Links of the day

Singapore Airline’s Sensory Branding – PSFK – you have your favourite aftershave or perfume; Singapore Airlines has its own brand scent. Makes perfect sense in an OCD kind of way

Baidu to Hire in Silicon Valley | AllThingsD – it will be interesting to see how the Baidu culture matches the Silicon Valley culture

Anothershop – cool Netherlands-based boutique

MicroSIM cutter and adaptor – Brando are genius for this kind of thing

Windows 8 leaks show Microsoft’s eyes on Apple | Beyond Binary – CNET News – interestingly these ideas aren’t very enterprise-friendly

Home | Yahoo! Style Guide – great editorial resource

Interactive Chart: Where UK Newspaper Websites Get Their Traffic | paidContent:UK – BBC biggest non-search source of traffic

A closer look at Microsoft’s morale-boosting numbers | – FXS’ numbers blog post deconstructed

Apple – Support – Manuals – goldmine of Mac stuff

How Groupon’s rivals are trying to catch up on social buying | VentureBeat

iOS4 manual

Focus On… Australia – PR and Public Relations news – PR Week

Social media failure: examples from the travel industry | Econsultancy

Oil Spill Firefox Plugin Blacks Out BP Across the Web – some how I don’t think that Jess3 are going to land an energy sector account anytime soon

BBC News – China gets own-character domains

Intel preps x86 Android for summer release • The Register – what does this mean to Nokia’s MeeGo OS strategy?

China’s Shanda To Offer iPhone & iPad Games Later This Year – it will be interesting to see how the Chinese gaming company does on the international stage

Uh Oh: Verizon Slashes Microsoft Kin Prices Early

Welcome to Workware Heritage Clothing Company – really cool vintage shop in Hong Kong

Alcohol and public relations don’t mix

I spent my formative years in agency life working with a senior colleague who loved champagne and fine wine – and a weakness for new shoes. Alcohol is often a good social lubricant when building relationships with influencers, but it is lethal when it is mixed with a journalist looking for a story.

Whilst Stanley McCrystal may appear has a footnote in the history of the war on terror for his championing of counterinsurgency warfare tactics in Afghanistan, his most prominent mark was made with a number of cases of BudLight Lime on a coach from Berlin to Paris.

This is where Rolling Stone journalist Michael Hastings got the juicy material for The Runaway General feature which nuked McCrystal’s career.

Contrary to what you may have been led to believe alcohol and public relations don’t mix.

Links of the day

I, Cringely » I’m with stupid – interesting article on click fraud

Leak: EU pushes for criminalizing non-commercial usages in ACTA | La Quadrature du Net – The leaked document shows that the EU Member States are willing to impose prison sanctions for non-commercial usages of copyrighted works on the Internet as well as for ‘inciting and aiding’, a notion so broad that it could cover any Internet service or speech questioning copyright policies.

The Real Science Gap | Miller-McCune Online – very similar to the reasons why I left a scientific career in the early 1990s

The National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace | The White House – the personal freedom and right to privacy implications of this is horrendous. Land of the free to do nothing online, home of the brave to comment on a blog or express a dissenting opinion online

Yummly – Think outside the recipe box. – interesting take on the recipe site using semantic technologies

Where old iPhones go to die – Jun. 25, 2010 – large amount are recycled further expanding the iPhone eco-system. A bit like the old adage of your first Porsche being a second-hand Porsche as the company didn’t used to do entry models

Apple iPhone 4 Antennas… – AntennaSys Blog – finally some experts talking about the iPhone 4

Stanley McChrystal, Bud Light Lime Salutes You – provides more colour on the McCrystal dismissal

Rethinking youth marketing

I was speaking with a former colleague who now works for a major marketing combine. We were talking about future trends and how organisations are coping with them when he came out with “I have been told that we can’t do strategy anymore we need to get gen-y to do it“.


Some things struck me about this:

  • Yes its good to try and better understand young consumers, especially if you are chasing the lifetime spend. Insights are great and there are number of great people out there who can help you get that understanding
  • Generation-y in many ways aren’t that different to generation-x at that age, its just that until the great recession they haven’t really known hardship. Who doesn’t want work-life balance, authenticity etc? Look at Bill Hewlett and David Packard’s HP Way which they had coalesced by the 1950s yet spells out the tenets of being a great gen-y employer
  • Whilst generation-y have grown up with digital, that doesn’t mean that they get digital in a more meaningful way compared to migrants. From my experience there seems to be a normal distribution of skills, expertise and smarts
  • Is generation-y, generation-y? Would the young people who fit into the category of gen-y? Probably not, like their predecessors in generation-x they probably identify with a number of tribes and have a fluid identity within and between these tribes
  • Has strategy changed? I still rely on tenets and prinicples laid out by Sun Tzu almost 3,000 years ago. The implication that strategy has fundamentally changed reminded me of the spiel I used to hear from clients circa 1999 – 2000. This is probably what I find most disturbing about the above statement

The fetishisation of generation-y reminds me of the way many companies have become paralysed without the intervention and thinking of management consultancies. It is not like these companies don’t know the answers – it is either an inability of the management to think coherently or a fear of their decisions. Contrast this with the attitude of the successful companies: do you think that Steve Jobs needed generation-y consultants?

A favourite story of mine comes from Andy Grove of Intel managing to break the ‘crack cocaine’ over dependency on consultants. When they were faced with a challenging market environment and intense Japanese competition Grove asked the board, what did they think that high-priced consultants would advise them to do?

Intel got out of the hard-fought memory business, focused on micro-processors, went on to be spectacularly successful, in the process annoying the hell out of everyone with their pioneering use of audio branding.

We need to think also about what youth now means. Since it is a state-of-mind rather than an age-bound demographic:

  • Skateboarding and surfing hipsters (Tony Hawk, Shawn Stüssy)
  • Middle-aged music fans going to up and coming music concerts
  • Veteran cyclists (like Rapha aficionados)

Marketers need to challenge thinking, run a meritocracy (a la David Packard & Bill Hewlett circa 1960) to utilise the best ideas that anybody including younger colleagues can bring to the table and leave their preconceptions at the door. But that doesn’t mean that strategy is left up to the intern.

Life is not in recession

Life is not in recession, originally uploaded by renaissancechambara.

I loved the strapline in this ad for the Camel tobacco brand owned by RJ Reynolds in the latest edition of Wired magazine (US edition). Think I might hit CaféPress to set up this slogan on t-shirts and other merchandise.

Links of the day

Cheaper Knock-Off Phones Reportedly Doing Well in Smartphone Market | WebProNews

Italian Priest Develops iPad Mass App for Catholic Services – interesting niche use for the iPad

Schiit Audio — made in USA. – amazing gear

Canvas VOD JV Approved: BBC Must Publish Specs In 20 Days | paidContent

Facebook Goes After Google – facebook trying to do social search via the like button, in a similar way that Yahoo! could have used the information from delicious bookmarks

The evolving blogosphere: An empire gives way | The Economist – fragmented conversations affect the numbers, but not the utilty of blogs / Technology – Alibaba makes first US acquisition

Google disappears apps from phones – it’s like magic! – controlling the ecosystem a la Amazon Kindle

UK Times’ Traffic Has Dropped, But Nobody’s Gaining | paidContent:UK – maybe nobody in the UK, media competition has gone global

Uk hacks are hacked off by the digital economy act – The Inquirer

Case Study Crunch: FMCG Social Media Case Studies « The Cube – great list of case studies online

3 New Ways to Use Twitter at Live Events | Social Media Examiner – collection of really great tools / UK – Facebook looks for growth in China and Russia

Travel retail rituals

This Pat Law post inspired me to think about my own travel retail rituals. When I travel I have a number of rituals, a shrink may consider them to be coping mechanisms for dealing with dislocation whatever. One of them is that I always watch CNN if I can get it. It makes me feel more connected.

I generally have rituals in the airport as well. I usually fly out of London City Airport for short-haul and Heathrow  for long haul journeys.

Flying out:

  • Coffee – preferably Starbucks so I can get free wi-fi using my Starbucks card. Heathrow in particular is a rip-off, City airport has free wi-fi, but it can be difficult to get on their network. I follow the coffee up with a bottle of water as airplanes are exceptionally dry environments
  • Newspaper – Irish Examiner, Irish Times, Wall Street Journal in order of preference
  • Magazine – Monocle, The Atlantic, Technology Review or Wired (US edition) if my subscription copy has not come in yet
  • Forex – I usually don’t get this sorted until I get to the airport. I also make a point of phoning my credit card companies and letting them know that I will be away. It helps dealing with card failure later on
  • Batteries – an eight-pack of AA cells, preferably Duracell – to make sure that I have batteries for my camera
  • Chewing gum – Blue Orbit multi-pack or one of the plastic tubs that they do

Flying back:

As with flying out, but with some additions

  • Hong Kong-style milk tea – instead of the coffee if possible. Chep Lap Kok airport has free wi-fi anyway so I can break away from the chains of addiction and connectivity that bind me to Starbucks and enjoy the potent brew of milk tea. I particularly like the cha chow variation with condensed milk rather than evaporated milk
  • Acqua Di Parma – when I can get it, isn’t stocked in most duty-free areas
  • Melatonin – great to help with sleep, unfortunately hard to obtain in the UK
  • Toblerone – for the office
  • Milk magazine – never ceases to amaze me how the magazine can be credible and still do deals with brands like McDonald’s restaurants; you wouldn’t see i-D doing a cover-mount with KFC. I find it fascinating

Facebook’s last battle?

Today’s Financial Times has an article covering Mark Zuckenberg’s  presentation at the Cannes Lions advertising festival. In it Zuckenberg talked about four countries that Facebook doesn’t have a lead in: Japan, South Korea, Russia and the People’s Republic of China.

The authors seem to think that Zuckenberg’s remarks about ‘Now for the first time we are focused on doing some specific things in specific countries’ was aimed at conquering these markets. Facebook would need to be very careful to avoid the graveyard of previous efforts by companies like Yahoo!, Google and Microsoft in these territories.

All of these markets have established communities on products and services that are in many ways superior to Facebook. They have cultures and online behaviours that are markedly different than peers elsewhere, in the case of Korea there are technical standards and three out of the four countries have unique legislative environments.

As Google and Yahoo! have found to their costs, success in China may bring a backlash in their established western audiences.

The challenging geographic focus steered discussions away from other factors that maybe affecting Facebook’s slower growth:

  • How have privacy concerns affected their business? How has it affected engagement levels and the user utility?
  • How does the user experience suffer from negative network effects of too much noise?  Try searching on a particular topic and wading through the morass of groups and pages now available
  • Is Facebook now suffering from a lack of clarity of purpose as it has undergone service bloat?
  • Are partners and collaborators concerned about being zucked?

Links of the day

Facebook CEO Admits Growth Has Slowed – no clear understanding on the why though

The Most Powerful Secret In Facebook Ads – smart copywriting and leveraging of the social graph on Facebook’s ad platform

China Seeks To Rein In Online Payment Services « The China Tracker – – virtual currency to be regulated like regular banking

What is Social Currency? – Graham Brown lays it out for you

Microsoft: Reports of Its Impending Death Greatly Exaggerated | Kara Swisher | BoomTown | AllThingsD – damning indictment of Microsoft’s communications strategy that these analyses keep coming around

Adidas: We’re Beating Nike in the World Cup Brand War | Fast Company – interestingly Nike inherit a French squad with significantly diminished brand equity next year

Communities Dominate Brands: Full Analysis of iPhone Economics – it is bad news. And then it gets worse

SMI 2010 thoughts | notes

SMI 2010 thoughts | notes, originally uploaded by renaissancechambara.

My notes and takeaways from Social Media Influence 2010 distilled down into a mind-map on my Moleskine notebook. Enjoy.

I like: Online Feedback Strategy Map 2010

Online Feedback Strategy Map 2010, originally uploaded by birgerking.

A whiteboard, marker pens and a lot of work to map out what the online environment looks like for businesses and organisations.

I like: The Content Grid

JESS3 and Eloqua created a neat infographic that helps envisage how different online communications techniques | social media vehicles relate to public relations strategies.


It’s deceptively simple. Thanks to Simon Owen for flagging this up for me.

Social Media Influence conference live blog

I am hoping that I can get decent wi-fi reception to live blog from Social Media Influence conference. Hopefully it will all work really well.

Links of the day

MAXROAM – Data Calculator – nice data estimator

What EMI’s Repositioning Means | Forrester Blogs – consultant speak no real change

Dell is breaking away from microsoft – The Inquirer – this is less about Dell leaving Microsoft and more about Microsoft not scaling its product offering in a competitive manner

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Talks To Advertising Executives | Peter Kafka | MediaMemo | AllThingsD

Live map of London Underground trains – I love this mash-up, it will make it a lot easier to see line closures and strikes :p – great furniture and interesting crowdsourcing model: a kind of threadless for the home

What Valley Companies Should Know about Tencent – nice overview of Tencent, though I don’t believe with the conclusions re share price and future recommendations

Is Google far too much in love with engineering? – interesting perspective on the Google culture, the analogy is similar to something that Microsoft suffered from for its first decade or so

Political social network discussions – deeper and wider than other subject areas

Social Network Analysis – nice primer

Enhancing Net Promoter Score (NPS) with Total Social Customer Value (TSCV) « Web Strategy by Jeremiah Owyang | Social Media, Web Marketing – interesting move on holistic measurement / Companies / Automobiles – Japan’s new rules change face of AGMs – will this make it harder for Yakusa to disrupt and hassle Japanese company AGMs and will it help corporate governance?

How the Gulf crisis made BP British again. – By Daniel Gross – Slate Magazine – interesting study in crisis comms.