Tuesday, August 30, 2011

william gibson

I must admit to feeling some relief upon hearing this nugget from the Godfather of Cyberpunk, William Gibson.

'I'm anything but an early adopter...in fact i've never been that interested in computers. I don't watch them i watch how people behave around them.'

It's all about the people, people.

Finders fee: Niko Herzeg
Photo credit: Frederick Poirot
Info: William Gibson Wikipedia page

Friday, August 26, 2011

FastCustomer #appoftheweek

As we all know;

'please stay on the line, your call is important to us' 

translated into English actually means...

'We don't give a shit about your problems, everyone in this office is on the other phones flogging our sub-standard product to some other poor suckers, we'll get to you at some point when we've ran out of douchebags to fleece'.

My strategy has always been to call the sales number rather than customer service number, this seems to always get a result, particularly with mobile phone companies and utilities.

Those days could be over...

FastCustomer is an app  that waits on hold for you, then rings your phone once a human customer service agent is on the other end of the line and ready talk to you.

App of the week.

HT to Tommy

Thursday, August 25, 2011

quickerfeet - couponless local deals app

Another SoMoLo shopping app, this time it’s an Aussie one.

QuickerFeet delivers couponless deals, available around where you are now, in real time.

From a customer standpoint the appeal is clear; there’s no risk, no data to be given, no coupons, no checking in, no signing up.

From a brand standpoint I still stand by my summation here: Repeat Business vs Loyalty

‘Repeat buyers will keep buying until a better deal comes along.
Loyalty is when your customer will turn down a better 'deal' to keep buying from you.’

However as a tactical thing, used with caution, the low barrier to usage, and no risk of spammage for the user, makes this one to watch.
The slickness and stylishness of the design and interface also adds to the usable-ness.

I’ve got it on my phone now, General Pants, Lorna Jane, AMF Bowling and 1001 Optical are caning it in Melbourne.


advertising's rich tapestry

I'm currently immersed in Simon Reynolds' latest tome, 'Retromania - Pop Culture's Addiction To It's Own Past'.

The nub of Reynolds' argument is that nostalgia is thoroughly intwined within the consumer-entertainment-complex. To the point that retromania has now become the dominant force in the culture.

He calls the last ten years or so the 'Re' Decade.

Revivals, Reissues, Remakes, Re-enactments and endless Retrospection.
Looking at the internet it's hard to argue against his hypothesis.

YouTube as a repository for grainy VHS rips of bygone times, and even new kids off the verticalisation block like Hipstamatic and Instagram that turn present moments into faux-historical ruins with the touch of a retro filter.

In a tenuous segway segue, I had to share this nugget from chapter one by the (equal parts: brilliant yet infuriating) Julie Burchill, from her NME days, lifted from the singles review pages of circa 1980.

I'm victim to my own Reflective (the lesser of two evils versus Restorative) nostalgia here, I know, however Julie seems to somehow be harking-forward in this statement to a situation that is here-and-now in the philosophical debate over the future of communications in the digital-social-mobile era.

'There are two ways to view music. One is with tunnel vision, which is what I've got. If a record isn't by the Sex Pistols or Tamla Motown...it's just pointless. But how unhealthy, I'm just a cranky old punk past it's prime. But the alternative is just hideous, and it is the only alternative. It is to believe in ROCK'S RICH TAPESTRY.
So many smug saps think they are rebels, but anything that can fit into ROCK'S RICH TAPESTRY is dead at heart'

Perhaps we are now close to the point of a black vs white conversation on how to approach planning and executing communications.

There may be no longer be a middle ground.

To paraphrase another relic, it's time to decide which side of the bed you are lying on.

We have a surplus of information, yet a dearth of knowledge.
We have a surplus of stuff but a dearth of demand.
We don't need more stuff we need the stuff we've got to be better.
The way to cut through the noise and clutter is not to add more noise and clutter.
In the new world of personal media, connectedness and customer empowerment, Permission is the only way forward.

Harking back with talk of a new golden age of broadcast advertising is the stuff Revivals, Reissues, Remakes, Re-enactments and endless Retrospection.

While that may be aligned with the prevailing culture it's a symptom of a mass culture that may have actually run out of ideas.

We need some tunnel vision.
Think what no-one else is thinking and do things that no-one else is doing.

Anything that fits into ADVERTISING'S RICH TAPESTRY may be dead at heart.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

trustfabric connect

TrustFabric Connect is a VRM (Vendor Relationship Management) tool. 

This is where we are heading, trust me. 

When this becomes mainstream all bets are off

It's a clean slate. It's start all over again time. 

In the world of personal mass media it will be near impossible to reach ‘audiences’ through interruption only. 

In the world of personal mass media I program my media. 

In the world of personal mass media I own and control my own data. 

The funnel is broken, it can never be fixed as customers are more unpredictable than ever before.

Yet customers are demanding more touch points and more interaction. 

But on their own terms. 

What do we do now? 

• Define value from the viewpoint of the customer (sounds simple but it's the hardest bit)
• Identify all the touch points in a buyer journey
• Make value-creation interventions that flow together 
• Let customers pull out their own value 

While much of this will involve digitally enabled touchpoints the focus is not on emerging technologies per se, but on emerging cultural practices.  
(To paraphrase Henry Jenkins)

Exciting, disruptive times we are living through... 

Found via the ProjectVRM mailing list.

Monday, August 22, 2011

agile planning by joe strummer

As it would have been Joe Strummer's birthday yesterday it seems to be the appropriate point to bring him into the agile planning conversation.

Not that I need an excuse to reference the ever-quotable .

'I try and keep an ear out and keep an open mind and enjoy something where I don't know what the hell is going on inside of it. That's what I really get out of it. Because to me it's new. That's what I get out of it. That joyful feeling of you don't know what's going to happen next...'

imagine the band

As a youngster I made up the same mixtape several times, with several permutations trying to estimate what the 'final' Beatles LP may have been using the best bits from McCartney's solo debut, Lennon's Plastic Ono Band album and George Harrisons All Things Must Pass.

It would have been a corker, for sure.

Knowing also that Lennon/McCartney compositions post-64ish were pretty much written by the individual authors then pasted together or slightly embellished by one or the other, Never Get Out of The Boat favourite and erstwhile acquaintance Go Home Productions has done a decent approximation of what Lennon's Imagine piano riffs and McCartney's Band on the Run words would have produced.

Good to see GHP back after what's been too long an absence...

Also congrats to GHP for helping Weiden Kennedy Amsterdam pick up a Bronze Lion at Cannes, by providing the audio edit with this Heineken film.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

agile planning by R.M. Rilke

”I would like to beg you dear Sir, as well as I can, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”

From R.M. Rilke's letters to a young poet .

RenĂ© Karl Wilhelm Johann Josef Maria Rilke (4 December 1875 – 29 December 1926), better known as Rainer Maria Rilke, was a Bohemian–Austrian poet. He is considered one of the most significant poets in the German language. His haunting images focus on the difficulty of communion with the ineffable in an age of disbelief, solitude, and profound anxiety: themes that tend to position him as a transitional figure between the traditional and the modernist poets. - from Wikipedia

Friday, August 12, 2011

the competition

Here's a few things that the competition don't do. 

The competition don't buy your product or service. 
The competition don't pay your bills. 
The competition don't reccomend your product or service to friends, colleagues and family. 
The competition don't write positive reviews. 
The competition don't point others to information that help them choose you. 
The competition don't leave positive comments on your website or blog. 
The competition don't wear your t-shirt. 
The competition don't get a tattoo of your logo. 
The competition don't want to participate in helping you improve your product. 
The competition don't share your content/advertising. 
The competition don't participate positively on your Facebook group. 
The competition don't retweet you. 
The competition don't keep buying you when there's cheaper alternatives. 
The competition don't want to connect with other people who support you. 

There's probably loads more things the competition don't do. 

So why do we spend so much time worrying about what the competition is up to, instead of focusing on serving our customers and supporters better?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

if i can dream

This is probably Elvis Presley's finest moment, his performance of 'If I Can Dream' - the jaw-dropping anthemic finale of the 1968 NBC TV Special.

After years in the doldrums of army service, crummy movies and half-baked throwaway hack-pop ditties Elvis reclaimed his position with supreme authenticity, total relevance ('68 USA was still reeling from Vietnam, Watts Riots, JFK, MLK) and pure soul.

This is my only comment on the thoroughly depressing scenes from London, Birmingham, Liverpool and other cities around the UK this week, and the equally depressing knee-jerk reactionary commentary from sections of the blog and twitter-spheres whom I would have thought knew better.

*As an interesting footnote, 'If I Can Dream' was actually written overnight, at the request of Elvis himself the night before the recording of the show,  by Walter Earl Brown as a last-minute replacement for a schmaltzy Christmas number that the Colonel had originally wanted.

Whatever your religious persuasion, if Christmas is a time for closing one year, looking forward to the next with hope, faith in the human spirit and some old fashioned optimism, this song says more about that than I'll Be Home For Christmas, for sure.

We could do with bringing a bit of that forward to August this year.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

insight lesson from david bowie

In a 2002 interview around his album Heathen David Bowie expressed his frustration at having to continually (over) explain certain nuances related to the project.

In particular the photo on the sleeve in which his eyes are replaced by fish eyes.  

The fish being the secret symbol for Christians avoiding detection in prejudicial circumstances whilst signifying connection with each other. Ergo Heathen.

For those of us who are looking for those signs and symbols in relation to understanding human behaviour, and motivators thereof, as a profession there's a pointer from Dave, with a nod to the escalation of karaoke culture - the prevailing culture in which there is no responsibility, and instant fame/success can be had for little meaningful effort - which was already well underway even back in 2002.

'People are so fucking dumb. Nobody reads anymore, nobody goes out and looks and explores the society and culture that they were brought up in. People have attention spans of 5 seconds and as much depth as a glass of water.'

squirrels are eating your internet

This just in from Gizmodo.
'Level 3 Communications, a major ISP, has a serious beef with squirrels. It turns out the little rodents have a penchant for chewing through their fiber optic lines. They actually account for 17% of the damages to their 84,000 mile network this year.'

PSFK Future Of Retail Report 2011

PSFK Future Of Retail Report 2011 [Preview]
View more presentations from PSFK

The PSFK Future of Retail report is worth a look, even in the edited free version.

They identify 10 key retail trends that sit within 3 broad themes – what they describe as Online Expectations Offline Experience, Shopper Know-How and Redefined Retail Cartography.

A fancy way of describing the new buyer journey as it continues to evolve.

The PSFK team spoke to the people behind many projects that are transforming the shopper experience, including many senior retail and brand executives.

Worth a peek, at least confirm what we are already understanding about retail, it's mobile, social and local. 

The PSFK report in full is also available to purchase with a versioning strategy au naturellement.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

read this before our next meeting

The latest release from Seth Godin's Domino Project is Read This Before Our Next Meeting by Al Pittampalli.
He's on a mission to change the way organizations hold meetings, make decisions, and coordinate action.

I'm there with you, matey.

He calls Outlook/Entourage meeting alerts 'weapons of mass interruption'.

Here's the manifesto:

The Modern Meeting supports a decision that has already been made.
The Modern Meeting starts on time, moves fast, and ends on schedule.
The Modern Meeting limits the number of attendees.
The Modern Meeting rejects the unprepared.
The Modern Meeting produces committed action plans.
The Modern Meeting refuses to be informational. Reading memos is mandatory.
The Modern Meeting works only alongside a culture of brainstorming.

The Modern Meetings Revolution from Al Pittampalli on Vimeo.

For a limited time, the Kindle edition is free...

really crap trainers

Some startling insight from Gary, Tank Commander.
Gary is arguing for the necessity of nuclear weapons.

Many companies are essentially using this same rationale for the adoption of Facebook fan pages and Twitter accounts.

Gary is a fictional comedy character, unfortunately business is in real-life.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

when is a branded utility not a utility?

When it's a germ magnet.

The Cottonelle toilet roll cover, tin thing. With a lid one has to have to pop off and on before one has washed one's hands.

The broad definition of 'branded utility' being one of 'improving people lives and creating value for the user and the brand'


They didn't think it through, did they?

HT Bud Caddell

proliferating across the earth

Nietzsche's philosophy was regurgitated in a manipulated form by the Nazis in their quest for european/world domination.

Slightly extreme analogy but the message of the digital-social evolution of communications is often regurgitated and manipulated to their own grubby end by the never ending proliferation of social media 'experts' that shows no signs of abating.

Of course with the plethora of sensationalist tech blogs and A-list douchebags to pilfer dogma tweets and content from why bother creating your own stuff? Or cultivating your own point of view?

Getting to wisdom is the goal.

To that point it's worth having a timely reminder of this clip from 2007.
This is a public service post as many of today's social media experts would not have actually been around when this first appeared, anyway.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

what's up doc?

I spotted this toy in the doctor's surgery the other day.
On first look I was convinced it was a star-jumping Osama Bin Laden in a red sweatshirt and flares.

Flip it and it's actually Bugs Bunny.


gerd leonhard: the reinvention of advertising

The here and now of advertising explained concisely by Gerd Leonhard in under 8 minutes.
No mean feat. He makes it look easy.
Send this clip to anyone you know who doesn't get it.

the future is thin and bendy?

'This is the future. Everything is going to look and feel like this within five years,'
says Roel Vertegaal, the director of Queen’s University Human Media Lab and creator of PaperPhone - a flexible smartphone.
'This computer looks, feels and operates like a small sheet of interactive paper.
You interact with it by bending it into a cell phone, flipping the corner to turn pages, or writing on it with a pen.'

'Bend it, bend it just a little bit,
Take it easy, show you're likin' it'

As predicted by Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Titch.

Monday, August 01, 2011

shiny objects #2356

Once again Olivier Blanchard is one voice of reason well worth paying attention to in the world of digital-social marketing and branding and an antidote to the plethora of social media experts/enthusiasts/pro-retweeters.

He has penned a fairly comprehensive assessment of Google+  which I suggest you have a look at, it includes this paragraph of uncommon sense amongst other wisdom.

'I caution you against drinking anyone’s koolaid. Shiny object syndrome is a major source of noise on the web these days. Tech bloggers make a good living creating content on their blogs with the purpose of attracting as much traffic as possible in order to make as much advertising revenue as possible (and catch the eye of larger media outlets like Mashable, CNN, etc.) So every tech story they can get their hands on has the potential of earning them stacks of cash. The incentive then isn’t to truly analyze or report (or even wait and see), but to sensationalize every new platform release, from Quora to Google Buzz. There is nothing wrong with it, but just be aware of how the web “thought leadership” and content curation bubbles work. A lot of noise doesn’t mean a whole lot except a feeding frenzy of web traffic and incremental revenue. Right now, Google+ is the big story. A while ago, Google Wave was too.'

in search of excellence - 1 tweet summary

Tom Peters, in response to a tweet, summarises his tome In Search of Excellence - and his philosophy, in less than 140 characters. 127 to be precise.

"Cherish your people, cuddle your customers, wander around, 'try it' beats 'talk about it,' pursue excellence, tell the truth."

Whilst Seth Godin once said:
'If you can't state your position in eight words, you don't have a position.'
Even Seth would probably give Tom a pass on this one.