Archive for the social Category

Is Britain entrepreneurial enough to create social businesses?

Posted in social, Thinking with tags , , on July 25, 2011 by Joanna Lyall

In my opinion an entrepreneurial spirit is key becoming a social business.  When you consider that the big brand leaders in the social space they typically originate from the US or Asia; take Starbucks, Dell and Air Asia as just a few examples.  These brands and business have recognised that being social goes far beyond the boundaries of the marketing department and fundamentally is starting to change how they do business and connect with their customers.  The rub for many is that there is no blue print for getting this right first time so it requires an amplitude and appetite for failing, learning and trying something different in  a short space of time.  This approach take resource and takes courage for a company to re-engineer themselves to make this acceptable.  The fail fast attitude is one is that is often quoted from leading digital businesses like Google, Apple and Facebook, the idea that a project is never quite finished and is continually developed and improved is one that comes hand in hand with their business model.  There was a time where products were reviewed and updated periodically now through the power of real-time data products can change daily.  Apparently, Zynga’s business model is to advertise games before they go into production to  assess the level of popularity, this model combines focus group testing with real-time development.  In theory it should cut both cost and risk.

For traditional businesses to become social businesses they need to find a way to isolate and use the most insightful real-time data they can lay their hands on.  This insight allows brands to respond real-time to customers and to evolve their products around a need at any given time.

Culturally Asia is a natural birth place for entrepreneurs, their ability to make something out of very little is in their blood, you see it from the streets to the business world.  On the other side of the world the home for entrepreneurs in technology resides in California and it seems that some of the Silicon Valley attitude and approach to business development has worked its way into large corporations like Ford, Dell, Starbucks, BMW and many more.  In Britain there are examples of socially engineered businesses but they have tended to start out that way than have evolved from traditional models.  So I wonder if the big British companies or the global brands with significant business here in the UK have what it takes to change the model and re-engineer themselves to become social right at the centre of their being.

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Digital and real world shopping experiences are getting closer

Posted in social, Thinking with tags , , , , , , , , on June 27, 2011 by Joanna Lyall

When I shop online it is becoming standard to see not only the product descriptions and maybe some reviews but also more often than not I will get some social context.  I can see how many people have liked the product and when I am logged in I can see whether that applies to my friends.  Social context appears to drive increased sales by stimulating impulse purchase and encouraging wavering consumers.  So I am increasingly interested in how this will be possible when I am in a real store.  I actually think that most of the technology is there and we are just waiting for retailers to make the connection or for consumers to demand it.  Some stores are ahead of the game; Allsaints and now the new Burberry store in Covent Garden are all teched up with digital screens that in theory will make this connection possible.  Allsaints have gone for the iPad option and Burberry have gone all out with huge digital screens and wi-fi throughout.  Both of these stores are making it easier for me to bring my digital and real world shopping closer together.  The other option I have is to use my mobile, I could use an app like Google Goggles to get access to any available information about any given object, assuming that the object owner is well optimised then I might be able to see all sorts of interesting information including what other people think about this product.  Augmented reality technology like Layar can also help bring these shopping worlds together.  Bings latest developments on their search engine are also geared to help bring more social context to shopping experiences; combining location with social data and recommendations.  Every brand owner should be thinking about how to make sure that they are ready and optimised for the new consumer demands…

Alternatively, if I don’t want to leave my home but do want the experience of trying things on before I buy then XBOX Kinect might just have the answer with its virtual shopping experience technology: http://solsie.com/2011/06/kinectshop-a-new-augmented-reality-shopping-platform-for-the-xbox-kinect/

Related post on Microsofts developments for social real world commerce: http://www.internetretailer.com/2011/01/26/e-commerce-tech-provider-escalate-adds-mobile-shopping-options

Time and technology + story the new model for modern marketing

Posted in content, POE, search, social with tags , , , , , , on May 28, 2011 by Joanna Lyall

The new Audi Le Mans ad premiered tonight before the Champs League kick off.  The 2.5 min ad tells the story of what it is like to be an Audi driver in the 24 hour Le Mans race.  The ad in shot in 2d and 3d (viewable on Sky and in cinema).  It is beautiful and engaging, it is an ad that you want to watch.  Longer time lengths, smart use of technology combined with a story gives a brand stand out but will it pay back on the media cost (at circa £160k per 30 secs)?

From what I can see they have a fabulous piece of owned content + an incredibly high quality paid media spot but have made very little effort to maximize the earned media value….  In my opinion if you are going to spend that much on one spot it should be supported by digital media in the paid and earned space.  The YouTube film has not been posted publicly so that it is discoverable and there is not any paid search to overcome the lack of natural visibility.

I really believe this is the new model for marketing in a POE world but you have to get all the elements working together to make the most of the new media ecosystem.

Social networks will get bigger but more curated

Posted in social with tags , , on April 26, 2011 by Joanna Lyall

Over the last few weeks I have been using Path to share aspects of my life with smaller groups of friends within my Facebook network.  The iPhone Path app is very simple to use and allows you to capture images/video/comment about where you are and what you are doing.  Path refer to these posts as ‘moments’ which is a lovely idea for sharing little bits of life with friends.  The concept of being able to curate what you share with each individual in your social network allows us to make more sense of these giant ‘friends’ groups that we have all been building over the last few years.  Our walls are overloaded with updates from people and brands that we probably don’t care that much about and amongst all the irrelevant diatribe we might be missing more important words from people we do care about.  Whilst I can see a role for global social network platforms like Facebook for years to come, I do think we will see more curation and control being taken by consumers over what they share and to whom they share it with and technology solutions like Path will enable us to do this. www.path.com

Uniform trumps female charm

Posted in Ideas you love to share, social, Thinking with tags , , on April 21, 2011 by Joanna Lyall

A friend of mine wanted to buy an iPad 2 last week and tried to do so at the airport.  She went into the store at the airport and spoke to the manager.  They had sold out for that day but said they were getting some in tomorrow, so she fluttered her eyelids and asked if there was any chance they could save her one.  The manager said ‘under no circumstances can we do that, it is first come first served’.  So she went away disappointed.  5 minutes later her husband went in to the same store wearing his Pilot Uniform.  He spoke to the manager and made the same request, and this time the manager said no problem and that he would put one aside the next day.  Obviously my friend was delighted and also slightly bemused about the power his uniform appeared to have.  I have shared this story because it made me think about the power of influence and the importance of context for getting results.  Who is saying it has more value that what is being said and when we build social marketing programmes this has to be at the centre of our thinking.  Quality over quantity will always be more powerful when it comes to influencing people to act.

Very tweet bit of co-creation

Posted in content, Ideas you love to share, social with tags , on February 15, 2011 by Joanna Lyall

http://thefeed.orange.co.uk/2011/2/7/isnt-it-tweet/?page=34

Orange created little aminated stories based on the sweet love stories shared with them on twitter for valentines day to create new content their ‘the feed’ project.  You just have to tweet us #feedlovestories  https://twitter.com/search/%23feedlovestories#search?q=%23feedlovestories

S-commerce, it’s better together

Posted in social, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on February 14, 2011 by Joanna Lyall

2010 saw the rise of social buying models and plugins to change the retail landscape.  Will 2011 be the year of S-Commerce?

We have always been influenced by our friends and networks when we buy new products, now social platforms are offering retailers a golden opportunity to bring the group shopping experience into every online purchase.

Whilst I sit at my computer browsing the latest collections on my favourite shopping websites I reminded, that whilst I am sitting here alone, my friends and their valuable opinions are just a click away.

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The last decade of web enabled living has empowered consumers be more informed, better advised and to achieve better pricing.  The value of the e-commerce channel has seen exponential growth with £250bn spent by UK consumers between 2000 and 2010.  In 2010 alone an estimated £56bn was spent online.  46% of UK consumers claim to shop online at least once per week.  Much of this was driven by items under £100.  For higher ticket purchases the internet has played a valuable role in driving offline purchase.  Over 2010 we have seen a new and very powerful trend emerge around Social-Commerce.  Where smart and brave retailers have capitalised on the moment in time where a consumer most wants to learn from the experience of the people they trust; their friends and people they consider to-have authority.  This, has been achieved by connecting where we buy and buying where we connect. i.e. taking commerce to social platforms like Facebook and taking Facebook technology onto retailer sites.

Social-commerce is born out of innate human behaviour

S-commerce is about making your business more sharable, connected, rewarding and personal.  Allowing the consumer to see your product in their world and to be rewarded for buying from you will bring greater referrals, advocacy and ultimately increased sales.  S-commerce thinking can drive both direct and indirect sales.  Directly through short-term incentive sites and platforms or through reward for fans or followers and indirectly through connecting the shopping experience to an individuals social network to encourage recommendation.  S-commerce allows business to benefit from innate human behaviours.  We all have mental rules of thumb that help us make purchase decisions and social technology is designed to capaitalise on this:

  • Other people are doing it: we are reassured by other peoples actions, if they are buying then maybe we should too. E.g. Amazon, Facebook Likes
  • Scarcity: Short term deals, group buying, deal networks and feeds keep us informed with the latest offers. E.g. Groupon, Voucher Cloud
  • Authority: Referrals, recommendations by believable experts, and community tested products
  • Relevance: If is a product is positioned as relevant to my lifestyle we are more likely to purchase.  If we can shop together with ‘someone’ like me we are also more likely to purchase.
  • Reciprocity: If we can perform an action and gain benefit for both ourselves and a friend it plays to our need to be fair.
  • Liking: We are more likely to like something if someone else we like agrees.  Giving us tools that full this need drives purchase.  E.g. Follow, Like, Share buttons on websites allow us to both demonstrate what we like to our community and to ask for their feedback.

The new model for driving impulse e-purchase

Deal sites around the world gained significant traction over 2010, including; Groupon, Living Social, Woot, KGB, Foursquare rewards and most recently Facebook deals.  In the US 44 million visited a deal site in November 2010.  2.5 million UK users visited Groupon in just one month alone, with a further 4.5 subscribing to their email database.  The majority of the deals available have been around low cost items, treatments or experiences across both well-known and independent brands.  The Groupon model relies on communities getting together to purchase, the offer is only released when enough members pledge to buy.  The Groupons drive both revenue and footfall since many of the deals require instore activation.  The Facebook model rewards locality and loyalty through incentivised ‘checkins’.  It is easy to imagine why low cost products like coffee, tickets for experiences like Thorpe Park and double value vouchers for GAP and Amazon work on these platforms.  However, make no mistake these platforms are also powerful enough to sell high cost products like cars.  Mazda were a UK launch partner for Facebook Deals and in China 1 Mercedes was sold per minute on the group buy site Taobao. The connected digital and real world mechanism can take advantage of the ROPO (research online purchase offline) behaviour that is now well established into our shopping behaviours.

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Social commerce is undoubtedly changing the face of retail, arguably for the better.  It is becoming more consumer centric, more personalised and better connected giving retailers a new approach to CRM that drives sales and advocacy.  On the downside for retailers it will further expose brands that don’t live up to their promises or who don’t recognise the importance and power of both community and technology to change their businesss.

Some of these ideas and platforms will just be part of the journey to a more socially orientated retail world and may fall by the wayside or evolve into something new, others and certainly some ‘social actions’ will be here to stay.  A social action is value exchange that consumer is learning to have between a brand and themselves which rewards loyalty and advocacy by giving something back. In 2011 consumers want the best deal and the reward for spreading the word, now surely that has to be worth testing….