Curing the brand split personality

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We’ve all had friends with personality disorders, sometimes mild, sometimes severe, but always disorienting and quite unsettling, however empathetic we’re feeling. The reason it unsettles us is that the friend or colleague displays inconsistent behaviour which makes us in turn feel uncomfortable, unsure how to react and respond, and often this leads to us questioning the very foundations of our association.

So if we are all aware of how challenging incongruent behaviours can be, then why have brands and businesses felt so comfortable splitting their personalities with such scant regard for the impact they have on their customers?

If a brand does indeed strive to have a clear personality – can’t think of many who don’t – why do they feel so comfortable publicly displaying severe inconsistencies, in terms of tone, content, style, message, timing, channel, and so on?

Many inconsistencies seem to come down quite simply to the lack of customer-centricity within their organisations. Given that customers are literally all businesses have, and without them they tend to decline or die, this seems shocking and surprising.

Ultimately the customer doesn’t care about how the brands organise themselves internally (or not as the case may be). They don’t care that the CRM program is in one division, the social responsibility approach is embedded within corporate communications, the sponsorship team separate from the advertising team, the PR team and the social media team in different silos. This would make no sense at all to the customer. Yet the vast majority of clients are organised in a cross-functional, siloed way, which means creating ‘one voice, one personality’ is nigh on impossible.

In the old days the chief marketing officer’s voice resonated at the top table, and they represented the customer. They organised their insights, products, services, ideas and communications around the desire to nurture and build that customer relationship. Life was maybe simpler back then, but in these difficult economic times surely a pretty critical fix would be to get back to those halcyon days?

Thank goodness, therefore, that there appears to be a trend back towards bringing all the silos together, under clear leadership, with collective goals, smarter organisation and singular processes. It’s the only way to get that consistency of personality back and is a fundamental prerequisite to building a strong relationship with the lifeblood of any business – its customer.

Jon Wilkins
Global Founding Partner
Naked Communications

Digital Degustation #15 – Patrice Pandelos

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WHY YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT gTLDs.

There has been much confusion in the digital world about what the introduction of new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) will mean for brands.

If you don’t know what gTLDs are, this article by Sean MacDonald, executive director of digital strategy at Ogilvy & Mather in New York will clearly explain what it is and why you need to know about it. A must read.

GIRLFRIEND  AVAILABLE (NOT ME!)

Men are always complaining that women are too needy, so I’m flabbergasted that men in Japan are increasingly opting for virtual relationships. Seriously, does it matter if it’s a real or virtual girl nagging you?

Konami’s Love Plus available on the Nintendo DS portable gaming console is becoming increasingly popular – with virtual girlfriends apparently gaining popularity – they’re available for dates, long conversations and will even send you emails.

The game is set in real time and only ends when the, um, relationship does. The downside? Like all women, virtual women get very upset when you’re late for dates and don’t reply to emails.

See, all females are the same (virtual or not).

SIRI COULD IMPACT SEARCH

SIRI is the Apple iPhone 4S’s  voice recognition app – and she is also the reason for great concern for many search experts.

AJ Kumar, co-founder of SEO agency Single Grain, highlights some of the concerns  around how Siri might impact search “the real impact of Siri isn’t just that she acts like a personal assistant. The potentially huge ramifications for local SEO come from the depth of information Siri is able to access and the range of actions she can perform.”

“For example, Siri can call you a cab after a night on the town by automatically processing information about local cab companies in response to the query, “call me a cab.” Automating the search process means you never look up “cab companies in your area” in the search engines, avoiding the traditional search engine results pages and pay-per-click advertisements entirely, therefore limiting their importance and influence.” Kumar said.

Search is about to get a whole lot more complicated!

GET UP TO SPEED WITH GA’S NEW FEATURES

Google is forever updating its features – and if you’re not already on the new version of Google Analytics, it’s time to get up to speed – because as of January 2012, the old version will be turned off.

Rachael Gerson from Seer Interactive reviews her top ten features – including being able to create up to 20 personalised dashboards, the useful keyword cloud, real-time data, goal flow visualisation and much more.

A bit geeky, but it’ll come in handy!

MAN-TA CLAUSE IS COMING TO TOWN

It’s the gift that keeps on giving, Old Spice is back in time to give us all an early Christmas pressie – 5 days of festive video fun.

This year the Old Spice guy is back as Man-ta Clause and is spreading Christmas cheer across the globe with his trademark customised videos.

And yes Australia, we have been given a very special gift to call our own (and it’s not just the opportunity to look as his well defined abs).

FACEBOOK TIMELINE – FINALLY!

For the last three months I’ve been reading about the Facebook Timeline feature wondering when it was going to be available to the public – and this week the long-awaited feature was rolled out, with the test-market being New Zealand.

So what’s all the fuss about? Facebook Timeline will allow you to turn your new profile layout into an online scrapbook, organise your life in chronological order and allow you to highlight important moments in your life. For those that are worried about privacy, fear not, you will have seven days to edit your new profile before it goes live.

WHY IMPERFECTION IS GOOD

This opinion piece by Jon Steinberg, president of Buzz Feed, NYC tells us why he thinks we’re sick and tired of picture-perfect babies and flawless models, and explains why digital communications are becoming more real-life (i.e imperfect).

12 FACEBOOK FEATURES YOU CAN TRY NOW

Just when you thought the hours you spend each day on Facebook (purely for work purposes – of course) meant that you knew every single feature, think again.

Some highlights shared by nytimes.com are:

COLLABORATE ON A DOCUMENT: Within a Group page, click on Docs at the top of the page and then the Create a Doc button on the right-hand side to create a text-only document that everyone in the group can edit.

INVITE NON-FACEBOOKERS TO AN EVENT: When you are creating an event on Facebook, the Select Guests menu shows your existing friends, but it also lets you enter the e-mail addresses of people who do not have Facebook accounts.

MAKE THE TICKER TINY: Facebook recently added a constantly scrolling window on the right side of the screen that shows your friends’ updates as they come in. Fun for some, agitating for others. Using your cursor, grab the bar that separates the Ticker from your Facebook Chat window. Drag it upward until the Ticker is as small as possible — the size of two status updates.

Read the full article if you want all 12 tips.

MORE TIME SPENT ON MOBILE THAN PRINT MEDIA

It may be stating the obvious, but research has confirmed what most marketers already know: adults now spend more time with mobile devices than with print media, according to a report released by eMarketer.

In an article for PC world, John P. Mellor Jr. states that the average adult consumer spends 65 minutes a day on their mobile device, while they spend only 44 minutes with print media – 26 minutes with newspapers, and 18 minutes with magazines.

This is the first year since eMarketer began taking their time tally in 2008 that adults have spent more time with mobile devices than with print.

What we don’t know from eMarketer’s findings, however, is how much of that time spent with mobile devices is spent reading newspapers and magazines online or in apps on a tablet.

Digital Degustation #14 – Patrice Pandelos

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FOURSQUARE’S NEW SHARE BUTTON

Publishers will be able to integrate Foursquare sharing buttons to their sites, which will allow users to add venues to their to-do lists while reading web content.

Adage.com reported that the “Follow on Foursquare” button lets users view their tips, check-ins and lists when they access the service. But the more ubiquitous button is likely to be “Save to Foursquare,” which will surface alongside any location-related content on sites and will enable users to add venues to their “to-do-list.”

Users with “Radar” – a functionality enabled by the iPhone’s iOS 5 update -turned on will be notified when they’re in close range of the saved venue, and the publisher’s branding and a link to the article where the location was pulled from will appear. Other users will access that content only when they actually check in to the location.

AUSTRALIA’S WORLD FIRST

With recent studies suggesting that Androids are the most popular phones in Australia, it’s a smart-move by Telstra to launch the world’s first Android store.

The stores top three features are:

  • Board the Android spaceship – an interactive spaceship zone allows visitors to pilot the Google Earth app on the giant screen and fly across the world; play Angry Birds on a big interactive screen; and create an Android avatar that can be printed or shared.
  • Have fun in the play zone – visitors can sit under a pixel tree and play with live devices; try their luck on an Android skill tester and clown machine and flick through a virtual library of Google Books.
  • Window shop like never before – customers will be able to interact with a massive 24 x 9 meter window display that features an augmented reality game challenging visitors to catch Android robots drifting in a virtual snowfall.

I love it already!

GEEKS REJOICE!

Digital is just so measurable already, but it seems each week, it becomes even more so.

A new data service connects online consumer engagement with brands in-store shopping habits. MarketingWeek.com reported that data service company Dunnhumby measured the effectiveness of a digital campaign by Tesco by comparing the shopping behaviour of their Clubcard customers who use brands’ online loyalty campaigns and those who do not.

By doing so, Dunnhumby quantified the effect of online loyalty campaigns on brand trial, loyalty, sales uplifts and return on investment so that brands can improve the relationship between online and offline activity.

It’s exciting to think about what comes next.

TABLETS: HOW WE USE THEM

We know tablets are filling the gap between desktops and smart-phones, but exactly how are people using them?

According to research published by Google, “tablets are multi-tasking devices with at least 42% of activities occurring while doing another task or engaging with another entertainment medium. Of all the activities that people do on tablets, checking email, playing games, social networking and searching are the ones most frequently done in front of the TV. Many consumers also used their tablets to check email while eating, and listen to music while cooking.

The full research is well worth the read.

SEAN PARKER

We all love the get-rich-quick stories that come from Silicone Valley, but Sean Parker – the face of innovation and technology – thinks the place he made his billions is in big trouble.

In this frank interview with cnet.com, Parker sets the record straight about why Google and Facebook invest in so many start-ups, and why he believes Silicone Valley will soon grind to a screeching halt.

The interview is mostly doom and gloom, but it does give an interesting perspective.

EVERYONE LOVES AN INFOGRAPHIC

Want to know the secret to a successful viral campaign? Look no further. This simple to understand infographic gives you tips and tricks to making your campaign the most successful it can be.

IT’S NOT ONLY CRAZY PEOPLE WHO TALK TO THEIR TV

It seems that the humble television set is about to be the most disrupted it ever has been with the introduction of exciting new technology.

The nytimes.com has reported that millions of Microsoft Xbox users will be able to download an update to their game console that will enable them to talk to their televisions. “Xbox, play the Harry Potter movie,” will whisk them into the world of wizards. “Xbox, change the channel to ESPN,” will put them on the 50-yard line.

Before you know it, you’ll be talking to all of your gadgets, and typing on them much less than you do today.

In the car, voice commands make complete sense. In the kitchen, too, where your hands are otherwise occupied or just plain messy. In the living room, we could finally see the end to annoying remote controls that usually have more buttons than a NASA space shuttle control room.

BUY CARRIE BRADSHAWS SHOES

Ever wished you could buy Carrie Bradshaw’s Manolo Blahniks with the click of a button on your remote control?

The nytimes.com reported that a new service being introduced this week will allow viewers to do just that — for items like bicycles, radios and coins — directly from shows on the History Channel, owned by A&E Network. The idea is to put products front of consumers using contextually targeted advertising.

A small icon in the upper right corner of the screen will signal that an item is available, and with the touch of a button on a remote control, the screen will split in two, with items for purchase on the right. After setting up a user account on TVWallet.com, viewers can complete their transaction by entering their phone number and four-digit PIN.

It’s almost too good to be true.

ARE WE ALL WASTING OUR TIME ON THE WEB?

Few would debate that technology has made our lives easier than ever before, but is it also the greatest time waster of all time? The latest study conducted by the Pew Research Centre, would suggest that is the case.

“These results come in the larger context that Internet users of all ages are much more likely now than in the past to say they go online for no particular reason other than to pass the time or have fun,” the report said. “Some 58% of all adults (or 74% of all online adults) say they use the Internet this way. And a third of all adults (34%) say they used the Internet that way ‘yesterday.’

Who are the biggest time-wasters? According to the study, it’s the under 30s.

MOBILE SHOPPING ON THE RISE

Research released by comScore this week said 38% of smartphone owners have used their phone to purchase goods and many more use their phones for shopping-related activities,

The data also suggested that two-thirds of smartphone owners use their phones each month to perform some sort of shopping activity – whether it be comparing prices, searching for products or prices or locating a store.

The most popular types of products purchased?

  • 47% were digital – ebooks, ringtones, movies and music
  • 37% were clothing and accessories
  • 35% were tickets
  • 34% were daily deals

It will be interesting to see how this changes over the next 12 months as smartphone penetration increases.

FUNNY (DIGITAL) POST OF THE WEEK

Unless you’ve been stuck in the dark ages, you can relate to having auto-correct on your mobile get it completely wrong. And that why I enjoyed this wrap up of 2011’s most embarrassing text-messages mishaps. Enjoy!

Digital Degustation #13 – Patrice Pandelos

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YOUR PETS CAN NOW TEXT YOU

After moving house, I learnt the hard way not only how heartbreaking, but also how expensive losing a pet can be.  When Princess Audrey ran away, she cost close to five-thousand dollars in vet bills (and a bit more for the pet detective and direct mail campaign) – and I’m guessing she is now the most expensive 3-legged domestic tabby in Australia. That’s why I can really see the value of the new GPS tracking systems that are being designed to keep tabs on your pets and help you find them when they go wandering. They’re so clever, they can even ‘text’ you when your pet leaves your home. Every pet owner should have one.

THINK ABOUT THIS FOR 2013
Lovers of digital can discover what’s hot and what’s not in 2013 – with Founder and CEO of Mashable giving his top-tips for digital trends in 2013. Some of the highlights and themes include news aggregation apps, magazine apps, thinking beyond the iPad, social gestures, TV everywhere, second screen experiences, TV and movie marketing apps and social music to name a few. Definitely worth watching.

LEARN WHAT WOWED DIGITAL GURUS
The company Autonomy may only have a cult following at the moment, but once you discover some of the tres-cool work that they’re doing, you’ll be converted too. At the Techonomy 2011 conference, Autonomy CEO Mike Lynch wowed the audience – with Cnet.com reporting that Lynch had an assistant hold up poster-size images – an ad for a Harry Potter move, a front page of a newspaper, a static ad. Lynch then pointed a phone camera at the images and, one by one, they came to virtual life. In each case, the device would pick up a familiar pattern and transform the image. Suddenly, a scene from Harry Potter was playing on the iPad, the page of a newspaper updated to a current story and became a video presentation, and a man walked out of the ad to explain the product. The magic happens within the device, he stressed – there’s no need for a website. “It’s a whole new way of dealing with information,” said Lynch. “Every object becomes interactive. If you like a wine, you point your phone at it and someone comes out form the wine bottles and tells you about it and where you can buy it.” It’s also easy to see how, like language tools such as Siri’s capabilities will change the way we search for products because text suddenly becomes unnecessary.

YOUR FAVOURITE RADIO STATIONS ON TV
You can watch TV shows on your iPad, get blue-tooth enabled billboards, watch video on mobile and soon you might be able to watch your favourite radio station on your TV. Radioplayer, an aggregation service is developing ways for radio stations to offer live, simultaneous video content and ads that would be connected to TV’s. Radioplayer UK MD Michael Hill told new media age “We want to encourage stations to think about synchronised visual radio ads, for example, so that if a competition that is mentioned by an advertiser or a sponsor is talked about on air, there is visual synchronisation on screen,” he said. “It will be the clever [radio] commercial groups that see the opportunities and snap them up,” he said.

THE WHO’S WHO OF TWITTER*
It’s easy to find Hollywood Celebs to follow on Twitter, it’s much harder to find people who are actually interesting – that’s why I enjoyed this list published in Foreign Policy, a magazine and website dedicated to global politics and economics. It’s a comprehensive list of top global leaders who are active on twitter in 2011 – and worth taking a look at.
*If you like foreign policy

Digital Degustation #12 – Patrice Pandelos

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‘TIS THE SEASON TO BE MOBILE
This Christmas retailers have embraced mobile as a device to help drive sales – with experts saying this festive season could be unlike any other, with record mobile e-commerce spending predicted. Much of the success has been attributed to more intuitive apps and barcode scanners.
In an interview with TechCrunch.com PayPal’s Senior Director for Mobile, Laura Chambers, said they’re preparing for the onslaught of traffic to their mobile sites. A number of big retailers, such as Armani Exchange, Guess and The Limited have recently put PayPal’s mobile express checkout as an option for payments on their mobile sites as a way to help the conversion process. “We are seeing strong investments by online retailers for mobile shopping this year,” she says.
Chambers says that last year, the peak for PayPal was December 12, with $4.7 million in mobile payments volume. Now PayPal is seeing $10 million in mobile payments per day, with the peak shopping season still a month away.
For retailers, this could indeed be the season to be jolly.

HOW MUCH IS BEING ‘LIKED’ REALLY WORTH?
Knowing someone likes you not only makes you feel warm and fuzzy, soon you will be able to put a dollar value on it.
Facebook has given their API to Adobe to measure what a ‘like’ is worth in their SocialAnalytics tool, in a bid to measure the monetary value of being popular on Facebook.
The two companies are using the tool, to measure against business metrics such as revenue and brand value.
In an interview with marketingweek.co.uk, Adobe said, “it’s the first tool that gives marketers a “causation” metric – rather than correlation – to assess the business value of social media campaigns. The tool also gives marketers access to data about the influence of other social media platforms such as Twitter and blogging site WordPress.
“At the moment lots of businesses use social dashboards, but they provide no insights, only trends – the business context is missing. We can tell you how social media gets consumers closer to making a purchase decision,” he adds.

MOBILE LINKING ONLINE AND IN-STORE SHOPPING
This year may really be the year of the mobile, with many apps promising to bridge the gap between online and in-store shopping.
The latest example is the Walmart shopping app that is being used to support their 140 million weekly customers and 3800 stores in the US, and some of the more interesting features include:
–       The use of Apple’s Siri voice command system to create shopping lists
–       A budgeting tool that allows you to keep a spend tally
–       Integration with coupon.com to receive discounts without the printing
–       See if an item is stocked in a particular store
–       Product information and reviews on items
Walmart is promising this is just the first of a series of mobile initiatives.

LEGALLY ADD MUSIC TO YOUR ONLINE VIDEO
Is using an illegally downloaded soundtrack from the net really worth a legal battle? Most people would answer no, but it doesn’t stop millions of people downloading music they haven’t purchased each year for amateur films and presentations.
With many social networks cracking down on the use of unauthorised soundtracks, it was the perfect time for the new partnership between Rumblefish and APM music to release their catalogue of licensed soundtracks for around $2 per track, allowing low-budget films to afford quality soundtracks.
Since launch, Rumblefish and APM music have sold more than 4.8 million soundtracks.

GOOD KARMA
It takes time and effort to help fundraise for charity, and if you prefer not to participate in fun-runs or book-reading marathons, there is an easier way to be a do-gooder and help raise much-needed funds for your favourite cause.
A new website karmagoat.com allows you to buy and sell your unwanted items just as you would on eBay or Craig’s List – with one difference, 85% of the proceeds go towards a charity of your choice (the other 15% go towards the sites admin fees).
There has never been a better time to de-clutter your home.

Digital Degustation #11 – Patrice Pandelos

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THE 101 MOST USEFUL WEBSITES
Ever had one of those days when you’ve felt like you’ve read the whole web, and it’s a struggle to find anything new and exciting to read?
Not only is this list of 101 sites very interesting, they’re also useful. They can help you do everything from propose to your partner or find a new project.

EBAY AUCTIONS OFF BRAD PITT (NO JOKE)
It’s not just an attention-grabbing headline. Some of Hollywood’s hottest celebrities such as Brad Pitt, Katy Perry, Troy Polamalu, and Christina Aguilera are partnering with eBay to raise money for their favourite charities.
Head to eBay.com and check out the shopping habits of Hollywood’s A-list and bid for the chance to have a private meet-and greet with Brad Pitt.
Mashable spoke to eBay spokeswoman Amanda Miller earlier this week who said, “We know a lot of these charities have celebrity ambassadors and we wanted to give them even more of an opportunity to raise money,”
At the time of writing this, Brad’s highest bid was $10,000US dollars.
Happy bidding!

WHAT DO STARBUCKS, LOUIS VUITTON AND NIKE HAVE IN COMMON?
Starbucks, Louis Vuitton and Nike are brands that seem to have very little in common, but there is one commonality – they’re all early adopters of NFC (Near Field Communications) which makes it simpler to transact using your phone technology and location-based marketing.
Jiepang, a location based marketing service in China has partnered with Starbucks to use NFC technologies to get consumers to interact with the brand.
The promotion asks you to wave your NFC enabled phone (or check in manually) over a postcard in one of 200 participating stores.
Starbucks is trialing the new technology with a promotion whereby if 20,000 or more people sign-in by December 17, they get a free coffee upgrade the following week.

BACK TO THE FUTURE
I often listen to my grandmother say things like “back in my day,” but thanks to a new British app called historypin.com I can also make comments like “well, before your time, did you know…”
The new app is jammed full of cool stuff – you can see what your street or suburb looked like 5, 50 or even 100 years ago, through photos people have pinned on there, or read stories they’ve posted about the area.
If you’re more someone that lives in the now, you can capture your moment in time by taking a photo and uploading it with comments.

FACEBOOK: A PLACE TO SHARE MUSIC
Mashable.com has reported that music sites such as Spotify, MOG, Rdio, Slacker and Earbits have allowed Facebook users to share their music with their friends more than 1.5 billion times in the last 6 weeks.
The stats reported on Mashable.com are:
• Spotify: Four million people have joined since the f8 conference on September 22 (which is an annual Facebook gathering)
• MOG: Mog saw a 246% growth in Facebook users since the f8 conference
• Rdio: Facebook has increased Rdio’s new user registrations 30-fold
• Slacker: Available across mobile, TV, auto and web, Slacker saw a more than 11x increase in monthly active users in the month following f8 conference
• Earbits: This Y Combinator-funded startup experienced a 1,350% increase in the number of users becoming fans of the band they’re listening to
Facebook is expecting this to increase exponentially over the coming months. Does this remind anyone else of MySpace?

Digital Degustation #10 – Patrice Pandelos

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FIND NEW FRIENDS
We all have niche interests that our friends (no matter how much they love you) don’t share. And whether it’s pigeon-racing or pie-making that tickles your fancy, China based Huohua wants to help you locate like-minded people.
Tech Crunch said, “Founded by Carl Wu, Huohua is trying to solve a problem of “where and with whom to have fun” by introducing a smart feature dubbed Instant Circle. Basically, it works like this: open the app to tap a keyword like ”basketball”, “hot pot” or “mountain climbing” to locate people with same interests around you, then live chat with them.”
“The updates published on Huohua such as “get something to drink” and “drink beer” can be considered as the same interest and users can be thus connected. So based on where you are and what are you interested in, Huohua will be generating a location-and-interests-based instant circles just for you.”
No more excuses that you couldn’t find anyone to hang out with.

HOW-TO BECOME A PAID BLOGGER, TODAY
It’s no secret that celebrities such as Kim Kardashian get paid to tweet about businesses and for product endorsements, now you can too.
While the $0.20* cents per click may not quite be the $10,000 a tweet Kim gets, you can still join socialoot.com and earn money by referring your friends to their business partners.
The variables on how much you get paid depend on a variety of factors including the company, how many friends or followers you have as well as your social clout.
The new service in Australia is gaining momentum quickly, but some experts fear that it could have a detrimental effect on social media brands and cause their users to flee en-masse. Others, such as myself, see it as a simple way to save up for a copy of Kim’s Jimmy Choo’s.
*0.20 cents is based on having a minimum of 200 Facebook friends or Twitter followers, as well as some variables.

THE APP GAP
The trusty television has long been considered a good friend of many parents with children, but now 0-8 year olds are adding devices such as tablets and smart-phones to their media diet.
Interestingly, research conducted by Common Sense Media identified a new trend emerging, coined the “app gap.”
Key facts include:
–       27% of children living in lower-income homes have access to a smart-phone compared to 57% in higher-income homes
–       2% of children living in lower-income homes have a tablet device compared to 17% of higher-income homes
–       38% of parents in lower-income homes say they don’t know what an app is, compared to 3% in higher income homes
One thing is for certain; children are becoming a lot more technology savvy.

BUSINESSES GET BEHIND TABLETS
Tech geeks have long preferred Android to iPads because of the customisation that open source allows, but it seems that enterprise level businesses are demanding their own tablets that allow them to streamline their processes.
The demand from the enterprise level market has been answered by the WI-FI enabled Motorola ET1 tablet. Gary Starr, managing director of Motorola Solutions Australia and New Zealand, explained the benefits to ZDNet Australia.
“From a management perspective, it gives us a lot more flexibility,” he said. “In the enterprise space, all of the accessories become critical, because it’s part of their workflow. So they need to be able to swipe, scan and print.”
While the first of the tablets will be focused on retail, the company plans to rollout similar devices for healthcare, hospitality and safety in the future.

COMMUNIST CHINA THREATENED BY DIGITAL MEDIA
Technology has almost done away with dial-up telephones, cashiers at supermarkets and the humble hand-written letter, but in the next decade, Chinese political leaders fear it could also contribute to the downfall of communism.
Aspiring politicians who want to run as independents in China are using social media to run their election campaigns and to garner the support they need to make it on the ballot papers in 2012. The new way of campaigning has created a level of complexity which existing leaders are unsure of how to deal with. Not only are there many more people who will be running for office, the candidates are no longer faceless people – they have the support of thousands of online supporters and will not be gagged easily.
The New York Times reported that an expert they spoke to said regulatory authorities were considering measures to curb social media sites, partly because of the potential for political networking.

Digital Degustation #03 – Zoe Scaman

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RED BULL STAGES A MUSIC REVOLUTION
Red Bull are launching a complete reworking on the podcast by staging a series of live gigs from within the pods of the iconic London Eye. The Red Bull Revolutions event is just one element of the much large Red Bull Music Academy world tour, which is set to stage a selection of dramatic music experiences across the globe from Cape Town to Berlin. The culmination will be the London Eye pod’s, people will be able to tune in to the sounds of London one capsule at a time.

MOVE OVER SOCIAL MEDIA, HERE COMES SOCIAL BUSINESS
IBM is moving itself and its clients well beyond social media into a new era of collaboration, insight sharing, and lead generation it calls social business.

ASOS: URBAN TOUR
This is brilliant. Another day, another step forward in the combination of interactivity and video. This time, the magic comes in the form of Urban Tour an epic dance-themed web experience from online fashion retailers ASOS and BBH, London, with production from Stink Digital.

In order to show off the broad range of menswear available on the site, BBH enlisted the help of five talented street dancers from around the world, costumed them head to foot in clothes from ASOS, and choreographed them into an extraordinary sequence of interactive video clips. As the video plays out to a gritty mix of dubstep, hotspots in the film link to additional sequences – chances for the dancers to really demonstrate their skill, and of course to showcase the clothes. Visitors to the site can also learn more about the dancers and click through to buy items. Whilst the ‘London’ section of the site is the only one to feature interactive video, other tabs link to areas focusing on fashion in Berlin, Paris, Los Angeles and New York.

CONTAGION: REAL BACTERIA BILLBOARD
Warner Bros. Pictures Canada created a unique outdoor installation merging science with advertising to create some added hype around the new release ‘Contagion’ movie. They created two huge petri dishes & treated them with bacteria & funghi. The pieces were then installed in a Toronto store window & the name of the film was unveiled over time as the bacteria developed. Gross but awesome.

EVERYTHING IS A REMIX
Cementing the phrase ‘there’s no such thing as an original idea’, New York-based film maker Kirby Ferguson has created a series (so far in three parts) that builds on the premise that original ideas and thoughts are extremely hard. And because of that, some of the greatest creations are derivative works or remixes of those original thoughts.
From The Sugarhill Gang to Kanye West to George Lucas to Led Zeppelin and even the original Apple computer are products based on thoughts, art and ideas that emerged elsewhere. Ferguson describes the process as “copy, transform and combine.”

Digital Degustation #02 – Zoe Scaman

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FRINGE PLANNING
Ideas that get killed are a natural by-product of advertising agencies, either because they’re not right for the client or because they are too ambitious. However, in recent months more and more agencies have begun to work on side projects, which allow them to resurrect these ideas or to experiment with non-ad ventures. Planner Griffin Farley has named this ‘fringe planning’ and explained the concept in his awesome slideshare deck.

PLAYSTATION: RESISTANCE 3 EXPERIENTIAL
PlayStation’s theatrical experience And Darkness Descended is designed to promote the launch of new game Resistance 3, and will place participants in a ravaged London, challenging the audience to find the last pocket of human resistance in the aftermath of a brutal Chimeran invasion, and get a message to Joseph Capelli, the hero of the game.
Participants race around the darkness of Waterloo’s tunnels, where they are constantly shocked and suprised in the race to evade attackers and get out in one piece.
Lighting, sounds and smells in the experience are all inspired by the game, with players required to work together to continue for as long as possible, echoing the collaborative multi-player elements in the game.

MARMITE COOKING SERIES
As part of the ad campaign, Haute Cuisine Hate Cuisine, for Marmite, British television comedian and journalist, Dom Joly, is starring in a few cooking videos. Joly promises to teach how to “smash this bad boy into the park” in high-energy videos. Ranging from ‘Marmite Mushrooms’ to ‘Onion Buttys’, they’re great fun to watch!

GARANTI BANK: LAST PERSON ON EARTH
Garanti Bank, one of the biggest banks in Turkey, wanted more of its clients to use online banking. Over the years they had acquired 1.6 million users but they were stuck at that number. Despite all the big budget TV campaigns, the number wasn’t increasing. Using the bank’s database, the agency found the names, numbers and email addresses of those customers who weren’t using the online service and tailored individual video/mobile campaigns to each of them. Check it out!

ARIEL: FASHION SHOOT
Laundry is a very low engagement category so in order to create some interest, Saatchi & Saatchi Stockholm teamed up with B-Reel & Atomgruppen, to create a socially controlled stain squirting robot installation. It was set up at Stockholm Central Station with revolving white clothing. The aim of the game is that if you ‘aim & stain’ then you win the item, freshly washed by Ariel of course. However, the twist is that the game was entirely controlled via a Facebook app. Very clever.

Digital Degustation #01 – Zoe Scaman

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NEW GREY’S ANATOMY TV ADS BECOME SHAZAMABLE
When ABC starts running promos on Monday night for season eight of the hit drama Grey’s Anatomy, fans can unlock extra content with the Shazam smartphone apps. In the past few months, Shazam has ramped up its Shazam-for-TV initiative — it could be considered an aural QR code.

DC SHOES/FORD: GYMKHANA FOUR
DC have released another viral video as part of the extraordinarily popular Gymkhana series. Gymkhana Four features the American rally driver rampaging through the backlots of Universal Studios in a 600 horsepower H.F.H.V (hybrid function hoon vehicle) Ford Fiesta.
DC has pulled out all the stops to make the production as polished as possible and the result is far more extravagant than the previous three. There is a man in a gorilla suit on a Segway, zombies and mechanical sharks to name but a few elements. With over 7 million Youtube views in 2 weeks, it’s certainly proving the most popular video yet!

TICKETMASTER TEAMS UP WITH FACEBOOK SO YOU CAN SIT NEXT TO YOUR FRIENDS
When Ticketmaster CEO Nathan Hubbard and his new executive team hit the road earlier this year touting a more innovative and fan-focused company, one stat was a guaranteed show-stopper. Each time a ticket buyer shared with Facebook friends that he was attending an event, Hubbard said, that alert generated $5.30 in additional ticket revenue.
Then he showed clients the next stage of social commerce, a mock-up of an arena seat map indicating where a customer’s Facebook friends were sitting. “Don’t you want to know,” he’d ask the crowd, “if any of your friends are going to the same show? And where their tickets are, so maybe you can sit near them or find them at the event?”Starting today, you can see what the fuss was about. In hopes of spurring word-of-mouth marketing to reduce the estimated 40 percent of live event tickets that go unsold, Ticketmaster is launching this enhanced Facebook connectivity.

THE 50/50 PROJECT
Nearly a year ago, Naked London said goodbye to a strategy director called Dan Burgess. A good egg and a keen believer in the potential power of the creative industries to tackle the horrible, hairy challenges that humanity is facing. He’s currently living in the jungle where he’s been working on an incredible project called 50/50 which has just gone live.
It’s a 50-day fundraising platform prompting, celebrating and growing creative projects working to raise money and awareness for the famine in East Africa. It’s an incredibly smart and inspired idea, please check it out/get involved.

On a slightly different note, Gorillaz front man, Damon Albarn, has packed up his equipment and headed to the Congo where he is currently collaborating with local musicians to create new tracks for charity. His site has been providing constant video and audio which show behind the scenes and also explain the crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). You can listen to the first releases here, they’re pretty cool.

STRATEGY: WHAT IT IS AND WHAT IT’S NOT
In his new book Good Strategy, Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters, Richard P. Rumelt, a strategy professor at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, offers another explanation: the ruthless execution of good strategy