Links of the day

Mainstream Media Finally Cops To Dependence on Blogs* – Silicon Alley Insider

Microsoft’s Potential Yahoo Buy Could Lose Alibaba | WebProNews

Fire Eagle, the early days – nice overview by Tom Coates, can’t wait to see what the eco-system looks like by the time there is a developer meet-up in London later on this year

Featured Mac Download: Completely Uninstall Programs with AppCleaner – I need this to clean up my MacBook Pro

Social media monitoring changes – Drew has posted on how he is noticing increasing similarities in the results returned by different social web search services. This homogenity will eventually lead to Google becoming more dominant

Navy SEALs: Mental Strength And Courage – Men’s Health – lessons learned muscle memory through repetition, taking a deep breath and problem solving

(o)|| Tresor – the classic Berlin techno record label and club

Sponsors of Olympic torch caught in Tibet protests – International Herald Tribune – interesting reputation challenges for the sponsors

I, Cringely . The Pulpit . Amish Paradise | PBS

Oprah Time: Microtrends:The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow’s Big Changes by Mark Penn and E. Kinney Zalesne

Microtrends is one of them must-read books if you want to recognise where your peers get some of their slideware and buzzwords from. Author Mark Penn has a rich pedigree with this, having been the political wonk who was partly responsible for popularising the ‘soccer mom‘ phrase during the late 1990s; this was to US politics what ‘white van man‘ was in the UK in terms of zeitgeist.

So with a bit of reluctance I gave it a read. I was not looking forward to reading what I assumed would be a book that tries to do for market research what Stephen Levitt’s Freakonomics did for the dismal science and obsesses about US demographics, I mean part of my job is explaining to my colleagues eight time zones away in Portland and Seattle how different and diverse Europe is, rather than a homogenous mass like the congealed contents of a used fondue set.

Penn to his credit make at least some of his observed groups relevant to an international audience by discussing implications for international audiences.

The value of Penn’s book however is not in the segments it digs up, but in the way that it allows the reader (even for a short while) to see the world through different peoples eyes.  Having learned the lesson the hard way at Yahoo!, I try to see beyond my own early adopter web 2.0 otaku nerd world view and think about the man in the street. Penn’s book is a useful device to do this.

Would I use it as a way to find niches to target in client campaigns? Probably not, as soon as the niches were committed to paper they were probably running out of date as the zeitgeist is a fickle and illusive beast.  If you want to read a copy, grab it whilst its hot or not at all.

Links of the day

Yahoo! Messenger finally lets Mac users make voice calls

Welcome to MClips – Microsoft Italy blogging platform

Marketing, Rowden: Asia leads the way | Market-interactive.com – Asia leads the way in mobile internet adoption and online marketing techniques according to Saatchi & Saatchi’s head of APAC

Marketing, LV is most desired luxury brand in HK and SG, ASIA PACIFIC, Marketing, Retail, Research findings, | Market-interactive.com – not that you would guess it at all by walking around Hong Kong’s main shopping areas ;-)

Marketing, The many faces of Japanese women | Market-interactive.com – Interesting article about Japanese demographics

Privacy Isn’t Phorm’s Biggest Problem – interesting article on Phorms business model and the privacy debate

Britain to overhaul video game ratings system

Vicarious Experiences

I had a chat with Gi at Techlightenment over a coffee in the Tea Building at Shoreditch last week when we got to discussing what I had blogged about in my ‘fire hose of content‘ posting earlier on that week. And we diverted on to vicarious experiences, let me give you an example:

Occasionally I used to go to The Haçienda nightclub in Manchester at the junction of Whitworth Street West and Albion Street, I couldn’t afford to go that regularly and having quite a broad Liverpool accent preferred not to venture out in Manchester without at least one or two friends in tow.

The Haçienda was a musical venue that was as influential in its own way as CBGB, The Warehouse, Paradise Garage or the Woodstock Music and Art Fair since it was a crucible for musical innovation, social change and urban renewal.

The club nights weren’t that full on many nights, much of the music were very avant-garde. Factory Records who owned the club with music group New Order nurtured the avant-garde as kind of a bet on the future, but that didn’t result in packed houses most of the time, in fact some of the stuff I found to be almost unlistenable let along worth a car journey to central Manchester.

The nightclub now has such a mythical status that if all the people who’ve told me over the years that they went on a regular basis then the club would have had to been about the size of the GMEX centre to house them all. Instead the club eventually closed due to a combination of gangsterism, police harassment and because it lost money.

Ok, ok, the reason for this trip down memory lane is all those club-goers who weren’t there. The thing of it is that you have a substantial amount of people who at best have experienced things through other people and feel that it was good enough to have been an experience of their own.

How does this relate to PR?

Ok, imagine if you have a call to action that is an experience (for instance trying out a hot new website) and for this bunch of ‘vicarious experiencers’ reading about said website or seeing a short broadcast segment news story is the same experience and just as fulfilling as following through on the call to action.

This is an additional factor to consider with the firehouse of content. It is no longer about ensuring that the audience doesn’t get exposed to too much information that leave them with no ‘opportunity time’ to respond to the campaign call to action.

Vicarious experience now means that we need to think about PR campaigns in terms of a fan dance that titillates but doesn’t reveal enough that the audience loses their curiosity. It also implies that PR is optimally used in launch and pre-launch activity rather than in campaign momentum where the outline of a product, service or experience is understood. Coverage derived from momentum PR is likely to provide just the kind of show-and-tell coverage that allows the audience to vicariously experience the campaign call to action without engaging with the campaign or the company brand in a meaningful (or profitable) way.

Its not only important to balance marketing communications activity to give the audience the right incentive and time to follow up on a campaign call to action, but also encourage real over secondhand experiences.

The power of brands

Burger King and the Whopper are the poster child for big food. My first memory of Burger King was seeing one of my friends drag a McWorker across the counter after the person had taken his order and screamed into the back kitchen Whopper! Unfortunately this was also Liverpudlian slang for a fool, an idiot and name calling is not tolerated.

Anyway this is an old video but I had shared it with some of my colleagues and wanted to share it with you as it shows the power brands and the relationship that they have with consumers.

Seeing the King come to save the day still brings a tear to my eye.