I hope that all readers enjoy a relaxing Easter break.
Things that made my day this week:
My colleague Jackie shared video which was created a few years ago for Craftsman tools (think Black and Decker meets Stanley)
The newly launched Design My Samsonite campaign which seems like a simple, but smart way to move the discussion on about luggage for a non-premium, non-luxury brand
The Brian Blessed alarm clock for iPhone. A booming voice with classic Shakespearean quotes.
Apple’s retail experience has moved beyond a product experience to become central to modern-day culture, as shown by this spoof in an advert by Somersby Cider
Finally, I got a good infographic on mobile payments:
Jason is now known as the poster child e-commerce with Fab.com, in a prior role I had Jason as a client as he tried to transform recruiting in a similar way.
The video is on YouTube so may not be available to all readers.
- Globally, five percent of retail is now online
- Move to e-commerce for emotional products is more about wow factor rather than price
- Global love for great product design
- Furniture, jewellery and art online have double and triple digit growth in sales
- More than 50 per cent of Fab’s sales can be on mobile during a given day, aggregates out to 35-40 per cent overall
- Consumers shop brands: product brands and retail brands. Expectation of online experience and product portfolio
If you are vaguely interested in the online sector, you will have noticed that Summly has been acquired by Yahoo!. The acquisition is interesting for a number of reasons:
- It is a statement of Yahoo!’s mobile aspirations. Yahoo! has been in mobile for a good while. Yahoo! Go tried to pull all the of the Yahoo! portal properties into an app-like experience and Yahoo! ZoneTag was an early experiment of attributing location to smartphone pictures well before the iPhone. Upload to Flickr was integrated into many SonyEricsson and Nokia phones (notably the bestselling Nokia N73) But none of these pioneering efforts were rewarded with market share
- Yahoo! is looking to buy cool. Summly has had about one million downloads, mostly by early adopters of its news reader. It is not the mass-market audience that Yahoo! usually targets, like Flickr and Delicious before it this is about cool. Whilst most of the focus has been on the media, Yahoo! has historically made these purchases to try and infuse some of the start-up get up and go DNA into the larger organisation
- Summly makes some interesting technological choices that would appeal to Yahoo!. Firstly, surfacing content that consumers would find of interest; particularly interesting given that Google has abandoned RSS. Secondly, using analytical techniques to create abridged version of content could also be a differentiator in search in terms of both presentation and as a technique to improve relevance (if the abridged rather than full versions were indexed)
- The 3o million dollar acquisition figure being bandied around mirrors the rumoured costs of buying both Flickr and Delicious back in the mid-noughties. One of the key differences between Flickr and Delicious with Summly is the technology benefit that was brought to the table by the web 2.0 pioneers and in Flickr’s case the quality of the business on offer. Prior to being acquired Flickr was pretty close to breaking even with its freemium model
- Summly is an interesting focus away from the traditional Silicon and Bay Area stomping grounds of Yahoo!
Yahoo! to acquire Summly | Yodel Anecdotal
Five things that caught my eye this week:
Propellernet and Rankin have a series of interactive videos made for Westfield shopping centres. These will be launching over the next few weeks.
Google Keep is an interesting lightweight challenge to services like Evernote. It is a move way from from Google’s recent over-featured products like Google+.
Doodod (pronounced Doodoh) is a small Beijing start-up doing some very interesting things with visualisation of posts and reposts on Sina Weibo.
Audio-Technica supporting independent record shops by launching a record shop of the year competition. More here. (Facebook likegate ahead).
At this point I would have been sharing a mobile payments infographic issued for the M For Mobile conference in late April, but I can’t get a decent OSX Flickr uploader client. The latest one I have checked out FlickrBucket can’t be even authorised.
Last November a breakfast with Wadds meant the usual 45 minutes of dealing with big questions. That morning Wadds asked me had the social web failed to live up to initial expectations?
My take on this was that conversation online isn’t aligned to the communities which it purports to influence; despite the common perception that it is the vox populi. It isn’t, technology doesn’t change thousands of years of human software. I pointed Wadds to ancient Rome where you had a large population of the proletariat who were kept happy with ‘bread and circuses’.
Rome had democratic structures broadly reminiscent of what we currently have in the west and spaces where there were public debates. But in general these debates only touched a small proportion of the population; a bit like the Today Programme on BBC Radio 4.
Technology is powerful, it can make the world smaller, it can provide access but it can’t engage an apathetic audience. This is why the status quo carries on despite massive upheavals.It generally takes a black swan moment to move things on.
By comparison, active social media communities are an elite of sorts, a bit more democratic than the chattering classes of yore; but still a definite minority.
I heard a talk recently about the news media recently; it covered research that Vice Media had done internationally and one of the key themes that came out was that younger people were disengaged from the big issues that mattered because they weren’t engaging with the ‘elite’ culture of the quality news media.
It wasn’t that there was a lack of interest, but that the content wasn’t framed in a relevant way and of sufficiently high quality. All of this means is that the active group is likely to skew older and shrink unless they were provided with alternatives.
Monocle magazine’s mix of style, design and quality news analysis targets a slightly older group and has challenged the media status quo, but in media terms both Vice and Monocle are small but perfectly-formed businesses targeting a small minority of engaged consumers.
VICE News – an attempt to provide more engaging content for young (and not so young people)
Five things that have made my week:
The biggest upset of the week was the news that Google Reader was being shut down on July 1st by Google. I don’t use Google Reader and have never been particularly enamoured with it as an RSS reader. But it has a substantial loyal following which meant that my weapon of choice Newsblur had its servers blitzed with new members looking to move and the world and their dog decided to make an RSS reader.
Old Spice came up with it’s new campaign featuring Mr Wolfdog as its head marketer. A Dilbertesque take on the office and business, the campaign did some interesting audience engagement through Google Hangout.
A Harvard Business Review article shook things up when it posited that eBay found paid search didn’t pay. What people failed to take away from this is the rather unique nature of eBay’s business. Don’t give up on spending for SEM just yet. Few organisations can boast of having a site with as strong an organic search marketing as eBay.
Facebook’s move to add hash tags is interesting and should make the life a bit easier for social media monitoring in terms of a common lexicon across platforms. It could also mean that memes flow frictionless across platforms.
I watched with morbid fascination the rollout of the Samsung Galaxy S4, more on this later.
You know you’re generation x when:
- You hear the word portal and think of an early website with a cluttered layout like a broadsheet newspaper from companies like MSN, Yahoo! and Excite rather than a round window with a nautical theme
- You can remember when your cellphone was smaller than your current iPhone
- You can remember feeling sad when the local HMV | Tower Records | Fopp closed down
- One of your coolest friends worked behind the counter in an independent record or comic shop
- Bill Gates is the ex-CEO of Microsoft, not a global do-gooder
- You can remember when Sony and Nokia were cool
- Morrissey is up there with Plato
- The M in MTV stood for music
- You can remember when the Argos catalogue was a cornucopia of consumerism
What other ones would you add?
The problem with free is that it comes with a best effort service agreement and nothing more. Over the past couple of years monitoring tools have came and went and businesses like Delicious have pivoted out of being useful to PR people. Overnight Google has announced further reductions of its product portfolio, the most significant for PR people was that Google Reader will be shut down on July 1, 2013. Google has offered a migration path through Google Takeout
The best alternative that I have found to Google Reader thus far has been Samuel Clay’s Newsblur which has a freemium model. For the majority of PR activity the free version should suffice, but from personal experience I found the paid for version well worth the money. It also has a great set of mobile applications. If you use the star functionality to save posts, I recommend that you look at Pinboard; a paid for social bookmarking tool; the more people it has users, the more the next person pays so getting on sooner rather than later would be a good idea.
From previous experience moving away from Delicious, I would advise that you plan for this migration sooner rather than later as services become overwhelmed.
A second spring cleaning | Google Blog
Archived from blog posts I wrote for PR Week