It’s creepy and cool rolled into one.

An app that controls your dreams
Would you like to be able to control the dreams you have at night? Get rich, fly, or have a fling during your dream all thanks to a new app, the Yumemiru. The app uses the microphones in your smart phones to detect when you enter REM sleep. At that stage a soundtrack begins stimulating your selected dream. The app also promotes frictionless sharing to share your dreams via social channels.

Digital Degustation #19 – Brett Rolfe

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Fresh Impressions on Brand Logo’s (from a 5 year old).
Here is a true and unbiased reflection on the power of good design and the Brands even a 5 year old has a relationship with. This is both adorable and some of the most authentic research out there. A quick heads up, your logo should be a cheetah!

Get real time crowdsourced weather forecasts with this new social app.
As you may have noticed, forecasts (iPhone weather) are often wrong, making you unprepared for the rare occasion Sydney is sunny (I digress). Metwit is an app that allows you to tweet or Facebook update the weather at your current location and broadcasts it to the world. Real time weather, by real people. Goodbye Siri!

Facebook loyalty program is changing the face of customer rewards.
Could this be the missing ingredient that’s been needed to connect social media to the offline sales? Plink has launched a Facebook-credits based loyalty program that rewards Facebook users for dining at national chain restaurants.
Nice loyalty scheme using a currency that growing more and more popular.

Is this the future of price checking? KLM uses Twitter to get flyers the cheapest fare.
Usually, to find tickets online you need to visit an airline’s website, select the place you’d like to travel to, the date, the one-way or return options, the number of guests… and I am bored just writing about the process.
KLM allow you to tweet them at @KLMFares to get the price of the ticket in 1 minute. Don’t believe me? Try for yourself…

An app that is changing behaviour for safe sex
To help promote safe sex a Swedish agency handed out 50,000 condoms to young adults that were embedded with a unique QR code. When the barcode is scanned, it installs an app on your smartphone that can measure factors of your love making session such as sound, duration and rhythm. Each time the app is initiated, it reminds the user to put on a condom first before beginning a new session.
After each session, the stats are aggregated by the app and the user can choose to share and compare the results with other uploaded profiles.

Digital Degustation #18 – Patrice Pandelos

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FEEL THE WORLD, WITH YOUR MOBILE
Digital may soon help you ‘feel’ the world around you. Sam Justin reported for digitfreak.com that a few companies want to replace the crude vibration motors in today’s phones and tablets with something that provides a much wider range of sensations, allowing you to feel the rumble of a Harley or the reverberation of a shotgun blast. The new technology can even let you feel the outlines of a button on the screen.
The technology can make mobile devices shake and rattle with great realism, employing a technology that uses plastics that function like muscles.
Very cool!

NEXT IN TECHNOLOGY
What to know what the hottest technologies for the near future will be? This post by Jason Hiner, posted on techrepublic.com explores some of the geeky possibilities.
The two highlights are:
1. HTML5 to make the web an app: this promises to take the training wheels off the web and unleash it to compete with traditional software. It will eliminate the need for most of the plugins that slow down browsers and introduce extra security risks.
2. Flexible OLED displays: These ultra-low-power displays will be able to be almost as thin as plastic wrap and will be completely flexible (even when in use). You’ll be able to fold smart-phones in half, or roll them into a bracelet. Instead of unfolding a newspaper you’ll unfold an OLED display that is tied to a subscription to The New York Times, for example (here’s an example of how the Times is already envisioning this

HOYTS WORLD FIRST
Ever been at the movies and wished you could have your popcorn delivered to your seat? Now you can. In a world-first, Hoyts Sydney will pilot a mobile payment app developed by MasterCard called QkR, which will allow patrons to order food and drink without leaving their seats.
Techworld.com.au said customers who own an iPhone or Android handset will be able to use the service by downloading the QkR app to their phone and make purchases by either scanning the QR code or tapping a near field communications (NFC) device. There are no plans to widen the trial to BlackBerry or Windows Mobile users.

HANGOUT WITH OBAMA, LITERALLY!
Ever wanted to talk to the most powerful man in the world? Well now you can – with President Obama scheduled for a Google+ Hangout on January 30.
ZDnet.com reports that the President of the United States will be using Google+ as of next week when he responds to “a selection of top-voted questions you’ve submitted in a live-streamed interview” on January 30.
You can watch the event next Monday on the White House’s YouTube station, and interested participants have until midnight on January 28 to submit questions.

FREE WEBINAR: ARCHITECTING YOUR MOBILE STRATEGY
This free webinar from Gartner explores the three major themes that will affect enterprise mobile strategies in 2012: mobile governance, user-centric mobile service delivery and mobile endpoint independence.
Gartner argues it is often impossible for an enterprise to make thoughtful decisions in one area (e.g., mobile application development) without thoroughly considering another area (e.g., security and risk management).
There is also good advice on what enterprises should focus on in the next 12 months.

SAY HELLO
Want to make sure you never miss an opportunity to say hello to a friend? Well now you can, with a new iOS app called Highlight, which alerts you when a friend is in close proximity.
It works by connecting users Facebook profiles and pushing their basic information to other people who use the app. Users can choose to make their information accessible to either everyone or just select friends. Either way, the app only makes the connection if the two parties have something in common.
It’s expected to be one of the most popular apps of 2012.

FINE LINE BETWEEN TECH AND MEDIA
Digital Guru Dave Winer, pioneer of the development of weblogs, (RSS), and much more, explores how users are caught between tech and media.
Winer says, “I’ve been warning the news publishers to be careful about viewing Twitter and Facebook as if they were equivalent to the web. This would be like Kodak trusting Apple to handle its digital photography strategy. We know now how that turned out.”
“Twitter and Facebook are rich and getting richer. Either of them could easily buy a struggling but independent news organization. Then where would you be if you were dependent on them to distribute news? At some point they will come to see themselves as a media company, if they don’t already.”
The full article is worth a read.

HOW THE IPAD WILL CHANGE LEARNING
There is no doubt that people are consuming more books on tablets than ever before, so it was exciting that at the Cyberlearning summit, Apple finally announced that it went live with iBooks2 – it’s launch into the textbook game.
Naked Communications very own digital and education guru Brett Rolfe says, “delivering existing textbooks on tablets isn’t a step change, but it opens the door for a new generation of content for students. Tomorrow’s texts can be richer, more interactive, more social. We can build formative assessment and multimedia content right into the text. And all of that means better learning experiences for kids.”
For children, perhaps the most exciting part is not having to carry around heavy textbooks.

SUPERHEROS SAVE THE WORLD FROM FAMINE
Superheroes are working harder than ever before, not just fighting fictional villains, but fighting famine.
Cnet.com reports that a new campaign is using crowd-sourcing to battle hunger in the horn of Africa. DC Entertainment – home to Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman is matching donations to Mercy Corps, Save the Children and the International Relief Project for their efforts providing relief in Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya. It’s the worst drought in the area in the past 60 years, and is affecting 13 million people, with 250,000 threatened by possible starvation.
DC Entertainment says it will match up to a million dollars in donations made through joinwecanbeheroes.org as well as 50% of any merchandise sold.

Digital Degustation #17 – Patrice Pandelos

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A WHOLE NEW WORLD
In this post for Wired.com, Clive Thompson eloquently explains why Instagram is so much more than just a photo-sharing app and how it’s giving us ordinary folk a deeper visual literacy – making the ordinary, extraordinary.
A good read.

FACEBOOK BUSINESS CARDS
A new deal between Facebook and Moo.com will mean you can now use your Facebook profile to create business cards to use in the real world – with both partners claiming this will bridge the gap between online and offline social networking.
Entrepreneur Richard Moross launched Moo.com in 2006, and he spoke to the guardian.co.uk about the offering “it’s clear that consumer habits of sharing business and personal information is evolving. The lines between online social networking and offline business networking are not just blurring, but vanishing.” He described the new hybrid offering as an “offline social business card.”

A NEW RELIGION
Religion is described as a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects, and now Kopimi has been granted official religious status by Swedish authorities.
The latimes.com reports that in the midst of a worldwide debate about Internet piracy, the Church of Kopimism, which claims it considers CTRL+C and CTRL+V (shortcuts for copy and paste) to be sacred symbols, and that information is holy and copying is a sacrament.
The self appointed spiritual leader is Isak Gerson, who said, “being recognised by the state of Sweden is a large step for all of Kopimi. Hopefully, this is one step toward the day when we can live out our faith without fear of persecution.”
This should make for a very interesting debate around illegal file sharing.

INTERACTIVE CONSUMER ELECTRONICS
Interested in what’s new and exciting in consumer electronics? Look no further. With so many innovative products at the consumer electronics show held in Las Vegas, cnet.com has published and reviewed a best-of guide.

THE FUTURE OF INTERACTIVE TV
CEO and Founder of Simulmedia Dave Morgan, a TV targeting company shared his thoughts on adage.com, “TV will be adding web-like targeting, measurement, accountability and interactivity to a media channel with massive scale and uniquely-impactful sight, sound and motion advertising which will make a very good thing only better.“
“TV’s share of advertising dollars will continue to grow with the promise of personalised, on-demand TV shows, movies, games – and will finally be manifested on the biggest, most comfortable available screen, the TV. This could truly mean a new Golden Age for TV advertising,” Morgan said.
The full article is worth a read.

STARTUPS TO KEEP YOUR EYES ON IN 2012
With so many exciting start-ups, I find it hard to pick favourites, that’s why I enjoyed reading Sarah Kessler top six she compiled for mashable.com.
A few to whet your appetite are:
1.Skillshare is an online marketplace for offline classes – and you can learn about everything from crocheting jewelry to how to invest your first $10,000.
2. Dwolla allows users make payments through Twitter, Facebook, SMS and other virtual channels by connecting their bank accounts to their Dwolla accounts.
3. Codecademy took something that scared people, learning JavaScript, and turned it into a game.
The comments on this post are almost as interesting as the article itself.

BECOME AN APPTIVIST
It’s true, gaming can help save the whales. Adelaide’s The Apptivist Studio has designed a new game, which allows you to assume the identity of a Minke Whale and dodge whalers in the Antarctic.
News.com.au reports that the game will be released this month and is available for 99 cents from the App Store, with 30 per cent of proceeds going to the Sea Shepherd – the organisation that has made waves internationally with its sometimes controversial attempts to stop Japanese whaling.
Paul Malyschko, a designer of the game, said “we were keen to do something which was fun without being overly preachy.”
Go on, game and help save the whales.

GAMING FOR A GOOD CAUSE
The gaming for a good cause trend continues, with WeTopia launching a new Facebook game created by Sojo Studios that allows you to make virtual purchases that are converted to real-world donations, with all gifts going to needy children around the world.
Not only can players create and manage their own villages, gamers can also view their impact on the communities online.
It’s better than Farmville, promise!

WIKIPEDIA BLACKOUT
If you’re trying to use Wikipedia today, don’t. The website will be completely dark for 24 hours, with founder Jimmy Wales using the stunt to send a “big message” to the U.S. government regarding censorship bills currently being considered.

Digital Degustation #16 – Patrice Pandelos

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YOUTUBE: NON-STOP MUSIC
Ever wished you could play non-stop music on YouTube? Well now you can, thanks to a simple app called Tubalr, developed by 23 year old software developer Cody Stewart in Atlanta.
To use Tubalr, either select “only” which plays songs by a single artist or select “similar” to search for related artists. All songs are then linked to your YouTube playlist.
The other reason it’s so useful? You don’t have to see 1000s of comments you’re not interested in while searching for music.

APPLE iTV FEATURES
They say size doesn’t matter, so why is it when a former Apple employee revealed the details of the soon-to-launch Apple TV he described it as a big, slick, 50 inch TV?
The LCD is said to have built in Wi-Fi and have SIRI’s voice recognition system.
News.com.au also reports that experts believe the TV will run on Apple’s operating system and bring the App Store to the living room. The device could also utilise Apple’s AirPlay, which would allow iPads, iPhones and iPods wireless connectivity.

2011: YEAR OF THE CRAZIES
Sometimes it’s nice to reflect on how much can happen in a year, that’s why I enjoyed this re-cap of the craziest tech-stories of 2011 – from the IE IQ hoax, to MC Hammer’s search engine. No one can deny it was an action packed year.

THE FUTURE OF SEO
Looking deep into the crystal ball, CEO and Co-founder of SEOmoz.com Rand Fishkin gives his 8 predictions for SEO trends in 2012.
Fishkin provides his thoughts on what will cause a backlash against Google and what’s next for social media.
A very good read.

IF YOU USE QR CODES, DO IT RIGHT
QR codes are popping up left, right and centre – but it seems that not all marketers are using them well.
AdAge.com reported that QRblaster.com, published the worst campaigns of the year – including codes placed where there was little or no internet access, such as Red Bull who put QR codes on the subway and United Airlines had them on in-flight magazines.
While it’s important to stay ahead of the innovation pack, it’s equally important to remember how consumers use technology.

F-SHOPS NOT TRUSTED…YET
It’s alleged that social media is responsible for keeping marketers awake at night, so I’m sure the research which says 50% of consumers distrust Facebook stores might be enough to make said marketers full-blown insomniacs.
Digital expert and best selling author David Amerland reports that the study, which ThreatMetrix undertook with the assistance of the Ponemon Institute also reveals that of those questioned, 51% said that Google is more effective than Facebook at keeping them safe from online criminals, and only 20% have purchased something directly within Facebook.
It will be some time before marketers start getting more sleep.

HOW-TO MAKE BIG BUCKS ON YOUTUBE
Ever dreamed of being a YouTube celebrity and earning the big bucks by simply uploading a weekly video? With more than 15,000 partners across the globe, there is no reason why you can’t be one of them.
This article written by Greg Jarboe and published on searchenginewatch.com, gives you tips and tricks for optimising your YouTube videos, creating compelling content, engaging the community and how to measure success.
And no, you don’t need a horse or old-spice soap.

MOBILE STAT FEST!
Research company comScore has released the latest mobile subscriber data which shows Android handsets continue to dominate the Smartphone market with 47% marketshare, and iPhone at just under 30%.
The research also suggests that more people are now using mobile apps to view content than their mobile browser.

BRAND LOVE: MORE THAN JUST FAN NUMBERS
Many brands use the number of fans they have as a gage of how successful they are on social media sites – but we all know that this isn’t really the case. However, up until now, we’ve had very little way of proving it.
Fathom Analytics’ relationship quality index is changing that by measuring four factors – the brand pages number of fans, their momentum, fan engagement and sentiment in posts/comments.
It’s not perfect – but it’s a step in the right direction.

AUSTRALIANS ARE “UNSOCIAL”
Research has exposed Australia’s Facebook habits – and it suggests that Australian’s are not the social bunch that they think they are, according to research done by PureProfile.
A third have seen less than five of their online friends in the past year and the Adelaide Advertiser reports that the research also found just more than a third of Aussies do not consider their Facebook friends’ list a “true friends” list. Even more alarming is that more than a quarter admits they do not know all their friends on Facebook.

The Game Changer

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Success in gamification lies in finding and exploiting a brand’s sweet spot in the overlap between people, play and products

By Scott Thomson, Naked Communications, and Jonny Shaw, Naked Play

Play is the most transformative opportunity available for business in today’s world.
Thinkers such as Pat Kane and Stuart Browne have been arguing for the value of play in modern society for some time – and they make a compelling case. But with the advent of the smartphone, and the emergence of social networks as the most dynamic form of media, business has an opportunity to harness the power of play like never before. And in the new, always on, always connected world, it is now possible for business to ‘play-cast’ as well as simply broadcast.
This is perhaps the most significant moment in the history of marketing-led businesses since the arrival of the tv set and commercial breaks; with the central promise being that by importing elements from the world of play to the world of marketing, we can elicit greater levels of engagement, and earned media, for what would otherwise be only mildly engaging pieces of brand activity.
There are already some good examples out there of brands intuitively building business-changing play platforms. There is no doubt that Nike+ represented a ‘game changer’. And Lady Gaga, perhaps the most instinctive marketer in the world today, made a more recent brilliant move when she launched her latest album with a rich and meaningful collaboration with Zynga (the creators of Farmville). Gaga-ville had unicorns, glitter…plus downloadable songs from her new album.

Lady Gaga launched her new album with a link-up with Zynga. GaGa-ville had unicorns and glitter, plus downloadable songs from the album

But these are only spontaneous and inspirational hits from the bleeding edge of marketing. Most of the time, when brands try to get involved with gamification, it ends up being a dull and directionless sponsorship approach. And while there is a massive opportunity, it is not a straightforward one.
It is our belief, in true gaming fashion, that brands need to adopt the following Five Golden Rules of thumb to maximise their chances of success in incorporating ‘play’ elements into campaign thinking.

1 Know the pitfalls
The modern marketing scene is littered with vacuous and meaningless campaigns that boil down to nothing more than tag-ons to what are real and powerful human dynamics that neither need nor feed off brand participation. And current trends in gamification are unfortunately not immune to this.
It is not enough, for example, just to sponsor the latest EA game franchise. Neither is it enough to get more down and dirty with street play activations that add nothing to the very things they sponsor. Even noble attempts such as Tiger beer’s street football in Asia, which resonate in themselves simply because they provide additional vents for existing football passions, still tend to pose a difficult question; beyond sponsoring such activities, would the gaming elements themselves be any different without the brand or product involved? From the perspective of the participants, most of the time the answer is no. And, even while it may add a bit of authenticity to FIFA12 to have some branded in-stadia perimeter advertising, it wouldn’t add to the actual experience of gameplay, which is what the punters queue up for in the first place.
So, it’s not just about sponsorship. but neither is more active brand participation a panacea for success. For example, while it might be notable that the perennial Obama campaign is signing up for Foursquare, with gamification at its heart, what will be the real benefit in the run-up to the 2012 US Presidential elections? The Washington Post sees it as “further proof that the challenges facing the us have become so complex that conveying information via traditional means no longer suffices”. But the act of a sitting US President becoming ‘Mayor’ of a series of US locations may become a bit moot, and do nothing in terms of adding to Obama’s existing brand imagery among a given social media demographic. It might just prove to be nothing more than a ‘Mayoral Badge of Meaninglessness’, akin, in engagement terms at least, to empty sponsorship.
Even attempts that do register in the short term are faced with lingering questions around their long-term impact. For example, Microsoft ran a promotion last year offering free ‘farm cash’ – the virtual currency of Zynga’s Farmville – to those who became Facebook fans of Bing. It was an apparent runaway success, with an immediate gain of 500,000 new Facebook fans. But are they staying engaged? “We still have the debate,” Bing Worldwide marketing general manager, Wes Nichols, has since been quoted as saying. “Are those friends active and coming back, or did they just friend bing to get the free pig on the farm?”
Brands need to understand the intrinsic short and long-term benefits of any play approach – benefits to participants, plus the benefits to the brand. Otherwise they run the danger of simply providing gamification equivalents of traditional retail promos.
So if, as the above examples illustrate, it’s not just about in-game ads, sponsorship, location-based badges, leaderboards, or even virtual currency… what should it be about?
The answer lies in ‘what you do’ and ‘the way that you do it’.and it demands great strategic diligence. Much more than is currently apparent in the marketplace.

2 Look before you leap (do a Play Audit)
Different kinds of play and games are more appropriate for certain tasks, certain audiences and certain brands. The role of segmentation and targeting are absolutely fundamental to how we develop and execute traditional message-based ‘push’ marketing, But when it comes to gamification, brands are largely still operating in a ‘strategy free’ zone. This is a glaring gap, and at Naked Play, our dedicated unit in this space, we are going about the business of trying to plug it.
The key to leveraging play dynamics for brands lies in unlocking the sweet spot in any overlap between people, play and products. As an industry, we have largely been good at unearthing the relationship between people and brands. But we have yet to fully import an understanding of how and why people play, how games fulfil fundamental human needs, and where the sweet spots are for brands. Each of these areas, and their intersections have to be fully ‘audited’ which is the focus of our three remaining Golden Rules.

3 Understand play basics (what lies beneath)
Products and brands fulfil needs, be those needs lower-order physical ones or higher-order socio-emotive ones. And play dynamics fulfil needs, be those short-term entertainment needs, social connection needs, or longer-term needs associated with learning, skills development, or social bonding. We need to provide brands with up-to-date maps of play dynamics, outlining the behaviours and emotions typically involved in different types of play behaviour. Most of the evidence (from work done by Nicole Lazzaro, Richard Bartle, and Nick Yee among others) points to clusters of behaviours and emotions being associated with different kinds of play. While this can vary across cultures, there are fundamental commonalities, such as the need to explore, copy, learn and adapt to environments, which are all fundamental human building blocks. Messing about with our existing skills-sets in new environments is what has actually kept us alive for thousands of years.
At a bare minimum, there is a chance for brands and products to at least be associated with such needs. But these attempts ideally need to go further than mere association and should actually help elicit such behaviours and associated emotions.the best route to emotion is not just about telling people brand stories, its about doing stuff with and for people.
Emotional bonds are often a by-product of what we do, not vice versa, and play is often the key to unlocking emotion, not storytelling. Or, as this Chinese proverb illustrates: “Tell me and I will forget, involve me and I will feel”. The sweet-spot for gamification is, therefore, often a question of brand-funded utility.

4 Understand brand roles (what can brands add)
Brands cannot approach these fundamental behaviours like a ‘zero-sum game’. It’s not enough simply to provide
content and ask people to sacrifice some of their attention in return. If a brand demands attention around moments of exploration, they cannot do so in a manner that even partially detracts from our time spent exploring. Brands have to act as tools that facilitate or augment the needs fulfilment that games represent (be it exploration or to compete or to connect).
For example, in Japan in 2010, Uniqlo Lucky Switch was a new blog widget that turns pictures into a simple online lottery.
Consumers were asked to paste a Uniqlo Lucky Switch into a blog, flip the switch, and watch the picture instantly turn into an online lottery. Winners received a free original bag; those that did not win saw information related to that day’s 31-day campaign of daily limited goods. It was an engaging success and a great example of branded utility that tapped into some fundamental human gaming and sharing dynamics.

5 Map people differences (typologies of play)
Our fifth Golden Rule relates to the fact that people have different propensities for different types of play.
Richard Bartle attempted to illustrate this some time ago by referring to different types of personalities involved in the very specific environment of early multi-user games. The Bartle Test, which grew out of these early attempts at gamer classification, has now been taken by almost a quarter of a million online gamers. each have been classified as Explorers, Achievers, Socialisers, or Killers.
Bartle himself tells us he never intended these classifications to be reflective of all human play typologies and contexts, but it has provided a good, if limited, starting point for understanding different dynamics.
Nick Yee has tried to validate bartle’s play typologies based on available data, but there is a real need for a map that is reflective of play dynamics in a broader context beyond the limited world of multiplayer online games.
At Naked Play, we believe that different types of people can be mapped against broad behavioural dynamics (figure 1). Imagineering refers to our need for exploration and fantasy. Mastery refers to our need for goals and skills development. Social bond refers to our need to connect, co-operate and compete. Personal Value refers to our need for wider meaning, focus or balance.
Our play audit does the following: maps people typologies based on responses to lifestyle questions on syndicated surveys; filters this by geographical market for cultural nuance; maps where products fit on this map based on reported usage; and isolates sweets spots for specific game platform developments.
This provides guidelines in terms of what kind of consumer in what market will respond to what kind of gaming approach, how much of a stretch a gaming platform it is for a given brand position, and what gaming elements should be involved in platform development. It helps our clients answer questions such as ‘should we up the ante in terms of points, rewards, badges, community connections, or competitiveness?’
And it can help from both sides of the brand and game development fence. From the perspective of brand, it can help improve brand reach (by isolating core play segments); improve brand authenticity (by mapping where brands and play fit); and improve brand imagery by mapping brands against play-induced emotions.
From the perspective of developers, it can help improve game relevance by matching game ingredients with target play typologies; improve game authenticity by mapping where games types and people fit; and improve game contents by mapping game elements with induced emotions.
Given the potential scope for brands, and the growing scale of the games industry, this is an area that demands strategic diligence.

We’re all marketers now

Engaging customers today requires commitment from the entire company—and a redefined marketing organization.

For the past decade, marketers have been adjusting to a new era of deep customer engagement. They’ve tacked on new functions, such as social-media management; altered processes to better integrate advertising campaigns online, on television, and in print; and added staff with Web expertise to manage the explosion of digital customer data. Yet in our experience, that’s not enough. To truly engage customers for whom “push” advertising is increasingly irrelevant, companies must do more outside the confines of the traditional marketing organization. At the end of the day, customers no longer separate marketing from the product—it is the product. They don’t separate marketing from their in-store or online experience—it is the experience. In the era of engagement, marketing is the company.

This shift presents an obvious challenge: if everyone’s responsible for marketing, who’s accountable? And what does this new reality imply for the structure and charter of the marketing organization? It’s a problem that parallels the one that emerged in the early days of the quality movement, before it became embedded in the fabric of general management. In a memorable anecdote, one of former Chrysler CEO Lee Iacocca’s key hires, Hal Sperlich, arrived at the automaker in 1977 as the new vice president of product planning. His first question: “Who is in charge of quality?”
“Everybody,” a confident executive replied.
“But who do you hold responsible when there are problems in quality?” Sperlich pressed.
“Nobody.”
“Oh, shoot,” Sperlich thought. “We are in for it now.”1
To avoid being “in for it,” companies of all stripes must not only recognize that everyone is responsible for marketing but also impose accountability by establishing a new set of relationships between the function and the rest of the organization. In essence, companies need to become marketing vehicles, and the marketing organization itself needs to become the customer-engagement engine, responsible for establishing priorities and stimulating dialogue throughout the enterprise as it seeks to design, build, operate, and renew cutting-edge customer-engagement approaches.
As that transformation happens, the marketing organization will look different: there will be a greater distribution of existing marketing tasks to other functions; more councils and informal alliances that coordinate marketing activities across the company; deeper partnerships with external vendors, customers, and perhaps even competitors; and a bigger role for data-driven customer insights. This article provides some real-life examples of these kinds of changes.
Marketing’s cutting edge is being redefined every day. While there’s no definitive map showing how companies can successfully navigate the era of engagement, we hope to help senior executives—not just marketers—start to draw one.

The evolution of engagement
More than two years ago, our colleagues David Court, Dave Elzinga, Susan Mulder, and Ole Jørgen Vetvik unveiled the results of a research effort involving 20,000 customers across five industries and three continents.2 Their work showed how collaborative the buying process has become and how difficult it is to influence customers by relying solely on one-way, push advertising. In the words of American Express chief marketing officer John Hayes, “We went from a monologue to a dialogue. Mass media will continue to play a role. But its role has changed.”

Over the past two years, that evolution has only accelerated. More and more consumers are using digital video recorders to fast-forward through TV commercials and are consuming video content on Web sites such as YouTube and on mobile devices. Billboards alongside train lines and bus routes struggle to capture the attention of people absorbed by the screens of their smartphones. Meanwhile, today’s more empowered, critical, demanding, and price-sensitive customers are turning in ever-growing numbers to social networks, blogs, online review forums, and other channels to quench their thirst for objective advice about products and to identify brands that seem to care about forming relationships with them. Individuals even are posting their own commercials on YouTube. In short, the avenues (or touch points) customers use to interact with companies have continued to multiply.

The problem for many companies is that the very things that make push marketing effective—tight, relatively centralized operational control over a well-defined set of channels and touch points—hold it back in the era of engagement. Many touch points, such as calls to customer service centers and interactions between the sales force and customers, sit outside the traditional marketing organization, which has little or no permission to reach into other business functions or units. Companies have traditionally divided responsibility for touch points among functions. But a comprehensive strategy for engaging customers across them rarely emerges and, if one does, there’s often no system for executing it or measuring its performance.

More pervasive marketing
To engage customers whenever and wherever they interact with a company—in a store; on the phone; responding to an e-mail, a blog post, or an online review—marketing must pervade the entire organization. Companies such as Starbucks and Zappos, for which superior engagement has been a critical source of competitive advantage from the beginning, already exhibit some of these traits. But these companies aren’t our focus, which instead is the kinds of actions everyone else can take as they strive for world-class customer engagement.

The starting point is a mind-set shift around customer interaction touch points. Companies typically think of them as being “owned” by a given function: for instance, marketing owns brand management; sales owns customer relationships; merchandising or retail operations own the in-store experience. In today’s marketing environment, companies will be better off if they stop viewing customer engagement as a series of discrete interactions and instead think about it as customers do: a set of related interactions that, added together, make up the customer experience. That perspective should stimulate fresh dialogue among members of the senior team about who should design the overall system of touch points to create compelling customer engagement, and who then builds, operates, and renews each touch point consistent with that overall vision. There’s no need to worry about traditional functional or business unit ownership: whoever is best placed to tackle an activity should do so.

Design
Designing a great customer-engagement strategy and experience depends on understanding exactly how people interact with a company throughout their decision journey. That interaction could be with the product itself or with service, marketing, sales, public relations, or any other element of the business.

When the hotel group Starwood sought to enhance its engagement with customers, for example, the company pored through data about them and identified clear demographic groups staying at its more than 1,000 properties. In 2006, the company unveiled a specific new positioning for each part of its brand portfolio, ranging in affordability from Four Points by Sheraton to its Luxury Collection and St. Regis properties.

Each brand seeks to deliver a different customer experience, on dimensions ranging from how guests are greeted by staff to the kind of toiletries offered in rooms. Crucially, for each type of property, Starwood sought to design not only the desired experience but also how it would actually be delivered. It therefore had to decide what coordination would be necessary across functions, who would operationally control different touch points, and even what content customers wanted in the company’s Web site, in loyalty program mailings, and other forms of communication.

Starwood’s experience underscores the fact that, despite the growing impact of digital touch points such as social media, effective customer engagement must go beyond pure communication to include the product or service experience itself. “At the end of the day,” says Virgin Atlantic Airways chief executive Steve Ridgway, “we fly exactly the same planes as everybody else. If we get our customers off the plane happy, and they go on to talk about that and get others to come and then come back again themselves—that’s a huge marketing tool.”

Build
Once a company designs how it will engage with customers, it needs the organizational capabilities to deliver: adding staff, building a social-media network infrastructure, retooling customer care operations, or altering reporting structures. Functions far removed from marketing often have important roles to play, so one or more marketing teams at the center may have to build skills in other parts of a company. A global energy company took that approach and then largely dissolved the group when those capabilities were in place.

Allocating responsibility for building touch points is increasingly important because of the degree to which Web-based engagement is requiring companies to create “broadcast” media.3 Some have built publishing divisions to feed the ever-increasing demand for content required by company Web sites, social media, internal and external publications, multimedia sites, and coupons and other promotions. Many luxury-goods companies, for example, have built editorial teams to “socialize” their brands: they are transforming the customer relationship by producing blogs, digital magazines, and other content that can dramatically intensify both the frequency and depth of interactions.

Last year, LVMH Moët Hennessy–Louis Vuitton, for example, launched an online magazine, NOWNESS, that offers what the company calls “information reference” about its luxury brands. The site presents a daily multimedia story with little pure advertising and (in conjunction with LVMH’s efforts on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube) seeks to deepen the engagement customers have with the company’s brands. British luxury brand Burberry has undertaken a similar venture with its Art of the Trench site. France’s Chanel has for years used its own creative and artistic directors to develop content, without any need for help from external agencies.

Content-oriented strategies like these require creative employees who can feed the customer’s ever-increasing need for timely, relevant, and compelling content across a variety of media. They also provide an opportunity for productive dialogue within companies about the role of marketing versus other functions in building critical touch points that drive engagement.

Operate and renew
For companies in industries as diverse as consumer packaged goods and financial services, digital technology has upended the engagement expectations of customers, who, for example, want one Web site to visit and a relationship seamlessly integrated across touch points. Meeting such expectations requires extraordinary operational coordination and responsiveness in activities ranging from providing on-the-ground service delivery to generating online content to staying on top of a customer care issue blowing up on YouTube.

Behind the scenes, that new reality creates a need for coordination and conflict resolution mechanisms within and across functions, as well as budget procedures that allow flexibility and rapid action should the need arise. PepsiCo, for example, has sought to provide a single point of contact for its digital-marketing efforts by creating the role of chief digital officer: an executive without line responsibility who drives the application of best practices across the beverage group’s global digital efforts.

Companies also need a clear approach for monitoring touch points and renewing them as needed. At one major hotel chain, for example, a single group circumnavigates the globe acting as a “monitor and fix” SWAT team. It meets with hotel licensees, educates them about the company’s customer-engagement approach and management of key touch points, demonstrates new behavior, and trains the staff in new operational processes. Given the speed of information sharing today, constant monitoring and adaptation—indeed, continuous improvement of the sort that came to the operations world long ago—is bound to infiltrate marketing and grow in importance.

The marketing organization’s new look
As the chief marketing officer collaborates with the chief executive and other senior-team members to nail down a shared approach for designing, building, operating, and renewing customer touch points, he or she also will require a new kind of marketing organization. For marketing to truly become the customer-engagement engine that orchestrates the delivery of the end-to-end customer experience, it must evolve along four critical dimensions.

Distribute more activities
As marketing becomes more pervasive, the marketing organization will increasingly be defined by a core set of tightly held responsibilities, such as branding and agency relationships, and a set of responsibilities distributed among the functions and groups best placed to manage and use the information generated by customer interactions. Procter & Gamble, for instance, has created a group within the purchasing function to buy digital-media advertising space. The group spans geographic boundaries, reflecting the global nature of the medium, and while it sits within purchasing, it is staffed by people with marketing experience.

At companies where the marketing organization’s responsibilities will be split between core and distributed activities, CMOs will increasingly be held accountable for the performance of groups that don’t report solely to them. When CEOs ask for the marketing-org chart, they will see a complex web of solid- and dotted-line relationships showing the roles that marketing plays in designing, building, or operating touch points across the whole organization.

The chart will also show where marketing activities have been embedded in other functions. One major logistics company, for example, puts marketing resources within each sales district to adapt corporate-level marketing initiatives to local circumstances. This approach mutes complaints from sales reps who feel bombarded with marketing pushes from the head office by giving them simple, customized ideas for driving sales within their regions.

More councils and partnerships
While leading companies have long used marketing councils to boost management coordination, the new marketing organization will require many more of them, with greater representation from other functions. One global financial institution, for example, has created a digital-governance council with representatives from all customer-facing business units. The company’s goal was to ensure that data and analytics are shared, that customers receive the same experience regardless of channel (such as Web sites, branches, call centers, or automated teller machines), and that IT systems meet the customer’s digital-engagement needs.

More robust formal and informal external partnerships will be critical too. Customer forums, such as the one Virgin Atlantic Airways used to create a taxi-sharing app for smartphones, are one example. More structured relationships with distribution partners also can enhance engagement. The consumer-packaged-goods company Nestlé, for example, manages its relationship with retailer Wal-Mart Stores via what it calls the Nestlé–Wal-Mart Team. This unified cross-business, cross-functional group is responsible for everything from in-store activity to promotion, logistics, innovation, and product design. As a result, Wal-Mart has a single point of contact with one of its largest suppliers, Nestlé enjoys a stronger relationship with the retailer, and, critically, both companies gain a better understanding of, and engagement with, packaged-goods consumers.

Elevate the role of customer insights
Generating rich customer insights, always central to effective marketing efforts, is more challenging and important in today’s environment. Companies must listen constantly to consumers across all touch points, analyze and deduce patterns from their behavior, and respond quickly to signs of changing needs.

One implication is that the types of talent required to derive such insights will change. A premium will be placed on problem-solving and strategic-marketing skills, rather than on traditional market research capabilities such as designing surveys and commissioning focus groups. Some organizations also may need help from external partners, a pattern that’s already apparent at several insurers and health care payers that have neither the time nor the budgets to build the necessary data-gathering and -analysis capabilities in-house and at scale.

The insights group’s position in a company could even change. At one high-end hospitality business, for example, responsibility for generating customer insights has moved out of the marketing function entirely. The group now reports directly to the head of strategy, who uses information from it to redesign core business elements such as pricing, sales targeting, and the selection of properties for development.

More data rich and analytically intense

Reinforcing the importance of all these changes is an exponential increase in the volume of customer data and the intensity of the analysis required to process and act on it effectively. Without cross-functional collaboration and a clear delineation of roles, it will be impossible to gather, collate, gain insights from, and disseminate data that streams in from every customer interaction. The sheer volume of data is extraordinary: social-media gaming company Zynga, for example, generates five terabytes (the equivalent of about 1.5 million song files) of data on customer clicks every day.4 What’s more, “Marketing is going to become a much more science-driven activity,” says Duncan Watts of Yahoo! Research. In the trenches, this change suggests a shift toward sophisticated data analytics similar to the revolution that has already taken place in industries such as financial services, as well as in airlines and other industries where yield management is important. Some marketing organizations are already making their moves: to send targeted e-mails to customers, retailer Williams-Sonoma, for example, analyzes an integrated database that tracks some 60 million households on metrics including income, housing values, and number of children. These e-mails obtain response rates 10 to 18 times as high as those sent randomly.5 Such capabilities don’t necessarily have to be built in-house: many companies will enter into creative arrangements with outside parties to exchange data and run joint tests of alternative marketing tactics.
The major barrier to engagement is organizational rather than conceptual: given the growing number of touch points where customers now interact with companies, marketing often can’t do what’s needed all on its own. CMOs and their C-suite colleagues must collaborate intensively to adapt their organizations to the way customers now behave and, in the process, redefine the traditional marketing organization. If companies don’t make the transition, they run the risk of being overtaken by competitors that have mastered the new era of engagement.

For additional perspectives from the marketing practitioners quoted in this article—John Hayes, Steve Ridgway, and Duncan Watts—read “How we see it: Three senior executives on the future of marketing.”

About the Authors
Tom French is a director in McKinsey’s Boston office; Laura LaBerge is a senior expert in the Stamford office, where Paul Magill is a principal.

The authors would like to offer special thanks to Roxane Divol and to acknowledge the contributions of Whit Alexander, Jean-Baptiste Coumau, Blair Crawford, Dave Edelman, Ben Fletcher, and Tariq Shaukat to this article.

Notes
1 David Halberstam, The Reckoning, first edition, New York, NY: Avon Books, 1986. In Halberstam’s telling of the tale, Sperlich used an expletive that rhymes with “hit.”
2 See David Court, Dave Elzinga, Susan Mulder, and Ole Jørgen Vetvik, “The consumer decision journey,” mckinseyquarterly.com, June 2009.
3 For more on the marketing organization’s role as a publisher, see David C. Edelman’s articles “Four ways to get more value from digital marketing,” mckinseyquarterly.com, March 2010; and “Branding in the digital age: You’re spending your money in all the wrong places,” Harvard Business Review, December 2010, Volume 88, Number 12, pp. 62–69.
4 See Brier Dudley, “Q&A: Zynga founder talks about Seattle hiring spree, Amazon, Facebook,” Seattle Times, April 13, 2011.
5 For more, see the McKinsey Global Institute report Big data: The next frontier for innovation, competition, and productivity, available free of charge on mckinsey.com/mgi.