Sunday, August 03, 2014

Real Branding: Pictures Tell 1000 Words; Infographics 101; FB Selling Fish Oil

Today’s Sunday NYT Times featured a story profiling how Facebook advertising gurus are constructing an ad campaign to sell fish oil for MegaRed, a neutraceutical brand that is trying to break through the clutter within a product category that is literally swimming with products; the best take away from that story can be found in a comment courtesy of FB VP Eric Schnabel: “Great words with an image attached to them are the purest form of expression.”


Adds Schnabel: Story lines that stretch across multiple ads (ad gurus call this strategy “short-form narratives”), spread out over days or weeks, could also be very effective. “We try to make them more like ‘Law and Order’ than ‘Game of Thrones,’ ” Mr. Schnabel said. “You don’t need to see every episode in order for it to make sense.” But don’t overdo it, he warned. Ads that pop up too frequently feel like spam. Facebook itself generally aims to show one ad for every 20 items in a person’s news feed, although users who like or comment frequently on ads might see more.


In due respect to above-noted young turk, we don’t suggest that Schanbel has hit on new concept within the context of using images, he is simply regurgitating what every brand advocate should know; wisdom that we’ve espoused in this blog more than a few times during the past 8 years. That’s right, we’ve been evangelizing this notion for more than 15 minutes; most recently in our July 10 “blog post”. 


imgadTo illustrate this simple observation with just one example, in 2009, while representing a consumer product company that sought to create awareness about hand hygiene and their alcohol-free hand sanitizer, we ran the adjacent photo image in a Google ad campaign..During the first 36 hours, the ad inspired 10,000 (that’s right, Ten Thousand) click thru’s, converting into more than 1000 orders for the company’s products.


Yes, we do push the envelope when advocating clients’ brand messages. We also pound clients’ tables (and every so often, we’ve had to ceremoniously knock their heads against a wall) to drive home this critical approach to branding in a world where images have become the greatest influencers. How/why else can one explain the success of Pinterest, Instagram and of course, Facebook (among others)? How else can one explain the dramatic shift by brand marketers to mobile device advertising, a format that only “sticks” when images are the primary element?


Because it works.


sandwich-pie-chartAnd before signing off to sun on the beach on this sunny day, this update wouldn’t be complete without making reference to the use of infographics–an approach that uses minimal words within a message dominated by a visual element. We touched on this topic in the July 10 post, but we’re compelled to grab it and shake it some more, this time with a shout out to infogr.am, one of several online sites that help marketers create a variety of informative presentations that leverage the impact of images.


 


 


 


 



Real Branding: Pictures Tell 1000 Words; Infographics 101; FB Selling Fish Oil

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

#Chatvertising: Native Content Gets a Kick from #Kik; Talk To The Bot

Kudos to WSJ’s Christopher Mims and his recent article (in which he claims to have coined a phrase that, even if its been around for at least 15 years, will undoubtedly now become ubiquitous across the corporate advertising and brand marketing universe in less time than it might take to craft a wily tweet.


First, in due respect to Christopher–if you’re reading this, you’d want to open a browser and insert the phrase “chatvertising” before you endeavor to secure a trademark or a patent. I found this definition posted to web in 2000:


The act of promoting a company, etc., by insinuating its name and/or press-release-like statements into casual online chats, discussion-groups, nodes, and the like. My employer, Immortals Inc., after a recent merger with MegaSuperCorp, announced Friday it will be launching a multi-billion-dollar chatvertising PR campaign.


But, lets not split hairs when it comes to PR industry IP; the most recent reference by WSJ’s Mims is profiling a more contemporary application: the one in which instant message communication between brand advocates and customers is actually taking place between brand-hosted “bots” (for you “newbies”, bots are merely software-contrived creatures from the world of artificial intelligence) and customers or brand fans who like to think they are engaging in a conversation with a real person. Or maybe, those who use applications such as Kik (akin to the currently more popular “WhatsApp”) are finding the computer-driven dialogue more comforting than having to communicate with a human. When considering the decline of customer service that has permeated online and brick and mortar companies, who can blame anyone for preferring to exchange dialogue with a robot?


Here’s an excerpt from Mims’ column in the WSJ (my footnotes follow accordingly):


kik“…Simply spamming users with ads in such an intimate space won’t work. Part of the problem is that until now, it hasn’t been clear what a “native” advertisement in a chat app looks like. Yet in the first week of offering its “promoted” chats, 1.5 million people opted in to one of the campaigns, according to a Kik representative. And Kik’s own chat bot, which began as an experiment and has been running for years, gets 1.8 million messages a day.


If it seems improbable that so many teens—80% of Kik’s users are under 22—would want to talk to a robot, consider what the creator of an award-winning, Web-accessible chat bot named Mitsuku told an interviewer in 2013.


“What keeps me going is when I get emails or comments in the chat-logs from people telling me how Mitsuku has helped them with a situation whether it was dating advice, being bullied at school, coping with illness or even advice about job interviews. I also get many elderly people who talk to her for companionship.”


Any advertiser who doesn’t sit bolt upright after reading that doesn’t understand the dark art of manipulation on which their craft depends.


Chat bots built by brands can be used for entertainment, but they can also be used to inform; imagine conversing with your bank or utility company’s bot when you have a customer-service question. And the ones Kik is working on can learn, says Mr. Livingston….”


The premise of course, is that artificial intelligence will continue to evolve exponentially; a valid and well-documented thesis. In the case of Kik (as in many other AI apps), the goal is to create a dynamic application that is continuously “self-learning”…so that with each interaction, the robot on the other end of the line becomes increasingly more intuitive and its responses ultimately become indecipherable from the responses one would expect from a human being.  Bringing me to a new phrase that I’ll hereby and happily hypothecate to Chris: ” human beens”…aka HBs…definition: something that was once human.


For those who remember 2001: A Space Odyssey, the article by Mims is an intriguing update:


 


 


 



#Chatvertising: Native Content Gets a Kick from #Kik; Talk To The Bot

WFDs: News Media Now Nothing More Than Social Media? Ready, Fire, Aim

Thought Leadership rhetorical question of the day: Has the so-called “Fourth Estate” completely lost its ethical compass when it comes to reporting? Let the latest events in Gaza be the guide to irresponsible journalism. Let it also inspire corporate advertisers to think hard about which networks they are willing to enrich.


While blogging and tweeting has necessarily transformed the manner in which “news”  (as well as corporate brand messaging) is distributed, this frequent blogger and consummate consumer of all kinds of news is compelled to proffer the notion that many members of the 4th Estate–including those who claim to run “global news organizations” have caused this viewer to turn the channel at every chance, and go straight to the cartoon network. There is simply no credibility and no integrity remaining when so-called journalists prefer to fire first via Twitter, the new weapon of fact destruction–which we hereby claim credit for labeling “WFDs.”


The fact that news organizations such as CNN, NBC, ABC, along with leading print publications and their respective cable and online platforms have succumbed to reporting before fact checking is hardly news to anyone. That said, when CNN and NBC (among others) continuously flash “breaking news update” across their screens–and distill nonsense headlines and out of context images attributed to their embedded reporters, who are tweeting from the streets of Gaza with completely undocumented, unverified and uncorroborated statements such as “Israeli military have just bombed a UN school killing scores of children”…or “..Israeli forces are now indiscriminately firing upon civilian sites, including hospitals and religious centers in Gaza..we can see and hear the bombs landing from where we are in our hotel…” …that’s the time when we can all kiss goodbye the concept of fair and balanced reporting….


Before ranting further, this writer needs to make it clear: There is no question that the Palestinian people deserve and are entitled to a country they can call their own, and one that allows them to peaceably pursue a democratic existence…one that allows its citizens to express their opinions freely (but peacefully), to pursue trade with other law abiding governments, and one that fosters education and the opportunity to pursue opportunities.


The leaders of Israel, whether they are opposing political leaders from different parties or military leaders from various divisions all agree on this basic principal. Anyone who thinks otherwise has simply failed to pay attention to the consistent message and consistent actions taken by Israel’s government towards supporting a pro-Palestinian initiative. This is not to suggest that Israel supports a role that Hamas could play in any such initiative. Hamas, whose ancestors originated in the Syrian city of Hama and were almost completely wiped out by the prior Syrian president in retaliation against the so-called Islamic Brotherood, has publicly decried the Jewish State and has consistently championed the destruction of Israel…and of course, any country that supports Israel’s right to exist.


The challenge faced by many Palestinians in Gaza is the lack of any [democratic] governmental foundation, lack of real education, lack of resources, as well as the fact that factions within the Islamic community have been fighting each other for hundreds of years. Arab nations are notorious for heavy-handed dictators, and truth be told, Western nations, as well as Russia have otherwise supported those governments simply because those heavy hands have kept the storm of Islamic fundamentalism aka terrorism, from knocking down every house and hut in their respective countries.  For those who believe the Arab Spring was a saving grace for those seeking democracy, stare at any headline from almost any news outlet and you’ll be reminded that each of those countries are suffering from greater infighting, greater violence..all of which can be attributed to groups such as Hamas–who only know from terror tactics. There is a solution to all of this..albeit collectively smart minds who advocate a peaceful resolution in which everyone could live as neighbors without fear of being bombed at a moment’s notice have been unable to introduce the notion of reason to a discussion with people who have consistently proven they have no desire to be reasonable.


To clarify, after hours in which both CNN and NBC affiliates continued to claim that Israel was responsible for firing missiles into the UN compound this past weekend, it turned out that it wasn’t really Israeli missiles, but errant missiles launched by members of Hamas. Did CNN or NBC run a correction or apologize for miscasting the reports? Did they acknowledge they had no corroboration as to where those missiles came from and misreported? No.


On the topic of Israeli military “firing indiscriminately”..the exact words tweeted by both CNN and NBC “embedded” reporters, let’s set the record straight: not only are statements such as that completely irresponsible, they are completely false. The reporters are almost as dumb-headed as the millions of viewers who believe that journalists actually check their facts before blasting them in what has become the ubiquitous news media tactic: the “Ready, Fire, Aim” approach.


Shame on them (the news media) for pursuing a race to the “breaking news scoreboard” in order to beat out other networks in the quest to become the most provocative and logically, the most-watched…in turn making them the favorite of corporate advertisers. Now that I’ve said that, shame on any advertiser for fueling the madness and underwriting what they thought was responsible news content.


 



WFDs: News Media Now Nothing More Than Social Media? Ready, Fire, Aim

Sunday, July 13, 2014

A Message From The Middle-East; Out of The Mouth of Babes

 


Below is an email forwarded to me last night by my uniquely objective and non-political 28 yr old daughter. As prefaced by my daughter, the sender is a young lady, and a member of the Israeli Army, who my daughter met and since bonded with while my daughter participated in a Birth Right Israel trip 2 years ago.


Allow me to caveat by saying: For those who may be easily disturbed and influenced by the news media’s reporting of the recent events taking place in Gaza, including the calculated exploitation of eye-grabbing photo and video images of innocent Palestinian citizens killed and injured in Gaza consequent to retaliatory attacks by Israeli military [in effort to target terrorists who are launching hundreds of missiles into Israel's main cities], the thoughts and comments expressed by my daughter’s friend provides a stark, real-world insight to the realities of what is taking place. Nobody who claims to understand the difference between moral and ethical right and wrong, and nobody who claims to be educated beyond elementary school with respect to world history should be confused by the news media’s reporting of what is really happening right now.


[Personal note] Notwithstanding what seems to be a never-ending series of global conflicts, many of which taking place in the mid-east regions and our country’s growing weariness to become involved in these events, nobody should be confused as what is taking place in the Gaza region and our individual and our country’s obligation to vigorously and proactively stand by a citizenry whose multi-generational legacy [extending back thousands of years], is based on and dedicated to the exact same principles that inspired the founding of our own nation: insuring freedom, democracy and pursuit of peace; particularly when it comes to their defending the preservation of their culture and the right to exist as a peaceful nation that seeks to improve the well-being of our global community, not just their own.


Forward or ‘post’ to your favorite social media network as you see fit..The message could make a positive difference.


Dad–This is a note from the soldier I met on Birthright who wants to become a speech pathologist too! We became good friends on the trip!


Hello you all my friends overseas,


We might have not spoken in years but in the last few days I felt like I needed to write to all of you people I met along my trips and exchanges. I live in Israel in a city called Rishon Lezion not so far from Tel-aviv and half an hour drive from Jerusalem. In the past few days I found myself having 15 seconds to run to the nearest shelter every time I hear the siren goes on. It has already caught me in my sleep at night, while taking a shower and even while driving my car when there was no near place to run to in order to hide. It looks pretty much like this (I hope you’ll be able to open it):


https://www.facebook.com/StandWithUs/photos/a.350931762688.151625.19459912688/10152230662107689/?type=1&theater


My country is being bombed by an organization you probably heard of called Hamas – a terror organization which took over the Gaza strip and uses its civilians as a human shield. This terror organization is firing rockets from schools, hospitals and mosques in Gaza towards most of the populated areas of Israel, which of course makes it harder for us, Israelis, to fight back where civilians can get hurt and for them an easy way to look good on camera showing horrifying photos of death and getting international support.  (btw: a lot of the photos are being taken from the poor situation in Syria, you can watch this BBC video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnO4gy8dQIc )


Few minutes ago the siren went on and a rocket fell in my neighbor’s back yard. I was of course hiding with my family and scared dog in the shelter and I’m safe now. The reason I’m writing to you is because I am well aware of the media taking sides in this conflict for whatever interest there is, and its influence on the people watching it.


As the only Jewish state in the world and a country which is being bombed on a regular base by Hamas we have no choice but to defend ourselves and fight this terror.Here is a short video by the CNN that can maybe explain more for those who are interested: 


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_FtkFqFV3o


For those who want to know more about the conflict in the Middle East you can check out this as well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8EDW88CBo-8&feature=youtu.be


All I wish for is for you, the people I can reach, not to be misled and to understand the situation of this war from the eyes of those who live it.


I wish for us all peace and tranquility



A Message From The Middle-East; Out of The Mouth of Babes

Friday, July 11, 2014

Corporate Crisis Management and Public Relations; Get in Front of It or Get Run Over By It

aka Corporate Branding and Crisis Management: Be In Front or Get Run Over


A crisis only becomes a crisis when corporate executives (including political leaders, government agency officials, etc) fail to confront and publicly address an incident before any one else makes mention of it.


According to Jay Berkman of brand positioning firm The JLC Group, “Those who recognize they made a big whopper of a mistake (or one that was made by someone within their organization) and take proactive steps to both correct it and inform their constituents accordingly will never have need for a crisis manager, at least not within the context of a public relations crisis manager.


In simpler terms, corporate brand marketing and crisis management should only merge into the same discussion when managers fail to  get in front of the issue. Those who don’t will inevitably get run over by it.


 



Corporate Crisis Management and Public Relations; Get in Front of It or Get Run Over By It

Thursday, July 10, 2014

A picture speaks a thousand words

Isn’t it curious that people manage to watch three movies in a day but cringe at the idea of reading through an equally interesting book in a week? It’s relatively simple. A majority of people prefer visual material for informative purposes, not just for entertainment. Studies show that the brain stores visual information more quickly as compared to written information.



It’s biological. People prefer eye candies; something that stimulate thought processes and are fun to look at. One can effortlessly comprehend patterns, shapes and colors – and therefore charts, graphs and infographics.


infographic_02


If you wish to convey your message in an attractive and impactful way, you must make use of images to turn data into an easily digestible, bite sized chunks. Great user experience is a product of creative visual illustrations. There are a number of free tools available to make this happen. Following are three ways to gain more traffic to your website, blogs or presentations by making them more visually attractive.


1. Infographics


Inforgrapics is raw data that has been converted into something people would like to see. It compresses complex ideas in a visual to form to make it quickly and easily understandable to the target audience. Inforgraphics utilized three elements to convey complicated information. Text, statistics/data and visuals.


(Here’s a cool infographic about infographics.)


Infograpics are not just visual eye candies designed to relay information, they are created in a way that appeals to user and increases the sharebility of that information on social media.


Apps to help you get started: Visme is a cool free tool for creating beautiful infographics. Prezi can also be used to create cool presentations.


2. Videos


Videos are a great way to compress information for your clients. The uses range from preparing a demo of a product, corporate communications to entertainment videos. Statistics reveal that an individual watches 186 videos per month, from all sectors of the industry ranging from educational videos to entertainment channels.


Videos deliver your message effortlessly and tend to engage the audience in ways that an image or infographic just cannot. Quite a lot of companies have failed to follow the trend in their marketing endeavors. Its imperative not to get left behind in such basics as they are building blocks that make you stand out from the competition.


Apps to help you get started: Start with free tools like Animoto and Masher.


3. Heat Maps


Heat maps are visual aids that numeric information in the forms of color patterns. The colors indicate the various levels of the data such as distance, weight or height. A fine example would be the ability to track the clicks on your website, such as which particular page or feature users click on the most. Such data helps you isolate the elements on the website that aren’t getting as much attention. This helps in taking measures to change that buy utilizing a different strategy.


Apps to help you get started: Some tools to experiment with are Crazy Egg, Click Heats, and Clicktale.


A trend has set in present information in a visual format. Online users demand web pages that appeals to them, and anything that is not interesting is not tolerated. Your competition is already doing it to get maximum eyeballs on their web presence, which leaves you with two choices go visual or get left behind.



A picture speaks a thousand words

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Twitter: A Weapon Of Brand Destruction for Companies (Like "Conn's") Who Eschew Corporate Communications (and all else) re Customer Complaints

For those who don’t religiously read the Sunday New York Times column “The Haggler”..investigative reporter David Segal’s piece in this weekend’s decision is a barn burner. For any brand marketer, today’s profile detailing The Haggler’s attempt to resolve a customer’s complaint and running into a proverbial corporate communication brick wall created by Texas-based appliance chain store “Conn’s” is a classic example of how to inspire the wrath of masses using weapons of brand mass destruction aka Twitter by tweeting and calling out wrong-doers…The story is also likely to lead to a massive problem for this particular retailer, one who has faced the wrath of state regulators in the past.


Segal, who is generally quite successful in the course of getting to the bottom of things on behalf of consumers who encounter frustrating experiences with select companies, has apparently rolled snake eyes in his efforts to communicate with senior management of this not-so-small chain of electronic gadgets and home appliances. His solution? Inspire (some would use the phrase “incite”) readers to tweet the company via @connsinc in an effort to form a community-centric campaign designed to deliver a message to the company that their customer service is less than acceptable and to appeal to whatever sense of obligation this company might have towards satisfying the people who butter their bread.


Segal, sitting in his bully pulpit as the arbiter of proper corporate behavior and customer service goes two steps further by suggesting readers to email the CEO’s executive assistant via angela.lagrone@conns.com or phone her office phone 936.230.5879 to express your support for Grace Salako-Smith, Ph.D, the Conn’s customer who has repeatedly attempted to communicate with this company in connection with a warranty that the company has apparently failed to honor. Worth noting, Conn’s has been the subject of literally thousands of consumer complaints and in 2009, agreed to pay $4.5million to settle charges of unfair business practices. Since that settlement, the company has received yet another 1000 complaints from consumers.


 



Twitter: A Weapon Of Brand Destruction for Companies (Like "Conn's") Who Eschew Corporate Communications (and all else) re Customer Complaints

Thursday, July 03, 2014

NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement): To Have Or Not To Have: That is the Question

When aspiring start-ups (or fast-growth companies) set out to secure funding and further cement their brand, many entrepreneurs believe that any conversation requires first securing a non-disclosure agreement aka NDA before sharing their pitch—whether with a prospective investor, a vendor or even a next-door neighbor.


Throughout my own 25+ years, during which I’ve been a public company CEO, as well as an advisor to venture capital and private equity firms, I’ve been asked to review proposals from dozens of companies extending across a broad spectrum of industries (notably, many were technology-centric). I’ve also sat on the other side of the table while serving as a principal stakeholder representing a variety of entrepreneurial initiatives. Inevitably, the topic of executing an NDA was the first talking point—one that I vehemently eschewed.


My view has always been “ideas are great, but the ability to innovate supersedes any argument that a non-disclosure agreement is a requisite to a productive discussion.” My position has always been that imposing an NDA before even engaging in a preliminary discussion is superfluous. If someone wants to try and steal an idea, an NDA isn’t going to stop them. In fact, what often stops (and always slows) a conversation before it starts is haggling over the terms of an agreement that is terribly difficult and terribly expensive to enforce. What will stop them is the inability to execute (aka innovate). That’s always where the rubber meets the road.


Lo and behold, Eileen Zimmerman of the NY Times profiled this exact topic in a strong article in today’s edition within the Small Business section. Here are some excerpts from Eileen’s article:


It is a common quandary, and not just in Silicon Valley. Ten years ago, it was not unusual for entrepreneurs to request and potential investors to sign nondisclosure agreements. But today the agreements are largely considered a thing of the past. In fact, some investors say they walk away from a founder who even suggests signing one.


Thom Ruhe, vice president for entrepreneurship at the Kauffman Foundation, said the declining use of N.D.A.s “is certainly not in the interests of entrepreneurs. It favors the V.C.” Although it is rare that an investor steals an idea, Mr. Ruhe said, it does happen. “But in the skewed echo chamber of the Valley, and the sycophantical networks that aspire to be just like them,” he said, “they’ve made the easier and less morally defensible position — no N.D.A.s — the coin of the realm.”


Even if a start-up manages to get an agreement signed, it can be tough to enforce, said Aaron I. Messing, a lawyer with OlenderFeldman in Summit, N.J. “It’s very hard to prove that you kept information confidential, and it was only disclosed under an N.D.A.,” said Mr. Messing, who represents both founders and investors. “And it can be expensive.”


Below are some guidelines to consider. They apply when engaging not just investors, but also manufacturers, partners and even customers.


DO NOT ASK UNLESS YOU HAVE SOMETHING TO PROTECT. Chris Schultz, an entrepreneur and partner in the angel investment fund Voodoo Ventures in New Orleans, said: “Everyone thinks their idea is extremely unique, but the idea is really 1 percent of the value. The value is in the execution.”


KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE. Before making a pitch, research the background of your audience. “Think through who you are sharing your ideas with,” said Patrick Riley, head of Global Accelerator Network, a group of 50 start-up accelerators worldwide. Mr. Messing advised making sure an investor did not have potential conflicts or overlapping investments. Reputable investors, he said, “have much to lose by stealing your idea.”


CONSIDER FILING FOR A PROVISIONAL PATENT. C. Andrew Keisner, a lawyer with Davis & Gilbert in New York City who regularly counsels investors and start-ups, said the reluctance to sign N.D.A.s was one factor driving start-ups toward patent protection. “If you’re far enough along that you’ve developed an app or a prototype, there is a big advantage to filing a provisional application,” he said.


PROCEED GRADUALLY. When discussing a start-up, founders should walk a fine line, conveying sufficient information about what is unique and proprietary, but not disclosing information that would let someone replicate the business. For example, said Mr. Messing, the lawyer, an entrepreneur could disclose “what an algorithm can do, but not the algorithm itself.”


For the full article from the NY Times, please click here.


 


 



NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement): To Have Or Not To Have: That is the Question

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Microsoft rumored to be planning to replace 'Surface' branding with 'Lumia'

brandingThe content below is extract from the Mary Jo Foley’s blog article published at zdnet.com on June 28, 2014. She is an author of Microsoft 2.0 and she is covering various publications of tech-industry for more than 25 years.


The summary of this article illustrates, how it would help or hurt Microsoft more if the company consolidated its mobile branding using the ‘Nokia’ and ‘Lumia’ brands instead of using the current ‘Surface’ branding?


Mary states:


Branding is hard. Branding is expensive.


And changing brands mid-stream is hard, expensive and sometimes (often?) ill-advised.


But according to known leaker @evleaks, Microsoft may be doing just that. According to his unnamed sources, Microsoft may be moving toward rebranding its Surface tablets as “Lumia” devices.


@evleaks also claimed that Microsoft may be negotiating to keep the Nokia brand longer than originally planned so that it can use it for future phones and possibly other devices.


Earlier this month, @evleaks published what looked to be some kind of Microsoft “technical branding” guidance document, which indicated that Microsoft planned to phase-out Nokia branding on a very specific schedule: 18 months post close of the Microsoft acquisition of the Nokia handset business for Lumia devices; through December 31, 2015 for Nokia X Android phones; and 10 years for Asha mobile phones. (From the way that planning document is phrased, I would guess it predated the close of the Microsoft acquisition of Nokia’s handset business in April 2014.)


I don’t have any first- or even second-hand information about these branding rumors. I’ve asked Microsoft but am not expecting any kind of comment.


I will note that Microsoft has spent a lot to land the Surface brand ever since officials decided to use it to refer to Microsoft’s mobile tablet family, rather than its large-screen tabletop devices. The company is continuing to advertise the new Surface Pro 3 massively on TV during the World Cup 2014.


However, the Nokia and Lumia brands have stronger recognition outside the U.S. than they do here. And Microsoft is doing better selling Windows Phones outside the U.S. than here in the States.


Consolidating the Surface and Lumia brands would fit in with the company’s “One Microsoft” messaging and positioning. And with Windows Threshold, the next major version of Windows due in spring 2015, Microsoft is expected to launch a single Windows SKU that will work on both phones and touch tablets. Would it be easier to land that unified message if the phones and tablets were all under the Nokia/Lumia brand? Possibly…


 


Click here to read full article



Microsoft rumored to be planning to replace 'Surface' branding with 'Lumia'

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Creating Awareness Via Email NewsLetters: Works Better Than Ever

Below is courtesy of a special column from this week’s NY Times written by Media Equation’s David Carr.  His insight struck a confirming chord here at The JLC Group when considering our firm’s role providing guidance to several newsletter publishers, including our most recent client, Rareview Macro LLC and that firm’s product “Sight Beyond Sight”


Per Carr:


Email newsletters, an old-school artifact of the web that was supposed to die along with dial-up connections, are not only still around, but very much on the march.


In addition to the long-running morning must-haves like Mike Allen’s political tip sheet Playbook, other topics and approaches are gaining momentum across publishing. Quartz, Atlantic Media’s smart business site, has an increasingly popular daily newsletter. The revamped Newsweek has done well with Today in Tabs, a cheeky look at content that is so bad it’s good. And webby writers including Ann Friedman, Jason Hirschhorn, Alexis Madrigal, Robin Sloan and Maria Popova all put out much-followed newsletters.


Bloomberg, Fast Company, The New York Times, Politico and many other news organizations are finding that they can grab attention — and readers — in the inbox.


How can that be? With social media, mobile apps and dynamic websites that practically stalk the reader, how can something that sometimes gets caught in a spam filter really be taking off?


Newsletters are clicking because readers have grown tired of the endless stream of information on the Internet, and having something finite and recognizable show up in your inbox can impose order on all that chaos. In fact, the comeback of email newsletters has been covered in Fast Company, The Atlantic and Medium, but I missed those articles because, really, who can keep up with a never-ending scroll of new developments? That’s where email newsletters, with their aggregation and summaries, come in. Some are email only, others reprise something that can be found on the web. At a time when lots of news and information is whizzing by online, email newsletters — some free, some not — help us figure out what’s worth paying attention to.


For the full column from The New York Times, please click here.



Creating Awareness Via Email NewsLetters: Works Better Than Ever