Tag Archives: technology

An accidental Apple fanboy

I consider myself a bit of a medium-term adopter when it comes to technology and never really felt like a ‘fanboy’. Indeed, it took me a long long time to get around to sampling Apple.

My first purchase was a 15GB ipod that a work colleague bought for me on a business trip to the US back in 2003. It had a black and white display, was pretty boxy and a click wheel that really did click when you ran it around.

I quickly ran up more than 15GB of music in iTunes – as everyone at work shared their albums and synched their iTunes libraries. This meant I had to switch sync mode to manual rather than automatic updating of all new material. This became rather time consuming.

I flirted with various incarnations of shuffle based devices when I was into going to the gym before the kids came into our lives, before settling on the 160GB iPod Classic in 2009. The opportunity to listen music, podcasts, my favourite radio shows, audio books and other forms of content was of huge appeal.

More recently I treated myself to a MacBook Pro following a period of self employment, ironically not really used for the video editing and photo retouching work I had planned [but I will at some stage].

Then in January, I brought the iPhone4 into my life giving me tangible and usable internet on the go for the first time in my life.

Oscar, who’s three and a half, loves daddy’s iPod and now watches his programmes on long car journeys. I suspect we’ll introduce an iPad to the home some time soon.

My point is that I’m a mainstream consumer and exactly the type of person I think Apple has worked to nurture. Love it or hate it, Apple products are beautiful. They work, and when they don’t the service is often second to none. Waiting at the Genius Bar is quite unlike any other retail store experience.

So, thank you Steve Jobs for having the vision and passion to deliver products that are crammed full of form and function, and that make life more enriching and more interesting. I think you will be missed and the world is a slightly less creative place today as a result of your passing.

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The power of free-to-use Google Docs

My love in with Google continues this week, as does this month’s unofficial theme of creativity, with this quite stunning You Tube video created as part of last year’s Google Demo Slam initiative. Demo Slam was conceived to show off the versatility and creativity that cloud sourced Google Docs offers. Check it out.

 

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Recession marketing

In an interview with Marketing magazine, Nick Smith at Accenture talked recently about the four key things that businesses should be focusing on in order to safely navigate the recession. They are value, innovation, expectation and organisational ethos. Here’s my take.

1. Value Fundamentally are you overpriced for what you offer? What do you stand for and offer? What service, experience, add ons and extras can you or do you provide that make your offer more competitive from a total package perspective?

How does your value proposition sit when compared with the competition and the perceptions of your customers?

2. Innovation Despite recessionary economics suggesting that we ‘regress’ and seek out brands that remind us of more prosperous times, there is a data supporting the proposition that we’re attracted to innovation and the idea of the new, exciting and different. There are countless examples of companies and products (including Apple) that start up in recessions, capture the imagination of an audience and ride it out.

Where you can innovate in your product/service without losing focus? Perhaps on value?

3. Experience/expectation Nick says high performing companies understand the customer experience. What is undeniable is the power of the Internet, broadband, the mobile revolution and the viral nature of communications now means that businesses have to think much more strategically about their marketing communications. Brands like Vodafone map brand touch points well to ensure consistency and clarity.

Have you mapped your brand touch points? How do customers find you, engage with you, convert and keep coming back for more?

4. Organisational ethos With the Internet at the heart of everything, non responsible behaviour, or poor or non-response when a brand is under the spotlight, is amplified. Strategy, speed, impact and a feel for emerging technology are all key if today’s marketers are to make the most of opportunities and to head off potential crises.

Is your organisation ahead of the curve or behind the times? Surviving the recession depends on it.

Image watblog.com

Blog Gold 2010: Going social

In this post from February I suggested that there is natural suspicion and confusion about the importance and return on time spent on developing your online brand using ‘social media’.

At the time of writing there were high profile news stories involving Manchester United banning their players from Twitter and Coca Cola issuing guidelines on Twitter use which demonstrated just how nervous leading brands are about the interactive and uncontrollable nature of the medium.

I think the problems start with the terms of reference. ‘Social media’ and ‘social marketing’ are, I feel, misleading titles for the technology that allows you to build contacts, links, friends, followers and fans on the major networks. The reason the name concerns me is that social marketing typically refers to campaigns built around public awareness, public information and or public safety. And the use of the word social may imply it is for fun, personal and informal. All in all, this doesn’t make it the best moniker for a technique trying to entice professional business.

And as a result, companies are left naturally pondering whether there is a return on investment to be made from social media, or if it is just a gimmick afforded by technological advancement rather than meeting a business need.

But, the simple undeniable truth is that the Internet is here to stay. It is the first resource for buyers (B2B Marketing’s Buyersphere research proves this), suppliers, customers, job seekers and anyone researching a purchase or looking for a recommendation before making a purchase.

Sites like Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube attract users in their millions for strong psychological reasons, namely the need to belong and share. They have helped relaunch old brands, affect reality television, and recently play a role in elections. Because they attract millions every day, they are deemed high volume and if for no other reason than to assist your search engine optimisation prospects, you should create a profile (with a link to your site) on every single one of them.

In social media, there are a great number of experts queuing up to offer advice. These typically fall into two camps. They either tell everyone they should be doing it or instruct most people not to bother.

There is, however and obviously, a third option which involves careful and coordinated use of some of these resources designed to achieve set marketing objectives and deliver against key performance indicators. Social media can be used to engage with and provide superior customer service, provide product advice and updates, or to help engage new customers. Used thoughtfully, you can achieve high visibility, achieve business credibility and drive traffic to your website and aid conversion. Check out this post from September 2009 if you are starting out now.

Think strategically, start small, and don’t spend a whole amount of time on it. That way, going social can be effective for you.

Original posted 16 Feb 2010. Image courtesy of Capacity Marketing

Going social

There is natural suspicion and confusion about the importance and return on time spent on developing your online brand using ‘social media’.

Recent high profile news stories involving Manchester United banning their players from Twitter and Coca Cola issuing guidelines on Twitter use demonstrate how leading brands remain nervous the interactive and uncontrollable nature of the medium.

Even the terms of reference – ‘social media’ and ‘social marketing’ – are themselves misleading titles for the technology that allows you to build contacts, links, friends, followers and fans on the major networks. (In marketing circles, social marketing typically refers to campaigns built around public awareness, public information and or public safety).

Companies are pondering whether there is a return on investment from social media, or if it is just a gimmick.

The simple undeniable truth is that the Internet is here to stay. It is the first resource for suppliers, customers, job seekers and anyone researching a purchase or looking for a recommendation.

Sites like Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube attract users in their millions for strong psychological reasons, namely the need to belong and share.

The plethora of experts queuing up to offer advice fall into two camps. They either tell everyone they should be doing it, or telling most people not to bother. I believe elements of social media can be useful to everyone and every type of business or organisation.

Careful and coordinated use of some of these resources can give you untold visibility, help give you and your enterprise credibility, help you engage with customers, prospects and suppliers, and drive traffic to your website and aid conversion. Check out this post from September 2009 if you are starting out now.

Think strategically, start small, and don’t spend a whole amount of time on it. That way, going social can be effective for you.

Apple tablet – an example of brand power

Anyone working online today (news, using Twitter, joining discussions on Linkedin, hitting message boards and forums) will see the place awash with buzz about the big Apple announcement. The word on the street is that they have finally got their tablet computer (a glorified 10/11″ large iPod Touch) ready for launch.

By any rational comparison it will be a touchscreen netbook, packaged in aluminium, with an Apple badge and retailing at 2-3 times the price of a Dell Inspiron mini or Samsung NC10.

But Apple followers will snap them up, as eagerly as they did iPods and iPhones. Why? Because Apple is cool. Despite billion dollar mass market sales over Christmas.

People with no real ‘geek’ tendency are getting swept up in the banter and excitement. Which acutely demonstrates (at a mass market level) how brand can get you headlines, get you talked about, and get you sales.

A staple element of their marketing calendar, Apple make the announcement, set the date, book the venue, and let everyone get into a state talking about what might be coming. Anticipation is incredibly intoxicating and the perfect ingredient for a successful online PR and social media campaign.

Once on the market, I’m more interested to see how Apple copes with the inevitable cannibalisation of MacBook, iPod Touch and possible iPhone sales that will happen if the tablet (codename iSlate) is a runaway success.