Links of the day

reframing the luxury brand :: Influxinsights

Stat Shot: iPhone Users Are App-Hungry

twitter: the reality behind the numbers

10 linkbait strategies to build links and drive traffic | Blog | Econsultancy

Stop Phoul Play – Get The Facts On Phorm – Phorm does a Wal-Mart get-the-facts type site. It makes good sense from a PR perspective due the nature of their determined detractors

Whatever Happened to the Top 15 Web Properties of April, 1999? | Technologizer

Twitter’s Audience Has a ‘No Return’ Policy

In Recession, Teens Cutting Back on Food, Still Buying DVDs – Advertising Age – News

Convince The Curmudgeon – nice thinking about selling social media to clients

Fake Phones In China Account For 20 Percent Of Sales | mocoNews

伍拾陸 minus 壹 dot com :: » chinese character anthropomorphization

The Face To Face Reference Check

For Internet Companies outside US, Online Profits Are Inversely Proportional to Eyeballs

15 easy fixes for Mac security risks

One-Third of UK SocNetters Peeved by Constant Invites

Could Vine be Microsoft’s first real social media hit? | Blog | Econsultancy

The Twitter Inflection – John Battelle’s Searchblog

iPhone is Boosting Demand For Location-Based Services

Low Hanging Fruit and PPC Keyword Opportunities

Web 2.0 Asia :: Newspaper says “Cyber exiles” are increasing in Korea – particularly interesting given the privacy implications of Korean legislation and the insular nature of Korean web services. It is the rock that many an international expansion has been dashed on

First person: ‘I am the Keep Calm and Carry On man’ – Profiles, People – The Independent

Measurement Matters – Metrica Numbers – it’s back!

Journalists on Twitter – Muck Rack – nice aggregator of journalist twitter feeds including hashtag popularity

Cluetrain Manifesto a decade on: We want you to take 50 million of us as seriously as you take one reporter from The Wall Street Journal

Before I started my first job, my Dad told me that ‘common sense never went out of fashion’ and the same could be said for the Cluetrain Manifesto ten years on. I had signed up to blog about one of the theses (number 83) in the book via this site.

Ten years later and providing the media with preferential treatment in comparison to consumers seems more ridiculous. My friend Paul Armstrong’s Twitter feed @themediaisdying chronicles the slow death march of traditional news media.

According to ReadWriteWeb the US newspaper industry suffered a 16.6 per cent decline of advertising revenue during 2008. A recent panel of senior media executives at the McGraw Hill Media Summit couldn’t even agree on what the nature of the disruptive problem the news media is even facing, let alone come up with an effective solution.

If you want a clearer definition of the problem the news media is facing then American academic and writer Clay Shirky has an excellent analysis on his blog entitled Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable. paidContent recently featured former editor Bill Grueskin outlined what kinds of content that news media could make money from (and are therefore more likely to create in the future in order to pay the bills):

—Daily emails with actionable information, like the best-and-worst traffic routes during rush hour.

—Sites that offer real-time intelligence about the real-estate market.

—Survey sites that accept user submissions about the best-and-worst teachers in local markets.

—In-depth coverage of local government, including publishing bills and video.

This is all non-news content which runs an end game on traditional media relations from a PR perspective.

Contrast this with how companies have performed when they have directly engaged with audiences.

Robert Scoble was christened Chief Humanizing Officer for Microsoft by The Economist back in 2005, who described him thus:

Mr Scoble seems to be worth his salary. He has become a minor celebrity among geeks worldwide, who read his blog religiously. Impressively, he has also succeeded where small armies of more conventional public-relations types have been failing abjectly for years: he has made Microsoft, with its history of monopolistic bullying, appear marginally but noticeably less evil to the outside world, and especially to the independent software developers that are his core audience.

Former FT journalist Tom Foremski put it on a more commercial perspective:

Mr Scoble created many millions of dollars in positive publicity for Microsoft, on a salary of less than $100K. I don’t think WaggEd could have done a fraction of that, for 100 times the payment Mr Scoble received.

Through his blog Scoble spoke directly to customers, replying to their comments, empathising with their problems and becoming their advocate internally at Microsoft.

Dell has managed to move on from the ‘Dell Hell’ debacle through a more proactive stance in social media engagement and its use of a CRM Ideas platform (a prediction market infrastructure) to power Ideastorm – a way of listening to consumers and allowing them to have a direct impact on product decisions. In the first week, Dell had 500 ideas from customers, this had grown 2,500 within the first month.

JetBlue managed to change the media agenda following its Valentine’s Day 2007 crisis by having CEO David Neeleman address customers directly via a video on YouTube. Disintermediating the traditional media allowed JetBlue to move the debate on, from how bad the problem still was as the airline recovered; to what JetBlue was doing to rectify the problems. Many US news channels ran the YouTube video on their coverage.

More recently, Patrick Doyle, president of Domino’s Pizza was obviously paying attention to the JetBlue debacle and wasted no time going on camera to apologise via YouTube directly to consumers over the ‘bogie sandwich’ video created by two (now ex-)employees of the fast food chain.

So when Becky and I recently met with a client, the counsel we provided them was: in order to future-proof their marketing in a time of disruption, community needed to be their marketing, because as the title to this post says an organisation needs to take its millions of stakeholders as seriously as a prominent news journalist.

This is cross-posted at my employer’s blog Dot Comms.

Links of the day

iKnow! – – good Japanese learning application

The Japanicity of Ken Tanaka and the Social Media Community of Youtube « The Eyeslit-Crypt

Tweetup for Beginners « Weiward Girl

When is it a Good Idea to Include Bloggers in Your Media Outreach?

Why My Twitter Train is Stopping Video Monkey – for video format conversation (Mac only)

Eric Wareheim on Vimeo – loving Eric Wareheim’s videos despite being very Nathan Barley-esque

10 Biofuels Companies You Need to Know About | The World of Startups Outside Silicon Valley | Fast Company

Japan Guide: definitive guide to Japan | Japan Guide – some handy stuff and good links here

Espresso Book Machine: Waugh While You Wait – Londonist: London News, Food, Arts & Events – they had me at a ‘single carbide blade’ welding robot, all books should be published this way, e-books sound sooooo old fashioned.

take your (Twi)pick « Becky McMichael’s PR Balancing Act

Can MySpace Make a Comeback?

What’s Popular – Digg-killing iGoogle module. What’s Kevin Rose’s exit strategy?

Chinese developer: Buy a house, get a wife for free – a property developer is encouraging house buyers to date his sales women – marriage brings a cash reward. It seems that it is a partnership between two challenged businesses. A dating agency in a culture that is reluctant to use its services (publicly) and housing which is screwed due to the economic climate. Whilst the story made me chuckle I also liked the lateral thinking.

Strategic planning: Three tips for 2009 – The McKinsey Quarterly – Strategic planning tips for 2009 – Strategy – Strategic Thinking

Japanese youth fashion brand’s continues on path to global domination

I recently wrote about the Tokyo Girl’s Collection retail phenomena: a potent brew of media, real-life experience, e-commerce and m-commerce that is taking Japanese retail by storm.


Uniqlo have done a collaboration with Tokyo Girls Collection on a jacket (click on the link and go to collection number one). The fact that they went with the Uniqlo indicates one of two scenarios:

  1. The Tokyo Girls Collection has the teflon brand resilence of Sanrio’s Hello Kitty
  2. The wheels are about to come off the TGC brand wagon, so they are milking it for all its work

My money is on option one.

Sticker shock

I did a double take when I realised I spent more on personal hygiene products to stock up my supplies than the average person gets in a week for Job Seekers Allowance (64.30 GBP for the average Joe over 24).


A pack of disposable razors, two deodorants, a tooth brush and two bottles of aftershave came out to a ton and change – it just isn’t rational that this lot should cost that much. The shop threw in two sample size aftershaves which should come in handy for travelling but seem like as if they’ve given me a badge saying ‘you’ve been shafted’.

Links of the day

Guide to Wikipedia Tools & Resources – Everything You Wanted to Do With Wikipedia Encyclopedia

Welcome to Aviary – PhotoShop in a browser: sort of

Action Method Online :: Home – capitalising on the GTD popularity over the past few years comes Action Method: but the opportunity to go enterprise

Salarymen go extinct as economic climate changes – Times Online

Yelp gives businesses a voice | Econsultancy

The Mainstream Adoption Curve | Jonathan MacDonald

AppleInsider | Snow Leopard Server to offer low cost, secure mobile access to iPhone

Netbook Boom Causes Microsoft’s Revenues to Stutter | Technomix | Fast Company

Consumers Blame Mad Men for Recession – BusinessWeek

PSD to WordPress Theme Coding – in their own words ‘Your design to a beautiful WordPress Theme’

Dan Ashcroft (dan_ashcroft) on Twitter – Loving the fact that there is a Dan Ashcroft (of Nathan Barley fame) Twitter account. Thanks to Nick for this

Racy Facebook Pics Force Candidate Out Of Running | WebProNews – be careful what you do out there

Dare to dream: American and Delta want to charge money for access to their schedule info | Upgrade: Travel Better

China Youthology Paper to Download: China Youth Trends and Business Implications | China Youth Watch by China Youthology 青年志

CR Blog » Blog Archive » CRTV: Japan’s New Mohemians

Nokia: 5800 has 20% of global touchscreen phone market

Jonathan Ive and Marc Newson Gripe About Design’s Current State | Design & Innovation | Fast Company

Economy Be Damned: Apple Posts Its Best Second Quarter Earnings Ever – the conventional PC is being sidelined

Ouch. Microsoft Profits Drop 32 Percent In March Quarter

Nielsen Data Offers Real Reason ISPs Are Metering – telcos want in on the content game

Find the Right Wireless Broadband for You

Gemma Cartwright » Blog Archive » How to do a blogger event

Oh, Vienna. | mediaczar

64 Things Every Geek Should Know –

The trusted web: a matter of context

Chris Lee recently wrote a piece for New Media Knowledge about review sites and when I did an email interview for him, it got me thinking again about the trusted web.

Originally I started thinking about the trusted web as an antedote to the the failures of the taxonomy imposed on web content by traditional web directories like DMoz (the Open Directory Project) and the Yahoo! Directory. The libarian model for the web had broken down and whilst Google was a great leap forward in search from the likes of Excite and Alta Vista it still didn’t address intent in the way that a directory could. The concept of folksonomies seemed to be an antedote to the problem. Tagging allowed everyone to be the librarian and allowed for a richer multi-dimensional data structure which was much more useful than the traditional directory structure.

I was fortunate to work at Yahoo! at a time when these ideas were central to its offerings: flickr, delicious and the MyWeb offerings that subsequently got rolled into Yahoo! Bookmarks.

Two key questions used to come up at this time:

  • Why contribute?
  • Why trust the content that has been contributed?

Why contribute? The answer is all down to social engineering. Carnegie Mellon’s ESP game got consumers to put labels on images by making it fun, Amazon’s Mechanical Turk service provides consumers with financial rewards for completing tasks. The most commonly used motivation however is the currency of reputation: this is why Flickr’s community hangs together or why graffiti artists tag trains with their handles.

Cory Doctorow described it most eloquently in his work Down and Out in The Magic Kingdom with the concept of Whuffie the notional currency of his utopian world: Whuffie recaptured the true essence of money: in the old days, if you were broke but respected, you wouldn’t starve; contrariwise, if you were rich and hated, no sum could buy you security and peace. By measuring the thing that money really represented — your personal capital with your friends and neighbors — you more accurately gauged your success.

Why trust the content that has been contributed? Generally it boils down to three reasons:

You know the person that you are getting the information from. I recently got recommendations on country music to listen to from tikichris.

You may not know this person but you trust them as an authority. I don’t know Brian Solis personally, but given the amount of soirees I know that he attends through I have a shrewd idea that he would be a good source of information on bars and restaurants in the Bay Area.

This person has a good reputation (this maybe their record on eBay, or the authority of their blog according to Technorati)

But this information has to be available in the right place, at the right time and the right depth. This is what I mean by the context in the title of this post. If I am looking for a restaurant in Singapore to meet a business contact, I would like to have this review available in Dopplr where I do my travel planning. For a restaurant in London that I could arrange a last minute social engagement the brief descriptions provided by is adequate; its 140 characters and a basic rating is all that I need.

Meeting clients for lunch in London is a different context again, I am likely to require more information: is the restaurant quiet enough for business conversations, is there space between the tables and will the food match my client’s expectations. For this, and trustedplaces make ideal candidates.

Graffiti image by cauchisavona

Links of the day

Much ado about nothing: Internet CAN take video strain says UK study – TelecomTV

Digital marketing strategy benchmarking :

Digital World Tokyo | FindTokyo app brings pop-up maps and more to iPhone

Marketing, Being green alone does not sell in Asia, HONG KONG, Marketing, Retail, Branding, Brand reputation, | – its all relative “Not all is gloom as after covering essential living expenses, HK people still want to take holidays spend on out-of-home entertainment and buy new clothes with their spare cash.”

European music income down 6.3% in 2008 despite digital uptick | Media |

apophenia: “Living and Learning with Social Media” – good stuff here from danah boyd

Jargon Watch: Zombieconomy

I was listening to Harvard Business IdeaCast and came across Umair Haque’s concept of the zombieconomy.

In the podcast, Haque talks about those sectors of the economy that whilst innovating are not doing transformational innovation. Examples of this would be:

  • Car manufacturers continuing to make SUVs rather than thinking about future growth markets for green vehicles or new markets in the rising middle classes of the BRIC countries
  • Gillette’s razor range post the launch of the Mach3
  • Microsoft’s gradual evolution of Windows NT via XP to Vista

Whilst an immense amount of effort and expertise has been expended in getting these new products out the door and they represent a leap forward in quality, performance, process or technology employed; from a consumer standpoint they either are no real change or steps taken down the wrong path.

Image courtesy of clarkmackey

Links of the day

Consumers ‘turned off by social networking spam’ | Netimperative – interesting statistics

Village – Politics, Media and Current Affairs in Ireland – “Erin Go Broke” – a bit concerned about this. I don’t particularly want to see my home country go a bit Iceland

Branded iPhone Apps and the Misleading Allure of Buzz

Facebook | Creative Capital – interesting event

Official Google Blog: Hard at play in Google Labs with Similar Images and Google News Timeline

Knowem UserName Check – Social Networking Username Availability – thanks to Becky for this one

YouTube – James Lebon’s Channel – original International Stussy Tribe member James Lebon had put up a number of the videos he directed. Check out the classic Paradox – Jailbreak and Force & Kzee – Who got the last laugh, through to the poptastic Betty Boo (just doing the do). The real downer about aging is having watched great talent die too young.

Collective Conversation » Hill & Knowlton Digital in China » Blog Archive » Our Very Own Digital Library – Launched!

Hyping the Hype Curve – broadstuff

50+ Google and Yahoo Search Shortcuts Cheat Sheet

A Dialog about the Future for Students and Employers: The Upcoming Social Workforce « Web Strategy by Jeremiah Owyang | Social Media, Web Marketing

O’Brien: Older generations adopting new technologies faster than young –

Susan Boyle boosts traffic to by 700% | New Media Age – I was shocked by this since I didn’t expect’s viewership to be as low as the figures imply.

Britons know 10 recipes by heart

Oracle in shock $5.6 billion takeover of Sun – Computer Business Review : News

Louis Vuitton and Takashi Murakami x QR Code – Josh Spear, Trendspotting

Jobs in Tokyo – Danny Choo is looking for a new staff member, sounds like a cool opportunity

The Butler’s Back: Brings Jeeves Out Of Retirement In UK |

Awful typography courtesy of Fitness First


Awful typography courtesy of Fitness First, originally uploaded by renaissancechambara.

I came across this typographic carnage as I passed Fitness First next to the Brunswick Centre in Bloomsbury earlier this morning. As a PR person its a good visual reminder to be clear about the messages that you want to convey and how you convey them: whether in person, in print or online.

Brands: be true to yourself

I was reading a post the other day (and forgot to bookmark it – my OCD having been taken out by the man flu) about how a substantial minority of Chinese respondents thought that US-originated international brands like Coca-Cola were in fact local Chinese brands. Now admittedly Coca-Cola originally entered the Chinese market in 1928 and then re-entered when the country re-opened to the outside world in the early 1980s.

Coca-Cola Chinese design

The drink’s Chinese logo marries the traditional Coke flowing lines with the Chinese characters for ‘delicious happiness’. Coke welded itself to China’s caterpillar-like emergence at the Olympic games – so it is easy to see how Coca-Cola has become a Chinese brand for Chinese people. Here in the UK, Coca-Cola is an unashamedly US brand: from GI’s swigging it back during the war to halcyon images of American Graffiti to the urbane cougars (Sex in the City before Sex in the City) featured in the original diet Coke ads and hippies offering the world a Coke.

Yahoo! in the US is an all-American brand: Jerry Yang and David Filo building a business in the proverbial garage is the quintessential American story. They were not trust fund kids like Bill Gates, one was from the American South and the other was a first generation immigrant.

In Asia the company has managed to define itself as a local Asian brand. Yahoo! Japan is as much about Softbank founder Masayoshi Son as Yang and Filo. In each of the Asian countries where it has been successful the brand has developed specialist services that meet the needs of the local population and give them ‘ownership’ of the brand.

By comparison, in Europe, Yahoo! is a big amorphous brand that people don’t really get since what it stands for hasn’t been clearly articulated on a regular basis.

With Japanese brands Muji, Uniqlo and Nintendo they are unashamedly Japanese. Chauncey Zalkin in her recent article for Brandchannel Made in Japan: The Culture Behind The Brand points out how Japanese companies have made a virtue of being Japanese. If I see one flaw in her argument it would be that I would argue Sony has redefined itself as a global brand that stands for nothing rather than competitors like Nintendo or Nikon who have managed to retain their ‘Japanese-ness’ and maintained a respectable financial performance over the long term (at least this far).

Links of the day

One of my personal heroes Shawn Stussy now has its own blog

Microsoft’s IP Losses Don’t Always Stick

Legal Technology – Dive Into Deep Web Research

“Hydrokinetic Adjustable Wrench” is a real product (and awesome) – really sweet piece of product design

What’s happening in Japan right now?: The “commons” in Japan

London’s best free wi-fi hotspots – free wi-fi in London – Time Out London – thanks to Becky for this one

Japan’s skincare guru says wrinkles are beautiful too | Lifestyle | Reuters – this is way beyond the ‘progressive’ messaging of Unilever’s Dove products, but ultimately more liberating and lucrative

Oprah Time: Ladies & Gentlemen The Bronx is Burning: 1977, Baseball, Politics, and The Battle For The Soul of a City by Jonathan Mahler

Jonathan Mahler managed to capture the cultural, social and political condition of New York in the 1970s. This is the New York of legend as ethnic groups like the Italians and the Irish were dispersed with grinding poverty taking its place in urban communities. It is the New York of blaxploitation films like Shaft, gritty crime films like The Taking Of Pelham 123 or the plain grit of Midnight Cowboy and Taxi Driver.

It is the New York of my imagination: the grime and the glitz of David Mancuso’s influential parties to the hedonism of Studio 54. What Mahler does is tie in how gay rights, city government irresponsibility, disco, artists, urban blight, the Son of Sam serial killer and the performance of the New York Yankee’s formed a cocktail of circumstance that laid the ground for modern New York.

There wouldn’t have been loft apartments in Manchester as part of urban regeneration during the 1990s to the present if struggling artists hadn’t made them fashionable when they took over the old garment district in New York during the 1970s. Mayor Giuliani’s successful policies at tackling crime would not have been possible.

Mahler tells these stories with a passion that carries you along with it, even making the sport of baseball even of interest to me.