Thursday, 18 November 2010

Facebook 2.0 - Customized Add-on's and Widgets

Proximity Marketing and Amplifying Live Events

Many brands involved with Experiential Marketing today have been wondering how best to engage and integrate participants as a part of the live event in a meaningful and relevant way?   More specifically, how to leverage and integrate today’s social media and proximity marketing tools with live brand experiences?  The good news is that there are a number of ways to connect to tech-savvy fans today in unique and memorable ways that extend and amplify (on-premise) interaction. 

When branded content becomes technologically invasive (and fully permeates the audience's lifestyle) across multiple forms of media, it is indeed a disruptive, differentiating, unique and powerful tool.  With that in mind, here are some ways you may not have thought of engaging fans on-premise at a live event. 

1.     SMS
Extend real-time interactivity to fans. At home games for example, users might send pictures and/or text messages to the Jumbotron or digital ticker tape to be displayed.  Fans could participate in real-time polls, text short codes to enter promotions or contests. Imagine an autographed item promotion at an event enticing more individuals to text in or real-time fan polling.  It's simple, relevant and contextual. 

2.     Video
Imagine live and exclusive ad-supported streaming mobile content (event highlights, on-demand videos, live broadcasts). 

3.    Mobile App's
Mobile Apps offer another dynamic way extend the brand experience, letting fans compete and earn points by playing a skills game, for example, where results can be shared with peers (and amplified) socially.   Whether player, team, or event information, promotion, or news, apps offer a great way to aggregate associated information.

Mobile's geo-locational features could further amplify a live event by integrating sponsor/partner promotion in context starting with "checking-in" to physical location.  Moreover, promotional add-on's for partner/sponsors could be added to the app for events that specifically extend new features and functionality.  Imagine a GM night whereby an OnStar enabled App add-on allows one fan to remotely start and win a GM car at center ice using OnStar functionality.  Apps are a fun, immersive way to build loyalty and reinforce the brand attributes.  

Online interactions also allow for a natural user engagement hierarchy to be established (allowing us to evidence the most committed fan or group of fans).  This allows us to extend a competitive element to user engagement where fans could compete against each other from game to game (on any number of variables).

4.    QR Codes
Activate displays or print promotions using QR codes. Whether in the event program, a pop-up display, or even on the Jumbotron, fans scan a static QR code and link to exclusive offers and content. 

5.    RFID
RFID-enabled items can hold unique user identification like a Fans Facebook login and password.   It's also a passive technology triggered by a fans physical distance (proximity) from the microchip (with a variance of around three metres).   Therefore, events can be passively triggered  to update status, check-in, or any number of other actions.  

6.    Bar-Code (2D)
To simplify the event entry process, fans could show a bar code (Event Ticket) on their mobile phone when entering event.  This evidences waste reduction, efficiency and makes fans and employees lives easier.   Season ticket holders for example, could receive their e-ticket on their handsets or PDA.  At the security/ entry checkpoint, fans could then simply scan the bar code and enter the venue.  All they’d need is an active email address where their ticket/pass may be sent, and an Internet-enabled mobile device where the 2D bar code can be received.  Simple.

7.    (GPS) Geo-Locational 
When users “check in” at various locations, this event could trigger any number of associated actions leading fans on a supporting event storyline.

8.    Social Media + User-Generated Content (UGC)
All activities and content could be integrated (in a relevant, contextual manner) via all social/ participatory channels with exclusive content and promotions i.e. Facebook "only" events) could be extended along social channels to incentivize where users share content.  Social Plug-in's further enhance the social experience and integration (via FB Connect for example) and could easily integrate with social shopping and gifting). 

9.    (Mobile) Augmented Reality (AR)
Fans easily download an Augmented Reality (AR) application to visualize their existing world with associated contextual information layered on top of the visual.  AR promises to provide for an extremely dynamic, buzz worthy venue experience.

10.  BlueCasting - Bluetooth Proximity Marketing 
As up to 80% of Mobile devices are Bluetooth-enabled, the technology enables brands to activate static content and push messages directly to the fan - whether text, images, audio, video, events, Java Applications, or even games.  Brands such as Coca-Cola, Cadbury, Red Bull and Kraft are running proximity-based mobile coupon promotions targeting consumers with Bluetooth-enabled devices while they are in convenience stores. More.

11.  3-D Projection Mapping
3D projection mapping “is any method of mapping three-dimensional points to a two-dimensional plane.”  It's really amazing and add's significant sizzle to live events.  Expect to see a whole lot more of this moving forwards.  More at

12.  Interactive Billboards 
Today's facial-recognition technology for example allows interactive billboards to displaying user-specific ads.  Digital screens that seem to recognize and interact specifically with fans walking by. Imagine, for example, a large screen showing paparazzi getting extremely excited; jostling and competing for the best photograph of YOU the fan walking by.   

Have other examples of on-premise activation?  We'd love to hear about them.  Please e-mail to or visit us on Facebook.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010


Honda's "Media Challenge" contest is promoting its new Sport Hybrid CRZ through social media campaigns created by competing teams of college students from across the country.  - Media Challenge 

The Influencers” - A short documentary that explores what it means to be an influencer and how trends and creativity become contagious today in music, fashion and entertainment - 

The value of tying QR Codes to Social Media - 

The "Career Path of the Corporate Social Media Strategist."  - Web-Strategist 

UPS is using Twitter, Facebook and their company blog to keep their customers up-to-date in times of crisis.  - Internet Evolution 

McDonald's is hosting a national McCafe Scavenger Hunt for a chance for fans to win a year's worth of free McCafe drinks. The clues will be tweeted on McDonald's localized Twitter accounts in participating areas.  - PR Newswire 

In honor of America Recycles Day on November 15th, Alcoa shared a video of Carl the Can Man on YouTube that has since become a viral hit.  - YouTube 

Droga5’s "Facebook Intervention" part of 'Real' campaign to save mates from superficiality – Goodbuzz 

Whirlpool is kicking off their 100th Anniversary in a year-long, global celebration that will be documented on their Facebook fan page.  - Facebook 

Starbucks awarded 2010 Mobile Marketer of the YearMobile Marketing 

Microsoft's Kinect for Xbox 360 is creating a new social media experience for players that lets them share photos of themselves taken mid-game on Facebook.  - Marketer's Studio 

FutureSpin - Wired Shopping - Amplified Retail 3.0 – Goodbuzz 

Hardees and Carl's Jr. are replacing loyalty cards with a new mobile check-in app that awards customers with free food and prizes that they can share with friends on Twitter and Facebook.  - Ad Age 

The Relevance of Somatic Markers and Cognitive Brand ShortcutsGoodbuzz 

Staging a "Facebook Intervention"

Social media allows people to reinvent themselves, so it's no surprise it's a breeding ground for superficial behaviour.   Although everyone kind of knows that Facebook is all about presenting an ideal view of your world to genuine friends and assorted Facebook acquaintances, some people can go way too far.  The professional head shot, posing in an array of glamourous locations or clinically untagging embarrassing pictures.  

Continuing its 'Real' campaign to save mates from superficiality, the app, uses Facebook Connect to allow users to pick their mates' most offensive feature, from too much time spent in front of the mirror, pouting in their facebook photos, albums full of glamourous locations, or flashing too much flesh in photos.  

The app allows users to point out their friends' shortcomings by staging a "Facebook Intervention", and create a bespoke video to outline their lowlights. Over 5000 mates have survived the Facebook Intervention to date, and there are more apps from the campaign to follow.  Check out Droga5's latest at 

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Wired Shopping - Amplified Retail 3.0

While people may have become used to searching for reviews, comparisons and the best prices online,  in many cases solitary shopping and virtual interaction with products isn't enough to help customers figure out what they want.  People still want the retail experience for a number of reasons.  

People like to get out, pick up and examine products, try on things, ask questions, and talk to people who know something. However, they don't want to lose the pressure-free experience that comes from figuring it out on their own online - even though good service is paramount to them.
Simply put, people go back to the stores where they get the best service.   

Experiences therefore need to combine the tactile interaction of retail 3.0 with the power of knowledgeable, courteous sales reps.  Today’s retail 3.0 innovations therefore should look to amplify shopping beyond the check-in - and answer some fundamental customer needs on-premise. For example:

How do I find things?  - In larger stores or venues, customers can often have difficulty finding what they what. From this simple observation came the idea to use GPS or mapping. Some of the mobile location mapping in places like the American Museum of Natural History in New Yorkgives us clues into the way we can guide people through large spaces. Visitors to the museum can download on their mobile device an application that guides them through the massive halls and gives information on all the exhibits. (See: for more info.)

Is this product any good? - Online customer reviews have become a key part of shopping. Bringing dynamic user reviews and product ratings into a store is a good way to build loyalty. US beauty chain Sephora incorporated the use of customer reviews in-store when they introduced a mobile application that lets customers compare products and reviews as they shop. Customers can browse products by SKU (Stock Keeping Unit), category, or keyword - or refer to the bestselling items when making their purchasing decisions.

What's on sale? - Some retailers have responded to advances in location-aware applications that can provide specific promotions and product messages to customers while they're in or near the store. These messages are delivered over SMS, QR codes or Bluetooth, or through custom mobile applications. Several retailers, including Best Buy, have started usingShopkick to provide customers with special promotions and discounts for 'checking in' through a mobile app at their retail locations.

Am I having a good time? - The most effective experiences in retail environments are the ones that draw people in and keep them coming back. The interactive photo booth and style finder at the American Eagle Outfitters children's store, 77kids, allow kids to see themselves in a digital mirror, take a picture, make designs on it, print it, share it with their friends, and then take it home. The kids can also leave a copy of the picture in the store if they want to become part of the growing tapestry of customers there. And if the kids have a good time, the chances are their parents' shopping experiences will be better too.

How does the store know who I am? - One important online convenience is customisation and personalisation - the online brand remembers who you are and what you bought. With RFID and interaction with mobile devices, we can bring the same experience into the store and incorporate functionality that tracks past store visits and purchases. For example, if someone bought a pair of jeans the last time he was in the store, on a return visit the store might suggest a shirt to go with those jeans. An early trial of this idea was installed at the Galeria Kaufhof in Essen Germany - RFID was enabled on one floor to give customers product recommendations. The additional use of this installation is to capture and analyze data of products customers have tried, but did not purchase.

Can I get some help? - The best way to give the customer a good in-store service is to improve the social interaction between customers and staff. Very often customers do their research online and know more than the reps about products; or they may be sceptical of a sales rep's expertise. If a customer is in a clothing store and the rep knows that a specific celebrity wore a particular item in a movie or at the Oscars, that could be the difference between making the sale and losing it. By using simple SMS messages or interactive product comparison tools, brands can provide sales reps with insights or the most up-to-date information about products or today's promotions. Giving customers the kind of information they can't get with their own research improves the overall relationship with the rep and the brand.

How do I get out quickly? - Getting customers out of the store quickly and giving them a good point-of-sale experience are the best ways to lure them back. Several retailers are starting to use the iPod touch LinÄ“a-pro handheld checkout device. This seems to be the first of many consumer mobile devices converted into sales rep check-out tools. These devices make it possible for sales reps and customers to have a simple social interaction that makes check-out lines less daunting and sometimes eliminates them altogether.

How did everything work out? - One of the goals for retailers should be to extend their brands beyond the store and reconnect with customers post sale. After in-store purchases, many retailers now send follow-up emails thanking customers for their business and requesting that they rate their purchases. This allows brands to become part of an ongoing dialogue with customers and to make changes to the products they stock. Retailers can use customer comments to change, remove, or add products. For instance, after receiving customer feedback stating that numerous packages were difficult to open, Amazon launched a campaign called 'frustration-free packaging', placing the onus on product manufacturers to develop simpler packaging options for customers.

Most of theses examples are basic (on-premise) customer relationship-building ideas, often forgotten with the flood of new technologies on the market. New technology can be an excellent tool to help customers, staff, and brands interact better, but it's only when we continue to ask the basic questions that we actually improve the experience.

Have tips to share?  We'd love to hear them.

The Relevance of Somatic Markers (and Cognitive Brand Shortcuts)

The brain goes through a series of unconscious steps every time we choose one product over another. Imagine you’re at a grocery store shopping for Peanut Butter.  There are obviously multiple products to choose from ranging from Peter Pan, Jif and Skippy, to a no-name generic and an organic offering.   Somatic markers act as shortcuts to help us make buying decisions.  For example:
“I associate Skippy with childhood. It’s been around forever. It is consistent and trustworthy - BUT I loved it as a child because it’s laden with sugar and preservatives that I shouldn’t be eating. Next. 

Peter Pan. It’s also been around forever and is therefore consistent and trustworthy. The childish name alone however reinforces the fact the brand is targeting children and therefore it’s laden with sugar and preservatives that I shouldn’t be eating. Next. 

The generic “
no-name” brand is 30 cents less, which makes it suspicious (as we know we typically get what we pay for). Next. 

Organic Peanut Butter. We’re told it’s better for us even though it’s tasteless, requires mixing, and is twice the price. However, we’ve also read and seen multiple reports that the term “organic” is grossly misused, so also highly suspect. Especially at twice the price. Next. 

JIF. It’s been around forever. It is therefore consistent and trustworthy. You also remember that “Choosy Mothers Choose JIF”. Being a mother implies she does what’s best for their child’s health. The messaging is framed in a way that (after discrediting other products in your mind) empowers and validates the consumer’s choice of JIF as “discriminating”. Your mother would approve.  Sale."

These cognitive shortcuts are what underlie most of our buying decisions.  Remember - it took less than 10 seconds to choose the “JIF” Peanut Butter or your Acura, based on a completely unconscious series of flags in your brain that lead straight to an emotional reaction.  All of a sudden, you “just knew” which brand you wanted, but were completely unaware of the factors - the shape of a products container, childhood memories, price, and a lot of other considerations that led to your buying decision.

Somatic markers aren’t simply a collection of reflexes from childhood or adolescence.  Every day, we manufacture new bookmarks and the larger our brains collection of somatic markers - whether for shampoos, face creams, deodorants, pants, shoes, or dresses – the more buying and life decisions we feel we can comfortably and logically make.  In fact, without somatic markers, humans would be able to make any decisions at all.

Why do consumers choose to buy one product over another?  
Why do our brains, for example, link together “automobile” with “Germany”?  After years of branding, these somatic markers are now second nature.  As a result, ‘German’ today equals engineering, high standards, precision, and trustworthiness. Whether conscious or not, in a world chalked full of car options, the somatic markers connecting Germany with positive automobile attributes come alive in our brain – and steward us towards a brand preference.  It’s the same reasons that consumers gravitated towards technological gadgetry developed in Japan in the past.  Again, based purely on a series of unconscious markers, the mind has linked together “Japan” with “Technological excellence in electronics”. 

Do brands and advertisers work to deliberately create these markers in our brains?  Absolutely.  Like unconscious breadcrumbs on a trail - all leading back to the sale. Look at tires.  For the most part they all look the same.  However, go into a tire store and you’ll likely find yourself gravitating towards the Michelin section.  You somehow know you're making the right choice, but aren’t sure why.  Remember the cute baby riding around in a Michelin tire?  Or the Michelin Man, whose plump round appearance suggests protective padding? How about the Michelin Guides; those slender, authoritative, high-end travel and food guides (which the company originally invented to get consumers to drive more)?

All of these seemingly unrelated somatic ‘bookmarks’ deliberately forge certain powerful brand associations.  It’s these powerful associations that come together to shepherd consumers toward a choice that seems rational (whether in fact it actually is or not).  All consumers know is that they “feel” that one product is indefinably superior to another.

What does your brand stand for in the consumers mind?  Or put another way, what are your brands (conscious and unconscious) somatic markers?  What brand hierarchy is established in your consumers mind? How does your brand position itself related to other offerings? Are you the PETER PAN or the JIF? 

Need some help reinforcing or changing this positioning?  We can help.