Friday, 31 December 2010

Participatory Media Best Practices

Arguably one of our favourite agency resources, Contagious Magazine offers a best practice benchmark for strategy and marketing, with guest articles with notables like Martin Lindstrom and a wealth of innovative case studies.  Contagious have an uncanny knack of effectively articulating those things we're trying to get our head around. To that end,if you've not seen these they're excellent overviews on the state of the digital nation.

Branded Utility
Branded utility is part of a redefinition of advertising. It is about the move away from interruptive 'push' models towards more meaningful ways of connecting. As people become immune to ad clutter or tune out the noise, brands have to work harder than ever for their time and attention. Branded utility offers one way for advertisers to earn a place at the centre of people's lives. This exert looks at BU activity across the spectrum, including real world case studies, as well as the union of offline and online products and the phenomenal growth of widgets. It highlights the brands that are leading the way, alliances being forged and agencies that are making it their mantra. It guides you through the potential and the pitfalls of this new approach to marketing.   View Overview

Retail Trends - 2011
As social media proliferate and smartphones become mainstream, how are retailers staying relevant across all touchpoints? Which retail businesses are flourishing in this new landscape?  From high street brands and multi-channel retailers to small local boutiques and new tech start-ups, in-store technology, democratic consumerism, developments in social and mobile commerce, and the resurgence of retailing with a conscience are changing retail.  Retail Trends

Brand Communities
The relationship between brands and communities is becoming ever more complex. Both online and off, on social networks and elsewhere, marketers the world over are attempting to engage with existing communities, or encourage the development of new ones. But the path to community engagement is strewn with tough decisions - a presence on an existing social network or your own specialised hub? Organised offline activity or a global network of fans brought together through the power of a 'Like' button?  Brand Communities.

Entertainment Marketing 
The explosion of digital channels has left movie studios, TV networks and producers, publishing houses and games developers gasping to keep up with the pace of change. Now we have more platforms, more consoles, more hobbies, more means of communication, and much, much more content. The most successful entertainment marketing is that which embraces fluidity, in the content itself, in the way it is distributed, and in the way it is promoted. Entertainment Marketing.

In recessionary times, having access to a new channel of highly targeted, interactive content that has the capacity to reside on the one device that no one leaves home without makes it easy to see why so many brands have rushed into the mobile apps space. But which ones have been the most successful? What are the opportunities? How can brands stand out amidst the din? Apps are changing mobile usage and consumer behaviour. Mobile Apps Overview.

People and organisations are reordering their priorities and causing global change across a range of interconnected spaces from honesty and fair employment to communal, social and environmental responsibility. The marketing community is helping drive this ethical movement and Goodvertising is an umbrella term that Contagious is using for the role advertisers are playing in the return of ethical marketing and business practice. Goodvertising overview.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

♔ The Goodbuzz 'Six-Step' Process Model

Certainly every client and engagement is unique, however, having a proven process ensures your initiatives are on track and on budget. The following is the evolving articulation of our Goodbuzz process (and how we consistently get to the heart of the matter to ensure our clients business goals are met).

First, we listen to you. Successful engagements always involve clear communication and a deep understanding of your business. To get to the heart of how real-life users interact with your products and websites, our assessment clarifies your competitive space and your customers, paying special attention to what they say, what they do and where they click. This clarification phase involves, but is not limited to, stakeholder and customer interviews, digital benchmarking, usability (UX) assessment, user-flow modeling, and a competitive audit.

Goodbuzz understand today’s business engagement has multiple stakeholders and goals. As our Discovery phase ensures a clear understanding of your organizational needs, this Strategy + Planning phase develops a framework or roadmap to meet them. We'll carefully study your technical and content constraints, and help you rank everything into an actionable roadmap that can drive the design process. This phase involves, but is not limited to, goal mapping (business and user), Vision, Content Brief, and Roadmap development.

After articulating a clear, concise understanding of the goals, constraints, challenges and opportunities for your brand – this is really where the fun comes in (and the magic happens). This is where we look at harnessing creativity and technology to disrupt - while amplifying and differentiating your brand.  This is also where we introduce our Goodbuzz Scorecard; which has proven a worthwhile tool in ensuring we focus on optimizing any/all activities and getting the highest ROI.   

Modern web platforms resemble complex software products, and require painstaking definition before any development to ensure efficiency. We can work for or with your team depending on your level of technical expertise and resources. In all cases, detailed designs and specifications will be provided whether client- and server-side development, e-commerce, content management systems, or legacy CRM. This phase involves, but is not limited to, user-workflows, conceptual design, Information Architecture, User Experience (UX) Design, Interaction Design and Prototyping.

Our specialists develop your platform following the Semantic Web’s best practices and thorough user testing, quality assurance and reviews are conducted to ensure seamless engagement is optimized across multiple platforms. This phase involves, but is not limited to, style guides, system requirements, performance requirements, and quality assurance.

Whether all at once or phased, our detailed management and optimization process ensures your most valuable assets are available when you go-live and a roadmap is in place to meet your ongoing needs. We also guide that growth, by continuously evaluating, refining and evolving the effectiveness of designs to ensure highest return on investment.

The results?  See for yourself.  Check out our Rickie Fowler (PGA) Case Study. What can we do for your brand

♔ Google Goggles App Identifies Virtually Anything

Have you seen Google Goggles yet?  Albeit still a bit of a novelty, it’s a quantum leap in web search and collective intelligence that allows users to scan any object or place (without the stickybit). 

Google Goggles is a downloadable image recognition application created by Google Inc. Currently, it is used for searches based on pictures taken by handheld devices. For example taking a picture of a famous landmark would search for information about it, or taking a picture of a product's barcode will search for information on the product.

Google already uses artificial intelligence to interpret cryptic human queries, so a natural step to extend to interpreting cryptic images.   As you’d imagine, it works best on books, landmarks, logos, contact info, artwork, businesses, products, barcodes, or text. Typically static elements that don’t change.  It can also recognize up to three items at a time and any item you scan automatically linked to associated content. As an example we scanned a Red Strip Beer Can and voila.

The program proposed will be capable of identifying virtually anything. Currently the system is able to identify various labels or landmarks, allowing the user to learn about such items without needing a text-based search. The system can identify barcodes that allow users to search for similar products and prices, as well as save codes for future reference, similar to the failed CueCat of the late '90s, but with more functionality. The system will also recognize printed text and using Optical character recognition (OCR) produce a text snippet, and in some cases even translate the snippet into another language.

Google’s already mapped the streets and stars - so what’s next? They’re currently working to make the system capable of recognizing different plants and leaves, which aids not only the curious person, but also botanists and environmentalists searching for invading or rare plants. Google also plans to turn the app into a full-blown API set that will allow developers to create a number of branded visual search based applications for mobile devices including Augmented Reality (AR).  The wonders never cease - check out the video below.

Have you seen a brand use Google Goggles in a relevant, contextual way that amplifies the brand experience?  If so we’d love to hear about them.  Please send any/all examples to

Tuesday, 28 December 2010


From Evan Williams to Seth Godin - here are just a few recent and exceptional talks from TED in 2010, with a specific focus on social media and the changing role of technology.

How Social Media Can Make History
Clay Shirky discusses the unprecedented immediacy of real-time citizen journalism made possible by social media and the nearly ubiquitous access to mobile web technologies. Shirky discusses how media is made on the ground, as-it-happens, via the social web.

The Tribes We Lead
From professional sports mascots to balloon animal makers, some communities are so extremely niche that they could only properly thrive on the Internet. So argues blogger and author Seth Godin, who believes that our revolutionary new connectedness has brought human culture back to its roots, and that tribes (groups of people mobilized around a shared interest) are the present and future of all web content.

Make a Splash in Social Media
How the biggest and most effective forces on the web usually take shape by accident. Alexis Ohanian of tells the story of how the social web provided some unexpected help to Greenpeace in halting the Japanese whaling industry. Internet marketers take note: The meme is all-powerful and it cannot be controlled.

Listening to Twitter Users
Twitter co-founder Evan Williams discusses how a little side project called Twitter became a game-changing phenomenon with the help and input of the very users who made the service a success. From innovative marketing uses to core functionality, Williams provides the evidence for what we knew all along: Users know best.

How the Internet Enables Intimacy
Stefana Broadbent explains that social networks function the same way online as they do in real life. While we may have lots of friends, we only really communicate regularly and meaningfully with a handful of them, and social technologies like e-mail, texting, and tweeting allow us to do so more often across time and space.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010


PepsiCo's Head of Digital, Shiv Singh, discusses the success and results of the PepsiCo Refresh Project - Mashable

Dell is hosting a Social Innovation Competition for college students who want to solve current social issues through innovation. Non-registrants can also participate in the contest by commenting on and sharing the submitted ideas - Dell Social Innovation

In between broadcast seasons, ABC Family, NBC, and Lifetime are all encouraging viewers to check-in, earn badges, and share their interest with friends online - DMNews

This year, Gap's holiday deals depended on eight live reindeer in Minnesoda. GPS systems measured the reindeers' location closest to the North Pole so that fans could track and tweet about the reindeers that represented their favorite promotions - Project Reindeer

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is launching "CPSC 2.0," a social network that will inform consumers of important safety issues faster and more frequently - Kids Today

Todd Carpenter, Social Media Manager of the National Association of Realtors, has been recognized by Inman News as one of the 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders of 2010 in the field of online blogging and social media - Inman News

P. Diddy is teaming up with Microsoft Tag to launch their social media campaign, "12 Days of Tag," that will let Facebook and Twitter users choose which charities will receive a combined total of $50,000 in the days leading up to Christmas - Look to the Stars

State Farm is launching a new ad campaign within Facebook's "Car Town" game by adding virtual item giveaways and branded challenges that let players earn virtual currency - Insurance Journal

Northwestern Mutual is posting a new video series on Facebook and YouTube called "Life Stories" that features customers sharing their personal insurance stories - Business Wire

Gillette's YouTube Case Study (Italy) -

If moms weren’t already an attractive enough target for marketers, a Keller Fay study of US internet users and their brand conversations has found that they are more responsive to word-of-mouth than other adults and more likely to help pass on brand messages – More 

Crowdsourcing? Location Based Services? QR Codes?  Firstborn's Dave Snyder looks into his crystal ball to predict what digital trends will flourish—or die, in the upcoming year - More 

Since it’s the Holiday’s, here are some fun examples of agency Christmas Cards we’ve found:

Wieden+Kennedy (Amsterdam) makes it possible for you to sit down with your family and friends for a holiday gathering - even if you live thousands of miles apart! Check out -

Nation brings us this mash up Christmas Card generator that uses Google’s Blacklisted words - 

Auto-tuned sleigh bells? Geo-located dreidels? Augmented Reality snowflakes? Nope. EVB goes old school - letting users celebrate analog by sending friends a good ol' holiday fax! -

Lean Mean Fighting Machine's odd Holiday Greeting experience - Snowman or Fatman Holiday Greeting

Submit your (through-the-line) case studies:

♔ Digital Trends in 2011 (by Firstborn)

As published on (Creativity’s) Creativity and Technology (CaT) - Firstborn's Dave Snyder looks into his crystal ball to predict what digital trends will flourish—or die, in the upcoming year.

I've always wanted to do one of these... a predictions list! So here it goes, a little bit of what's to come: digital soothsaying for the annum two thousand and eleven. Please enjoy.

1. Crowdsourcing: People will finally realize that the Crowdsourcing future they've been hearing about isn't really crowdsourcing at all but, rather, a ruse perpetuated by some to navigate an economic and financial downturn. Yet "some" will continue to preach it. And for reasons no one in the industry can comprehend, one of those "some" (someone with no credentials other than a moderate Twitter following) will be named Chief Crowdsourcing Officer of a global agency.

2. Privacy: The stall doors are off and we don't care. We will say goodbye to privacy. Actually, that happened long ago, it's just that people will stop caring. I mean, what can you do? That being said, we still love to complain about it... more than a good Facebook redesign.  Your "junk" will be fondled and you will like it.

3. "The New Agency Model": Both sides will continue to beat their chests. Digital screams, "Hey, we've got ideas too." Traditional yells, "Keep your silly named company (but here's a buyout offer for you), we've got tech figured out!" and as BBDO Chairman Mr. Lubars puts it, "We're kicking their butts!" [Sigh.]
Both are right (sort of). But wait, what's that? You in the back... say that again. "But we're 'Post Digital'!?!" someone sheepishly squirts. Digital and Traditional look at each other and respond (for once in unison), "That is the stupidest thing we've ever heard."  Post Digital is a farce. It's the red herring of 2011, part of the overflowing hype that leaks from the duct-taped side of the perpetual buzz marketing machine.

4. The Buzzword Ban: Across the country agencies and brands alike band together and ban certain marketing buzzwords from the boardroom, mainly: synergistic solutions; passion points, robust eco-systems; social-capital; what's the added value; encourage social advocacy; harness social currency; and who are our brand evangelists? Please add your own in the comment section below. These are always hysterical. But first ask yourself, what is the added value?

5. Flash vs HTML5: Believe it or not, no one actually cares how content is delivered. I know, shocking, right? But that won't stop HTML5 developers from making all the same mistakes Flash developers and designers made previously. Both sides need to reconcile and remember that both are at the mercy of the public. We serve their needs. Not some myopic and overly engineered vision of what things are "supposed" to be.

6. On Millennials: "Say 'Millennial' again! C'mon, say 'Millennial' again! I dare ya, I double dare ya motherfucker, say 'Millennial' one more goddamn time."  Can we start talking about the Net Generation already... please?

7. Mobile: This one is easy. Mobile will finally become ubiquitous. As ubiquitous as what the "You Need to Upgrade Your Flash Player" page was, and what the "You Need an HTML5 Capable Browser" page will be.

8. Location Based Services: We got it right, but man-oh-man did they get it wrong. LBS will continue to be huge. It's just that, in 2011, everyone realizes how NOT exciting Foursquare and Gowalla were and are. Keep your badge; people are cheap and just want coupons. As I predicted last year, the current Location Based Services (the ones that survive) will become little more than the modern day equivalent of a coupon book. And guess what Foursquare, Gowalla and the rest, you don't have the numbers to make marketers care: Facebook Places has rendered you impotent. It was fun (sorta, kinda) while it lasted.

9. Frivolous Technologies: QR codes may have been big elsewhere around the world but the technology is going to be leapfrogged here in the States. QR Codes (and the ilk): your tombstone is waiting for you in the lobby. You've been replaced by label recognition. "This conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye."

10. Advertising is NOT dead: It's just different... and that is a good thing. It's becoming interesting again. I like what Phil Knight said about advertising a long, long time ago: "I hate it."  He's right. So often, it's so terrible. In fact, at times I can't f'ing stand it. Alas, the ad world is turning toward something meaningful. Even if, at times, it's just a laugh—it's better, however, when it's something useful.  I'm happy to report, this will continue and find more and more traction inside the boardroom.  There it is, ten items to help you start your two thousand and eleven season off right. Let me know what I've missed. With only ten items I know I missed plenty.

Dave Snyder is an associate creative director at Firstborn.  

Monday, 20 December 2010

What’s your brand doing on YouTube?

There was a time when YouTube was considered a wild-wild west of content — a place where marketers shied away from uploading their commercials, let alone building a branded channel. But these days, YouTube has become more mini-van than stagecoach. From Toyota Sienna’s high-profile television commercials urging consumers to visit their YouTube channel, to (what might be considered the anti-minivan) Harley Davidson’s fan-centric YouTube universe, there has been a noticeable shift in corporate adoption of the platform.

Billions (literally) of people are watching today – so I'm sure you agree that YouTube provides a unique opportunity for high-profile brand placements. Not sure where to start?  Check out YouTube Trends to get an idea of the types of content currently being consumed.   Also, think of your YouTube channel as an extension of your brand that lives and breathes. You’ll need someone who is dedicated to tending to that page, building your audience by reaching out to fans, and managing your profile online.

Start by searching your brand on YouTube and see what the existing conversation looks like. Then try reaching out to people who already have an affinity for your product or service by commenting on their videos and/or “friending” them. Remember that YouTube is an online community, and if you’re not participating in the dialogue, then you are missing the opportunity for true engagement.  More tips and tricks or for good examples by content type, select the area of concentration below:


How-to / Education

TV + Film




Friday, 17 December 2010

The Gap’s Project Reindeer (by AKQA)

The perfect mix of creativity and emerging technology - The Gap’s Project Reindeer (by AKQA) equips 8 live reindeer with GPS, that participate in challenges over five days that users can vote on.  

Watch the PastureCam (updated every five minutes), Meet the Herd, or tweet a deal to win.

Whichever animal wins will trigger a unique in-store deal for the consumer. For example, Emma the reindeer won the "shortest distance contest" today, giving consumers 40% off their entire purchase if they say Emma40 at the register.

As the site says - 8 Reindeer / 8 Deals / 5 Days. Track the movements of our GPS-enabled reindeer as they decide our stylish in-store deals. Tweet to boost your favorite and check back daily to see which deal wins!  We think its great work.  Fun. On brand and the perfect mix of creativity and emerging technology.  What do you think?