Web Trust Issues

Trust issues have been alive and well since way before the Internet even began to mean something to people. Fraud, stealing and what not have been the negative part of our economy since probably the invention of the coin. However, with great advancements come even greater risks. The Internet became a tool for hackers and hoaxers to clone credit card numbers or hack into your confidential information. It has happened countless of times, even to big corporations and institutions. It’s something that we are always on the watch of.

However, as fast learners, we have come to identify spam and hoaxes as they come into our email inbox or what years before came out as pop-ups. But just as we were getting better at security thresholds, so have they. Today, some of those people don’t even try to stay anonymous. As I was reading this article, Lulz Security is a major hacker group that has managed to infiltrate thousands of users by one simple thing.

News like these have made users a bit paranoid with everything they handle over the Internet. Even Facebook’s face recognition is scary. Even when the social network is legit, people are terrified of having their face scanned by a smartphone and then basically that phone’s owner can know everything about you. Will this issue go away or will Mr. Zuckerberg triumph once again.

I can certainly see the major advantages this can bring though. If you’re hiring someone, you can immediately know that person’s professional life. But what if the wrong kind of people scan your face? Big advancements also bring big risks, but somehow we’ve managed so far. Will our luck continue?

Good Old Mac vs PC

The “Mac vs PC” competition has been on for years now. At first, Windows and of course, Microsoft, had the upper hand on the whole issue. Mac still needed tune ups, and of course, during the 90’s it just wasn’t the public’s favorite. Mac had several compatibility issues and if it weren’t for iPod, Mac computers would probably be part of oblivion.

Funny how an MP3(4) player could revive a whole company, but ever since the first launch of the very first iPod, Mac had a CPR electroshock therapy. The whole Mac vs PC started gaining strength and then this little viral commercial started circling the web:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5z0Ia5jDt4]

No launch speech has ever been the same after Steve Jobs went back to Mac. Without these, it’s really like launching an unknown product without the man’s blessing. However, there has been quite a resistance from Windows lovers. Just recently, Apple is opening a mega store in Germany. A small group of fans went in disguised as construction workers and planted a Windows logo on the side of the store.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-DwKYcy7cQ&feature=player_embedded]

Could it be just crazy Microsoft lovers or indeed were they sent under Bill Gates’ command? However the case, which team are you playing for?

Travelling Entrepreneur

My biggest dream and goal ever since I can remember has been to travel the world and get to know new cultures. So far, I haven’t been disappointed by life, for I have had the great opportunity to travel around while I was studying. Now that I’m a college graduate, I need to come up with a profitable plan to meet both my economic needs and my dreams, and carry on with what so far I’ve been able to do. For years, I’ve known that the only way to travel the world and the seven seas (just like Annie Lennox would put it) would be to either get hired by an international corporation or create your own international corporation. Sounds big eh?

But then again the Internet has made life so much easier for everyone even remotely related to it. So, for the last months I’ve been trying to formulate the perfect plan. All of a sudden Colin Wright’s life popped into my feed bar. This man moves from country to country every four months. He’s not hitch hiking his way around the globe, rather, he’s handling his internet based businesses from his laptop everywhere he goes.

Of course, my eyes kept reading faster, hungrier to get information in about how can this be done. Not only does he travel the world, he is a successful entrepreneur. All right, all right! It sounds to Utopian to be true. But however glamorous it sounds, it does take massive amounts of discipline and focus. Once you start with it and keep focused (just like in anything else you do in life) it can be done.

To back this story up I decided to look much more into it. Some infographics here and there. and here are some solid figures from solid sources. Entrepreneur magazine states that online businesses have been sky rocketing and breaking record as to the most profitable model and rapid growth in history. Of course this is all too obvious. Anyone can tell you that, even blindfolded.

But like I said, the strength in an entrepreneur, be it on or offline, is discipline and focus. How else does Colin Wright would do it? Try it yourself.

Mixing it all In

As marketing campaigns have diversified over the point that not even Mad Men from the 1960’s would have imagined, the possibilities are endless. It’s how you mix the different communication strategies to build a successful campaign. Still, most people seem to be inclined to continue with traditional advertisement (rather the minority) while innovators insist on web tools being the only reachable and logical way to go. Then come the giants: mixing it all up.

Just like Corona’s latest campaign. First of all, probably the most iconic Mexican beer, has always navigated with it’s Ocean view relaxed person holding a chilled Corona with a lime on top of it. It’s how this particular beer traveled the world. Over the years they’ve tried to change that image, not because of being unsuccessful, quite the contrary: because it was too successful. Executives at Cervecería Modelo wanted a different association, that Corona could also be enjoyed at different occasions.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=utPtqdPjqwY&feature=player_embedded]

Now it seems they’ve achieved that with their wholesome Facebook/Times Square campaign. For 15 minutes of fame, all you have to do is Like the Corona Facebook fan page and appear on the big Screen on Times Square by Corona. Reports say that this campaign has brought over 6,000% increase on online users. After all, who wouldn’t want their face recognized in the biggest advertised spot in the world? Who ever said that traditional marketing can’t be friendly with innovative marketing?

When Reading Won the Battle

It had been long since books had occupied any major spot in people’s lives. Since the TV set reached homes all over the world, books and reading in general, took a step back to the hypnotic module sitting in front of people. But oh behold! For the first time since the invention of TV, Nielsen has registered a drop in numbers of TV sets.

But it’s not that people just got bored with flatter, thinner screens with HD and Blue Ray and exchanged them for a pile of paper bound together. After all, books were losing the battle because they themselves represented no innovation against flat screens. Words like “bookworms” were not to be meant for a good connotation.

Then, something else happened. Popculture turned a 180 and suddenly being geek is the bomb (good for all of us then). What made books and geeks become the new hit wonder? Simple: Technology. “If you can’t beat them, join them” boy! is that phrase right.

So TV’s keep coming up with higher resolutions and less space? Why not turn the dusty old sheets into touch screens? And the only people smart enough to handle those little gadgets are geeks themselves? Not looking so tough now, eh? Books became E-books and now almost half the books sold in the world are digital books.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKEaypYJbb4]

Which brings  me to my next question. Sort of what was first? the chicken or the egg? Marketing campaigns lately have also tried to encourage reading lately (at least as far as Mexico is concerned). So was it because of marketing campaigns that readerships is higher than viewership or was it that marketers just saw the trend and decided to ride along with it?

Which ever one it was, the point is that “this too shall pass” is the perfect epitaph on TV sets’ graves in a near future.

On “Google Exodus”

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIxToZmJwdI&feature=player_embedded#at=89]

Some say that the best way to escape mockery is to make fun of oneself. That way, there’s nothing left to mock about. On that note, a lot of companies and brands have chosen the perhaps “dangerous” strategy to climb a few spots in popularity or just augment revenue (the latter seems the final objective).

Well, this is definitely the case of Aish.com, a Jewish company that has taken history to funny, geeky level. Their own invention in this video has made a few minutes the highlight of people’s days. Before this video, I hadn’t heard about them. Well guess what? They’ve got my attention and thousands of other people’s. The strategy worked!

QR Fever

As we’ve noticed, advertising has become a more interactive activity between customers and brands. Smartphones have provided that utility while having practically your whole life in a small gadget that fits in your hand (of course if only their battery lasted longer than half a day after vast use…).

QR codes haven’t been around for too long, but they are everywhere! On magazines, billboards, books, labels and now so it seems on sides of buildings and even stadiums. Audi’s Japanese marketing strategy included a video right at the beginning of QR codes popularity. This video was a short film of people lining up on the stadium’s field to form a huge QR code.

But what exactly is a QR code? For those of you who aren’t yet on the know (although it’s practically impossible to escape them now), QR codes are tiny squares which form an algorithm that only gadgets such as our smartphones can read. Once they are scanned with the phone’s camera, the machine interprets them and displays a message, a website, an image, a video, etc on whatever the brand wants you to see or look at.

This marketing strategy, more than just interactive, awakens people’s curiosity. Perhaps you weren’t even interested on the brand that’s displaying this, but that little itch to know what’s on the other side must be scratched. You can even find useful information on whatever product or service you are about to purchase.

Same goes with a special App called “Point & Find” for Nokia. You take a picture with your phone and upload the information to the net. The App automatically scans the picture and gives you information on the location. For instance, if you took a picture of a European Castle, an article on its history will show up on your screen. If you have a Nokia phone, you can download the app right here http://pointandfind.nokia.com/main_publisher before you purchase a Windows 7 Nokia phone that is. If you have another brand, there are plenty of other apps that work just the same.

So you see, mobile marketing is indeed, mobile.

Writing it Up for Maroon 5

What do we know Coke for? The great black drink that will probably come in any event you have; the Polar Bear commercials around the holidays; the representation of the Santa Claus version the Western world knows today. It’s brand equity is number one in the world with a value of almost $70 billion dollars.

Among other events and sponsorships the brand does on a daily basis, altruism is part of Coke’s marketing strategy as well. The latest one is its joint efforts with Maroon 5 in order to support Africa with a Clean Water project. This March 22nd, the band will be broadcasting live on all social networks to hear people around the world about their ideas and talent to write up a new song. So, this song will be co-written by literally the citizens of the world.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=XzFeVEz2Lj8#at=14]

See what crowd sourcing can bring? On a daily basis, crowd sourcing is always present. Even the CAPTCHA codes at the end of an online registration is a form of crowd sourcing. Why would something like that be considered crowd sourcing? Many cases involve people trying to digitize old texts, thus they provide you with a word in that text and it automatically gets digitized.

It’s a cheap way to raise resources in a quick and very efficient way. It’s like they say, 2 heads are better than one, 5 are better than two and so on. Altruism is no exception.

If Lady Gaga can do It… You can too

Even though the original idea was not to be a hub for global entrepreneurs and brands as seen on “The Social Network”, Mark Zuckerberg definitely got more than he bargained for; and even that is an understatement. Anyway, Every time you log on any kind of social network, you can never get enough of the advertisements. But what’s more, for the first time since the “Mad Men” era in the 60’s, people are beginning to like ads again, even look for them.

Of course media has changed. You actually subscribe for a daily coupon to be sent to your inbox on a daily basis. But then again, what makes this innovation so attractive? You feel that people get you. That you don’t have to put up with the fabulous shampoo commercial when you are not a woman if you are a guy or with the strong deodorants if you are a girl.

Entire campaigns can be designed in under 5 minutes by a regular Joe. (Although of course this piece of information is not that nice for us community managers). Access and adaptability are key. In Lady Gaga’s case, when she was taken on as a young featuring artist by a digital marketing firm, was launched into immediate success using mainly social media.

When you feel you are understood, you feel less likely to download illegally and more curious about visiting the artist’s original collection. (Read full article http://thenextweb.com/media/2011/03/15/the-secrets-of-lady-gagas-social-media-success/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+TheNextWeb+(The+Next+Web+All+Stories))

So yes, it’s not a big secret, if Lady Gaga can do it, you can too.

Strike that Ad!

It has happened time and time again that companies have had to publicly apologize for a mistaken and offensive ad campaign. And not just ads for that matter, simple comments can circle the globe and awaken extreme reactions. Here are some example of ads that had to be removed and apologized for:

Burger King’s “The Texican” –> a poster in Spain featuring a strong masculine cowboy with a short overweight wrestler, symbolizing mexican “lucha libre”

A most recent one “Hacienda”, a restaurant in Indianapolis making reference to a lamentable episode in history. Here’s the article –> http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110222/ap_on_fe_st/us_odd_billboard_flap_jonestown_3

Absolut Vodka and a reconfigured map of how Mexico would look like without Santana having sold over half the geographical territory.

And so on, and so on. You may find that the common denominator in the examples I just presented is Mexico indeed. Well, I may be a bit biased, those are the top of mind examples I have. The point however is that companies and brands all over the world are at times so over confident about themselves and their brand equity that they forget to test the campaign before even launching it.

Instead of preventing to spend a strong amount of money in recovery PR, they could spend a fraction of that with a simple pilot presented to a group of people. Particularly people that may be offended or vulnerable to the message in question. What other ad will be stricken next?